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The Farmer, The Warrior, The Merchant, The Lazy, & The Whore

August 23, 2011

In another life when I was studying at Al Akhawayn University I had an international relations professor called Dr. Kalpakian who told us once this: ‘’there was once a father who had 4 sons, the elder became a farmer and moved to Morocco, the second became a warrior and settled in Algeria, the third became a merchant and went to Tunisia, and the last one was so lazy that he remained at his father’s house in Libya’’. I remembered this tale now that we are living the time of harvests of the Arab Spring and would like to revisit each brother to see how they’ve been doing!

The Farmer: The farmer spent 12 centuries building his feudal kingdom, alternating periods of oppression and prosperity. Yet, despite the strange rituals he has been imposing on his people like kissing his hand, declaring himself holy by the constitution, or his mania of collecting human snakes, the farmer did a great job in the poor kingdom of Morocco. He inaugurated infrastructures, readjusted the structure of the economy and made the country a small paradise visited by 10 million tourists per year. In addition the Farmer built strong ties with the kingdom of Europa and is trying to reconcile between modernity and tradition which makes the citizens of Morocco looks schizophrenics most of the time!

The Warrior: The Warrior brother was so strong and brave in his youth that he liberated Marseille during WWII and sacrificed 1million martyr during the independence of Algeria from France. But once all great wars ended he found himself with a huge army without a job to do, so he started unnecessary civil war, a war with his brother the farmer and ever a war with Egypt about football! The people of the warrior brother will rise one day against social injustice and will condemn the generals who are stealing the country’s wealth; it’s just not their time yet!

The Merchant: He is the most charismatic of the four brothers. He can sell anything to anyone at any price! He lives in a country which is very open to foreigners and new tendencies and where women enjoy a great deal of freedom. One day a big dragon came to their land and cut the heads of women wearing Hijab and the tongues of men expression their anger, but the Merchant didn’t react because he was wise enough to wait until his offspring are well educated and until the house he was building is strong enough to resist the dragon. One day the brother realised that the dragon was allergic to Jasmines, so he planted so many that the dragon who hated religion escaped to the most religious country in the world!

The Lazy: The lazy brother was feeling misunderstood. It’s not that he is idle; it’s just that he enjoys more the simplicity of Bedouin life under a million stars in the big Sahara desert. One day a Jewish clown came to Libya and convinced its inhabitants to wear green sunglasses to the point that they started seeing everything around them green whereas in reality it was deserted and arid. Inspired by his merchant brother, the lazy decided to fight the evil clown and to die for the land of his ancestors and to clean Libya Zanga Zanga from the green glasses effect. Now on the Lazy deserves to have another name: The Brave!

The Whore: In fact the four brothers had a sister too which they chose to forget about because she was so rebellious. The sister was so charming and beautiful, with her pyramidal humps and her longue generous hair flowing like the Nile River. The sister was so adventurous during her youth that she decided to escape to Egypt and get enrolled in the Army. However, the poor girl didn’t seem to understand what happens to innocent girls in the army! She was raped and imprisoned for 58 years, and worse of all she was prostituted to her Eastern neighbour by the ruling generals to the extent that everyone forgot her real name ‘’Oum Eduniya’’ and started calling her The Whore. Despite her harsh condition the whore managed to fall in love with a Tunisian man who covered her naked body with Jasmine flowers, and so she gave birth secretly to a blessed baby: The Revolution. Unfortunately, we heard that the army generals are looking for the whore’s baby to slaughter him at birth and kill any hope of change!

I think it’s high time for a family reunion for the four brothers and their sister to support each other and learn from their experiences and why not live together in the same big house again!

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I am an X%

July 2, 2011

la Croix.org copyrights

I was never good in mathematics, but when it’s political mathematics I don’t mind trying. So 98,5% of Moroccans voted YES, only 1,51% voted NO, 73% participated, and the other 27% probably boycotted the Referendum, went shopping during the sales at Zara, went bronzing in Dar Bouazza, or are part of the confused X% to which I belong!

