We are so thrilled to announce that London's exclusive dance studio Inspiration 2 Dance has just announced that they'll be dedicating their upcoming fundraiser SUMMER SIZZLE Dance & BBQ Party 2017 next June 24 in London to Sandblast. THANK YOU!!
Our connection with Inspiration 2 Dance comes from our Founding Director Danielle Smith, who's really passionate about dancing and has had a close relationship with the school since late 2015.
Sandblast has decided to pledge all funds raised through the SUMMER SIZZLE Dance to the music and English education project Stave House in the Sahara, which has just finished their very successful second stage with over 25 children passing their certified Stave House Level 1 Music Awards. Congratulations! During its third stage (Sep 2017-May 2018), Sandblast will be the main sponsor of the project, so we need all the help we can get to make it a reality! For that, we've just set up a new JustGiving fundraising campaign. Check it out!
Original text in Spanish published by Poemario por un Sahara Libre yesterday 23rd January.
UPDATE: Please note that the trial has been postponed again until early March.
Summary: EIC Poemario for a Free Sahara on information and photos and Saharawi activists of human rights, January 23, 2017
According to the last hour reported by Sahrawi human rights activists, the trial of prisoners of #GdeimIzik has been postponed for tomorrow January 24 at 10 am. The judicial record of the prisoner Mohamed Layoubi has been separated from the rest of the group and his trial has been scheduled for March 13, 2017. (Layoubi Mohamed has been admitted to a hospital of AGADIR and because of that disease has been released on parole, even though he was sentenced by the military court to 20 years in prison.)
Numerous Sahrawis gathered this morning in front of the court awaiting trial against the prisoners of Gdeim Izik in Salé, Morocco, with banners in Arabic and Spanish supporting the prisoners and condemning their unjust detention. According to eldiario.es the Spanish lawyers Travieso, Sebastián, Adolfo and Serrano have acted as observers in the trial, after the initial retention of lawyer Francisco Serrano.
Spanish media such as RTVE and Cadena Ser have been present at the gates of the court; they interviewed the Saharawi activist Ahmed Brahim Ettanji (Equipo Media). Other Saharawi activists such as Brahim Dahn (ASVDH), who has also spoken to the press, were also present.
In El Aaiun there have been intense demonstrations in connection with the re-trial of Sahrawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group. The solidarity movement in Spain and France mobilised to demand the immediate release of Saharawi political prisoners by organising about 20 demonstrations (Algeciras, Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Jaen, Jerez de la Frontera, Madrid, Oviedo, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas Of Gran Canaria, Pamplona, Tenerife, Santander, Lanzarote, Seville, Valencia, Vigo, Zaragoza, Granada, among others). For its part, the Saharawi community in France has concentrated in Paris.
They cut the Internet connections around the Salé court during the trial of the Sahrawi political prisoners of GdeimIzik
EQUIPO MEDIA. January 23, 2017
Moroccan authorities cut off Internet access in all areas around the Court of Sale, where the trial of the heroes of Gdeim Izik is taking place, in an attempt to silence the case, once they found that many assistants Began to hang pictures and videos on social networks, supporting the prisoners and their families, Equipe Media contributed to show what happened by broadcasting live and reporting through Facebook, although it was interrupted by the cut in the network, We were able to verify that this cut in the communications has applied it to a radius of approximately one thousand meters, increasing the area of interruption of the communications that used the previous time
EQUIPO MEDIA. January 23, 2017
The Saharawi boy Kamal Laroussi, son of the political prisoner Abdul Jalil Laroussi, was the victim of the impact of a bottle, thrown by one of the Moroccan agitators present, they tried by all means to provoke the Saharawi assistants, after realizing the success that was With the follow-up to the Judgment of the heroes of #GdeimIzik both in the place and in the social networks and the many samples of solidarity with them, the Moroccan police present in the place, I take no action despite the protest of the assistants Saharawis.
We, the relatives of the #SharawiPoliticalPrisoners, associations of #HumanRights solidarity movement and the Saharawi people, support the #GdeimIzik group, denounce their imprisonment and demand their freedom. We denounce the military joke trial that took place in February 2013 and this new civil trial joke. We demand their immediate release and that the international community intervene to safeguard their rights.
Original text in Spanish published by Poemario por un Sahara Libre yesterday 23rd January.
