Morocco Dispatch

by Brian T. Edwards
published in MER283

“At first, we saw him and we didn’t think he was good (mezian). But it was none of our business,” the woman says, referring to President Trump.1 She is in her mid-70s. Her husband, a retired civil servant just a couple of years older, sits next to her. I am in the small Moroccan city of Taza, about an hour and a half east of Fez.

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Justice and/or Development

The Rif Protest Movement and the Neoliberal Promise

by Emilio Spadola | published December 24, 2017

What began in late October 2016 with protests over the horrific death of Mohcine Fikri, a fish seller in the northern city of Al Hoceima, escalated in 2017 into a broad social protest movement with participants in all of Morocco’s major cities. The Hirak al-Rif movement, so named for Al Hoceima’s mountainous and coastal Rif province, draws symbolism and strength from the region’s painful history of state violence, deprivation and insult.

Juan Goytisolo

Tangier, Havana and the Treasonous Intellectual

by Hisham Aidi
published in MER282

For the past 25 years, every evening around sunset, an elderly man could be seen gingerly crossing the Boulevard Pasteur, Tangier’s busy main thoroughfare. Shuffling toward the Grand Poste, he would walk slowly down the pavement to Café Maravillosa. Regulars would stand up to shake his hand. “Marhba, Si Juan.” Waiters would greet him, “Ja’izat Nobel dyalna, our own Nobel laureate,” and set him up at a table with a pot of green tea. For the next two hours, a steady rotation of old acquaintances, students and tourists would stop by to chat or take a photo.

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Morocco's Palestinian Politics

by Zakia Salime , Paul Silverstein
published in MER282

You are not in Gaza, this is al-Hoceima!” This title describes a video clip of tear gas in the streets of al-Hoceima, the epicenter of the ongoing protests by the Hirak movement in the mountainous Rif region of northern Morocco. [1] Hirak protesters risk their lives demonstrating against corruption and for civil rights and state investment in the peripheral Berber-speaking region. Protests have been ongoing since the October 28, 2016, death of local fish seller Mohcine Fikri, who was crushed in a garbage compactor while trying to retrieve 500 kilograms of illegally-caught swordfish police had confiscated. Solidarity demonstrations spread across Morocco and the Moroccan diaspora in Europe.

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Refugees or Migrants?

Difficulties of West Africans in Morocco

by Parastou Hassouri | published September 12, 2017

Much of the media attention on global displacement currently focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis and refugees’ attempts to enter Europe through Eastern Mediterranean routes. Certainly, the large scale of displacement that has occurred as a result of the war in Syria (the number of registered refugees has surpassed five million), and the rise in number of asylum applications being made in Europe, merit our attention. However, Syrian refugee flows in the Eastern Mediterranean are only part of a larger picture of forced migration.

The Moroccan Prison in Literature and Architecture

by Susan Slyomovics
published in MER275

In seventeenth-century Morocco, the scholar Abu ‘Ali al-Hasan Ibn Mas‘ud al-Yusi admonished the reigning Sultan Mawlay Isma‘il in writing. His much quoted letter, the “short epistle” or al-risala al-sughra, instructed the ruler to avoid injustice and oppression. Mawlay Isma‘il was second in line as sultan following the establishment in 1664 of the ‘Alawi dynasty, whose descendants Hassan II (1961-1999) and his son Mohammed VI (1999- ) have ruled as kings of Morocco.

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Center-Periphery Relations in Morocco

by David McMurray
published in MER272

In Nador, a regional capital located on the Mediterranean Sea at the eastern end of the Rif Mountains in Morocco, coffee shop talk often turns to the relationship with the capital city, Rabat, a five-hour car ride or a nine-hour train or bus ride to the west. Nadoris are sensitive about their status as residents of an underserved province that they believe the government disdains. But recent, locally driven economic development is also a source of pride for the region.

Hodges, Western Sahara

by Tami Hultman
published in MER127

Tony Hodges, Western Sahara: The Roots of a Desert War (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill & Co., 1983).

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Seddon, The Peasants; Munson, The House of Si Abd Allah

by James Paul
published in MER127

David Seddon, The Peasants: A Century of Change in the Eastern Rif, 1870-1970 (Folkestone: Wm. Dawson & Sons, 1981).

Henry Munson, Jr., The House of Si Abd Allah: The Oral History of a Moroccan Family (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984).

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Trade Unions and Moroccan Politics

by Jean-Francois Clement , James Paul
published in MER127

Morocco is unusual in the Middle East for its extensive civil society -- social institutions which are relatively independent of control by the state apparatus. A complex relationship exists between the absolute and repressive monarchy of King Hassan II on the one hand and the powerful opposition institutions on the other. Among these institutions are the press and the political parties, but over the years the most impressive and most notable have been Morocco’s trade unions.

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