What Does It Mean To Be An X%? Well it simply means that you have a monarchist 19 years brother who voted YES, a nationalist father who call you at 8 a.m from Rabat to Alexandria to remind you to go do your national duty of voting, a politically passive aunt who never had any political position but who suddenly decided to vote YES not to let Feb20 movement decide for her, and hundreds of friends in real and virtual life who find every royal discourse holy and every royal gesture so CUTE and worth sharing on social networks. It also means that you have journalist friends whom you trust saying NO, activists you believe in deciding to boycott the vote, and other hundreds of friends who demonstrate in the streets every Sunday since the 20th of February. If you are like me you were feeling torn between the YES and the NO and finally decided not to vote on the first of July, because you prefer letting mathematics being the referee between the YES and the NO!

The Masses Said YES! And the biggest mistake is to think that the masses are not mature enough to decide for themselves. It doesn’t mean that if they were not present on twitter and facebook like you, that they don’t have a voice and an opinion about their country. Also, please stop saying that we are an illiterate country and most didn’t even read the project of the constitution, because this will be underestimating the intelligence of your fellow Moroccans educated and illetrate together, who don’t need to have a degree in constitutional law to know that it is about the redefinition of the three pillars of the Moroccan modern state: Allah (Religion), Al Watan (Territory), Al Malik (Monarchy). Furthermore, this 98,5% shows how much the new Moroccan ‘‘elites’’ are isolated in their virtual world and closed circles of people who look exactly like themselves, to the extent that they really believed for a second that the Moroccan masses will revolt, and this referendum is a reality chock which we should not take with the classical reaction of refusal, but with the maturity of reconsidering our choices and stop talking and media, social media and bars and start listening to the beat of the deep society!

The Cheap Makhzen Propaganda! The fact that I support the decision of the Moroccan people whatever it is, doesn’t mean I support the archaic way the Makhzen managed this referendum. For the NOz all people saying yes were corrupted and manipulated and for the YESz all people saying no are traitors and foreign spies, and these Manichean campaigns went on as July first was approaching. Yet, the Makhzen over abused its mobilisation tools and made us feel that the soul of Idriss el Bassri was there somewhere directing all this, with all the Mkadems, Kayeds, Consular Affairs, Police Forces… ‘’encouraging’’ the people to vote YES. Then you have the eternal magical religious card, with the Sufi brotherhoods hitting the streets and praying the whole night for the Monarchy, and the Imams at the Friday prayers preaching in favour of the constitution. Then comes our almighty king going to vote in his fabulous Djellaba, reminding us of his religious authority and that it’s not time for the modernity of suites and ties in our traditional kingdom of Morocco. All I can say is: Halleluiah and Bravo for the big communication hit!

Back To The Constitution Itself: Personally I don’t think that the constitution was that bad, but we could have done better. First, when you read it you feel that it is a Very Moroccan constitution, written by Moroccans in response to current changes, and has nothing to do with the copy-pasted constitutions we used to have from the French ones. A second positive aspect is that the text constitutionalised all the assets and gains of the past 10 years: women rights, the rights of Moroccans Resident Abroad, human rights, prevalence of international laws over national laws, Advanced Regionalization, Human Development etc. But my personal 5 favourite articles, remains: 1. Unconditional Freedom of Expression, 2. Access to State Information, 3. Communication Privacy Rights, 4. No more Detentions, Tortures or Invasion of homes, 5. Youth Inclusion and Participation as constitutional rights.  So yes the king didn’t give up of much of his military, political or religious powers, but whom do you trust in Morocco to give them to? And imagine with me one moment what we can do with my favourite 5 articles?

So I would like to thank the Moroccan People illiterates and educated for making the choice on behalf of us poor confused X%, to thank the Constitutional Committee who were clever enough not to bother the king and at the same time gave us space to militate from within the system, and to thank Feb20 movement for spicing up the political debate. From my side, if I have to live with this constitution, I promise to abuse every single constitutional right I have, starting with Freedom of Expression!

