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Samia Errazzouki

Sahrawi Realities: The Remembrance of Gdeim Izik (Part 2)

[The eviction of Gdeim Izik. Image by mexaraui/Flickr.]

[This is the second article in a two-part series that seeks to reflect on the ways in which social mobilization, creation of space, and new modes of resistance intersect within the Sahrawi community. Between these grooves are nuanced conceptions of Sahrawi identity that are colored by varied experiences but also a shared memory of external domination and displacement. The series is informed by research conducted during a weeklong stay in the Dakhla refugee camp, located ...

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Sahrawi Realities: Space, Architecture, and Mobility of Displacement (Part 1)

[View of the Sand Berm built by Morocco that separates between territory the Moroccan government controls and the territory the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) controls. Image by author.]

[This is the first of a series of articles that seek to reflect on the ways in which social mobilization, creation of space, and new modes of resistance intersect within the Sahrawi community. Between these grooves are nuanced conceptions of Sahrawi identity that are colored by varied experiences but a shared memory of external domination and displacement. The series is informed by research conducted during a weeklong stay in the Dakhla refugee camp, located about one ...

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New Texts Out Now: Samia Errazzouki, Working-Class Women Revolt: Gendered Political Economy in Morocco

[Cover of

Samia Errazzouki, “Working-Class Women Revolt: Gendered Political Economy in Morocco.” The Journal of North African Studies Volume 19, Issue 2 [Special Issue on Women, Gender, and the Arab Spring, edited by Andrea Khalil], March 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Samia Errazzouki (SE): I was in Morocco when Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire and many in Morocco, at the time, were anticipating what would follow suit. Not too long after ...

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Mediums of Outrage: Curzio’s Political Cartoons on Morocco

[Political cartoon from Curzio's page, posted with permission.]

There is a widely held perception that the Moroccan king Mohammed VI is beyond the reach of criticism. That view was quickly shattered in light of the “Daniel Gate” scandal following the king’s pardon of a convicted Spanish pedophile, Daniel Galván Viña, in the midst of serving a thirty-year prison sentence for sexually abusing eleven children. The initial response on social media spread rapidly through the use of the #DanielGate hashtag, which remains active to an ...

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Out with the Old and In with the Old: Morocco’s New Cabinet

[Image of Morocco's newly appointed government. Image from Lakome.]

These past few months have been a particularly turbulent period for Morocco’s Party of Justice and Development-led coalition government. While King Mohammed VI was on an extended vacation in France during May and June 2013, the conservative nationalist Istiqlal Party announced it was withdrawing from the coalition. Hamid Chabat, Istiqlal’s recently elected leader, cited the “slow pace” of reforms as a point that drove him and his party to decide on the departure from the ...

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Complicity and Indifference: Racism in Morocco

[A sign hanging in a Casablanca apartment building that reads,

“It is strictly forbidden to rent apartments to Africans,” read a sign in a Casablanca apartment building. France 24’s citizen media section, “Les Observateurs,” initially picked up the story of the signs in the apartment building. They were then later reported on independent Moroccan media. The report accompanying images of the sign gives an account of a student from Cote d’Ivoire who experienced a forced eviction from her apartment building in 2012. Detailing her ...

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Dissecting 'Opposing' Views: Morocco Reacts to Events in Egypt


As the situation continues to unfold in Egypt, the war of words among pundits on what to describe the ongoing events has made its way to the palace and parliament halls in Morocco. With countering press releases from the palace and the Party of Justice and Development (PJD)-led coalition government, the differing views toward the events in Egypt may appear to illustrate two equal opposing forces within the Moroccan regime. While the king's message to interim president, Adly ...

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Erdogan in Morocco: The Politics of Reception

[Morocco's Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, right, and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan review the honor guard during a welcome ceremony at Rabat airport, Morocco, Monday, 3 June 2013. Erdogan was in Morocco for a two-day visit. As riot police used tear gas against protesters for a fourth straight day in Istanbul, Turkey's president and prime minister displayed wide differences Monday in their responses to those taking to the streets. One death was reported. Image from Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP Photo.]

A widely mediatized and well-timed state visit can double up both as a political opportunity and as a convenient distraction. Such was the case, or as it seems, for Erdogan’s tour in the Maghreb, starting with a first stop in Morocco, followed by Algeria, and ending with Tunisia. Despite attempts at public relations spinning, the violent repression of protests in Turkey has overshadowed international media coverage of Erdogan’s state visits. In Morocco, however, domestic ...

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Lost in the Debate: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[Image of Sahrawi women protesting against Moroccan policies in the Western Sahara. Image from Saharauiak/Flickr.]

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] Following the French military intervention in Mali earlier this year in January, and the hostage crisis in Algeria that soon followed, major ...

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The Facade of Political Crises in Morocco

[King Mohammed VI receives the Istiqlal Party's leader, Hamid Chabat, following his election as the head of the party. Image from Lakome.]

This weekend, the conservative nationalist Istiqlal Party announced it will be withdrawing from the government coalition, led by the Party of Justice and Development (PJD), and will take its place in parliament's opposition. Its reason, according to the party's press release, was to "avoid being complicit in the scheme against the Moroccan people." Additionally, the party will maintain its cabinet positions until further notice, and the party has written ...

