The Runner which is a documentary about the story of the Saharawi champion and long-distance runner Salah Hmatou Ameidan was screened on Wednesday evening 14 May 2014 at NSW Parliament in Sydney (Australia).
The event was hosted by Mr. Jamie Parker, member of Parliament from the Green Party. Mr. Parker spoke during the event and said that the Saharawi cause is a tragedy that has been going on for a long time and that it is a shame the UN has not been able to resolve the case of the last colony in Africa. He said that he visited the Saharawi refugee camps and witnessed the suffering of the Saharawi people who have been forced to leave their homeland and seek refuge. He said that the event is important as a solidarity gesture and he encourage the audience to join the Australia Western Sahara Association and to support the Saharawi cause.
Former President of the Legislative Council of NSW Parliament, Dr Meredith Burgmann, introduced the film. She said that the story of Salah Ameidan is very inspiring. She spoke about her experience of visiting the Saharawi refugee camps and meeting people who have endured years of life in exile and separation from their homeland and members of their families. She said that human rights abuses in the occupied territories must end and that a referendum must be organised to enable the Saharawi people to exercise their right to self-determination.
AWSA Secretary, Lesley Osborne, observed how the film had moved her. It powerfully evoked the human tragedy of the Moroccan occupation through the life and refugee experience of activist and runner Salah Hmatou Ameidan and the impact on all his family.
The Saharawi representative to Australia Kamal Fadel responded to questions from the audience after the film and reminded the audience of the invasion of the Territory by Morocco and the human rights abuses carried out on a daily basis in the occupied areas of Western Sahara. He also drew attention to the Australian companies’ illegal exploitation of Saharawi phosphates.
The Saharawi representative thanked the Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) for organising the event and thanked the audience for attending.