Viewers Respond to Life Is Waiting



We have been honored to receive feedback and comments from audience members who have viewed Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara. If you have watched the film, we invite you to send us your thoughts and keep the discussion going! We can be reached by email at

Adnan M., Somaliland — Your documentaries carry great messages of activism and youth engaging in non-violent resistance!

Stephanie R., United States — I was so glad that last night I got to see "Life is Waiting" at the People's Forum in NYC. It's a beautiful film. The people and their culture—the magnificent art, colors, design that are part of everything—are so impressive. I learned a lot since I had known next to nothing about their struggle and what it entails, nor about their history. The film is very informative.

Dave L. — Iara Lee comes through again with a brilliant film focusing on anti-colonial revolution with a strong cultural component: this time, Western Sahara.

Centro de Cine "Preambulo," Costa Rica — Las proyecciones salieron muy bien, el público las disfrutó. La mayoría desconocía de las situaciones tratadas en los documentales, por lo que, además, fue muy beneficioso dar a conocer esas historias.

Tasnim I., United Kingdom — I saw the film and I thought it was fascinating!

Arto V., Sweden — I screened the film twice last year here in Blekinge, Sweden. I love the film. It carries a strong message and it might be that the Moroccan government doesn't like that. I particularly enjoyed the scene with the very young rapper. It really hit my heart to listen to him.

May V., United Kingdom — I just watched your documentary on Western Sahara. I particularly liked the compelling use of audio elements and I learned more about this otherwise unfamiliar conflict that has happened for decades. Looking forward to see more of your works!

Muzamil W., Kashmir — It was such a bold and arresting film. Hats off to you for this wonderful work. I thank you on behalf of all dissent Kashmiri fellow beings for this exemplary work you are doing. KEEP LIVING KEEP RESISTING!

Ruqia J., Kashmir — The screening went well. There was an good discussion on the film: its similarities, dissimilarities, and relevance to the Kashmir freedom movement.

Medea B. — We had a wonderful showing of the film to a packed crowd. We all loved it. The part on the culture of resistance was simply stunning. I looked around the room at various moments and found people glued to the screen with big smiles on their faces. It is a great accomplishment to make a movie that explains how repressed people are and then moves the viewers to see these people as extraordinary, creative resisters, rather than as victims. We had a wonderful Palestinian human rights lawyer who has been to Western Sahara twice, and then a woman showed up who had done her masters degree on Sahrawi women. They led a very lively and informative discussion. Thanks so much for letting us show the film and for the fabulous work you do to raise awareness of the issues and struggles of people around the world.

Beccy A., United Kingdom — Pleased to finally see the film Life Is Waiting at the Sandblast event this evening. Beautiful portrayal of cultural resistance. Proud to be on the panel with Western Sahara Action Forum, Western Sahara Campaign UK, and John Hilary of War on Want.

Constanze E., Germany — I just saw your movie on Western Sahara. Very strong and poetic images!

Maurice C., United States — The film was great. Three key elements of the documentary are:

1. The basic historical overview. This is essential for an issue that very few people know about. A historical primer is necessary for any film on this subject matter. This was done exquisitely in the film.

2. The CoR trademark is, of course, elevating the voices of culture workers (poets, hip hop artists, musicians, etc.). The film was true to form in this area.

3. The pace at which the film moved really helped to keep interest in what many may consider a dense issue. I really appreciated the pace at which a diversity of voices were brought on screen.

I was not able to stay for the Q&A but some of our other team members were able to stay and participate. They had positive feedback, both about the film and the post-film discussion. Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to participate. We would love to participate again.

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival audience, United States — Very enlightening. Film was great. Little-know, good information.

Mido A. — ما الذي يجعَل مخرجَة برازيلية من أصلٍ كوري تتنقلُ إلى الجزائر لتصور فيلما عن لاجئي الصحراء الغربية الذين فرضَ عليهم الاحتلال المغربي النزوح عن أرضهم، ثم تأتي لموريتانيا لتعرض الفيلم بعد أن رفض في دولٍ أخرى (مهرجان بيروت للفيلم مثلا).. ما الذي يجمعُ كل هذه النقاط عدا الخريطة؟ ما الذي يجعلُ رياضيا أجنبيا يسافر إلى تيندوف كي يشاركَ في "ماراثون الصحراء" ليجري عشرات الكيلومترات عبر الكثبان والفيافي ويفرح أخيرا أنه اجتاز خط النهايَة حتى ولو لم يكن فائزا؟ ما الذي يجعلُ شبابا بضحونَ بأرواحهم في "صرخةٍ ضد الجدار"، ويقتربون حد الاجتياز من منطقة محظورة ومتروسة بالألغام، لا لشيء سوى أن يلقوا بالوناتٍ حمراء وخضراء وسوداء في الجانب الآخر من وطنهم المسلوب، ويعودوا منتصرين؟ ما الذي يجعلُ فنانين ومخرجين يجتمعون في"فم غرد" ويجتمع حولهم عشرات اللاجئين يفترشون الأرضَ -حرفيا- ويلتَحفون السماء، في مهرجان ARTIFRITI.. يجلسونَ على الحصى ويتدثرون بالصبر ليشاهدوا أفلاما صنعَت تحت ظلمِ التهجير بإمكانيات أبسط من العدم؟ ما الذي يجعلُ مريم الحسان تحافظُ على نقاء صوتها لعقودٍ، تصدح بألحان يمتزج فيها الفرحُ بالشجن ويختلط بها الألم مع الأمل.. تغني للماضي، للحاضر وللآتي.. ولا تستسلمُ للزمن!؟ وما الذي يجمعُ العميد محمد المصطفى ولد بدر الدين والحر أبوبكر ولد مسعود على مقعدينِ متجاورين بكل تواضعهما بين حشدٍ من الموريتانيين ليشاهدوا فلمَ تلك البرازيلية؟ الجمال، الكرامة، العزة، الحرية والوفاء.. تلكَ هي المفردات التي تربط كل تلكَ النقاط، تلك هي اللوحة التي تشكل أركانَ نجمة خماسية حمراء تتوسط شريطا ابيضٍ من الإباء.. تلكَ بعضُ ملامح القصة: شعب ظلمه الأقربون وباعه الأبعدون ولا زال وسيبقى وفيا لأرضه حتى يحررها أو يموتَ دونها حتي آخر قطرة وآخر طلقة، تلك سطور من قصة الكفاح، وأحرف في ملحمة "الصحراء". [?] لا بديل، بديل.. عن تقرير المصير. والمجد لشعب وأرض #الصحراء_الغربية *ملحوظة: شكرا لآمنة بنت المختار على وفائها لمبادئها ورفضها لغباء الخوف من وهمِ الحساب، وسماحها بعرض الفيلم في مقر رابطتها. *ملحوظة أخرى: هذا المنشور مرتبط بالمنشور الذي قبله مباشرة.. اباش تعود الأمور واضحة.‎"

