Baida Rahal – About Western Sahara

Viivapiirros rauhankyyhkystä, jonka sisällä Länsi-Saharan lippu.

Länsi-Saharan vapautusrintama Polisarion Suomen edustaja Baida Rahal piti puheenvuoron DSL:n seminaarifestivaalissa Matinkylän Pirtillä, Espoossa ja etänä Zoomissa 18.6.2022. / Western Sahara’s Liberation Front Polisario’s representative in Finland Baida Rahal held a speech at DCA’s Seminar Festival in Espoo and online on 18th June 2022.

Linkki Rahalin puheenvuoron videotallenteeseen sekä puheenvuoron jälkeen näytettyyn dokumenttivideoon. Videot myös puheenvuoron alla tällä sivulla. Link to the recording of Rahal’s speech and document video shown after the speech. Videos also below the speech on this page.

“Distinguished attendees:

At the outset, let me thank the organizers of this gathering for the kind invitation I received to participate in an event of this value.

It is a great honor to participate in any activity related to peace, environment, and development. These three topics are the most important themes that we should focus on today.

I personally lived through a period of war that lasted for more than sixteen years, and I have lived all my life in a refugee camp. That is why when we speak of peace and justice, I realize from personal experience the value of all this.

But allow me, within the time allowed to speak here, to go back a little to the historical background of this subject.

Our topic today is Western Sahara.

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony bordered by Morocco to the north. While it is bordered by Algeria to the east. Then Mauritania to the south. and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, with an area of about 284,000 thousand square kilometers. It is a region rich in natural resources, the most important of which are high-quality phosphates and fisheries.

The territory remained a Spanish colony until 1976, when Spain suddenly withdrew and signed an agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco guaranteeing its economic interests and handing over Western Sahara to the Moroccan army.

The people of Western Sahara who wanted to build their state, were not consulted. like all the colonies that were in Africa and are now independent states.

That is why the people of Western Sahara established the Polisario Front to defend their legitimate right to self-determination, and they fought the war between the years 1976 until 1991, when the United Nations intervened, and the two parties signed a ceasefire agreement in 1991 to organize a referendum that would allow the residents of Western Sahara to have the right to self-determination.

The United Nations has not been able to organize the referendum until today. To keep the Sahrawi people living in permanent suffering due to the absence of a just peace.

The population of Western Sahara today is found in three regions: the regions occupied by Morocco, which is 80 percent of the country’s area. and Sahrawi refugee camps in southwestern Algeria. Then there is a Saharawi community in Europe and other countries.

On this occasion, today I will present a documentary film that I participated in preparing when I was working on improving the conditions of refugee women in the camps.

Where I don’t talk much. I wanted all of us to see the reality of the Sahrawi refugee women as it is.

In closing, I once again thank the organizers of this event for this opportunity.”