28 February 2007

Vieux farka Toure

Tel pere tel fils... 'ou pas. (Like father like son ... Or not)
A few Hours ago Vieux Farka Toure offered a great concert where he shared his last musical purls with an audience of music lovers.

Vieux is the, son of the Ali Farka Toure had stayed in the shade (hidden- ) for many years as his father forbid him from singing or playing music. He learned music in total secracy. then played a unique style.
"il ya personne qui jou comme lui" said a M , a music film maker from Mali.
"il joux mieux que son pere" said Sirey from Mali. Vieux sang for peace, love, children and the Desert. He created "mesmerizing tones" of a long ancestral heritage. He mastered the guitar in a really short time.
"Your father will be proud of you" said one of the audience as Vieux autographed a CD. All the way through the concert, Vieux stayed calm and humble. his room management skills were beyond dicrption.... He speaks the music he plays.
this is a short video i took for "YOU" enjoy.

(sorry about the quality of video. not right device for a good Video)

26 February 2007

Anger and politics:

Politics and anger were neighbors for a long time. there are a lots of scenes where politicians become physical about their debates.:Throughing chairs at each other and breaking microphones or just insulting each other in public, on television etc. i am wondering how the two things have survived together and lived harmoniously through out the centuries.

This is not the topic of this post though…yet..

“Why are you angry?” said Ali to his friends Idir as they were sipping their Nus-Nus at Balima Café.

Ali understands politics as "petites things". Never takes politics seriously. Why bother .. People in charge would never really manage to do anything anyway for the country. they do not care...

Whereas Idir understands politics as things they all have to do. He analyses all the elements of success and failure in the modern political debate.

“ If they can not, they have to really step down and let others do it” he thinks.

Power and abuse seen synonymous to Idir who spent all his life waiting for this things called Constitutionalization of Tamazight. This usually means a constitutional recognition of Tamazight as one of morocco official languages.

Idir is sick and tired of having to explain that to his friends and people who he happens to meet in his travels in and out of morocco.

“People say nous some des arabes still and i am tired of that. I can not stand it anymore. On Tamazight radio. With a thickened southern Amazigh accent a guy was talking about how “we, the Arabs, have to pull ourselves together and fight for the rights to unify the Arab world!. Well it is schizophrenia of identity awareness. I am not going to waste my time teaching. Investing energy in sensitization (sensibilisation) is OVER. Now it is time for action and if we do not do it. Iccak lbaz (falcon ate you). “

Idir is angry. At least this is what his friends think. He says his views out loud. He speaks his thought. Everybody is angry. Young people.. older folks.. women.. kids.. kids parents.. teachers.. foreign teachers.. bloggers.. water sellers.. MPs.. Sun flower sellers.. writers.. artist… and Imazighen.. They all have the right to get angry if anger is a right.

What it the distance between directness, political correctness and anger? Is pointing out social injustice in what ever tone or language and anger? What if it is? And so what?

What would Idir feel after 3000 years of colonization, depravation, and loss?

Inconsistency of thought processing or rater call it mind stream: loss... politics.. people jumping on land.. privatization.. free zones.. free staff.. selling high context cultures.. government.. anger.. money.. shanty towns.. impoverishment.. justifying anger.. democracy.. steeling out space.. waters.. DST.. arabization.. “the dream of freedom”.. process of democracy. People study us and look at all levels of merit we have. Do we deserve to be a democratic country. are we “high” enough a breed to deserve it do we remain savages may be noble ones.

who decides on goute-a-goute democracy (drop by drop). As long as this double-colonization is not over, Idir is going to “always sound angry.”

Just another angry Berber.

23 February 2007

BLACKFIRE :It ain't over !


Black fire is a Native American (Diné) traditionally influenced, high-energy, politically driven group comprised of two brothers and their sister. Born into the heart of a political land dispute area on Black Mesa( more info ) in the Navajo Nation, this Family's powerful music reflects the Hopes, Freedoms, and Barriers of today's world.

(ref: Blackfire.net)
Recomended: Blackfire: Amazigh Connect.

20 February 2007

Rissani... notes on prostitution

it also means that the impression that we want to give to our “visitors” is that this is the cradle of the ruling dynasty. They are stepping in the house of the prophet. Or rather the house of his descendents the Alawite Shorafa of Tafilalet.

Recent social history of Rissani saw the rise of immigrants from neighboring areas. Ait Atta berbers , Arib, Nnwaji, Dwi Mnia and others. Most desert tribes people were forced to settle as part of a big strategy of “fixation" of berbers tribes, a continuation of the French colonial “pacification”.

Rissani was a Souk, and many Ksour (fortified, four tower villages, one main entrance).

Now there are only two small hotels in Rissani. There is no bar no “epicerie” for liquors or wine. There was a Bar in the 60s: Bar Lahbib in the Kasba. It closed for some reason. We do not know why !

The souk area has always been a meeting point and a place for all kinds of interactions. The only souk in morocco that meets three times a week is Souk Moulay Ali Cherif.

Behind the souk was one of the most active social institutions, rather never talked about. The “wra-ssouq” (behind the market place) also called “secteur”, “derb”, etc…. Houses for women in prostitution or sex workers: "leqhab","timegganin".

In the early 80s there were more than 400 sex workers in the area behind the souk and in the Kasbah. They serviced the military garrison that had a few hundred soldiers, since its creation by the French colonizers in 1916, and also served a wider male society of the surrounding areas.

In the 1950s all sex workers walked to the French garrison on Thursdays (!) for medical checking. Their headquarters were in the Kasbah, behind the Bureaux.

Stories, never published in books, talk loads about all the different women leaders of this trade and how they managed their business and forced unlimited access to patriarchal space: governors, military officers, Qayds, cheikhs, khalifas, merchants, shorafa,…

They were called “entertainers”, “munashita” in Darija and this went on their ID cards.

Visibility was important in a patriarchal society like Rissani.

Many women would hide behind doors. There were “good women” and “other” in the minds of many Sherifian families. Women in Prostitution were always “other”. They were not cast away all times. I mean, They were present in most social gatherings. They danced for local musicians in weddings and in national holidays. They were the women who practiced male space with a great deal of courage and bravery.

Hiden behind an “Izar” (cover) they walked the souks and contributed to the local economy and outdoors social life.

Sex workers, commonly called “lqehbat” had to disappear from pubic space early 1990s. a few houses remained and prostitution in Rissani had to move to more residential areas and neighborhoods. The famous “Seteur” closed and was totally evacuated. One house remained: Lehbariyya. And his was “patrona” from the area. all other “patronas” had to go. Who made the decision? and why? (open questions)

Rissani was a forced urban center.

It is not a real “urban” area. It escapes these kinds of nominations. Enigmatic to most people visitors. Strange and saphocating for its youth, rich for wrcheolgists and excavators. Cheap for national tourists, NOT safe anymore for woman in prostitution… it is an adventure to write about it


18 February 2007

Book: Amazigh Arts in Morocco

Amazigh Arts in Morocco
Women Shaping Berber Identity
By Cynthia Becker

:><: from intro...
When I first arrived in Morocco in 1993 with the intention of learning about Berber art, I soon discovered that women rather than men were the artists in Berber societies. Berber women wove brightly colored carpets. They decorated their faces with
tattoos, dyed their hands and feet with henna, and painted their faces with saffron. They also embroidered brightly colored motifs on their indigo head coverings and wore elaborate silver and amber jewelry. Women both created the artistic symbols of Berber identity and wore them on their bodies, making the decorated female body a public symbol of Berber identity.

These connections and intersections of art, gender, and identity are the subject of this book. This study considers women and their participation in the process of identity construction by examining the centrality of the textiles, jewelry, and other art forms created by women to the social relations and ethnic identity of the Berbers of Morocco, the indigenous peoples of North Africa. Unlike Arab groups in North Africa, in Berber societies women rather than men are the primary producers of art, and women's arts identify the group as Berber. This examination, in addition to revealing a rich body of art, is meant to illuminate the complexity of women's roles in the Islamic societies of Africa and to demonstrate the role of women's agency in negotiating complex social and religious issues. Its central argument is that women's control over the visual symbols of Berber ethnic identity grants them power and prestige yet also restricts them to specific roles in that society...>>>.read more...

:><: Cynthia Becker is an assistant professor in the Department of Art History at St. Thomas, where she teaches courses in the arts of Africa and the African Diaspora and women's art from a cross-cultural perspective. She holds a B.A. from the University of New Orleans and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research explores the relationship between art, gender and ethnicity in North Africa. She is currently focusing on the influence of the trans-Saharan slave trade on artistic culture in Morocco. She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant and grants from the American Institute of Maghreb Studies.

16 February 2007

Casablanca Connect - Biladi

14 February 2007

10 bad things about Morocco

I found this information here on a blog( diario de marrocos) tought it might interest some of us.

10 bad things about Morocco

  1. Some people trying to sell you Haxixe ( Marijuana )
  2. I’m still thinking on position 2 on this matter
  3. Very poor people in isolated regions of the Atlas Mountains
  4. “Guardians”, or, a bunch of guys that call themselves that way just to keep an eye on people’s vehicles
  5. Some intolerance between Arabs and Amazigh, Amazigh and Arabs
  6. Some junkies and some drunk guys with bad humour in major cities
  7. All Moroccans think that if tourists travel to Morocco, then, Morocco is a better country than all the rest
  8. Some shops ask 10 times more money that they should, so you have to negotiate and bargain things you want to buy
  9. Some crazy truck drivers on the roads
  10. There is no toilet paper in a normal bathroom and some stinky ones also ( expect hotels of course ) / Expect to bump into: “The Hole”, which is good since you don’t really have to touch anything

12 February 2007

Kenza by Matoub Lounes.

Song for the morning.

11 February 2007

Besides the alphabet mentality...

Imazighen of north Africa and the story of writing.

they all used a graphic face to ta mazight , a language that resisted all kinds of oppression and colonization for more than 3000 years. they used tifinagh to scribe there language and record their transactions. defined by the “history” of the mediterranean as one of the alphabets that was widely used by every one on the northern part of Africa. a few centuries later, Tifinagh was lost almost everywhere except in ahegar, azawad and air. deep in the deserts.

in mur-yakush and tangis, tifinagh was taken to the bodies to become tattoos and design for tower tops of every tighremt made of adobe and other.

tifinagh became the mystery of academicians who tried hard to locate the areas of its “loss”. before Roland Barthes (1915-1980) the question of languages of mediterranean mythos of languages was not yet investigated (semiotically) and the distance between sign and symbol was not yet scholastically measured. the signs of tifinagh moved to a sacred area and became symbols with sacred loads of many layers. how did all this happen is what “the university” will never understand... how Tifinagh was hidden to preserve a whole heritage !!. (sample of absence) how can you preserve a language by not writing it?

most of the informers, explorers, missionaries and ethnographers,who came to tamazgha in the 18’c to draw the maps of occupations, were confused about Imazighen. they did not know how to approach them. they called them berbers from la berberie, ref. babary Pirates, barbary makaks, the Barbary Treaties .

now that imazighen think it is worth while, they atarted developing their own ways of reviving tifainagh.salem chaker and others started working on this foe more than half a century.

further reading in tifinagh-web (Tam)

09 February 2007

Matisse et Abdelkrim Khettabi

Late 19C, beggining of 20thC, Tangier gone international.
every one brought their baggage to the city of the strait.
Matisse paints
marabouts and windows of a town already filled with people from all different walks of life. Tangier was a town of great investors, a refuge for anyone who needed peace and tranquility. Matisse lived for a long time in Hotel Villa de France and painted his famous “the view out o the window”- passage to the world of fame. Tangier was called "the Sin City" for some reason i do not really know. but the list of famous people tat lived there is amazing. i am thinking of big names like : Malcolm Forbes, Paul Bowls, Tennessee Williams, Barbara Hutton and others like Matisse. during the second quarter of the century the number of ex-pats in tangier was almost half the population.

the city provided a safe space for all kinds of people, gay and lesbian people, spies, women in prostitution, drug dealers, smugglers and all other kinds of people that had to work/ live in secrecy in Europe and N-America came to tangier to breath and enjoy the terraces of the cafés in the French section of town andsome freedom.
the American legation Museum in
zenkat marikan still holds witness this gear ages of great international communities . an age so much cherished by Art historians. Tangier was the pride of ex-pat Moroccan history. it was a dream.
Abdelkrim Khattabi was there too... not too far.. in the Rif mountains.

