PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern Algeria

Washington  /  Morocco News  Board --   The 2009 controversial documentary "Stolen" is making news in the United States where the Algerian government tried to stop the movie’s American broadcast premier by pressuring the Public broadcasting System (PBS) to cancel the showing. Writing for indiewire, the leading news site for independent-minded filmmakers, the co-directors claim that “There’s been significant pressure placed on PBS to not show "Stolen" from US-based lobbyists (US law firm Foley Hoag have been paid the best part of $1,000,000 annually by the Algerian government since 2007 to lobby in the US on issues related to Western Sahara) for the Algerian government, who back the Polisario."

“Stolen,” details cases of slavery in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria. PBS decision to show the documentary came at a sensitive time for the Algerian government and the Polisario Separatist movement that run the Tindouf camps.

Algeria has been lobbying for the United Nations to investigate human rights abuses in the Moroccan Sahara and thus ill afford the political embarrassment and bad publicity of an indie movie highlighting the brutal conditions, including slavery, that endure thousands of civilians warehoused by the Polisario in the Algerian Sahara. Film Directors Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw explain the condition under which they were granted the rare opportunity to visit the Tindouf Camps regarded as a closed military zone by the Algerian Army : “In 2006, we went to the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria to make a film about the human side of the long-running conflict between Morocco and the Polisario over the Western Sahara. Little did we know what we’d uncover. “
In their article for indiewire, Ayala and Fallshow write how they uncovered the existence of Slavery in Tindouf: “We met Fetim, a beautiful black Saharawi woman on the last night of our first visit to the camps. She was the first person we spoke to who didn’t discuss politics and Leil, her 16-year-old daughter, spoke fluent Spanish. The camp population consists of two groups, the Beydan (white Arabs) and the descendents of sub-Saharan Africans. One afternoon Kamal Fadel, the Polisario representative to Australia, a Beydan, remarked that Leil’s two-year-old sister looked like a "monkey," which Leil heard. Angered, she spoke out for the first time and told us that things aren’t as they seem in the camps and black people don’t have the same rights as the so-called Beydan, who rule the camps. She told us the black people are still slaves, they don’t have the right to decide whom they marry, can have their children taken away, don’t carry their own last name and have no power over their destiny.
That was the moment for the film when everything changed. Other people started to tell us their personal experiences of slavery in the hope we could take their stories to the world. It felt like a mini revolution amongst the black people, but this new hope was short-lived: the Polisario, who run the camps, discovered that we’d learned about slavery and we had to hide our footage to protect the black people and to make the film. The Polisario authorities detained us."
The Australian Fallshaw and the Bolivian born Ayala dispute Algerian claims that they are Moroccan agents. The filmmakers claim” “Stolen" shows that slavery affects the black people in the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara as well. After the Moroccan government learned this, 20 tapes were stolen and exchanged for blank tapes from our hotel room in Rabat. The Moroccan police ordered us to leave Western Sahara.”
The co-directors maintain, “Slavery exists in a refugee camp and is supported by the international community and the United Nations”. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) admitted, during interviews for “Stolen” in Geneva, knowing about slavery in the Tindouf refugee camps. As Algeria and Polisario pressure the UN mission to take on the role of human rights monitor in the Western Sahara, the UNCHR must divulge the truth about its awareness of slavery conditions in Tindouf.
Due to the Algerian pressures on PBS, the documentary showing was postponed from February 5th to February 26th. “Stolen” has won 14 worldwide awards including Best Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Grand Prix at the Art of the Document in Poland.

Comments (14)  

+1 #1 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern AlgeriaAmale 2013-03-07 11:35
Here is the trailer of the documentary:

Interview with the filmakers on ABC:

Here is the documetary "Stolen" in full:

The world must hear and see the lies of the Polisario. They are a bunch of racists.

+1 #2 It's not about Slavery folksMorcelli 2013-03-07 12:06
Let's not get too excited, I've seen the documentary before and my assessment is that it is an amateurish piece of work.
The main problem in Tindouf is not slavery, it's freedom of expression and especially freedom of movement. Sahraouis are kept in huts in the sand without being able to go anywhere without first getting a permission from the polisario who are holding them hostage with the help and the planning of Algeria. Only those who are connected get to leave the camps, the rest is treated as some sort of show for the outside world.

The UN is such a corrupt system that they cannot do a thing about it because Algeria is paying all those who want to descent.

