Finally I can resume regular posting. But not here, oh no we all have to go to http://maghrebism.com now! My new domain-name/blog/whatever.
So please, please update your bookmarks and rss-feeds and stuff.
So go here: http://maghrebism.com
(feed is http://feeds.feedburner.com/Maghrebism )
See ya there!
Here I am again.
Sorry for not posting at all the last couple of days. I've been busy with all sorts of stuff, good and bad.
First the good. I have found an appartment, and contrary to what I posted earlier, we actually managed to find one in the central area of London. Shepherds Bush. I have a view on the BBC Television Centre, so it couldnt get any better.
Another "good" thing is that you should keep a close watch on this http:///www.maghrebism.com
I'm not done yet but I'm planning to move this blog for a while now. I'll keep you all updated.
Now the bad news. Today, totally unexpected, my boss told me that my position became redundant. In other words, I have no job, jobless, chomeur. This is my last week and I'm really really pissed. Especially because I have to pay a deposit for the apartment of about 1000 pounds.
I'll manage to find another job though, I always do. And especially now I have an UK-reference (my boss told me he's happy to give me a reference for other jobs) But its just shitty.
I was planning to go on a holiday in June to Amsterdam, but I cancelled that. Its all work, work, work now.
This whole year has been with a lots of ups and downs for me. London is a great city to live in, but the UK is a shitty country to live in.
But I'll keep you updated on when the moving of this blog is completed. (its really difficult:S)
Anyhow, sorry for not posting!
Cheers from Londonistan!
I didn't post for a whole week now and partially all my fault (ok almost entirely all my fault)
Emily (my flatmate-to-be) and me have been viewing apartments this whole week. And we noticed, that it isn't that hard to find affordable apartments in inner-London. London is divided into 6 travel zones. We're aiming for Zone 1 & Zone 2 , north of the river Thames. South of the river are the ghettos (where teen-gangs started a gun and knife-cult) so we don't really want to live there. Zone 1 & 2 are the areas with all the landmarks and our universities.
We just have to accept the fact that we probably going to move in to a very ugly flat and not a Knightsbridge apartment with a view on Harrods.
On top of all this apartment-hunting, I've also encountered humongous money-problems. My employer forgot to pay me! I was supposed to get my pay last Wednesday but I never received it. And the 2 persons responsible for all the paying etc are on a holiday until next Tuesday.
So I didn't get to pay my rent, which resulted in a fine of 12.5% of the total amount. Besides that, my ticket to Amsterdam in June got cancelled because I didn't pay. ( I booked the ticket a while ago and I had to pay this Friday but since I don't have money I couldn't pay)
So its been a pretty hectic week and now I have a hang-over. Yesterday it was Queensday here in London. So I had a lot of Dutch herring, fries with onions, mayonnaise and sate-sauce. And fresh Dutch waffles! Oh and beer, lots of beer.
(pictures of me eating fries, drinking beer, eating cheese and pictures of Dutch in traditional clothes coming up soon hehe)
The real Queensday is tomorrow in Amsterdam. It will be the first time that I wont attend. Usually we hire a boat, buy a barrel or 2 of beer and "sail" through the canals of Amsterdam. And ending the day really drunk in the Vondelpark or at a rave-party somewhere at the docks.
It's the best holiday ever! If you ever visit Amsterdam, come at the end of April. Imagine Amsterdam as 1 big, orange coloured, garage-sale with hundreds of thousands happy people. (I included some pictures at the end of this post)
A little preview (its this x1000)
In the meantime, Eatbees nominated me for a Thinking Award. Thank you!
Now I have to come up with other blogs/persons I want to give the award to.
I won't do that now because I have no time. I have a viewing and a Darfur-rally to attend.
I'll be posting a lot this coming week.
And oeh yeah, you know the changes I talked about in my previous post? Well, I kind of already started but I need my pay first:P
A 100 posts already, that went quick!
It's actually fun. Again I went to thank all the readers and commenters!
And I want to say that there gonna be some changes. When I started this blog, I promised myself a little treat if I reached 100 posts.
Somewhere this week I'm going to change something about this blog.
