Last night in Australia, the self described Australian Documentary Forum, ‘Ozdox’ screened a film titled ‘Robbed of Truth’ made by Carlos Gonzalez at the AFTRS theatre in Sydney.
‘Robbed of Truth’, sets about to prove we fabricated a story of slavery in the Sahara. That we lied, bribed and cheated people to talk about slavery in STOLEN. Gonzalez also asserts that we were paid by and work for the Moroccan government. These are extremely serious allegations and not something we can ignore.
If Gonzalez’ intentions are purely as he says, to uncover the truth, why did he completely ignore the Human Rights Watch report published in 2008 that states slavery still affects the lives of the black people in the refugee camps? By matter of fact, Carlos Gonzales was introduced to us in 2007 by Kamal Fadel the Australian representative for the Polisario.
The use of libellous criticism in Robbed of Truth is confusing in a film that purports to specifically address ethics in documentary filmmaking.
Robbed of Truth is transparent in its disguise as a documentary film, made purely to discredit STOLEN and us as its makers. The unfortunate aspect of this situation is that it sets the plight of the black Saharawis back a long way. That some of the people who appeared in STOLEN have come out to say they lied to us about slavery is unfortunate and only shows the level of political control exerted over the black Saharawis.
The Polisario are doing exactly what other regimes in North Africa have done when confronted with the issue of slavery, they deny it, and do everything they can to prove it’s false. But why? Who has more to lose if slavery is taken as a fact of life in the Tindouf refugee camps and Western Sahara? The Polisario are fighting for their reputation, of a liberation movement fighting for the rights of it’s people.
Today there are more people who know about slavery in the Western Sahara, because of STOLEN. We are proud of this and have no doubt that one day the black people in the Sahara living under the pressure of slavery will be free to decide their own destiny, one day their struggle will be recognised.
Robbed of Truth is “an orchestrated hatchet job… to further and finally discredit Ayala and Fallshaw and their film” describes Bob Connolly in an open letter to the Australian Directors Guild. Read his entire letter regarding Robbed of Truth here.
Daniel Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala
Directors and producers of STOLEN.