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The 6 Lines Signature

June 11, 2011

‘’Dear friends,

Yesterday I was telling my husband that I need a Users’ Manual to deal with the different Arab species, sorry I mean ‘’citizens’’, as I was checking my e-mails and getting a dozen of these messages signed with something like:

‘‘Ismail Isaac Jacob the third

Journalist, Blogger,

MA candidate at Mazbala University,

Editor of Big Fat Ego Magazine,

President of Mosquitoes and Flies Association,

Political and social activist’’

I don’t know if you get irritated, me I really do! Because I try hard to understand why a person would have a 6 lines signature, but I find no explanation other than the evident fact that this person has a serious inferiority complex and a big fat Ego.

It gets even funnier when these people, who generously share their CVs with us on their emails, are actually none of these things! And for someone who spends 4 years of her life studying journalism and plenty other years working as a journalist, I get really offended how these people can pretend belonging to this job just because they take some pictures at a concert and update daily their facebook status! I am sure real bloggers, civil society professionals and researchers get as offended as I do.

The worst part of it is that in the Middle East it is a way of promoting yourself, AND IT WORKS! As people tend to believe you when you pledge being Mister, Professor, Doctor, Bacha, Beih, 7afidaho Allah, and will never look after your real value! Then after sometime it will become the absolute truth and you will start getting invited to conferences and interviews as the ultimate expert in Mosquitoes and Flies affairs of the country, and at the end you will hand out proudly your business card with your 6 lines, a logo with your name and the address of your website www.IsmailIsaacJacobthethird.org . I swear it’s not a joke! I got many of those in a shelf somewhere.

I think that a person, who even pretends to be this great social figure, should have some sense of humility and ethics, and face the fact that they have an EGO problem!

Sincerely,

Sarah’’

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Confessions of Ali, a Revolutionary Opportunist

May 27, 2011

Revolutions are made of some few idealistic, committed and honest people and thousands of opportunists who go with the crowd, seize the moment and mobilize a noble fight for their personal sick materialistic or psychological interests. These specimens are often misunderstood and hiding their intentions in the shadows of their dark minds. I will be enjoying today doing the autopsy of Ali, a revolutionary opportunist from the Arab World.

Profile: I am not too tall, not too short, not too handsome, not too ugly, an average guy from an average family, who was average in my studies, my personal life and in my career. I always felt misunderstood and gifted in a way that I cannot explain. Sometimes I feel like killing or making suffer these people who have better girl friends, better cars and better job positions, but I can’t because I am too coward, so I spend my time stabbing them on their backs and gossiping about how life can be unjust with an average citizen like me.

Motivation: Revolutionary winds are shifting powers in the Middle East, this is maybe my chance to shine and become a star. I have no principals except my Marlboro Light and my daily Beer at the bar with my friends over a good Barca match. Ideology? Are you kidding me ? the best ideology is to be against EVERYONE, and EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME. It makes me look intellectual and critical in front of innocent girls I want to flirt with during the debates I have in the coffee shop.

Why I do this? Well I find it not fair that Youssef has a BMW where I only have a Renault. I hate the fact that I only get 1000euro per month whereas Asmae gets 5000, and why the hell does amine get to party every night when I just can afford going out twice a week? See how unjust is my country and my society? Yeah and all that health, education and poverty stuff the media talks about!

To say the truth, I was always dreaming about being in some kind of opposition of some kind of issue and being interviewed by some kind of media and telling them some kind of lies that the masses love to hear. Nothing can flatter my ego like receiving admiring phone calls and praising comments on my facebook wall, and maybe even meeting some of that open-minded girls who participate in demonstrations. I heard that they are very flexible about sexual intercourses! That’s what I call a revolution man! And at the end of all this mess I may become a parliamentary member for the party of lemons and bananas or even a minister of Islamic Affairs! God bless the revolution!