Most western countries think about oil and their interest before thinking about the refugees and frankly Algeria did a good job attracting the lefties to side with the polisario even though they know that it is the longest dictatorship in the world under their puppet chieftain aziz.
If Morocco was able to bring those lefties to condemn the polisario who are holding the sahraouis against their will, we won't be here today. Algeria has done such a good job that they got European and Latin Americans to side with evil. It wasn't cheap but when you have generals who are controlling the resources of the Algerians people, there is not much we can do but hope the Algerian citizen gets tired of their generals and run them out of the country as they did in Tunisia.

The slavery that the 2 filmmakers are talking about is everywhere and especially in Morocco. Thousands of rich families in Morocco are holding young under age girls as a maid for money that goes directly to the pocket of the samsar diyal douwar or their uncles.

You people need to stay focus on the problem which is with the help of Algeria and under Algerian orders, the Polisario are holding 1000s of Moroccan/sahrao uis against their will, these people are not free and it is a shame that the UN is not doing or saying a thing about it.

So please don't lose focus. Yes the movie points to few black complexion sahraouis and perhaps because they are black they are being discriminated against as it it is the case everywhere in North Africa and no Maghreban can deny this fact but the problem here is that Algeria is trying to install a dictatorship in southern Morocco to serve their interest.

Morocco has proposed an autonomy plan where there will be no loser no winner, Algeria is sabotaging the plan and that's where we are now and that's where we should go from.
Aziz El Alami
0 #3 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern AlgeriaAziz El Alami 2013-03-07 14:08
Why is it that each time a movie or a documentary depicting Arabs or Muslins for -who they are-, boycotts and riots break loose?

I bet you the same people decrying these movies and documentaries enjoyed watching all those great Hollywood movies characterizing the Nazis as evil, portraying the Mexicans as second class citizens and stereotyping Blacks as thugs…

If anything, I don’t think the movie industry is doing enough to reveal the true Arab identity.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regularly IMPORTS little boys from neighboring countries so that they can use them as Camel Jockeys and sex slaves and no one is talking about it.

The slavery “Stolen” is reporting about is not confined to just the boundaries of Tindouf, regretfully it is a lot more wide spread.
0 #4 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern AlgeriaJR 2013-03-07 19:12
What's sad is that for all the effort that the Moroccan-Americ ans community is putting out to convince the US government, NGOs, media,etc,of the legitimacy of the Moroccan Sahara, you have one Moroccan diplomat who renders all efforts moot in one interview with an experienced journalist. I guess he couldn't handle the big league. This is not your daddy's 2M.

Check out this interview with CNN's Amanpour yesterday with the so this so called Moroccan ambassador to the UN and Javier Bardem, who's promoting his documentary "Sons of the Clouds". Moroccan diplomacy at its worse. A bunch of no-ops.
+2 #5 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern AlgeriaMorcelli 2013-03-07 21:09
No matter what the Moroccan UN ambassador had said or hadn't said, it would not have made any difference. Amanpour was so adamant on placing the Ambassador on the defensive.
She was clearly much more receptive in Bardem's interview even though he was not a good interviewee himself.

She did all the talk and it would have been better if she would have switched seat with Bardem and become the Polisario defender.

There was no excuse for the ambassador, He never mentioned Algeria the mastermind for this conflict, trying to hide his nervousness with non stop fake smiles.

Fortunately there is no one in this earth who can force Morocco to bend over to the Algerians, not even the US, Amanpour informed the ambassador that they are now leaning towards the polisario and he did not seem to be surprised because it is true, since the coming of Obama, things have changed. If it weren't for Hillary Clinton, Obama would have asked the Moroccan to give up the Sahara.

The other fortunate thing for Morocco is other than Spain, Algeria, and South Africa, there is no other country who even cares of what is happening in there.

One thing is sure, our diplomacy sucks, one of the main issue facing Morocco and we could not come up with few good men who can defend the Moroccan theory.
What a shame!

We have 1000s of competent Moroccans scattered all over the world and no one could tap in to their talent, instead we rely on cronyism to do the trick for us.
Good Job M6!
-3 #6 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern AlgeriaFaye 2013-03-07 23:20
Slavery in Algeria! Next you'll be telling us that they sell them to slave makets in London and Boston! Come on. Be serious! Algerians are big time anti-colonial and anti-opression because of their history. They tend to side with the underdog, the opressed. That's why they support the polisario, Mandela, Palestinians, the Jews in the Nazi period, etc., etc. Slavery would never fly there. I've worked in Algeria, and although it is not perfect they are kind and fair and labelling them thus is unfair and wrong.
+2 #7 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern AlgeriaMoroccanGurl 2013-03-08 00:05
I saw the Amanpour's piece. Her interview with the ambassador was ok. Her introduction and her interview with Bardem however was very biased. Watch the video and email her your opinion . And be polite!
Oh Darling!
-5 #8 Much noise about nothingOh Darling! 2013-03-08 01:59
JR you are a fair and respectable person, all respect to you, many thanks for sending the Amanpour interviews and all of the sudden, the MB's excitement to respond and as we put it in French colmater les brêches.

