How "Berber" Matters in the Middle of Nowhere

by David Crawford
published in MER219

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"This Time I Choose When to Leave"

An Interview with Fatna El Bouih

by Susan Slyomovics
published in MER218

Fatna El Bouih was born July 10, 1955, in Benahmed, a village in Settat province. In 1971, she received a boarder's scholarship to Casablanca's prestigious girls' high school, Lycée Chawqi, and became active in the national union of high school students (Syndicat National des Elèves). Arrested the first time as a leader of the January 24, 1974 high school student strike, for her second arrest she was forcibly disappeared from May 17 to November 1977 in Derb Moulay Cherif, Casablanca's notorious torture center, with other women activists, such as Latifa Jbabdi, Ouidad Baouab, Khadija Boukhari and Maria Zouini. Transferred to Meknes Prison, they were held from 1977-79 without trial.

Sahrawi Demonstrations

by John Damis
published in MER218

Within two months of the death of King Hassan II and the enthronement of his eldest son, King Mohammed VI in July 1999, a series of demonstrations erupted in the Western Sahara. This territory has been administered by the Kingdom of Morocco since 1976, though Morocco’s claim of sovereignty in the Western Sahara is not recognized internationally. Since September 1991, the United Nations has deployed a mission there to organize a referendum that would give qualified Sahrawi voters the choice of integration into Morocco or independence.

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From Madrasa to Maison d'hote

Historic Preservation in Mohammed VI's Morocco

by Geoffrey D. Porter
published in MER218

There’s a Moroccan expression similar to the English expression “the apple never falls far from the tree.” In Morocco, it’s phrased as a rhetorical question: “Where does wood come from? From the tree.” A year and a half after King Mohammed VI’s ascension to the throne, many Moroccans are wondering just how much the wood will be like the tree.

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Networks of Discontent in Northern Morocco

Drugs, Opposition and Urban Unrest

by James Ketterer
published in MER218

What are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms? A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues people, it openly arrogates itself the title of kingdom.

-- Saint Augustine

Risking the Strait

Moroccan Labor Migration to Spain

by Gregory White
published in MER218

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Democratization Without Democracy

Political Openings and Closures in Morocco

by Catherine Sweet
published in MER218

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A Truth Commission for Morocco

by Susan Slyomovics
published in MER218

The grim names Moroccans assign to the post-independence years -- in Arabic, zaman al-rusas and al-sanawat al-sawda, in French les anneés de plomb and les années noires or in English “the years of lead” and “the black years” -- evoke an era of grayness and lead bullets, fear and repression. During les années sombres, the “somber years” of forcible disappearances and farcical mass political trials, large numbers of people representing various political persuasions served long prison sentences for voicing opposition to the regime. By international standards, they were prisoners of conscience.

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Behind the Baker Plan for Western Sahara

by Toby Shelley | published August 1, 2003

On July 31, 2003, the UN Security Council voted to "support strongly" former Secretary of State James Baker's proposals for resolving the Western Sahara dispute, the last Africa file remaining open at the UN Decolonization Committee. Baker has been the personal envoy of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan since 1997, charged with making progress in the 1991 Settlement Plan for the Western Sahara even after Annan had damned it as a "zero-sum game," while also pursuing alternatives.