Anyway, thank you again! And to celebrate I'm going to posts links to one of the best Arab movies ever made!
I found it by accident on Youtube and I was so happy! I stayed up till 5 in the morning just to watch it. I remember that we watched it every Ramadan and it was sooo exciting (although we knew how the story went and finished)
It's an islamic movie about the first days of Islam. And the actors can actually act! Not like those Syrian actors in those Ramadan-series where everybody seems to wear shiny clothes in bright colors decorated with feathers and huge diamonds.
I give you Al-Risala!! (French subtitles)
(ps I didn't know that the movie was shot twice at the same time but with a different cast and language. The English-version is apparently with Anthony Quinn playing the role of Hamza)
People who know me irl, know that I can be very, very lazy.
Now it's time that you know that as well!
I promised to respond to this post at eatbees' blog and to the question in general of why I'm afraid of the PJD coming to power.
I made that promise a long while ago. Sorry!
Anyhow, better late than never. Right?
First of all, I have a firm believe that religion and politics should be separated. That no religion or religious community should gather and form a political party. Hence my allergic reactions when somebody mentions the CDA, CU or SGP or confesses to be a member of it. (CDA, CU and SGP are the Christian parties in the Netherlands. Combined they have 49 parliamentary seats out of 150)
Those parties have an ideology based on the Bible. They strife to implement their ideology and policies on a national level. Thereby, indirectly, enforcing a (moderate) religious lifestyle on the rest of the population.
And I don't digg that. I want abortion, condoms, prostitution, blasphemy, homosexuality, premarital sex, divorce and euthanasia for all.
If you have moral objections to it, fine, but as a mature individual you are perfectly able to follow your religious lifestyle without needing laws to help you with it.
Of course, a religious party isn't per se repressive on all those subjects. The CDA has homosexual MP's, showing that there are gradations in religiosity between religious parties. And not all non-religious parties are in favor of a free lifestyle.
Now, let me get back to the PJD. In my opinion the PJD is a party that is heavily and totally influenced by religion. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The party really tries to give itself a moderate image. Some members even try to compare the party to the Turkish PJD and claim that we shouldn't be afraid.
But are they really that moderate? I don't think so.
Let me give you some examples of some radical, xenophobic, homophobic and fanatic rants of the PJD. And then you can decide if you want to call them "moderate"
- 2000: Abdellilah Benkiran verbally abuses a female journalist who dared to wear a t-shirt with short sleeves in parliament.
- Editor-in-chief Lhassan Sarrat of the Attajdid newspaper, close to the PJD and considered as a mouhtpiece of that same party, sees the Asian tsunami as Gods punishment for homosexuality, sex tourism and child trafficking
- In 2005, MP's of the PJD claim that a music festival held in Marrakech is used as a pretext to convert people to Christianity
- March 2003, the PJD, its mouthpieces and other islamist nutjobs launch a witch-hunt against everyone who wears heavy-metal shirts and listen to heavy metal music. They are considered to be devil-worshippers
- 2006: PJD asks the government to ban the movie Marock because of obscenity (Marock depicts the on-the-ground reality of upperclass Moroccan youth)
- 2003: The PJD wants the government to control foreign cultural centres so that they can not spread "immoral values" (later this statement is changed into: "we want the cultural centres to implement islamic principles".)
- In 2004 PJD hotshot Ahmed Raissouni claims that music festivals are "sites of debauch and homosexuality"
And we can go on and on and on.....
But still, they call themselves moderate. I wonder what moderate means to them? Does it mean to enforce their lifestyle on the rest of the population? Does it mean that everyone who doesn't want to wear a headscarf or wishes to listen to Slipknot is a homosexual, immoral, unislamic, convert and an outlaw free to be prosecuted by them?
PJD prides itself on the fact that it believes in democracy. That it wants to participate in a democracy. Well, we have to applaud that.
But I'm afraid that the PJD doesn't fully understand the concept of democracy and all what comes with it.
Democracy rests on 2 pillars: majority rule and minority rights
Democracy doesn't mean that one can oppress others, simply because they gained a majority or they believe they represent a majority. Democracy doesn't mean that 1 victorious party should enforce its principles on the country's minorities.