Steps to follow: it’s all easy, I have to grow up my hair and my beard, wear a shirt with the face of Che Guevara, a purple Palestinian Kofeya  and go everyday to the bars and coffee shops where the pseudo-intellectuals gather, until they all become my friends, so I start telling them fake adventures about the day I was beaten by the police and the day I did a hunger strike at the ministry of interior. Next step is to create a blog where I insult the king, the army, the police, the media, God and even my mother if it can be useful, without forgetting to update my twitter and facebook account with news and articles and sharing revolutionary statements like: ‘’I will die for my country’’, ‘’we will not fall until the regime falls’’, ‘’with our resistance we will break the chains of injustice’’…

In action: I am not interested in spending the night at the square or in front of the parliament because I cherish too much my body for that, but I convince my band of revolutionaries that I spend the night doing grater missions lobbying for our cause (with my play station) and protecting my neighbourhood from thieves (while sleeping 12 hours every night on a cosy bed). My favourite moments are when I take the microphone at the demonstrations and exteriorise all my frustration. I truly get my inspiration and anger from the memory of Youssef stealing my lollypop at first grade. That traumatised me for the rest of my life. I also enjoy speaking to lost foreign media reporters I meet in the square, to whom I introduce myself as the leader of the leaders of the revolution and an expert of social media and political analyst and journalist and human rights activists and representative of the cats and dogs initiative for the freedom of donkeys and ponies. I always explain to them ‘’how much the situation is complicated and the inequality is prevailing and that the youth of this country are ready to die for liberation because all of them have lost their lollypops with a tyrant dictator’’.

Look around you and tell me how many of Ali you can see in your direct surroundings nowadays. How many people just became revolutionaries just two days ago, without cleaning the street, educating their children on democratic ideals, helping the poor, planting a rose or spreading hope? Remember that Kaddafi, Mubarak, Ali Abdallah Saleh or Ben Ali were all of them one day revolutionary opportunists like my Ali!

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What if the US invades Libya?

March 12, 2011

Who would have thought that a country like Libya who was a geopolitical Terra Nullius for the past 40 years, would become at the very centre of international debates and strategies? Libya is a very ancient civilization which enjoys a strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, rich with its generous oil reserves. Yet, Kaddafi erased Libya from the maps since 1969 with two decades of isolation, embargo, dictatorship, absence from the Union from the Mediterranean, and caricatural political positions.

If we learnt something since January from the Arab turmoil, it would be that no matter how logical and accurate you keep your analysis it cannot be applied to the Arab world, and I am using the constructed term ‘’the Arab World’’ consciously because I believe in the rise of a neo-panarabism in the region. So if we follow the illogical and unexpected series of events, we can imagine everything including a US invasion of Libya: ‘’Surprise! Surprise!’’

People familiar with international relations would understand that severe violations of human rights and crime against humanity can justify interference in the internal issues of a sovereign country according to the UN doctrine, and Mr. Kaddafy who is raiding and bombarding massively his population in front of international cameras has given all justifications for a military invasion of Tripoli. And any person, who was following the events during the past 10 years, would deduce that it took less than that for the US to invade Iraq and Afghanistan! But we all know that no country will engage in warfare out of charity and compassion, unless it has some interests to defend, and the US real-politics machine seems to have several interests in Kaddafiland:

– Saharian Africa and Al Qaida of the Islamic Maghreb: With the conflicts in Sudan which the US is having a hard time controlling with the presence of the French in the Tchad-Darfur situation and the Chinese domination over the economy and the oil companies, and with the annoying presence of Al Qaida of the Islamic Maghreb in Saharian Africa, the US will have a on-field control over the situation if it get stationed in Libya which is well in the centre of all this, and maybe the King of Kings of Africa Muamar Kaddafi will leave his throne to the Afro-American King Mr. Obama.

– The Mediterranean: We have the feeling since the end of the Cold War that more or less the European Union is a solo player in the Mediterranean with its neighbourhood policy and newly born Union for the Mediterranean. We don’t need to mention how important is the Mediterranean for international trade, NATO, migration flows, and intercultural dialogue, so we can imagine easily the US wanting a share of the tomatoes, cheese and olive oil Quiche.

