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Tragedy in Western Sahara -- A Story of Deprivation, Humiliation, and Indignities

To: National Desk

 

Contact: Tanie Guy of the National Clergy Council, 304-886-5409

 

LANCASTER, Penn., June 21 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Tuesday afternoon, pastors, leaders of the church, and active members of the Lancaster community came together to hear the tragic stories of the Sahrawi people, visiting the area from the Western Sahara and Morocco.

 

Hosted by National Clergy Council and Christian Friendship Mission, the Sahrawi people shared their lives with a roomful of Evangelical Christians during a luncheon at the Lancaster Host. In attendance were Reverend Dr. Harry Thomas and Tim Landis, founder and co-founder of Creation Festival, the nation’s largest Christian music festival, along with the former Ambassador to Morocco, Ed Gabriel.

 

Histories of torture, kidnappings, and the separation of thousands of families were told, exposing the humanitarian crisis that exists in the Western Sahara today. A camp located in southern Algeria, run by the Polisario Front, is where this persecution occurs. Public beatings and young children taken from their families and sent to Cuba for re-education only brush the tip of the indecencies performed on these people.

 

Sadaani Ma Oulainie, a 28-year-old woman who spent thirteen years in Cuba, expressed her despair resulting from the long separation of her family. The Polisario Front “took away all affection and love. They taught us hate.” Along with the revealing of their histories, the Sahrawi people also asked for help. “You know what a family is”, said ex-prisoner-of-war Ali Eljaouhar. “Help us reunite our families and put an end to their plight.”

 

Three specific requests were made to help end the cruelty occurring in the Western Sahara: prayer, education, and an appeal to the Ambassador for Religious Liberty, John Hanford. Sharing such knowledge with other church members, prayer groups, family and friends will encourage the community to appeal to Ambassador Hanford and local Congressman Joe Pitts, emphasizing the importance of ending this suffering that has lasted for more than thirty years.

 

“We have it in our power to act today”, says Reverend Rob Schenck, President of National Clergy Council, encouraging the Lancaster community to get involved in this struggle for freedom and human rights.

 

Two opportunities to hear the plight of the Sahrawi people:

Pontiac, Michigan

Thursday, June 22, 2006, noon

Detroit Pontiac at Centerpoint
3600 Centerpoint Parkway
Pontiac, MI 48341

 

Columbus, Ohio

Friday, June 23, 2006, noon

The Columbus
50 N. Third St.,
Columbus, OH  43215

 

The luncheons are open to the public and the media, but reservations are necessary. To secure up to six complementary seats, call Allyson Black at 202-546-8329, extension 104, send name, address, E-mail, phone and number in party to reservations@nationalclergycouncil.org or online at www.speakforsahrawis.org/registration.