Videos from Morocco        
          Du Rif au Kif en passant par Chefchaouen — Chefchaouen, Morocco        
Et si on partait... en Afrique
          Comment on Banners Design for Mobile Unlock Base by MichaelImmed        
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          Moroccan Medina        
Experience the magic of Morocco at Earthbound Trading Co.’s colorful pop-up shop at the Galleria Dallas on August 10, 2017 from 6 - 9 p.m. Stop by this free event as you sip on Moroccan tea sponsored by Baboush and shop one-of-a-kind vintage rugs and pillows, traditional poufs, hand-woven market bags, hammered tea trays, tea [...]
          Weekend Reading: Iran's Foreign Policy, Egyptian Dystopian Literature, and Protests in Morocco        
Ariane Tabatabai and Annie Tracy Samuel 

          Award Spurs Debate in 'Desert of Silence' in Muslim World        

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post, where you can visit for the original piece by clicking here or on the title

Award Spurs Debate in 'Desert of Silence' in Muslim World

LISBON -- There was something truly captivating about sitting in the Castle of São Jorge in Lisbon, Portugal, waiting for the announcement of the 2013 winners of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Overlooking the cityscape, the citadel is home to both the Christian and Muslim history of the Iberian peninsula, a fitting setting for an event looking to promote common linkages across geographic divides. Held every three years, the Award looks to promote conversation around the themes of development and the built environment in the Muslim world and beyond. Once again, the gathering -- hosted by the President of Portugal and the Aga Khan -- brought together an eclectic array of participants from representatives from around the world, ranging from ministers and diplomats to religious figures (including from the Vatican), to architects and builders, to thinkers and writers.
The Award recipients were equally diverse, with five projects celebrated in this cycle (bringing the number of winners in the history of the Award to 110). They included: the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan; the revitalization of Birzeit in Palestine; the Rabat-Salé Bridge in Morocco; the rehabilitation of the Tabriz Bazaar in Iran; and an Islamic cemetery in Austria (the latter perhaps the most intriguing project). While the initiative represents the largest, in terms of monetary value, architecture award in the world, its objective goes beyond aesthetic design, seeking to identify projects that are on the frontier of sustainable development (in all senses of the term) and that are locally attuned. Yet what was clear this year was the juxtaposition of the contemplative conversation in Lisbon and the "desert of silence "that still characterizes much of the Muslim world, outside specialized or academic circles, on these very themes. And this is the challenge for the Award, and similar such platforms -- to not just hold the conversation but to widen the debate to engage with the multitude of forces shaping and influencing the broader Muslim world (and beyond).
Founded in 1977, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) is part of the wider set of initiatives of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which mobilizes annually over $600 million to support development activities throughout the 30 countries in which it works. The Award shares the holistic approach of the AKDN towards development, whereby local participation, alignment, and empowerment are critical to the viability and impact of any activity. Held every three years, 2013 represented the 13th cycle of the awards. Governed by a nine-person Steering Committee that includes some of the top minds in the field, such as Norman Foster and Glenn Lowry (from the Museum of Modern Art), the Award appoints a new Master Jury for each cycle; this year's Jury, for example, includedMahmoud Mamdani of Uganda and Wang Shu of China.
One of the central purposes of the Award, according to its founder, the Aga Khan, and voiced during this years ceremony was to replace the "vast desert [of] silence [that] had set in" in the Muslim world with lively debate, around the issues of development, architecture, and the built environment. Certainly, this would be no easy challenge. Over the last three decades, the Award has highlighted a number of worthy projects, recognized and encouraged leading architects and builders, and promoted education with the principles of the Award in mind. Yet, it has not been enough to fill the silence. Instead, at the frontier of the built environment in Muslim communities, and places like the Arab world, this silence has been filled by what appears too often like cacophonous chaos. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the holy city of Mecca, where a giant clock tower and monstrous skyscrapers not only cast a shadow over Islam's holiest mosque, the Kaaba, but are systematically destroying the city's historic heritage while contributing very little to community needs, besides increases in property values.
This is emblematic of the challenge of the Award, in particular, but also of other similar initiatives seeking to influence trends in the broader Muslim world, where it is not contemplative conversation that drives change but rather copious (often misallocated) capital that determines development patterns instead. How can you not just fill that vast desert of silence but also ensure that it is not the loudest voices that win the debate?
Given the ongoing shifts throughout the developing world, such as the move from rural to urban environments, political transition, and economic modernization, more engagement will be needed on a number of critical issues, especially the built environment and how it promotes sustainable development. Hopefully the conversations, such as those in Lisbon, begin to move beyond the classroom and into the mainstream.
Photo credit: AKDN