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Morocco's 20 February Movement: Two Years Later

[Members of the 20 February Movement gather in front of the Parliament building in Rabat to commemorate the second year anniversary of the movement's beginning. Image taken by author.]

Two major protests were planned within the period between 20 and 24 February. On 20 February 2013, members of the 20 February Movement planned to commemorate their two year anniversary with a march in front of the Parliament building in Rabat. Unaffiliated with the movement and less than a block away in front of the Rabat Ville train station was a separate protest that a group of unemployed college graduates organized. Despite the similarity in chants, riot police had a ...

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Positioning Gender Fluidity in Francophone Maghrebi Literature

[A screenshot from Tahar Ben Jelloun's film, La nuit sacrée. Image from Universcine.]

The journey of self-discovery is a recurring theme in Francophone Maghrebi literature and film. Authors and directors place characters in a struggle against forces in both French and Maghrebi society, evoking various themes through which characters define themselves. While these characters embark on different paths in terms of their search for self-discovery, they prove that identities are not rigid. A multitude of factors contribute to the formation of these identities, ...

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Raped, Without Justice, and Without Hope

[Nasma Naqash cracks a faint smile during her video testimony with Febrayer. Image taken from screenshot of Youtube video.]

Last year, Moroccan civil society was highly mobilized around the case of Amina Filali—the young Moroccan girl who committed suicide after having been forced to marry her rapist. Ten months later, article 475—the article that absolves a rapist of his crimes if he marries his victim—remains in place, despite the fact that calls for its removal were a central part of the mobilizations. Today, the tragic story of another Moroccan girl—who in 2010 was raped by a stranger during ...

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Behind the Bahraini Revolution: An Interview with Maryam Al-Khawaja

[Protesters in Bahrain stand on the ground they were evicted from just three days before. Image from Flickr.]

[The following is an interview conducted with Maryam Al-Khawaja, the acting president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the deputy director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights. She is currently in self-imposed exile in Denmark due to safety and security reasons, but remains closely connected to events on the ground in Bahrain. She posts regular updates on her Twitter, @MARYAMALKHAWAJA.]  Samia Errazzouki (SE): Can you give us a general overview of the current ...

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From Opposition to Puppet: Morocco’s Party of Justice and Development

[PJD party leaders celebrate their win in Morocco's legislative elections. Image by Magharebia/Flickr.]

A protest repressed, a journalist beaten, an artist detained, a newspaper censored, and an activist tortured. Sixteen months after what was hailed as a “landmark” constitutional referendum, and exactly one year after a new government was elected, like a broken record, headlines from Morocco continue to repeat themselves. When the announcement for the 25 November 2011 parliamentary elections was made, the February 20th Movement and its supporters quickly agreed to ...

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Chomsky on the Western Sahara and the “Arab Spring”

[An image of the aftermath of the October 2010 protests in Gdeim Izik. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

One of the most significant consequences of the term “Arab Spring” has been the evocation of a constructed timeline that placed the protests in the North Africa and the Middle East within a limited spectrum of time and space. The desire to enforce problematic nominal labels produces a narrative that shapes the way certain events are understood and discussed. The result is the acceptance of what is or is not considered legitimate dissent and the denial or reduction of ...

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The Tunisian Revolution Continues: An Interview with Lina Ben Mhenni

[Lina Ben Mhenni accepting the

[On Tuesday, 9 October, Tunisian blogger and activist, Lina Ben Mhenni, was awarded the "Prix alsacien de l'engagement démocratique" for her activities and involvement during the Tunisian Revolution. She blogs at A Tunisian Girl and also contributes to Global Voices.] Samia Errazzouki (SE): Regarding the drafting of the new constitution, as a Tunisian woman, how do you respond to the proposed article 28 that defines women as complements of men? Lina Ben ...

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Yes, Morocco is a Regional Model

[Goats on an Argan tree near Taroudannt, Morocco. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

Every month or so, mainstream commentators and analysts make the bold decision to publish an article on Morocco. The obscure nature of Morocco’s experience of the regional uprising has made it a difficult case to grasp for some. Unlike its neighbors, Morocco has slipped through the “Arab Spring” formula of popular protest movement > violence > dictator overthrown. To avoid steering away from binaries and into the sea of nuances, it is important to stick to basic ...

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Dissent in Morocco: Not All for One

[Young unemployed university graduates, some with their mouths taped over, carrying out a silent march through the ancient city walls of the Moroccan capital Rabat on April 26, 2012 with images of an unemployed man who set himself on fire to protest the lack of jobs. Image by Paul Schemm/AP Photo.]

When Tunisia and Libya began exhibiting what appeared to be the early stages of a popular uprising, some analysts and commentators turned to Morocco, the only remaining kingdom in North Africa, and tried to make sense of what Morocco is (or is not) experiencing: “Morocco is a regional model.” “Morocco is not like [insert your choice of country].” “This king is not like his father.” “Moroccans are not ready for democracy.” “Morocco is the most democratic country in the ...

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Personal Posts


Samia Errazzouki


Samia Errazzouki is a freelance writer, researcher, and an M.A. candidate at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. She is also a co-editor of Jadaliyya's Maghreb Page.

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