Sahara Film Festival: desert blues

After more than thirty years stranded in one of the most inhospitable areas of desert on earth, refugees from Western Sahara are using the arts to highlight their plight. Peter Culshaw met Manu Chao and Javier Bardem at the Sahara Film Festival. How do you get attention for your cause if you are a marginalised people, ignored for thirty years in the desert? When I spoke to several Saharawi refugees in a camp this month in Southern Algeria they felt they had two options. One: violence – freedom fighting, from their point of view; terrorism, according to their enemies – or two: hosting an arts festival and getting some celebrities along to garner some media attention.
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