‘For Independence and Peace - FPolisario [Frente Polisario]’, Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America, Havana, Cuba, 1979. The Polisario are the main national liberation organization fighting for Western Sahara’s independence from Morocco.
Sahrawis in Western Sahara. The Sahrawi people (الصحراويون, Iseḥrawiyen, Ṣeḥrawa) are a people living in the western part of the Sahara, which includes Western Sahara (claimed by the Polisario and mostly controlled by Morocco), other parts of southern Morocco, most of Mauritania, and the extreme southwest of Algeria. As with most Saharan peoples living in the Great African Desert, Sahrawi culture is a mix of different influences in the area. It shows mainly Berber-Tuareg characteristics, like the privileged position of women, along with Bedouin Arab and black African characteristics. Sahrawis are composed of many tribes and are largely speakers of the Hassaniya dialect of Arabic, some speak Berber dialects in both of Morocco’s disputed and non-disputed territories.
Western Sahara on the west coast of Africa is regarded as the only
country still colonised on the continent. Morocco claims that the region is
part of the territory, but as of 2006, no other UN member states recognise
Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
A soldier of the Polisario Front holds her child and a rifle during training in the Western Sahara, December 1978. The Polisario are a Sahrawi liberation movement who fought against Moroccan control of the Western Sahara from the 1970s to early 1990s. Female soldiers were key to defending the the Tindouf refugee camps during the conflict and today the women’s wing of the Polisario contains around 10,000 members.