Op-ed

Religious holidays in America: Money and the Moral Collapse of a Nation

Kenitra - The newest world we all call America is unique in many of its attributes, cultural ways, ideologies and patriotic slogans. Americans stand in huge admiration of the spirit of their nation, and for many others around the world, America is seen as a land of hope, opportunity, pride and glory. Many of America’s early traditions were built on religion, morality and freedom, including some holidays. Bu ...

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“The Bus Runs From Me”: Scapegoating the Other in Moroccan Culture

El Jadida, Morocco - The social representation of the other in the Moroccan popular culture of Islam is mainly grounded in the culturally embedded conception of possession popularized by a maraboutic cultural worldview. The concept of the other may be regarded as positional constituting whatever is radically different from the social categories of the same and whatever represents an urgent threat by virtue ...

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Morocco’s Minister of Education and the Onslaught on Teachers

Fez - After Mr Rachid Belmokhtar was appointed Minister of National Education and Vocational Training we sighed in relief, thinking the burden we have been carrying would be finally off our shoulders. The saviour had come to put the train back on its track after years of deviation and snail’s pace travel in the age of speed and high-tech. We thought the right man was finally placed in the right position sin ...

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Chaos in MENA: The West Is Also Responsible

Rabat - There is no doubt that local populations, various elites, intellectuals, military institutions, law enforcement, education systems, religious establishments, and MENA governments all share responsibility for the current political, social, economic and cultural mess that defines their region. In this text, however, I focus on how other parties also share some of these responsibilities. The following ...

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An Oil War in Libya, Not a War of Liberation

Istanbul - There has been no peace in Libya since 2010. The main reason for the conflict is oil revenues. Libya saw the bloodiest revolution of the Arab Spring. It also has Africa’s largest crude oil reserves, at 48 billion barrels. Oil production, which stood at approximately 1.6 million barrels a day before the 2011 revolution, is today far below that. Natural gas and oil make up 96% of the country’s tota ...

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Happy Tears: Human Connection Leading to Human Development

Marrakech - We may know - perhaps even at first hand - of a gap in society whose presence causes pain for countless individuals.  Here in Morocco, such a void - that of unrelenting poverty - exists, particularly in rural places (where poverty is typically most concentrated worldwide) and most of all in mountainous areas of the Kingdom. At the same time the people identify clear opportunities for prosperity ...

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Morocco at the Crossroads: The Arab Spring and Beyond

By Mohammed Maarouf and Paul Willis El Jadida, Morocco - The popular insurrections that have taken place in the Arab World ever since the overthrow of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 emerged as a response to the ‘unsettled times’ of massive demographic shifts and multiple failures in the economic sphere. They started as political revolutions that sought to establish new political systems, ...

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In Praise of Arabic Music and Belly Dance

New York - Besides books, and all that has to do with the alchemy of words, music is what I love most. Dance is music expressed through the body, said a wonderful teacher of mine. This idea fascinated me: dance as an incarnation of music. Through rhythm and harmony, human beings unveil the contents of their souls and fuse with others. Music and dance allow artists and their audiences to experience transcend ...

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Israel’s Future: Jewish or Democratic, or Both?

Toronto - In my last piece on the eve of Israeli elections, I wrote about the dangers of religious extremism in the Middle East and its threat to democracy. Well, Israeli voters have spoken! They gave Benjamin Netanyahu a resounding third consecutive term. Isaac Herzog, the head of the center-left Labor party, conceded defeat and vowed to continue his work from the opposition. The Joint-List, led by Arab-Is ...

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The Failure of Algeria’s Bouteflika

By Majid Morceli San Francisco - Algeria’s friends and foes cannot help but feel sorrow and disgust for the trap set for the Algerian people by their own regime, and even worse, its inability to stop the Hogra, or contempt from officials, that the majority of Algerians live with. One of the most mind-boggling and incomprehensible aspects of 2014 Algeria is its presidency, which has repeatedly ashamed the Al ...

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A Priceless but Costly Cultural Difference

Rabat - As reported by Morocco World News last month, a Moroccan, working in the U.S. as a taxi driver, was called a “terrorist” and worse by a group of his customers. His feelings were hurt and he became angry and afraid. He responded by calling the police for help. However, when they responded, he found them to be far from helpful. He said that as he tried in vain to explain the situation from his point o ...

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Why Is There So Much Violence in Our Schools?

Rabat - There are three main problems in Morocco’s educational system. First of all, students have a lack of respect for teachers and the educational establishment, Secondly, something in society has encouraged and promoted this trend. And finally, there is inadequate teacher training. Throughout the education system over recent years, students have been showing less respect for teachers and administrative ...

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