No, democracy means that a majority can rule a country but that it has to respect and protect the civil liberties of the different minorities.
The PJD seems to forget that in its campaigning and image-editing.
I fear that once the PJD wins the upcoming elections, they will ignore those parts of democracy that aren't suitable for them (even if they are in a coalition government)
They showed us that they really don't care that much about the civil liberties of others. They showed us that when they weren't "in charge". How will they act when they are "in charge"?
I also fear the reaction of the king and his royal cabinet when the PJD comes to power and starts to implement their ridiculous policies.
The king, who wishes to create an image of Morocco that is liberal/open/tolerant, will surely react in a non-democratic way. Of course, the king's reaction won't be something new. Moroccan kings have always reacted strangely and pushed the "democratic" government to the sideline, to implement their own policies. Couscous-democracy, is what I like to call it.
But until now, this happened with (nominal) secular parties in power.
Surely, the reaction of the king will be different when it comes to having an Islamist party in power?
I only hope that when the PJD wins the elections (and this is likely to happen), the king and other parties will react in a normal, civilized way.
It's not likely that the PJD will govern alone, they have to seek a coalition. I hope that the other major parties will have some sense and guts to confront the PJD when it comes to their "social policies"
An electoral PJD-victory makes the future of Morocco look a bit darker. A bit of courage, opposition and vigilance is all we need to make that future look bright again.
As you might have seen, I added a "button" to my sidebar.
The British media and public are growing very concerned about the abduction of BBC-reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza.
He was one of the few foreign reporters who lived in Gaza.
You can read more about his abduction in one of the BBC's timelines
Its been 6 weeks now
Foreign Policy and Gallup World Poll published a survey about Britishness and
attitudes towards the state among London Muslims and the British public in general.
It turns out that both share a lot of views and agree on most of the current issues about multiculturalism, integration and identity.
You can read and see the data here
The surprising results of the poll shows us that the supposed clash of cultures between Muslims and non-Muslims isn't really that big and that it revolves around minor issues (if you can call the veil-issue a minor issue of course).
The violent, little minority of extremists (the right-wing BNP and self-exploding Muslims) are an exception
Beyond the Veil-poll
You could've guessed it. Fox News created a subtle link between the mass-shooting and Islam.
See for yourself
The ever reliable Fox News tells us that "He apparently had scrawled the words "ISMAIL AX" on the inside of one arm, which may be a reference to the Islamic account of the Biblical sacrifice of Abraham."
More disturbing, funny though scary rants can be found on this wacko-blog and this blog
I just love Fox News. Don't you?
(hat-tip Nadia Gergis at Arabisto )
Morocco and the Maghreb in general are a bit in the spotlights now since the attacks of last week.
Which of course, results in lots of articles in the printed media and on the web.
Some of those articles are good, some are bad. Today I'm going to highlight a bad one.
Not that I'm a nagger, its just that the post on the good ones is going to take a long time.
But anyhow, let's highlight a bad one. The next article is written by Marc S. Ellenbogen, columnist for UPI and chairman of the Global Panel Foundation.
The article can be found here.
The article is about the supposed crucial role of Morocco for Europe and the USA and actually just gives a short resume of Morocco's recent history.
And that's the main problem of this article. Ellenbogen's history of Morocco seems to be a little bit out of touch with reality.
People reading the article will, most likely, come to the conclusion that Morocco is a kind of economic and democratic miracle.
Ellenbogen pays solely attention to the little bit of progress made by the king and government. The (reforms, the FTA (although some will not consider that as progress), the life expectancy (!) and the co-existence of Muslims, Jews and Christians. (I never understood why people include Christianity since Morocco never had a substantial, indigenous Christian community)
So far the progress of the country. But he fails to mention that Morocco isn't really progressing but more or less stagnating.
Democratic reforms are just a façade, the king still overruns and diminishes the power of the government.
Economic progress has still to be proven. Poverty and unemployment are still rampant. Implementing reforms is one thing, seeing those reforms actually wórk is another.