Many thanks also to Faye whose comment couldn't speak better for Algeria.

The Ambassador did his best to defend the Moroccan's colonisation but Amanpour did her job. I am glad that this interview showed the MB'As spirit whenever people on this blog are asked about the referundum, the human rights, colonisation, there is no answer about the question asked but they bring other issues in, this is exactely how you can recognise a thief.
+1 #9 @Oh Darling! and FayMeknessi 2013-03-08 08:07
Of course you had to switch the subject away from the documentary since you had nothing to say about it. This time it is not your bête noire Hassan Massiki or MB behind exposing the Algerian Lies.
For Fay, "Next you'll be telling us that they sell them to slave makets in London" We are not telling you anything. Go complain to the directors-LOL-
Massiki is just the messenger. The propaganda does not work here darling!!
Oh Darling!
-4 #10 To MeknessiOh Darling! 2013-03-08 08:30
Nothing to say about the video, they speak for themselves. Look at comment #2, a moroccan's comment about the videos and you will understand their values.

I find it pitty that MB publish them as they do no justice to the cause - if you can call colonisation a cause - they defend bec et ongles.

I would like to add something about Moroccan official communication, t is amazing how they behave well in front of western media, if I am not censored compare with the following videos

In the first vido the now moroccan communication minister did not want to let AL Jazeera journalist to finish her comments

But the truth is, when you do not have a cause it is difficult to coummunicate well, the Sahrawis have a cause, fighting for their independence.
+4 #11 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern AlgeriaMorcelli 2013-03-08 08:56
If you keep nurturing idiotic agents with a response or a reply, then you are falling for their trap. It's their job to make you lose focus. Be smart folks!
+1 #12 Oh Hatingharas 2013-03-08 10:09
Get out...

Thank you for bringing on our table your questions on "the referundum, the human rights, colonisation", and again, colonization is with a Z...

The problem with the referendum is there, will always be there, the UN had a clear decision on it, no party wants to conciliate...

So that's an issue you'll have to take with the UN, I can get you as many quotes from the UN personal envoy, from Baker to Ross, stating that the referendum is not an option in the current situation...

Human rights? should I remind you that you are an Algerian, BOUDIAF was killed in your country like a dog, and you dare talking to us about Human Rights, 250000 people killed, many of them raped, many killed with knives or executed with a bullet in the head, monks were not spared, and you dare to talk to us about Human rights, allah yan3al li mayhshem...

Colonization? the UN says it's a non self governing territory, so at best it's a disputed territory.... if your country thinks otherwise, why don't you put your army to use and help them? you keep saying that it is like Palestine and Israel, that Palestine is unlucky for not having borders with Algeria, that the brave Algerians would have liberated Palestine if they were in a situation where they could help on the ground.... well it's your chance to liberate Palestine...
+3 #13 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern AlgeriaMorcelli 2013-03-08 14:58
If the Human Rights in the Moroccan Sahara is so close to Javier Bardem's heart, why is he charging from 5-10 dollars to watch the useless film where he put people from the Tunisian revolution in his trailer to make it look as if those people are the Sahraouis. Wouldn't you think that the right thing to do is to put the movie on youtube and let everyone watch it? Or doe he want to make money from the so called Human Right travesty?

This is just another cunning move from a Spanish to get back at Morocco for retrieving the Morocco from under their nose.

And who said that Hassan II was not a genius?
I think Hassan II was born in the wrong era, he should be the foreign minister for his son right now instead of some Othmani, the poor guy does not know where to start.

So far you guys are doing great ignoring the Algerian garbage. This tells me that you people are smarter than the rubbish who wants you to lose focus. Keep up the good work!
+1 #14 RE: PBS To Air Documentary On Slavery In SouthWestern Algeriariifi 2013-03-10 23:36
Maskini let's write a letter of protest and send it to PBS and put some pressure on them.let's do it and stop talking,action is the only way,it is my taxe money that pays their salary if not we will write to Romney and bring back the 800 pounds gorilla,let's create a shock wave in the US. Media.

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