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Morocco

The Moroccan Non-Exception: A Conversation with Ahmed Marzouki, Former Tazmamart Detainee

[An image of the Tazmamart prison. Image from kapitalis]

[The following is the first installment in "The Moroccan Non-Exception" Jadaliyya roundtable. Read the introduction here.] Twenty-five years ago, Morocco seemed to embark on a serious effort to confront past human right violations and uphold the rule of law. King Hassan II made a solemn pledge to turn the page on “the years of lead,” as the period of political repression is called in Morocco, and uplift the country to international human rights standards. In the early 1990’s, the authorities released political prisoners, closed down the notorious Tazmamart secret detention center, and held public hearings on forty years of flagrant right abuses. But the sudden ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (July 22)

[Image of Tamezret, a village in Tunisia. Image by Dennis Jarvis/Flickr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Tuesday night of every week] Algeria  A (Silicon) Valley Grows in Algeria Elizabeth Nicholas interviews several entrepreneurs on the difficulties of startups and the tech industry in Algeria.  Le chanteur de raï algérien Cheb Mami et la société d'édition EMI condamnés à 200.000 euros pour plagiat French courts ordered Algerian singer Cheb Mami to pay author Mr. ...

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Planning Beirut during the French Mandate: The Construction of a Modern City and its Legacy

Marlène Ghorayeb, Beyrouth sous mandat français, construction d’une ville moderne. Paris: Karthala, 2014.   This is a wonderful addition to our knowledge of Beirut’s early days of modern planning, during the transition from Late Ottoman to French Mandate, and later. In the lineage of Jens Hanssen’s Fin de Siècle Beirut, Eric Verdeil’s Beyrouth et ses urbanistes, Carla Eddé’s Naissance d’une capitale, and Robert Saliba’s Beyrouth architectures: Aux sources de la modernité, the book is a must-read for those interested in the key spatial transformations of Beirut during the first part of the twentieth century. It nicely complements and enriches earlier texts by ...

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New Texts Out Now: Hamza Hamouchene and Mika Minio-Paluello, The Coming Revolution in North Africa: The Struggle for Climate Justice

[Cover of

Hamza Hamouchene and Mika Minio-Paluello, editors, The Coming Revolution in North Africa: The Struggle for Climate Justice. Platform (London), Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (North Africa), and Environmental Justice North Africa (EJNA), 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Hamza Hamouchene and Mika Minio-Paluello (HH & MM-P): The idea was both to highlight the violence of climate change in North Africa, and the need for an indigenous response. We wanted to point out that survival relies on structural change, and on facing the challenge of talking about climate justice in Arabic. Climate change is already a reality in North Africa. People are dying ...

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Urban Governance: Field Study in Rabat and Casablanca

[Rabat. Photo by Nicolas Hrycaj]

Fifty-two masters students from Sciences Po Paris’ “Governing the Large Metropolis” (GLM) graduate program visited the metropolitan region of Casablanca-Rabat-Salé in Morocco, from 11 to 17 January 2015. The trip aimed at understanding the metropolitan development of Casablanca, and its links with Rabat. How is this process of metropolization governed, by whom, and with which kind of outcomes? What are the priorities in terms of infrastructural policies? What is not governed? What is the role of flows and networks of individuals between the two cities? What is the balance between competition and cooperation between the two centers? Is the process led only by ...

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Setups and Slander against Morocco's Dissidents: Sex, Drugs, Money, and Videos

[Image of a 2011 protest in Morocco. Image by Imrane Binoual/Wikimedia Commons]

A series of cases have touched resistance leaders and activists who participated or supported the 20 February Movement, from al-Adl wal-Ihsane (AWI) Islamists to members of secular institutions. Sex, financial, or drug scandals: for each activist, a "crime" was deployed to play on a taboo of their ideology in order to discredit and undermine the Moroccan version of the "Arab Spring."  On 17 March, a dozen plainclothes police officers arrested Hicham Mansouri, a journalist and activist with the Moroccan Association of Investigative Journalism (known by its French acronym as AMJI). The door to his apartment was violently smashed. He was beaten on ...

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The Stages of Peaceful Resistance in the Occupied Western Sahara

[Image of a demonstrated in Assa, Western Sahara calling for the release of Sahrawi activists imprisoned by Moroccan authorities]

Introduction In any history of occupation, the forms of resistance the colonized populations adopted have been shaped by, and shape, the modes of occupations. Peaceful resistance in the Western Sahara has been no different; Saharawi methods of nonviolent protest underwent transformations, first during Spanish colonialism and throughout several phases under Moroccan occupation. The Saharawi peoples’ ongoing struggle to secure their independence has faced repressive ways and means, either during the Spanish era or the subsequent Moroccan settler occupation. The aim of this paper is to document the dialectics in stages of non-violent resistance and the precipitating ...

