People, ever feel like you’re not quite certain which face is your face these days? Ever think: just this little bit of make-up or enhancement of some description (read: filter) and I feel like I look normal? I’ve definitely got to the stage where I don’t really recognise, or like, my face, without that base layer on. Without my war paint. Without.
Three years ago, I couldn’t run. Following one hour and 46 minutes of continuous exercise in Windsor yesterday, I can call myself a triathlete. The process of learning to run and love exercise and to simultaneously love my body has been a long and a fluctuating one. I thought I’d share some thoughts on that process to support anyone else struggling with either or both sides of body confidence.
*note: my first attempt at a political post, so be gentle in your responses and critiques. I’m learning.*
I think I might know a few people who aren’t sure how to vote in the EU Referendum. And who might choose not to vote as a result. So, this has compelled me to write a few things down, just in case I can be of any use to the people who felt they should never have been tasked with such a difficult and technical decision and all the people who feel confused by the way the debate has played out. I’ll keep it short and sweet and to five key points because there are already some much better and more informed contributions you can read all over the internet. Continue reading For the uncertain voter…
Political events and anniversaries in Western Sahara, Morocco and Europe are a good starting point for explaining important aspects of the Western Sahara cause for those new to understanding it. Though I wrote the below about events in 2014, it could equally be attributed to the 40th anniverary in 2015 and no doubt the 41st later this year.
31 October 2014: Sahrawis remembered the 39th anniversary of the illegal military invasion of Western Sahara by Morocco in 1975. Less than a week later, on 6 November, the King of Morocco marked the 39th anniversary of the Green March, when 300,000 civilian Moroccans marched into Western Sahara, with a speech. He reiterated Morocco’s intention to remain in Western Sahara ‘until the end of time’, labeling any Moroccan who disagreed as a ‘traitor’. With regards to negotiations to resolve the Western Sahara conflict, he explained that the maximum offer Morocco would make was that of autonomy and not independence. Just two months before, the world had watched as the people of Scotland took to the polls to vote on the future of their independence through a referendum; a right which was promised to the Sahrawis in 1991 by the international community and which to this day remains unrealised. Continue reading Western Sahara: understanding the conflict
Not many holidays begin by landing in a military airport. But then again, this trip was going to be something quite different. As hundreds of us, from teenagers to 80 year olds boarded the flight in Madrid headed for Tindouf in the South West corner of Algeria, we began a journey to understand the plight of the refugees of Western Sahara, and a race to raise money for much-needed repairs and projects there. Tindouf airport offered an exercise in waiting as the Algerian Air Force checked our passports. But that pales into insignificance compared to the waiting of the Saharawis who have spent 40 years divided between three lands: Refugee Camps in Algeria; a small strip of their own in the Liberated Territories just north of Mauritania; and the resource-rich Occupied Territories under Moroccan military control where the Saharawis’ freedoms are limited and their Bedouin way of life is threatened. The Occupied Territories fill with Moroccan settlers at an ever increasing pace and the persecution and intimidation of Saharawis is rife.
I’m listening to Aziza Brahim on a Sunday night as I get that dreaded ‘school tomorrow’ feeling that still plagues me so many years after the end of my school career. My homework for this weekend? To put down on paper some memories of my trip to Western Sahara a few months back.
Depicting in thoughtful prose a true sense of a country which had such a profound effect on me? Tough. But here goes nothing: desperately trying to pen something that will do the place the justice it deserves and create a postcard that conjures up a flavour of the country, the people and its political situation… Continue reading Postcard from Western Sahara
You don’t drink? Oh, so you do drugs, right? No!? What do you do for stimulation?
You might be surprised by some of the things people come out with when they hear you took the decision at 18 (after a few years of illegality…sshhh) to not drink alcohol. And how much you’d have to justify that decision to others: particularly in your late teens and early twenties when the peer pressure to drink can often be quite overwhelming. Continue reading First blog: The incoherent ramblings of a tee-totaler