Elana G., United States — It was a small screening, but the people who came loved the film. Well done, team. We keep on going!

Nicholas R., United States — Today, I had the privilege of meeting the activist and documentary filmmaker Iara Lee at her screening for Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara. Not only has she travelled to some of the planet's most dangerous and beautiful places but she is also a fantastic storyteller with an amazing ability to find the light within the darkest of places. I was truly moved by the resilience and commitment to peaceful resistance that the Sahrawi people have committed themselves to in their battle for self-determination, using music and art instead of bullets in their fight for independence. If you have the chance, go see this movie! I can't wait to see her upcoming film, K2 and the Invisible Footmen. The world needs more people like Iara.

Pranav R., India — These amazing Sahrawi people deserve more international support. They earned my respect as they chose the nonviolent way to resist Moroccan violence. Your film is a slap on the international media, which doesn't want to show the real problems in the world. I cannot believe the UN is not taking responsibility for what they started. They initiated the referendum and now they are not helping it. It is so obvious that people aren't interested because there isn't any fighting. No weapons, blood, or excitement for the world media. It's so, so bad for these beautiful people. I loved their idea of resistance and they really deserve some attention. Hats off to activists who are working to help them. I hope they will get their deserved independence soon. I am wordless about the film and the message it conveys. It just blew my mind. Don't stop making films. It's the best way to educate people. We need more understanding and education to improve our world.

Bettinna J., United States — Keep up the great work and I'll spread the word about the people of Western Sahara. It was very informative and an eye-opener for me.

Alice A., United States — My class really liked the movie. Most of them knew almost nothing about the conflict before going in and were amazed by what is happening in Western Sahara. There was some confusion about the rocket launchers that track people in Polisario controlled territory near the wall. They were very interested in the perceptions of Sahrawi's toward the UN and I know I've had the chants of "La MINURSO para qué? Solo para tomar té!" stuck in my head for days.

Some people were asking whether the feeling that the conflict will go on forever if no action is taken and that violent action is the only answer is a common one among Sahrawi youth. There was a small mention of this in the middle of the film. I was also wondering if the students of the film school in the refugee camps near Tindouf had any input in the film.

Thank you so much for allowing us to see this wonderful documentary!!!

Aditya D., India — The film raised awareness and led to a serious discussion among participants about the meaning of freedom.

Oumaima M., Switzerland — The screening was sponsored by Amnesty International at the African Film Festival in Laussane and the room was full. I was with two young Saharawi filmmakers who had been invited by the film festival. After the film, there was a debate with the public. It was moderated by a member of Amnesty International. The audience members raised some very important points in their questions.

Liga Portuguesa Dos Direitos Humanos, Portugal — Everyone enjoyed the film. In particular, they appreciated the focus on people who use peaceful means, such as music, painting, cinema, and sports, to draw the world's attention to a fight that has been going on for half a century.

Miguel P., Mozambique — The discussion was good. Most of the audience hadn't know about Western Sahara and it brought the discussion to the political situation in Mozambique.

Sophie, Canada — Everyone loved the film. We talked for a good thirty minutes after it finished with the guest speaker, Dr. Samira Farhoud, who is a local "expert" on North African cultures and the author of a book on women's literature from North Africa.

Luciane S., Brazil — The movie is amazing! As a documentary, it informs and educates but also has a captive profile with its plurality of speeches from artists and both young and old people. I was impressed that it helped me to understand the reality in Western Sahara. Congratulations!

Tanya D., Spain — Just by seeing the trailer—and also the trailers for other works of yours—I believe the film really presents human rights violations in a very straightforward, clearl, and sensibly treated manner.

Evtixia B., Switzerland — Thank you, Iara Lee, for making this film about the creative resistance of the Saharawi people.

Fux M., Switzerland — Thank you, Iara Lee, for showing the world real pictures of the people who live in Western Sahara. It is a very interesting topic and a very nice film about the Western Sahara conflicts. I had never heard about this before.

David R. — I just watched this remarkable film. Brilliantly mixes advocacy, indomitable will, and music and visual art. We must try to get this seen everywhere.