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New Texts Out Now: Andrea Khalil, Gender, Women, and the Arab Spring

[Cover of Andrea Khalil,

Andrea Khalil, editor, Gender, Women, and the Arab Spring. London and New York: Routledge, 2015. [Editors’ Note: This book was originally published as a special issue of The Journal of North African Studies 19.2 (2014). To mark the publication of this special issue as a book, we are reprinting a NEWTON piece written by the editor, Andrea Khalil, in May 2014.] Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this special issue?  Andrea Khalil (AK): During my fieldwork in Tunisia (2011-13) working on a book, I was sensitized to the profound problems that women in Tunisia were facing since the Revolution, and more generally, the urgency to address gender issues and ...

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Reconsidering the Rif Revolt (1958-59)

[Image of a Moroccan Liberation Army march in Nador around 1955. Image from mondeberbere.com]

“The people of the North have previously known the violence of the crown prince; it will be best for them not to know that of the king’s.” It is in this way that Hassan II (1961-1999) addressed himself to the inhabitants of northwest Morocco—and to the rest of the population—in reaction to the riots of 1984. Adopting a scornful and serious tone, the monarch reminded his subjects that he is capable of anything for the sake of conserving power. To refresh their memory, he did not hesitate to make a brief and symbolic allusion to the ferocious repression he carried out against the same regions twenty-five years beforehand. The sovereign's rhetorical choice to refer to the ...

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Rap as Activism in Morocco: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Mouad Belghouate (El-Haqed) and Samia Errazzouki

In this interview, Mouad Belghouate, who also goes by El-Haqed, discusses his work as both a rapper and activist in the Febraury 20th Movement in Morocco. Samia Errazouki asks Mouad to reflect on his time in prison, his relationship with other prisoners, and the growth of the rap industry in Morocco.  Please find the English transcript of the interview below the player, where you can listen to the interview in Arabic. The interview includes four parts that you can click on separately. Mouad Belghouate (El-Haqed) is a Moroccan rapper and activist involved with the February 20th Movement. From Casablanca, Mouad began writing and performing his songs during protests ...

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The Roots of Conflict: From Settler-Colonialism to Military Occupation in the Western Sahara (Part 2)

[Landscape shot of Laayoune from the southwest of the city. Image by author]

[The following article is the second in a two-part series tracing the roots of settler-colonialism and military occupation in the Western Sahara. Read the first part here.]  Morocco’s Shift from Settler-Colonialism to Military Occupation Morocco is dedicated to establishing a permanent and stable political authority in the territories, and is achieving this through military occupation. The occupation today consists of a highly militarized security sector in each city in the Occupied Territories to curb uprisings and civil resistance. In addition to the massive security regime that enforces the occupation and prevents uprisings from gaining traction, the Moroccan ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (December 21)

[Image of a home in Choum, Mauritania. Image by Ammar Hassan/Flickr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week] Algeria   Appel au meurtre contre Kamel Daoud A Salafi imam called for the assassination of Kamel Daoud, an award winning journalist and novelist from Oran, after an appearance on the French channel France 2. Bouteflika continue son tour d’Europe des hopitaux The medical plane for Algeria’s president ...

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The Moroccan Non-Exception: Roundtable Introduction

Since protests shook the region in December 2010, pundits have rushed to make sense of what is happening in Morocco. In the process, a normative framework has emerged under the guise of "Moroccan Exceptionalism," effectively compounding the complexities of the events and processes taking shape. "Impressive though often overlooked, this rare success story from the Arab Spring," describes one report on Morocco, "is occasionally invoked as a possible source of emulation by other ...

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France Decorates a Moroccan Facing Justice on Bastille Day: A Portrait of Abdellatif Hammouchi

Despite objections from human rights organizations in Morocco and France, on 23 June 2015, the National French Assembly adopted a bill that requires judges to refer legal complaints regarding criminal acts committed in Morocco to Moroccan justice. This would also include cases in which French citizens were subjected to acts of torture. The Senate will ratify this decision on 15 July 2015. This ratification comes a little over a year after the French justice system began raising questions about the head ...

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الثورة القادمة إلى شمال أفريقيا: الكفاح من أجل العدالة المناخية

الثورة القادمة إلى شمال أفريقيا: الكفاح من أجل العدالة المناخية حمزة حموشان وميكا مينيو-بالويللو بلاتفورم لندن، مؤسّسة روزا لوكسمبورغ وعدالة بيئيّة شمال أفريقيا. مارس 2015 يمكنكم قراءة الكتاب وتحميله هنا.   1- ماهو غرضكم من تأليف هذا الكتاب؟ هدفنا هو إلقاء الضّوء على عنف تغيّر المناخ في شمال أفريقيا والتّأكيد على الحاجة إلى استجابة محليّة. أردنا الإشارة إلى أنّ بقاء الإنسانيّة على قيد الحياة مرهون بالتغيير الهيكلي وعلى مواجهة تحدّي الحديث عن العدالة المناخيّة بالّلغة العربيّة. تغيّر ...