          Assessing Syria: Seeking a Way Forward         
Today there was a pivotal meeting of the so-called 'Friends of Syria' group held in Marrakech, Morocco. At the meeting and just ahead of it, a number of countries recognized the Syrian National Coalition (the abbreviated name of the opposition group by consensus formed in Doha several weeks back) as the 'legitimate representatives of Syria.' Yet, this recognition and perhaps an approved tranche of funding, will certainly not be enough to end the despair and difficult situation in Syria right now. There are no easy solutions. I am reposting below a piece from a month-and-a-half ago that I wrote on a simple basis for a way forward.

This article was originally published on Syria Deeply, on October 29, 2012. 

In Syria today, there are no easy solutions. In fact, there may be no solutions at all, something that even UN Special EnvoyLakhdar Brahimi affirmed. Moreover, unless the objective is to destroy the castle in order to unseat the king, reinforcing the status quo of active conflict will only make Syria’s situation harder to solve.
The war scenes have been horrific over the last several months in Syria, particularly in Aleppo. The army has continued its systematic ground and air campaign, indiscriminately firing into vaguely-defined rebel areas in almost every major city.According to the United Nations, this has included: â€œmurder, summary executions, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual violence, violations of children’s rights, pillaging, and destruction of civilian objects – including hospitals and schools.”
Aleppo’s historic Souq, purportedly the largest in the entire Middle East, went up in flames in late September.  In early October, a blast by the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra group ripped through the heart of the city’s main square, brutally killing dozens of civilians and injuring countless more.  Violence from all sides continued with varying intensity through the Eid al-Adha holiday.
The Center for New American Security projects five potential scenarios in Syria. Unfortunately, some of these are either unlikely (i.e. #2 managed transition) or ominous (i.e. #5 disintegration of the country). The fourth scenario envisions that Bashar Assad remains in power after a protracted civil war, something that seems completely untenable for regional forces and many Syrians to accept, despite Iran, Russia and perhaps China in support. The first scenario, the sudden death of Assad, is neither a solution nor something to bank on. Even if Assad is killed, his regime is well entrenched in Syria. Scenario number three, which consists of the overthrow of the regime by the armed opposition, appears to be where the U.S., the GCC, and Europe have invested most of their energies, somewhat nervously.
It has become increasingly clear, however, that this latter scenario is dangerous, will not work, and is only leading to a greater conflagration of violence and deaths. UN Envoy Brahimi, who has extensive experience in conflict mitigation from Iraq to Afghanistan, has even told the Saudi King that the crisis “would not be resolved through military means.” Conversely, any scenario that keeps Assad in power and the regime status quo intact is a hollow solution that won’t satisfy the armed opposition, as the breakdown of Kofi Annan’s plan demonstrated (a plan that did not explicitly call for a regime transition). Yet foreign military intervention to dislodge the regime still appears unlikely and counter-productive.
That leaves us with a quixotic proposal that also seems like the only plausible option: the simultaneous call for a universal ceasefire and an immediate process of transition of the regime. Many rebel groups, particularly hardline Salafist jihadist fighters, would hardly be receptive to any ceasefire. Yet, other groups, such as the Farouq Batallion, could welcome a ceasefire if it was accompanied by real change in Syria’s leadership. Such a ceasefire could also be guaranteed by a no-fly-zone. This would give Russia and China comfort that the no-fly-zone is part of a universal cessation of violence, and not one simply imposed on the Syrian government.
Meanwhile, on the regime side, its supporters have already been meeting with opposition groups, demonstrating declining confidence in Assad. Russia has received several opposition delegations, and there are reports that Iran has met with the Muslim Brotherhood, although Tehran denies the meeting. Even in regime strongholds, such as Assad’s hometown ofQardaha, there have been growing skirmishes between groups as the situation has grown fractious.
The dual call for a simultaneous, robust ceasefire and a process of regime transition seems simple and obvious. And while there are many layers of complexity, and a complicated path to align stakeholders to make it happen, it is this dual call that is the only basis for a real solution to Syria. The alternative, a systematic escalation in violence, is no solution at all.