But the most bizarre view he has, is about the upcoming election and the PJD's role. Ellenbogen mentions the 30% of the votes in the past, but he lets the readers know what would happen if the PJD would fall under 20%. That would be a sign that reforms are actually working!
It's a mystery to me, why he even draws the line of 20% and why that line actually shows that the reforms are working. (I see no relation between those two, do you?)
And besides that, why does he even mention a situation where the PJD would loose? The chances are far more bigger that the PJD will gain more votes than in the previous elections. Even with the recent attacks. (the last PJD-victory was achieved after the 2003 attacks in Casablanca)
The whole article is actually one big shenanigan. The man has a distorted view of the reality in Morocco.
The weirdest thing, and maybe also a bit scary, is the fact that this man's organization (The Global Panel Foundation) heads the Morocco Strategic Initiative. An initiative to promote good governance and investment in Morocco.
The lovely Esra'a of Mideast Youth has just posted a very interesting podcast where she interviews Moroccan students from the slightly elitist Al Akhawayn University.
The interview is about the recent terror attacks in Casablanca.
Knowing Esra'a of her other interviews & the podcasts of Mideast Youth I'm sure this will be an interesting listen.
You can download it here or, if you're like me and at work with a stupid boss and a pc with no sound, just visit Mideast Youth for other interesting articles/podcasts/interviews
They're like cockroaches.
2 suicide-bombers have sent themselves to hell today after exploding in the center of Casablanca.
According to the police there were no other casualties.
I have to say that I'm happy that Moroccans are such amateurs in suicide-attacks.
Lets keep them that way.
Update: According to Aljazeera, the bombers blew themselves up to hell close to the American Cultural Center.
OK, the following may make you sick. So don't say I didn't warn you.
Today, on my home from work, I decided to buy Moroccan food from a Moroccan/North African take-away.
I was too lazy to cook and I desperately needed some nice, sweet Moroccan dish.
A friend, who is Iranian, gave me the address and phone-number of a Moroccan cafe/restaurant.
So I went and ordered some food. The menu looked normal, tajine, couscous, roasted chicken with almonds, briouat etc. etc.
There was only 1 dish that I never heard of before and that was traditional Moroccan rice with mushrooms....
And because I'm always adventurous, and like to go where no moron has gone before, I decided to order the rice dish and some chicken-briouat and kefta-briouat.
It was all wrapped up beautifully and I thought it smelled nice. And then I came home and sat down to eat it......
Here is how it looked like:
The briouat were disgusting. I didn't taste the chicken, I did see it but I couldn't taste it. The spices definitely didn't taste Moroccan.
The kefta-briouat (the square ones) were even more disgusting. It was all dry and flavourless.
But still, you could consider the briouats as Moroccan.
But the "rice"-dish! First of all, it wasn't rice! It was risotto! And the mushrooms were like those cheap mushrooms from the supermarket. The only spices used were salt and pepper! Seriously....
A close-up of the "rice"-dish
Do I need to say more? Does it even look Moroccan?
And this is supposed to be prepared by Moroccans.
I did eat it though, I mean I paid for it.
The funny thing is, there is another Moroccan take-away in Camden-market. Owned and managed by Malaysians and their Moroccan food was delicious!
Malaysians are the new Moroccans.
Head over to "The View from Fez" for a superb photo-diary of the Sidi Ali ben Hamdush moussem (festival held in honour of a saint)
The photos show a part of Morocco which you usually don't see in non-moroccan newspapers or holiday-brochures.
I kept on watching and stuyding the pictures during worktime. They're really amazing.
Thank you View from Fez!
Part 1 and Part 2 of the photo-account
Copyright Photo: Suzanna Clarke
And another eruption of violence.
And again, one of the terrorist bastards blew himself up when he figured out that he failed miserably.
Why won't they just combust spontaneously during one of their beard-trimming secret meetings?
No seriously, its getting a bit out of hand. Don't you think as well?
And according to some, it will only get worse as Morocco is slowly becoming fertile ground for sophisticated militant groups.
(which kind of says that the ones we experienced until recently were just amateurs)