26 miles. Or 46 kilometers. Running the marathon (or half of it) is a challenge on its own. Strict training and diet but, more importantly, determination. Giving these doubtful incentives I attempt to get you on board of this experience… But what if rather than to London, Madrid or Manhattan, you follow me on my way to the Saharan desert instead? I’ll show you places where I train: their traditions, special features, people…
It’s relatively easy to ask for people’s attention and contribution. Especially when this only entails posting something on the social networks or sharing a link to the internet. It wouldn’t make much sense then, asking for your support without giving anything in return. So acting, rather than speaking, I’ll try to demonstrate that Mark Twain saying was right. It only requires sacrifice to rise awareness of the situation lived by a refugee population and/or to provide economic support to a project aiming at preserving the cultural identity of this community. Because refugees are the nobodies from Eduardo Galeano:
Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.
Who don’t create art, but handcrafts.
Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
They simply don’t have a homeland. Not even passports. They only have the desert.
What would have happened to the English culture if The Clash didn’t ever exist? Or to the Spanish tradition if Paco de Lucía didn’t have the chance to play a guitar? Or to the Jamaican if Bob Marley didn’t have access to a recording studio? Or to the Nigerian if Fela Kutti didn’t have the opportunity to form a band? Culture must be supported for people and communities not to disappear, but to flourish instead. Cultural rights preserve people’s heritage while fostering their development.
Both the protracted occupation in Western Sahara, as a result of a political issue, and the situation of the majority of the Saharawi population surviving in the desert via international aid put this community at risk and endangers its rich cultural traditions. Given that Saharawi cultural heritage is orally transmitted, Sandblast‘s project aims to develop a music industry in the refugee camps through the donation of instruments and music equipment as well as delivering sound engineering workshops. Studio-Live project also envisages building bridges between the Saharawi population from the refugee camps and the rest of the population living under Moroccan occupation as well as the Saharawi community in the Diaspora (Spain). These bridges will prevent Saharawi culture from disappearing. It protects Saharawi rights and their ultimate existence.
How many times has anyone wanted to support economically a project but hasn’t done it because of concerns with the use of this funds? And how many times has anybody had the certainty that these funds were going to be used appropriately because there was someone reliable working for this organisation? Well, this is the case! I ensure all the money goes directly to the project.
£100 would enable Sandblast to to pay a refugee family to host a workshop leader for one week, while £500 allows Studio-Live project to buy four acoustic guitars for the music resource library or five professional microphones. And £1000 covers the fees for a workshop leader for two weeks in the refugee camps. Every single pound makes the difference. And donating with JustGiving is easy, safe and confidential.
And while donating or letting people know about the project, I’ll show you places where I train. London, Madrid, Granada or Linares. But these won’t be spots or stories that may be found on touristic guides. And I encourage you to suggest different places where I can run and find stories. It’s all about exploring the unknown. Running the desert. Naming the unnamed:
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.