          Lamb Tagine with Dates and Apricots        
This Lamb Tagine with Dates has coriander, cinnamon and saffron mixed with the onion, garlic and almonds that simmer and the lamb is beyond tender.

Need a change of pace at the dinner table before all the holiday fare? Have I got a good one for you. My idea of comfort food via Morocco is definitely a tagine. A slow simmered meal that allows everything inside the pot to meld into a tender and succulent dinner. This Lamb Tagine with Dates […]

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          Harissa Paste        

Prepare to be kissed by fire, but in a good way! The spicy way, with my easy recipe for Harissa Paste. Harissa is a North African hot chili paste or sauce commonly eaten in Tunisia and Morocco whose main ingredients are chili peppers, tomatoes and Paprika. This fiery red sauce is served as a condiment with […]

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          Nigeria, Egypt top list for intenet penetration in Africa        

Top 10 African countries with highest intenet penetration (2012) Nigeria Egypt South Africa Morocco Kenya Sudan Tanzania Algeria Uganda Tunisia Source: African Development Bank  

The post Nigeria, Egypt top list for intenet penetration in Africa appeared first on

           QS Supplies interactive global map of public loos         
In Morocco, a public loo is known locally as an 'alhamam', it costs 2DH (£0.16) to use, they are commonly 'squat' facilities rather than sit-down ones, and you're required to bring your own loo roll.
          Oceans Seven Featured As #1 Extreme Adventure        
Courtesy of The Weather Channel on the Oceans Seven.

Darren Miller, one of the seven aquatic adventurers, was featured on The Weather Channel's Top Ten: Extreme Adventures that was broadcast on August 6th throughout America.

Miller was the first individual to go 7-for-7 on the Oceans Seven (i.e., 7 successful crossings in 7 attempts of the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, the English Channel between France and England, the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, the Cook Strait between the North and South Islans of New Zealand, the Tsugaru Channel between Honshu and Hokkaido in northern Japan, the Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and Southern California, and the Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Island).

The Weather Channel selected the Oceans Seven as the most extreme adventure in its Top 10 list that also included the Badwater Ultramarathon, running up Mount Everest, walking across Antarctica and Greenland, marine boot camp, cycling across America, and orienteering in Patagonia - all different journeys of the extreme through some of the worst weather conditions on Earth where adventurers willingly take on the unforgiving power of Mother Nature; trekking and treading through freezing temperatures in the mountains, in the oceans and in the Arctic Circle.

"It is great to see open water swimming, and the Oceans Seven in particular, receive the recognition of being an arduous, difficult, and challenging extreme sport, especially relative to distance running, cycling, mountaineering and all the other dryland sports that receive so much more attention," says Steven Munatones. "But, however demanding open water swimming is, swimming is also forgiving on the body and can be done for decades at a high level and by people in their 50's, 60's, 70's and older. This makes it unique among the most formidable extreme sports."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

          Italy: Italy Sea Arrivals Dashboard (January - July 2017)        
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Iraq, Italy, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World


Between 1 January and 31 July 2017, 95,213 persons arrived in Italy by sea. This is a 2% increase compared to sea arrivals in the same period last year (93,774).

