March 25, 2024

My first image of the Western Sahara dates back to the early 1980s, when I was only a child. I was watching TV, the news, and I remember the presenter saying something about a war in a former Spanish territory, which looked very different from the exuberantly green and perpetually wet northern Iberian valleys of my childhood. But what really captured my attention were the images of guerrilla fighters with yellowish turbans, waving their Kalashnikovs and departing defiantly for the battlefield, crowded in the back of old open Land Rovers. I also recall Land Rovers reconverted into sorts of artisan assault vehicles, with machine guns fixed to their tops. Those images were, at least as I evoke them now, whitish and blurred, probably because of the collusion of the sirocco of those distant wide white lands of the greatest desert on earth and the black-and-white TV of my sitting room.

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