– Mashrek and Maghreb: The US has already a hand in Iraq at the eastern edge of the Middle East, and had strong allies in North Africa in the person of the falling dictatorships, so no wonders that in a situation where it would be very problematic to control Egypt directly because of the high political awareness of the populations and the high pressure of international media and Arab lobbies in the west, it would be wiser to target a country which is next door but which has a less significant emotional importance for the rest of the Arab public opinion. If the US invades Libya, it will have eyes and hands East and West and would protect the interests of Israel more closely.

– The Oil benefits: Libya has one of the biggest reserves of oil in the world. Unfortunately its incomes were scattered around following Kaddafi’s fantasies without benefiting directly to the Libyan people. Without focusing too much on the oil factor, it remains an important argument if the US plans any attacks.

As a counter-argument we can mention that the Obama administration is a hardcore Republican, and is too clever to commit such a mistake. We have witnessed that contrarily to Democrats, the Obama regime is more focused on internal issues and giving more weight to intelligence and alternative diplomacy in terms of its foreign policy, rather than military intervention which was the biggest shame of the Bush cabinet. However, 2011 is the year of all surprises and everything remains possible!

If a US invasion to Libya becomes a reality, Kaddafi would have done to the Libyan citizens what is worse than oppression, tyranny, and extermination: ‘’Occupation’’

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Revolution Made in Morocco

February 21, 2011

I am someone who is pro Feb20 movement, who thinks my country deserves dignity and real structural reforms and that it is a real revolution to see the Moroccan youth reinvesting the political sphere. Yet, it is very important at this level to do some self-criticism and to give some explanations about the standard Moroccan attitude in politics, life and in demonstrations. You may consider this an auto-flagellation of a Moroccan young person who dreams of change.

Enjoy the Moroccan 20 wonders:

1 – In other countries people set themselves on fire if angry, in Morocco we set other people on fire

2 – In other countries police oppress the citizens,  in Morocco citizens oppress the police

3 – 30.000 people want to change the constitution, 30 million Moroccan never read the constitution

4 – in other countries the leaders of demonstrators get kidnapped and beaten, in morocco we took Rachid Spirit Zata to a 5 stars hotel and bought him a new shirt to meet foreign Media

‎5 – in other countries when they finish the demonstrations they camp in the square, in Morocco we go to a bar for the after party

6 – in other countries they form a human chain to protect the goods, in Morocco we formed a human chain so thugs can steal freely the goods from Zara and Guess

7 – in other countries the enemy is the police or the army, in Morocco the enemy in Mr. Ronald Mc Donald

‎8 – in other countries the national media didn’t cover the events, in Morocco the national media covered everything as if it was a football match of the national team and they even invited bloggers, sportsmen and singers to react

9 – in other countries the regime pays thugs and mercenaries to destroy the country, in Morocco the thugs volunteer to destroy and even pay for their own transportation fees from their countryside

10 – in other countries they demonstrate because they couldn’t find a job, in Morocco we demonstrate because we don’t want to pass the entrance exam of the jobs the state offers us

11- in other countries they hate the political parties so they fire them, in Morocco we hate the political parties so we want to take the executive power from the king and give it to them

12 – in other countries people go vote and the results are falsified,  in Morocco we don’t go vote the results are not falsified but we still contest them just because we don’t like them

13 – in other countries the authorities use water cannons to calm down the crowd, in Morocco God sent us the rains to calm us down

14 – in other countries the authorities deny the existence of any conflict, in Morocco the authorities used facebook, twitter, press conferences and meetings with the demonstrators but we still can’t understand each other

15 – in other countries parliament members don’t participate in demonstrations, in Morocco some parliament members participate in demonstrations Sunday but don’t go to their office Monday

16 – in other countries they are calling for investigating the human right crimes and to engage in human development, in Morocco it has been 12 years that we are doing reconciliation and human development  but no one seems to be seeing it

