Mehdy Mariouch | Shreds of Life
Country of origin: Morocco
Project location: Morocco
Program: Arab Documentary Photography Program
Built in the 1927 by French colonists, the coal mine of Hassi B’lal in Jerada, Morocco, was once the largest and best in North Africa. For economic reasons, the mine of Hassi B’lal was closed in 2001. The company offered severance packages to 7,000 workers, but it was not enough for them to survive. The workers continued working at their mines illegally and in inhumane living conditions, deciding to stay and risk their lives rather than abandon their homeland. They live with an incredible amount of dignity and pride. The challenging conditions of illegal workers is widespread throughout the mines of eastern Morocco, many of which have similar colonial histories.