Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara


Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara is currently screening at film festivals around the world. For more information about upcoming and past screenings, click here.

Most people think that colonialism in Africa has ended. But in the territory of Western Sahara, the end of European rule only gave way to a new occupation, this time by Morocco. More than four decades later, the world continues to look the other way as the Sahrawi people face arrests, torture, and disappearances for demanding their independence.

Life Is Waiting, a film by director Iara Lee, chronicles this struggle. What will it take for the people of Western Sahara to reverse decades of broken promises and gain their freedom? What lessons does Sahrawi resistance offer for nonviolent movements around the world? In Life Is Waiting, join an incredible cast of Sahrawi activists and artists as they offer their answers.


The film is also available on Vimeo.


The trailer is also available on Vimeo.

Directed and Produced by Iara Lee
Edited by Martin Eller


LIFE IS WAITING: referendum and resistance in Western Sahara — directed by iara lee (Cultures of Resistance Films)

More than four decades after its people were promised freedom by departing Spanish rulers, the Western Sahara remains Africa’s last colony. While a UN-brokered ceasefire put an end to armed hostilities in the territory in 1991, the Sahrawi people have continued to live under the Moroccan armed forces' oppressive occupation, and what peace exists in the area is fragile at best. Tens of thousands of Sahrawis have fled to neighboring Algeria, where over 125,000 refugees still live in camps that were intended to be temporary. In spite of these difficulties, a new movement, with youth at its center, is rising to challenge human rights abuses and to demand the long-promised referendum on freedom. Today’s young generation is deploying creative nonviolent resistance for the cause of self-determination. In doing so, they've had to persevere against a torrent of conflicting forces. While risking torture and disappearance at the hands of Moroccan authorities, they're also pushing back against those who have lost patience with the international community and are ready to launch another guerrilla war.

This film from director Iara Lee will examine these tensions as it chronicles the everyday violence of life under occupation, giving voice to the aspirations of a desert people for whom colonialism has never ended. 

Life Is Waiting is now screening internationally. Find a screening near you or email us at info [at] culturesofresistance [dot] org to organize one. But don't stop there: use the resources on this site to learn more, spread the word, and break the silence around this conflict.

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