Trends in sea arrivals should be assessed over time, as fluctuations on a monthly basis may be linked to various factors, including weather and sea conditions or the situation in the countries of departure and origin. Geopolitical developments and the capacity of smugglers to organize departures may also affect sea arrivals.

          The Road from Morocco        
The Road from Morocco
author: Wafa Faith Hallam
name: Jinx
average rating: 3.56
book published: 2011
rating: 4
read at: 2012/12/20
date added: 2012/12/20
Interesting read.

          2 Continents, 1 Week! Part 2--Morocco!        
So here's the 2nd half of my adventure..

I make it home on Thursday from Dublin around 7:15 PM, I'm not even able to put my HIKING BACKPACK down when Heidi approaches me asking if I want to take a trip to Africa (Morocco, but it sounds cooler to say Africa) that weekend. I'm totally down, obviously, so I'm home not even 5 minutes and have already made plans to leave the next day to another continent!

Friday, March 12th
Heidi, Kelly, and I set off for Africa that day with a tour group called We Love Spain & only knew each other. We were suppose to meet at 11:00 AM and get on the bus, turns out that around 12:00 PM the group of about 125 students is guided about a 1/4 of a mile from our meeting spot to get on the bus. Cool. We take a 2 hour bus ride to Tarifa and from there we waited an hour to board the ferry. It was about an hour ride from Spain to Africa. Once we crossed the Straight of Gibraltar we were STILL IN SPAIN?!? Yes, Spain has a providence on the Northern tip of Af! Crazy. It´s a little city named Ceuta. From there we took a bus about 45 minutes to the Moroccan boarder. The scariest part of the whole trip was at the boarder. We rolled up in our bus to find homeless looking people with huge bags of who knows what, men dressed in cloaks with pointy hoods, and women all wrapped up in floor length dresses and scarves around their heads. There was a strict no picture policy at the boarder. I wasn´t about to try and sneak any pictures like I did in Aracena, I think it would be a bit different getting in trouble in Morocco by the intimidating guards compared to Aracena by some crazy spanish guide. So, we got our passports stamped and a moroccan guard came on the bus to check our stamps, and then we were off! We stayed the first night in a small fishing villiage in a hotel that was totally decked out from the 80's, it was great! Us three girls luckily got a room that had a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea!High rollerz. We were able to unpack and relax for about 20 minutes and then it was dinner time. We ate a vegetable soup (not bad), FISH (really not bad, what has gotten into me??) , mixed vegetables, and for dessert flan! The fish was even all boney and I ate the majority of it?!? Crazy. After dinnner, we retired to our room and fell asleep early from a long day of traveling and we wanted to awake early to watch the sun rise from our balc.

