A History of the Western Sahara Conflict: The Paper Desert
The conflict in Western Sahara has endured for nearly half a century, yet remains little known on the world stage. Drawing on multiple sources, this book presents an expansive history of both the conflict and the region, encompassing the history of the early Moroccan empires, the successive migrations of Arab nomads across the Sahara, the age of European exploration and colonialism, and the postcolonial period, when the conflict erupted out of a complex set of forces that include longstanding regional tensions, North Africa’s colonial legacy, the instability of post-independence Morocco, and diplomatic intrigues on the part of Western powers during the Cold War period. While it does not address the history of the conflict following the UN-mandated ceasefire of 1991, the book provides an overview for readers interested in both the conflict itself and the history of African nationalism in the post-war period.
Michael Baers is a Berlin-based writer and artist known for his essays, research-based comics, drawings, and sound projects. His 2014 graphic work An Oral History of Picasso in Palestine—commissioned by Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt and featured at the Third Berlin Documentary Forum in 2014—presents an exhaustive study of the eponymous 2011 project and has since become a reference for researchers on art and culture in the context of the Israel/Palestine conflict. His article on “Picasso in Palestine” is included in the reader Curating Art (2022). Baers has contributed to numerous books, journals, and publication projects on a variety of topics, and has exhibited his artistic work in many institutions, including the Van Abbemuseum, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and MAK Frankfurt am Main.
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