We have previously introduced you to Sahrawi singer and activist Aziza Brahim. With the release of her second album “Mabruk”, we took the opportunity to ask her about her role as a Sahrawi activist, what motivated her to become one, the situation of Western Sahara and what can be done to help her people. We are pleased to have Aziza has our first guest. Enjoy!
1. At what period of your life did you come to realize that it was a duty to speak and sing for Western Sahara?
Aziza Brahim: I understood that it was necessary for me to sing and speak about my people since I had use of reason, because I was born and I grew up surrounded by the injustice. I saw my family and my people in an absolutely vulnerable situation. I spent my chilhood and part of my youth in a refugee camp and we are three generations living in exile.
2. Not many people are familiar with the customs and culture of the Western Sahara, can you share with us something that is present in the everyday life of the Sahrawis?
Aziza Brahim: The daily reality at exiled refugee camps in Tindouf is very difficult. We have been stuck in trouble for 36 years in which we have a lot of needs. My people live thanks to humanitarian aids. We are a peaceful and hospitable people living in accordance with our ideals and our commitments, but we struggle hard for our rights as humans and for our self-determination as people.
3. You are based in Spain, how often do you return home? And when you return, do you notice a change and do you see the situation progressing?
Aziza Brahim: It depends of my professional obligations, but I try to go once a year. When I come back I don’t appreciate any difference, any progress: I see that my people are still suffering in front of the passive attitude of international organizations like the UN. The situation doesn’t improve and becomes more difficult everytime. Many countries and organizations have recognized our right to decide about our future and it is [ our case] defended by the highest institution, the International Criminal Court.
4. Do you have any projects that will come out soon? What’s next for you?
Aziza Brahim: I’m preparing to launch the tour for Mabruk, my new album. It’s a tribute to Ljadra Mabruk, my grandmother, one of the best poetess of Western Sahara. I am creating some new songs and getting ready for the next thing.
5. How can we help the cause of the people of Western Sahara? Is there an organization that you can recommend?
Aziza Brahim: Everybody can help us by knowing our fight, supporting us and spreading our struggle. It is very important for us as well as for the camps in Western Sahara, the occupied territories where our people are submitted to all kind of Morocco’s outrages daily, where our youth are jailed, where our families and children are disappearing while the governments of the world don’t demand any responsibilities to the Moroccan monarchy. It is something to denounce every day by all ways, like Amnesty International does with their annual reports.
Special thanks to: Aziza for her time, Sedryk for the contact and Gaëlle for the questions.
If you are interested in joining a Support Western Sahara Campaign, here are some useful links:
- Free Sahara
- Western Sahara Campaign UK
- Support Western Sahara
- Amnesty International Western Sahara
- Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara