Although I keep a close eye on literary news, I had no idea that Leila Abouzeid had a new book out in the United States. Released in January, the book is a collection of stories, titled The Director. Here’s the publisher’s blurb:
The stories in this volume deal with issues both traditional and modern-relations between parents and children, between husbands and wives, and between citizens of newly independent Morocco and its new nationalist representative government.
Independence from French colonial rule has brought many changes to Morocco–some more beneficial than others. Women have entered the work force in great numbers, a development which has brought them new freedoms, but which has also caused problems within the traditional family. Abouzeid shows us how these changes have affected ordinary men and women, how small everyday events loom large in individual lives.
If you are new to Abouzeid’s work, you may want to start with Year of The Elephant (‘am al-feel).
King Mohammed began a five-day visit to Laayun and other cities in Western Sahara yesterday. The visit comes only a month before the Moroccan government is to submit a proposal to the United Nations on the status of the region. The conflict between Morocco and RASD has now become Africa’s oldest territorial dispute.
In its March 4, 1956 edition, Le Monde had this little, but significant note about Morocco:
CETTE INDÉPENDANCE que l’on a, sept ans durant, marchandée aux Etats “ex-associés”, cette indépendance qu’aujourd’hui encore on dispute à la Tunisie, le Maroc l’a, en fait, acquise hier vendredi 2 mars au Quai d’Orsay d’un trait de plume.
Lorsque lundi prochain, regagnant son palais de Rabat, Sidi Mohammed sera de nouveau l’objet de longues acclamations, il pourra se flatter de rapporter à son peuple le cadeau royal qu’il était venu chercher à Paris : le document qui consacre l’état de fait dans lequel son pays s’était installé depuis le 6 novembre.
C’est en effet à cette date, dans la déclaration de La Celle-Saint-Cloud, qu’est apparu dans un texte officiel le mot-clé, le mot-force : indépendance. Depuis hier, cette indépendance est donnée sans contrepartie et sans garantie.
In commemoration of its fifty years of independence, Morocco has released a major report that details changes and progress in matters of health, education, infrastructure, etc. The report is available in Arabic, Amazigh, French, English, and Spanish, and can be accessed here.
The first Moroccan woman to reach Antarctica is Dr. Meryem Chadid, reports Elaph. Astronomer Chadid went to the South Pole to install a telescope that will allow her to measure the brightness of stars (if I understand correctly! I am not a scientist.) Mabrouk!
Thanks to Latif for the link.
Migrants are now coming to Morocco from as far away as India, hoping to try their luck at crossing over to Europe.
In the latest incident, nine Indian migrants have been arrested in Ouled Settout near the northern Moroccan city of Nador, police said Tuesday.
The Indians were attempting to reach the nearby Spanish enclave of Melilla in order to cross over to mainland Spain.
Police recently held 70 people on charges of belonging to a criminal ring that brought Indians and Pakistanis through western African and Gulf countries to Morocco, which they were using as a gateway to the West.
This has only been reported in the Moroccan and Israeli press, but could potentially be significant: Labor party chairman Amir Peretz visited King Mohammed in Fez this week, to present a “diplomatic initiative.” (Peretz was born in Bejad, Morocco, and he conversed in Arabic with the monarch.)
Last week, the annual Salon du Livre opened at the Foire Internationale in Casablanca. The theme was “Maghreb: Fifty Years Later.” As many as 560 vendors from 53 countries are present, with, of course, readings, talks, and workshops on the schedule for the week. The fair began with the announcement of the Prix du Maroc, which this year went to Mohamed Sebbagh for Enfance Sexagenaire. In non-fiction, the winners were Mohamed Moatassim (La vision apocalyptique dans le roman arabe à la fin du 20e siecle), Zakya Daoud (Marocains de l’autre rive), and Abdelilah Belmlih (L’esclavage au Maghreb et en Andalousie). More details as they become available.
This is the democracy the U.S. wants to export:
The United States is helping Morocco to build a new interrogation and detention facility for Al-Qaeda suspects near its capital, Rabat, according to western intelligence sources.
The sources confirmed last week that building was under way at Ain Aouda, above a wooded gorge south of Rabat’s diplomatic district. Locals said they had often seen American vehicles with diplomatic plates in the area.
The construction of the new compound, run by the Direction de la Securité du Territoire (DST), the Moroccan secret police, adds to a substantial body of evidence that Morocco is one of America’s principal partners in the secret “rendition” programme in which the CIA flies prisoners to third countries for interrogation.