Key Bay case: Polisario Front lodges a complaint with the European and French authorities
For a strict application of the judgment of 21 December 2016
The Polisario Front is paying close attention to the conditions under which the Key Bay vessel, which has embarked fish oil at ElAaiun, will be obliged to comply with European law, as recalled in the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on 21 December 2016, which must be fully enforced.
Thanks to the action, on the spot, of Pilar Alvarez, Deputy Mayor of Las Palmas, and Florent Marcellesi, MEP, all information is now available. The Key Bay stopped in Las Palmas (Spain) to fill up fuel, and during this short period of time, the Guardia Civil was able to see the documents allowing transport. It appears that the authorizations were issued at ElAaiun, under Moroccan occupation, which establishes the violation of international law. Indeed, there has been fishing for the Saharawi waters, then their transformation into oil, then embarkation, all under so-called Moroccan authorizations, with the aim of placing on the European market products for human use. Such products can only enter the European market if they are accompanied by certificates of origin and health guarantees drawn up by the administration of the State of origin.
In its judgment of 21 December 2016 the Court held that Morocco and Western Sahara were separate territories of distinct sovereignty and that the agreements concluded between the European Union and Morocco could in no case be applied In the Western Sahara. Thus, the products allegedly Moroccan but which actually come from the Saharawi waters and the port of ElAaiun can be exported by European companies and access to the European market only with the authorization of the Polisario Front, the sole representative of the Saharawi people. Mr. Mhamed Khadad, member of the leadership of the Polisario Front, said: "This concerns all waters under Saharawi sovereignty and all port boats since ElAaiun. Morocco is the occupying military power, subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and has no right to issue export authorizations ".
Yesterday, 16 January 2016, MEPs - Mrs Florent Marcellesi, José Bové and Bodil Valero (The Greens) - formally seized Mrs Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union, Mr Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Trade and Mr Moscovici , European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, of violations of European law that would be committed if the Key Bay could proceed to the landing of a cargo coming from the Saharawi waters and a Saharawi port.
Mr. Mhamed Khadad announced on January 17th that the Polisario Front will file a complaint with the European Commission and the customs authorities in France within 48 hours to ensure that European law is respected: "We hope for dialogue, but we are determined To enforce the judgment of the Court of Justice ". According to the officially published road map, the Key Bay must arrive in Fécamp in France at the end of this week. The French customs authorities would violate European law by admitting the landing of products which are not guaranteed by valid certificates of origin, then Morocco is not sovereign at ElAaiun.
The Polisario Front asks the European Commission and the customs authorities to draw up a report of the illegality of this export and that the cargo be seized in accordance with the requirements of European customs law.
Bir Lahlou, January 17, 2017
Original text in French published by Barbara Weingarter on Facebook (see below).
- English: http://www.wsrw.org/a105x3725
Greetings from Sandblast,
Hope you have had an enjoyable summer and feel recharged again to enjoy the active months ahead. We are now back in action and in this issue will highlight exciting news and developments since our Mid-summer Western Sahara Festival, in July, along with upcoming events which you shouldn’t miss.
Standing Man EP now available!
We are thrilled to announce that the Standing Man EP, recorded in the camps by singer-songwriter Pia de Keyser, is finally ready to be heard by the world.
Standing Man refers to the Moroccan soldiers that have been standing on the 2700km-long military wall in Western Sahara for 30 years. It was recorded at the Studio-Live equipped studio of the Saharawi National Music School by our very own Studio-Live-trained sound engineers. Read more.
Stave House in the Sahara back to the refugee camps
We are very excited that our colleague Violeta Ruano will be returning to the Saharawi refugee camps for 3 months in October for the second stage of the early music education project Stave House in the Sahara. There is still time to become a sponsor of one of the children for only £30. Interested?
Sandblast is delighted to be one of the main partners of this project. We are deeply grateful to Ruth Travers from Stave House for generously donating the programme to the camps and to The London College of Music which has supported the project in various ways. These partnerships along with some amazing support we've received from individual donors has made it possible for things to happen and develop. We're also thrilled to announce that Oxfam Solidarité (Belgium) have recently given €2500 to refurbish a room to create a music-making space for children, in the camp of Boujdour, in support of Stave House in the Sahara. Read more
Fundraising and Run the Sahara
2016 has been spectacular fundraising year for Sandblast. In total, we have raised nearly £30,000 for our project work in the Saharawi refugee camps. This has been thanks to the amazing efforts of our 2016 Run the Sahara runners and also to the generosity of donors who have shown support for our projects in the camps, which currently are:
Saharawi Artivism Fund (SAF), Studio-Live Local and Stave House in the Sahara.