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Paradigms Lost in Morocco: How Urban Mega-Projects Should Disturb our Understanding of Arab Politics

When you enter Casablanca by train along the coastal track, you can see the new high-rises of Casablanca Marina appear in the distance. Although still under construction, it has already radically transformed the skyline of Casablanca. The Mrina project is situated just in front of the old medina between the harbor and the magnificent Hassan II Mosque. The medina, the traditional part of the city, with its robust stone walls, its narrow streets, and its numerous small shops, will be hidden from now on ...

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تاريخ النشاط السياسي واقتصاده السياسي في المغرب: مقابلة للوضع بين زكية سليم وسامية الرزوقي

تلقي زكية سالم في هذه المقابلة الضوء على الفروق الدقيقة التاريخية للنشاط الاجتماعي النسوي في المغرب. تتضمن المقابلة التالية أربعة أجزاء، بحيث يمكنكم أن تنقروا عليهما بشكل منفصل. بوسعكم أن تقرأوا أيضاً النص العربي المدوّن المرافق. زكية سليم أستاذة مساعدة في علم الاجتماع ودراسات النساء والجندر في جامعة رتغرز حيث تدرِّس الحركات النسوية، الجندر، العولمة، الحركات الاجتماعية، الامساواة العالمية، وما بعد الكولونيالية. تشمل اهتماماتها كباحثة العرق، والامبراطورية والاقتصاد السياسي والحرب على الارهاب، ...

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Those Who Want To Build, Those Who Want To Fight: The World Social Forum with a North African Twist

Holding the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunisia, for the second time, is doubly significant. It is right on target, since Tunisians have toppled a neoliberal dictator. It is also a painful reminder of capitalism’s power, as Tunisian neoliberalism (along with the dictator’s entourage) is still intact. Not only are the main contours of Ben Ali’s policies still in place, his top bureaucrats are in command. Moreover, they have come back through elections. Voters replaced them for a secular liberal-Islamic ...

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The Economy of Mental Health: Inequalities in Access to Care in Morocco

In 2005, Morocco’s Ministry of Health (Ministère de la Santé) carried out its first-ever epidemiological survey of mental illness in the country. As a Bulletin de Santé later reported, the study found that about fifty percent of the population had suffered from at least one minor psychiatric ailment over the course of their lives: … one in two Moroccans presents with at least one significant sign of impaired mental health, regardless of its degree of severity, ranging from a simple nervous tic ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (January 30)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week] Algeria Is a Late ‘Arab Spring’ Knocking on Algeria’s Doors from the Desert? Adam Al-Sabiri considers the implications of the vast protest movement against ...

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‘A Distinctly French Universalism’: Translating Laïcité after Charlie

Mayanthi L. Fernando, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Naomi Davidson. Only Muslim: Embodying Islam in Twentieth-Century France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012. Joan Wallach Scott. The Politics of the Veil. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. It was impossible to avoid the discussion, despite my repeated protests. In Lyon, as in the rest of France, there was nothing else to talk about—especially when I ...

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إشكالية الفرد في المغرب

نسعى في هذا المقال أن نثير إشكالاً يكتسي قلقاً مفاهيمياً ومعرفياً،  من خلال  البعد القيمي الذي ساد مؤخراً عن طبيعة الفرد المغربي وكيفية فهمه لطبيعة وجوده والآفاق التي ينسجها ارتباطاً بهذا المعطى. ليس يسوغ أن نتحدث عن الفرد  بمعزل عن مضمونه التاريخي والفلسفي والحقوقي الذي رسخته التجربة التاريخية للإنسانية برمتها مع استحضار التفاوت الحضاري بين الأمم في هذا المجال، إذ هو في المحصلة النهائية منتوج أسهم فيه النسق الحضاري الخاص وتأثر بسياقات عامة ألزمته بسمات صاغت جانبا من أنماط تفكيره ووجهت ...

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The Roots of Conflict: From Settler-Colonialism to Military Occupation in the Western Sahara (Part 1)

[The following article is the first in a two-part series tracing the roots of settler-colonialism and military occupation in the Western Sahara. Read the second part here.] Upon entering the Occupied Territories of the Western Sahara, I organized a focus group in the private living room of a Sahrawi activist’s home in Laayoune, Western Sahara, where nine activists were brought together. They were each imprisoned for varying periods of time between 1980 and 1991, while the Moroccan state warred with the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Isabelle Werenfels, Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics

Isabelle Werenfels, "Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics." The Journal of North African Studies 19.3 (2014). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Isabelle Werenfels (IW): It is a mélange of reasons. First and foremost, I was struck by how little research has been done by political scientists on the contemporary relationship between Sufi orders, the state, and politics in Algeria and Tunisia. Even in Morocco, this relationship has ...

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