Posts Tagged ‘tunisia’

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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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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!

 

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Jasmine for Egypt “مسائك فل يا مصر”

January 17, 2011

I prepared a tea with jasmine to celebrate the Tunisian revolution, and I sat in front of my notebook to do my morning tour on facebook. The red of the Tunisian flag masked the blue of the social network, and the videos and caricatures of ‘’Zin El Haribiin’’ – as the online community call him – covered the pages of most of Arab users. Yet, what I would like to share with you here are the facebook statuses and their trends from one country to another with a special focus on the country of my heart: Egypt.

Self-Immolation – burning one’s body with fire- is not like burning a DVD on a computer. It is a holy act symbolising purification by fire in ancient religions which became on the 60s a Bonzo Buddhist way of protestation against oppression, and on the 80s and 90s a signature of the PPK ‘’Kurdish Workers Party’’ to attract the attention of the world. However, we are witnessing a unique rise of this phenomenon in the Arab world. First the Tuk-Tuk  suicides in Egypt and now a graduated Tunisian who burned himself and started a revolution on the streets and on the internet. The story of this hero chocked the Arab facebook population, and produced a flow of comments and statuses. 

It is not surprising how the Egyptian humor took over the guilt and the shame of not doing a revolution of their own. I saw somewhere that the more oppressed are the people; the more their humor is strong and creative as a way to exteriorize the pressure they undergo. The jokes talked the Ben Ali escape, the comparison with Egypt, the Arab leadership with a sparkle of Adil Emam and Advertisement quotes which only Egyptians can understand, like : ‘’Tunisia chose change, and Egypt chose Shipsy with shrimps’’! Well I allow myself to criticise the Egyptian reaction, because I left my heart in Alexandria and I feel real concern and love for this country. I was laughing with amusement at first while reading the comments, but later I felt the bitterness of disgust in my through and the tears filling my eyes. I started repeating to myself, here they go again laughing about it instead of taking action. Here they go again spending all their energy in longue articles, analysis and poems instead of standing up for justice! 

We all know Tunisia is not Egypt, not anthropologically, not geopolitically and not politically! The foreign powers sat on their shares watching the former Tunisian Regime collapsing without a move because they have pragmatically no interest in the land of the Cathagians except from some mild investments here and there. Yet, Egypt is the neighbour of a boiling Sudan in the south, and You Know Who in the east, and all the super powers invested so much in the stability of the region to risk it like this. Without getting into the details of the nature of the Egyptian elites, the problematic of the army or the heterogeneity of the dominating ideologies in the country, let’s just admit that Egypt is ready for its revolution to the extent that we hear the countdown tic-tac of the bomb in the air, but not in the Tunisian way in the Egyptian way which unfortunately will be bloody and spectacular enough for a 80 million inhabitant and a 5 millennia of history. 

For the Moroccan facebook population we can note three trends. The first one is the total support and happiness of Moroccans for the second liberation of Tunisia after 1956. However, most people on my list didn’t express any envy or desire to import the revolution to their kingdom. The second trend is the minority of intellectuals who had a really out of context discourse about having a Moroccan Revolution! What is amazing about this second trend is that the revolutionary fever took the people to the extent that sounded like being in Burma not in Morocco, and being just angry in general without précising what is the real subject or object of their anger! The third trend is the most intriguing for me, as some Moroccans were promoting for an Algerian Revolution against the army in the country. I wonder is it out of solidarity between neighbors, or a hidden hope to see the supporters of the Polisario on their knees. 

Regarding our friends from the Gulf countries, I didn’t notice much concern about what happened as if Tunisia was a small island next to Madagascar far from the minds and hearts. The few comments I saw were from a religious point of view, explaining how Ben Ali was banning Hijab and religious symbols and how the Tunisian believers are liberated now on. Watch this discourse, because it is from this part of the Arab body that the capitals come from!

Finally, the heroes of the day: the Tunisians! If they didn’t call the revolution the Jasmine Revolution, I would call it the Internet Revolution. Tunisians were acting as live reporters from their street corners reporting to the world the bloody confrontations with the Police. We witnessed a high quality of information, up-to-date news and sense of patriotism from the people living in Tunisia and the Diaspora living abroad. While the Tunisian national TV was broadcasting documentaries about zebras and crocodiles, the average Tunisian was shouting online his glory to the world. 

At the end I would love to offer a necklace of Jasmine to Egypt on the 25th of January. One of those ‘’Ful’’ ornaments sold by young gipsy girls on the cornice to busy drivers stuck in the jam of life who forget how frail is a jasmine flower and how refreshing is its smell, just like the smell of freedom. Massa’k Ful ya Masr!