Sunday, 21 February 2010

Mother of the Family

Still no sign of my bag. I was hoping it would have appeared at night, while I was sleeping. Or early in the morning. It's not clear if my bag even made it out of Algiers. I have no way of knowing...There are mixed messages from everyone - no one seems to have a clear answer. We're going to run out of batteries soon, the charger is in my bag. We've been running up to every other camera crew we see, asking if they have a charger. But "industry standard" seems to mean nothing here. No one else has the same camera.

We are interviewed by Mohammad Salah from SADR TV. He asks what my goal is here, and I say that I don't have a role in finding justice for the Sahrawi people. I'm only a filmmaker. But maybe I can have a role in bringing the message to the UK, where it's virtually unknown. Tell a story, that's what I can do. This is the last colony in Africa, and yet even politicians and parliamentarians don't know about it. Even NGO workers don't know about it. Even human rights defenders don't know about it. Sorry, Sahrawis. Your history is unknown, your cause is a mystery to most people. The name "Western Sahara" means nothing to them except a compass point. This is one of the greatest crimes against you. I wish it wasn't that way. But I'm only a filmmaker. So I tell this story, that can be my role.

Mohammad asks the others (in English) what they think of the future - the future for the Sahrawis. I can't remember what they answered.

Why is it important to win?
Ask Salah: "why is it important to win?"

At one point, Salah says something to his Algerian friends, other runners, about the camera. I can't hear his exact words. That he can't focus when the camera is around? He apologises a few times to his friends. Apologises for the camera? It has influence, the camera. Whoever says they are a fly on the wall, they are invisible, they are merely observing, is deluded. The film is a record of the relationship between you, the subject, and the camera.

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