Toward a World Literature?

A Conversation with Tahar Ben Jelloun

by Miriam Rosen
published in MER163

The Prix Goncourt, always the biggest literary event of the year in France, became even more so in 1987, when the venerable Goncourt Academy named Moroccan writer Tahar Ben Jelloun as its eightieth laureate. In French literary circles, reaction to the selection of Ben Jelloun’s novel, La Nuit saerde, contained an unmistakable current of relief, as if to say that the situation of the Arab community in France really could not be so bad if a North African received the Prix Goncourt. Within that Arab community, the optimism was somewhat more guarded (about the book as well as the prize), but certainly no one regretted the increased visibility that the award brought to French-language North African literature.

The Grand (Hip-Hop) Chessboard

Race, Rap and Raison d'Etat

by Hisham Aidi
published in MER260

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Rai, Rap and Ramadan Nights

Franco-Maghribi Cultural Identities

by David McMurray , Ted Swedenburg , Joan Gross
published in MER178

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"Images from Elsewhere"

An Interview with Serge Adda

by Miriam Rosen
published in MER180

“You chase colonialism out the door, it comes back through the sky,” observed the Algerian Press Service several years ago, alluding to the phenomenon of satellite broadcasting that has literally brought European television into the living rooms of North Africa. [1] More than 95 percent of urban households in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco have televisions, and more than 30 percent have video decks. Parabolic antennas are sprouting like inverted mushrooms on rooftops around the southern Mediterranean (estimates for Algeria alone range between 1.3 and 2.2 million households, or 8 to 17 million viewers). [2]

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Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Urban Violence in France

by Paul Silverstein , Chantal Tetreault | published November 2005

Dorénavant la rue ne pardonne plus                                              From now on the street will not forgive
Nous n’avons rien à perdre car nous n’avons jamais rien eu            We have nothing to lose for we have nothing

Paris, Washington, Algiers

by Roger Diwan , Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER192

The prospect of an Islamist victory in Algeria has alarmed French policymakers and politicians across the political spectrum. The French right, from the National Front's Jean Le Pen to Gaullist Interior Minister Charles Pasqua have, in varying degrees, raised the specter of Algerian “boat people” swarming across the Mediterranean to threaten the very basis of French civilization. Centrists and socialists excused the Algerian army's cancellation of the 1991 parliamentary elections by arguing that the Islamists were anti-democratic anyway. The geostrategists among them feared that an Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) regime would spread its revolution to the rest of North Africa and the Middle East and cut gas supplies to the continent.

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The Saudis, the French and the Embargo

by Fareed Mohamedi , Roger Diwan
published in MER193

The successful maintenance of a near total embargo on Iraq owes to a number of factors, ranging from geography to post-Cold War global economies. Iraq’s limited access to the sea can be easily monitored, while its record of regional aggression has deprived Baghdad of local friends. Despite some breaches of the export embargo involving high-ranking officials in both countries, Iran is not going to give Iraq much economic relief. The same goes for Syria. Turkey and Jordan, Iraq’s two lifelines to the outside world, cannot risk more than limited and calibrated breaches of the embargo because of their own susceptibility to US pressures.

Ian Lustick, Unsettled States, Disputed Lands

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER194

Ian Lustick, Unsettled States, Disputed Lands: Britain and Ireland, France and Algeria, Israel and the West Bank-Gaza (Cornell, 1993).

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Nuclear Counterproliferation in the Middle East

by Hans M. Kristensen , Joshua Handler
published in MER197

The United States and France are developing strategies for using nuclear weapons in developing countries, ostensibly to counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical and biological). The Middle East in particular has become a testing ground for nuclear war games. [1] This worrisome trend is more likely to provoke a Middle East arms race than to stop proliferation.

Keeping Up with the French

by William D. Hartung
published in MER197

Foreign policy insiders in Washington are fond of describing France as a uniquely amoral weapons-trafficking nation that will sell anything to anyone. This harsh judgement seemed to be confirmed last August, when the latest Congressional Research Service report on arms transfers revealed that France had replaced the United States as the leading exporter of arms to the Third World, and in a decisive fashion had grabbed 45 percent of all new arms agreements with developing nations in 1994, nearly twice the level of sales registered by the outgoing titleholder.

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