08 February 2007

06 February 2007

exotic blogs for exotic al morocco

:><: upon request from my friends: i am showing agian this post that has created a littel comtrevercy among some bloggers.

this is not a question of nationalism . it is an observation about literacy and view point. Some people who lived in morocco for awhile have great experiences that they could write about. when they stop being racist... and "we are the blessed"-

i posted once a little billet long time ago on how some peace corps volunteers in morocco look at their experiences and how cross culture trainings they get are just reinforcement of all supremacy most of them already have. it is difficult to teach some pcv about race. because most of them a really nice people. they are there to help.

well you get it from really nice people. the road the hell in full with good intentions. these are people who serve for two years, some of them are spending more than two years in morocco. you would think they have enough experience to help them move from their racist comforts or work towards a better use of their white supremacy. no. morocco of the sheltering sky and the man who knew too much is the same morocco that inspires these people to write about what they see.

well this is how blogging morocco sounds like (US expats and peace corps volunteers)


Understanding illiteracy for: Cat in Rabat

But is this a world without books? Are there bookstores in Rabat? Some; for the most part, they carry French and Arabic titles. Who’s reading them? Obviously some people – I’m not suggesting that no one reads in Morocco, only that I haven’t seen any of them yet. Possibly the ex-pat community keeps the librairies alive.

describing Ashoura by driver:

Oh man. people begging on the streets. like, cars cannot get through because there are too many people begging. i guess today's the day for it. one lady asked me for money (well, lots did) and i started up with the whole, "i don't really have any and i'm really sorry and i think you're nice and..." but then i recognized her as the lady that lives down the street in the really nice house. i just walked away. people who are way better off than me are out begging. no wonder some folks around town think i'm homeless. again, i guess that's just what people do today.

Post scriptum:

Some reactions to this post .

1- Response on global voices
2- Reaction from Meknes: The morocco Report.
3- Driver himself

Reading discussion continued in Eatbees Blog.

03 February 2007

Snow Exoticism.....

It is finally snowing. la neige…

It s interesting to watch how people reacted to the lack of snow in new England. “let there be snow”, “let it snow”- signs on the streets.. and all the silent prayers that people whisper. we never saw this kind of weather foe last 100 years. walking in small towns at this time of the year when it is all cold. there is something missing. it is cold, yes but there is no snow and all the exotic pictures (see top right) of new england get disrupted. it is not as exotic as the text books of primary schools tell us.

in small school in the sahara desert of morocco. Ssi Mohamed , lmu3allim, was doing his best to teach French in a real French way. he was good about coming to terms with our abilities, as small berber kids from the other village, to speak while afraid . the Berber speaking part of the village. we were less smart and more backward than our little colleagues, the Arabic speaking little crowd. we picked Arabic quickly and with it all the exotic staff about france, england and the US of A as very powerful countries.

we learned the difference between “peu” and “pu” and all the nuance of the “u” pronunciation. and all the things round “é”. so we could pronounce la “neige” correctly. we never saw la neige. and we were not going to see it in our village. it just does not snow in the sahara deserts. fact. science.

as i walk in these little towns i am remembering how disappointing it is to my little mind to watch all this winter pass by without seeing the snow. i am sure people from here get disappointed as they hit the sahara, we all want the world to meet our little images. it is easier to disturb the world than our images about this world. it is better to cry over lack of snow when it is big and dangerous to think about global warming and how we messed up with the world wide weather.

01 February 2007

Le dog de la queen

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was said to be in "Robust health" today after it was revealed she suffered a hand injury following a bite from one of her own beloved Corgis.

The queen of England was trying to practice some conflict resolution skills when a fight erupted between her too dogs. (K9 website)

Well did she give up on doing that with humans. The whole situation led to her taking a tetanus shot just for further precautions. I wonder how many shots does the world need to take after being bitten by this beast of imperialism. I wonder how many barrels of tetanus do we al need and how many stitches does the world wide scar need.

I wonder how a royal dog lives. He definitely does not “lead a dogs life”(a life of misery, or of miserable subserviency) (read more)

It is all curieux to me that the quality of life is still talked about when there in not really a value in the first place. What are the people of remote places deep in the sahara or way up the Amazigh mountains.

I do not have anything against the dog nor do i have much to do with the queen. I do know what conflicts matter, and what dogs count.

God save the queen. Ad inser rebbi tagellidt.