17 – in other countries the freedom of press is oppressed and they call for more openness, in Morocco some journalists are unethical and still call for their right to practice defamation against public figures freely

18 – in other countries they demonstrate and then clean up the streets from the mess, in Morocco they demonstrate and make it even more messy on purpose to give more job to the street cleaners

19 – in other countries they don’t let foreign media cover the events, in Morocco foreign media don’t have anything sensational to cover so they invent fake news and footage

20 – in other countries there is quite a unanimity about the desire to withdraw the regime, in Morocco without referendum, unanimity or elections, 30.000 decided on behalf of 30 million that Morocco should be a secular parliamentary monarchy, and still call themselves democrats !

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My Name is Sarah, and I am Arab

February 16, 2011

My name is Sarah, I am a Moroccan girl, and I spent  a quarter of a century trying to prove to myself and to the others that I am not an Arab, that my country is different, that my culture is different, that my race is different, that my language is different, and that I am more European than Middle Eastern. Today I have these primitive tribal fervent feelings that I can’t explain whenever I see an Arab flag, here an Arabic song or see and young Arab demonstrating in a square. That’s why I would like to apologize and to admit that I was wrong about who I am.

The Resurrection of Arab Nationalism:

I was born in the 80s, the years of draught not only of rains, but a draught of democracy, a draught of ideology, a draught of economic prosperity and a draught of victories. We’ve grown up hearing our parents talk about the leftist ideals and how they liberated the country and our grandparents talk about World War II adventures. While us we are staring carelessly at the TV on the national team football march and hoping they will win because it is the only victory our generation can afford!

After 9/11 things got worse for us. Many youth abroad starting denying that they are Arabs and finding refuge in alternative or fake identities. Even at the state level there were a competition between the Arab countries to appear the least Arab possible and the more western possible to benefit from more foreign aid, and foreign support for the dictatorships in place.

The Jasmine revolution and more strongly the Egyptian Revolution were a slap on our faces. A slap that woke us up from the years of indoctrination and pro-western propaganda, and we realised that we don’t need them, that we are mature adult citizens who can run our interests without the tutorage of any extern power. So thank you for the technology, but keep your ideas for yourselves! Egypt made us taste the feeling of glory and pride far from football stadiums. It took revenge for our honour which we were prostituting for the West for the past 50 years. Egypt upgraded our status from third level slaves to first level free humans. While demonstrators were cleaning up Tahrir Square, they were sweeping up all the dirt from our Arab dignity and resurrecting Arab Nationalism

The Death of the Euromed

The Union for the Mediterranean and the Euromed are soiled unequal games we were forced to play because we didn’t have any other choice to situate ourselves geopolitically when the Arab League and the Maghreb Arab Union both failed. Today that we see other options, I would like to tell you Europe: sorry for the money you spent on us, but are not interested to play anymore!

If the Arab countries are able to withdraw or correct their corrupted regimes, if the young generations take the leadership, if we have the choice of our foreign policy, why would we chose to be part of an heterogeneous union that we didn’t plan or thought or dreamed, when we have the choice to have a Union with people with whom we have more affinities and understanding: the Arab Union. And from what I start to see, no Arab country will allow foreign interference to assist us anymore in the so called ‘’peaceful transition’’, because intercultural dialogue with the west is a luxury now and we have better to do dialoguing with our selves.

If the Arabs finally as a synthesis of their 20th century history can unite we can still be good friends and neighbours of the EU and the US but not as orphan fractions; as one strong body. Then the equilibrium in the cooperation we’ve been seeking will be met when we will negotiate Arab Union to European Union.

Change in the Emotional Map

Maybe I am getting to Emotional about it. Maybe I am wrong and these are only dreams! But what made these revolutions come true except from youth dreams? Even if nothing happens any soon in the political map, believe me a huge upheaval occurred in the Emotional Map of the Arab World and nothing can stop it from rising!

Now I can say proudly: My name is Sarah and I am Arab!