The people living in the Moroccan village of Imider may be living alongside the biggest silver mine in Africa, but they aren’t reaping any benefits from it. In reality, the factory’s proximity makes their lives even more precarious. The mining activities have led to water scarcity, so while the silver producer is filling its pockets, the village is being literally sucked dry—at least it was until 2011, when local people sabotaged a pipeline to save their plantations.
Several years later, a protest camp has been established around the pipeline, as the villagers continue to suffer at the hands of industry and the local authorities. Violence and arrests are par for the course, but director Nadir Bouhmouch concentrates on the atmosphere of quiet resolve at the protest camp, where major concerns about the future are part of everyday life. “We don’t even know if we exist in the eyes of the government,” remarks an elderly man.
Nowadays, music and theater are used in new and more peaceful forms of protest. While it doesn’t look like the anonymous forces are going to yield anytime soon, this resilient community isn’t planning to back down, either.