My name is Benjamin Ladraa and together with my team at Solidarity Rising we are launching a project called Bike4WesternSahara. On April 5th we will start bicycling from northern Japan all the way through 30 countries to Western Sahara. Our focus is to raise awareness about the occupation and human rights violations in Western Sahara and we will do this by organizing events, lectures and speaking to media along the way. We are inviting everyone to join us.
Bike4WesternSahara is a journey from Japan to Western Sahara on bicycles in order to raise awareness about the occupation and human rights violations in occupied Western Sahara. We will bike with the Western Saharan flag 40.000km through 30 countries, a distance which is the entire circumference of the earth. All along the way we will be organizing, engaging and raising awareness about the plight of the Sahrawi people and their suffering in the refugee camps and under Moroccan occupation.
WESTERN SAHARA: Occupation and Refugee Camps
In the fall of 2019 Benjamin and Leila managed to enter Laayoune, the capital of occupied Western Sahara, and by evading the heavy surveillance placed on all foreigners, they conducted several interviews with survivors of torture, ex-political prisoners, media activists and ordinary people living under the occupation. Why was this a difficult task? The occupied areas of Western Sahara are under a media blockade by Moroccan authorities and no journalists are allowed to enter and report from the territory. Sahrawi journalists who try to report their situation are often beaten, arrested and imprisoned.
Following this visit, they travelled to southern Algeria to spend a few weeks in the Sahrawi refugee camps to engage further, speaking with many activists, meeting with organizations, and living the day to day life. They were humbled by the generosity of the Sahrawi people, and witnessed many of the hardships they face as a population of refugees living in the Sahara desert.
We intend to share these stories on our social media throughout our journey, as well as with all those we meet during Bike4WesternSahara. This includes organizing media interviews, lectures, and demonstrations on route.
We need your help!
We activists are dropping everything to devote our time and energy to show up for this cause and therefore we need the help of our supporters, friends, and family to make Bike4WesternSahara possible. The funds raised will support our small group of activists making the journey with needs such as:
- equipment - bikes, tents, camping gear etc
- sustainability - Food, shelter, repairs on the bikes
Our impact can be measured in how many people we reach with this journey. If you want to help more, here are some ways!
- engage with and share our social media @ solidarityrising #bike4westernsahara
- give us contacts in the countries we are biking through
- come and bike with us! (email [email protected] for more info)
Together we can change the world.