Saturday, March 13th
We woke up at 6:30 ish and sat outside on the balcony wrapped up in blankets and watched the sunrise, it was wonderful! Saturday was a big day for us, we pretty much did all of our site seeing that day. We hit the road early and made our way to ChefChauen. ChefChauen is a city in Morocco that is all BLUE! It was so cool. All of the walls and doors in the city are painted different variations of blue (many photo opts). We had a guide that showed us around the city who was the size of a peanut and absolutely hilarious. He was a tiny man that I wanted to put in my pocket and bring with my everywhere. He took us to an authentic blanket making shop that was totally over priced. So after the tour we had some free time to shop around in the markets. Here is the BIG DRAMATIC STORY....The plan was to look around and then meet back in the middle of the plaza in 45 minutes. So, 45 minutes pass and everyones starting to congregate in the meeting place. Not everyone is there and Kelly wanted to quickly go back to a shop and buy an authentic, hand-made, silk Mocorrocan blanket (how could you not want one of those?!?) So, she asks me if I wanted to come with her, of course I said yes. On our way to the shop where she spotted her beloved blanket, we saw another shop with more blankets so we decided to pop in there. She finds one she likes and starts to barter with the old, Moroccan man. The two finally settle on a satisfactory price when I spot a blanket that I like and then she spots another blanket! So, the bartering begins again! After a couple back and forths, we negociate a final price for the 2 blankets 33 euro. (which is a good price because Toto (our pint-sized guide) took us to a blanket place that was selling the same blankets for atleast 45 euro. Scam.) Okay, so I have one blanket in hand and Kelly has two. We proceed to the meeting place and are relieved to see a group of students there waiting. We walk up to them only to realize that the person leading them around is Manuel from DISCOVER SEVILLA, a totally different tour group. We start freaking out. WE´RE LOST ALONE IN A MOROCCAN MARKET. All I can think about is the show Locked Up Aboard on Discovery Channel, we´re never making it back home to Sevilla! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO?!?! We run up to Manuel and awkwardly explain to him (because we went with a different tour company) that we lost our group and need to get back on our bus. He consults his Moroccan tour guide (who doesn´t seem half as fun as ours) who tells us to take 1 street straight and it should bring us to the bus. As we´re about to run after our group Manuel asks us if we want his phone number. Absolutely relentless with the flirtation. It´s a joke. (Him and 2 other guys who work for the travel agency that caters to study abroad students (mainly girls) is to schmooze them and be flirtatious. So in our time of panic and need, the advances don´t stop. hahahhah.) Anyways, we take off on our own and begin running down the narrow, packed market walkways. We´re dodging people left and right and people are shouting ¨MANTA! MANTA! MANTA!¨(which means blanket in Spanish. They speak spanish in Morocco, fyi) Suddenly, we´re faced with a fork in the road, RIGHT OR LEFT?!, I look to a store owner who is aware that we are obviously lost and looking for our group and he shouts ¨Derecha, Derecha¨(right, right) and motions us in the correct direction, unless it was some kind of trick, but we took his word for it and trusted him. Finally after a 3 minute sprint down the claustrophobic corridors of the market we arrived to the street to see our bus still parked in the same spot. THANK YOU GOD! As we stepped on the bus, we door shut quickly behind us and we drove away immediately. Whoops. Guess we shouldn´t stray away from the group even if we´re being lured in by mantas. But the reason why we were in such a hurry is because the KING of Morocco was in town and the city closes off the streets for him so we could´ve potentially been stuck in Chefksjflkds forever! AHhhhhhhhh. On our bus ride to Tangier (our lunch stop) we actually saw the KING pass us in a parade of cars! Super crazy! He even waved! WOW. Continuing, we arrive in Tangier for our real Moroccan lunch. We are greeted at the door by a bunch of Moroccan hooligans singing and dancing. It was really fun and funny. Our lunch consisted of a large plate of normal salad ingredients, a chicken kebab (which was partly raw), and a large pot of chicken with lemon (the chicken was on the bone and it was like my first night in Sevilla all over again. Gross), and mint tea (absolutely delicious) & a small actual crumbly cookie. It was all good, but I didn´t really eat that much because the first chicken was raw and I´m not a fan of meat on a bone (although I just ate fish off of bones the night before. Whatever) After lunch we go on a guided tour through the market area in Tangier. We went to a pharmacy/spice shop (not Spice like the porn store on the way to Oshkosh). I bought 3 packages of cinnamon. I´m not sure why?? We were being paraded through the market area like a spectacle, stares all around. It was kind of funny except when we passed Moroccan police (?) who were carrying very large guns... We got to one part of the tour which was more dangerous I guess because we had like 4 tour guides? I never really felt that uncomfortable though. Everything was a bit dirty there. There were people who had fresh fruit and vegetable stands, pastry stands, mismatched/already worn shoe stands, hoarding stands where they just collected shit and tried to sell it? (it was literally just random shit. ie: tape players, old school phones with cords, game boys from the 90´s. hahhahah) All of the pastries had huge bee/fly things landing all over them. So appitizing.