We now have a nice group of runners coming together for the 2017 Run the Sahara race in the Algerian Sahara next February. We hope to recruit at least 5 more people to join before the registration deadline on December 15. Please help us spread the word!. And if you are a former particpant, we would love you to encourage others to join us in 2017.
Donations and Van hunting
This year has also been a great year for music equipment donations made in support of Studio-Live Local. We got a mint-shaped 24-track Tascam mobile recording studio in July and in early September a lovely electric guitar from David in Yorkshire.
Our next big mission is to get all the donations of the past 18 months transported in a donated or second-hand van, down to the camps, by the end of this year. If anyone loves these kinds of ventures and would like to help us please get in touch. We really need it!
Olive Branch Arts Cabaret Extravaganza on Sept 18
Come along for this fun night of fund-raising for their work with youth, women and theatre in the Saharawi refugee camps. Click here to book tickets
Music of Exile film teaser
Have you heard of the upcoming film Music of Exile from the Saharawi of Western Sahara? Directed and recorded by Katch Holmes it will be featured at WOMEX '16 in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) next Oct 21. Click on the pic to watch a short teaser and get inspired by the revolutionary history of Saharawi music!
THIS SATURDAY July 2nd we have so many exciting activities prepared for our Mid-summer Western Sahara Festival (Hundred Years Gallery, E2 8JD, 4-9.30pm).
To chill out at the end, the evening will conclude with a collaborative performance of two artists who have both been to the Saharawi refugee camps. Poet Sam Berkson will recite original poems and translated Saharawi poems from his poetry book “Settled Wanderers” accompanied by darbouka player Karim Delalli playing irresistible Algerian beats. Here is a teaser from their previous collaboration at Sandblast Benefit Concert last February 6 at the Bolivar Hall in London.
THE DESERT OF THE DESERT ('84), by Samir Abujamra, premieres in England
at the Mid-summer Western Sahara Festival
Sat 2 July, 6.15pm
@ Hundred Years Gallery
Don't miss out!
Beautiful new short film on Western Sahara, Battalion to my Beat ('14), will premier in London next July 2 at the Mid-summer Western Sahara Festival. A coming of age story about a spirited Saharawi girl facing a crossroads between becoming a soldier or forever staying a refugee.
Listen to director Eimi Imanishi talking about her film during the Tenth Annual Dallas International Film Festival last April 2016.
BATTALION TO MY BEAT is an independent short film set in the isolated Western Saharan refugee camps in southeast Algeria. The cast of Battalion To My Beat will be entirely made up of Saharawi refugees and will be shot in the camps following a fictional script. The story reflects the frustration that the contemporary Saharawi youth are feeling toward the complete failure of diplomacy, and their mounting determination that war is the only way to enact change.
The story is told from the perspective of a fearless 13-year-old girl (MINA) because teenagers are reactionary in nature and directly reflect the societies in which they are raised. They are also, for better or for worse, needier of an immediate solution to their problems. Through Mina's eyes and her sharp-witted attitude, the audience will see the camps, feel its constrictions and its destitution, and run up against the difficult choice she faces between war or life as a permanent refugee.
This summer, in collaboration with Stave House music academy, we invite you to a heart-warming and eye-opening evening of film premiers, photography, talks, music & poetry for the Saharawis of Western Sahara. Come and join us in our mid-summer festival to learn more about the situation in Africa's Last Colony and the awareness-raising and educational projects we're currently developing in the Saharawi refugee camps.
Tickets are just a £5 suggested donation to help us cover the expenses of the event.
INVITATION to PRIVATE VIEW
We are delighted to invite you to the launch of Sandblast's
"Africa's Last Colony" events @ Hundred Years Gallery
Thurs, 15th Oct, 7.30-9.30pm (doors open 7pm).
Please RSVP by Oct 12th.
*For full details of upcoming events, check Press Release
News about Sandblast & Western Sahara