The Clouds Seeking People
About This Site
"Self-government is our right, a thing born in us at birth, a thing no more to be doled out to us or withheld from us by another people than the right to life itself - the right to feel the sun or smell the flowers, or love our kind." Roger Casement
In the old days the Sahrawis, the inhabitants of Western Sahara, were free and proud nomads. They always had to find out where rain clouds were gathering. It was necessary for them to know where it was rainy so that they could graze their camels. Therefore they were called “Children of Clouds” or “the Clouds Seeking People”.
Now they have been compelled to live in refugee camps already more than thirty years, because their homeland, Western Sahara, has been occupied by Morocco.
Several images of their refugee camps are shown here.
You can get more information in many other websites. Please see “For more information”.
The Sahrawi People
In course of the Middle Ages the Berber inhabitants of the Sahara and the Arab immigrants from the Orient gradually mixed together. This was the origin of the Sahrawi People. Later their homeland, Western Sahara, became the Spanish colony and just on the eve of their independence in 1975, after the withdrawal of the Spanish, the land was occupied by Morocco.
The Sahrawis Refugee Camps
After the Moroccan invasion the Sahrawis became refugees in their own land, but were bombarded with napalms by the Moroccan planes and compelled to flee further in the Tindouf region in Algeria. Ever since the Sahrawis have been making utmost efforts to improve their living conditions, but the everyday life in the desert is still extremely hard. There are kindergartens, schools, hospitals and vegetable gardens in the camps.
Location of the refugee camps
Tindouf is the westernmost province of Algeria. In the Sahara Desert of this province there are four large refugee camps (wilayas) named after the principal cities of the occupied zone: El Ayoun, Smara, Dahla and Aousserd. There are also additional camps, each of them with a boarding school.
Administration of the refugee camps
The Sahrawis founded their organization for independence in 1973. It was called then Polisario Front (Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia el Hamra y Rio de Oro), and in 1976 the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was born. In Rabouni, the Administration Camp, there are the government in exile and several ministries. Therefore, the refugee camps have been administrated by the government in exile. In each camp there is an administration centre with a mayor at the head. In each camp there are several wards with an administrating organization.
For more information
ARSO: the most comprehensive polyglot website (English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish) with a long list of many websites and blogs in many countries
Sahara Press Service: Update News (Spanish, English, French, Arabic)
AFAPREDESA: Site of the Association of the Families of Saharawi Prisoners and the Disappeared (Arabic, Spanish, English, French)
Western Sahara Campaign UK
War on Want – Western Sahara Page (UK)
Sandblast – Voices and Visions from Western Sahara: Site of a London-based charity about Western Sahara and its Culture
Western Sahara Online (USA)
Western Sahara Page of Congressman Joe Pitts (USA)
Homeland International (USA)
Western Sahara Resource Watch (Norway)
Research Center for Western Sahara Affair (only Japanese)
by Keiko Shingo (Japanese)
by Toby Shelly