Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The End, or New Beginnings?


It is with great sadness that I must acknowledge that my college career has come to an end. My final class period was this morning, during which I gave a presentation on the use of nonviolent action by activists in Africa's last territory, Western Sahara. While the utilization of nonviolent tactics by Sahrawis for the sake achieving their self determination from Morocco is a fairly complex issue, I thought I would share some of the movements more artistic aspects. One incredible website called Sandblast features some powerful photographs and poetry by Sahrawis. Here is a single poem, one of many at Sandblast:

"Voices" by Zahra El Hasnaoui

May you think
your voice reaches me not.
May you fear
the wicked wind hushed it,
before it filled up my senses.
May you dream
of muted echoes
and mirrors blinded.
Your words
choke my throat
in their way out
in black and white.
I sometimes manage to spit
but almost always swallow
rage, blood,
land, peace.
I wish to chain
your hands
to mine,
the gloomy ceiling
open to the stars.
I wish I could
lave the wrath
in your guiltless eyes.
Thirty mouths
chanted history,
as nobody could
nothing can tame
the soul-touching voices.

(Dedicated "To the Saharawi voices
abducted in jails and graves.")

These artistic expressions display the true feelings of those whose livelihoods are intertwined with a region whose fate remains undecided. Read the poems, view the photographs and strive to feel a little closer to a people you may have never known existed.

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