After our amussing tour through the Tangier market, we hopped back on the bus to our final destination for the day, Tetuan. We arrived in Tetuan around 9:00 and had 45 minutes to unpack and get ready for dinner. Our room looked like an insane asylum. Everything was the same color, the floor, the walls, the bedding, it was all an off white/tan-ish color. And best of all, there were dead ants all over the ground. YUM. We freaked out temporarily, but thought hey we´re in Africa. Heidi took the first shower. She said it was the worse shower of her life. The shower head was one of those ropey ones you would find at a hair salon, but it had no holder on the way so you had to physically hold it above your head, oh yeah... the water was wukelarm. I went next (I probably should´ve just stayed dirty), it was bad. And there was no blow dryer. Hello Mom hair. We went to dinner with wet hair. Before leaving for dinner we went to the front desk and brought attention to our bug infested room. The front desk sent a little old lady to come sweep up the dead ants and spary some big killer, which was very toxic smelling. We were forbidden to enter our room for a couple of hours. Before our feast we went to a show. Sounds cool right? It was three guys on horses galloping back and forth on the grass in front of us shooting guns? One strange thing. We sat down for dinner feasted on several Moroccan dishes, vegetabley soup, meatballs with eggs (tasted like taco meat), and couscous. It was all really good! During dinner we were entertained with various acts, acrobatic children, belly dancers, and men doing tricks. After dinner we talked to the front desk again about our deathe chamber of a room. After some resistance the front desk attendent finally gave us another room. We carefully entered room and grabbed our belongings, hoping we wouldn´t pass out from the fumes. We went up to our new room. It was a 3 room suite with balcony! No wonder there was some hesitation. There were 2 living room areas that were decorated with an awkwardly small amount of furniture and 2 queen beds. The balcony overlooked some run down bulidings next door, but noneless we weren´t sleeping with dead ants, or so we hoped.

Sunday, March 14th
We woke up the next morning and had breakfast downstairs. I ATE CEREAL. How do they have cereal in Morocco but not in Spain?!? Anyways, I was really happy! We had time that day to do a little shopping. Kelly and I found a watch place and bargined with the guy until we received 2 watches for 5 euro, what a joke. Funny thing is, the joke was on us.. my fake Lacoste watch stopped working 36 hours later. hahaha. Oh well. Sunday was a day of traveling back to Sevilla. We made it back home around 5:30 which was nice because we had exams that upcoming week.

Overall, it was a great experience! I had no idea what to expect going there, but I´m glad I went. Although, I think once was enough for me! The fact that for every 50 men we saw, we saw 1 completely covered woman, it was good to leave and be back to what I have come to know as `civilization´Spain. ChefChauen was definitely the coolest part, but everything overall was neat! I´m thankful I don´t live there!!!!!

          Only now does it occur to me... LEGIONNAIRE        
Only now does it occur to me... that when Jean-Claude Van Damme makes a $35 million prestige picture and it ends up going straight-to-video... there's a reason for that.

Written by JCVD himself in collaboration with Sheldon Lettich (LIONHEART, DOUBLE IMPACT) and Rebecca Morrison (SCORCHER) and directed by Peter MacDonald (RAMBO III, THE NEVER ENDING STORY III), LEGIONNAIRE sees Van Damme playing "Alain Lefevre," a 1920s French boxer with a level of moral righteousness that is usually only seen in movies where the star is also the executive producer. Did I mention that this film is produced by (among others) Jean-Claude Van Damme and Edward R. Pressman (BADLANDS, WALL STREET, AMERICAN PSYCHO)?

Anyway, the film begins promisingly enough, with punching and grunting

and the bursting of flashbulbs, and you can tell from the styling that they think they're making RAGING BULL. When JCVD is told to throw the fight, he refuses and winds up on the run in a lavishly produced chase scene on the streets of Marseille,

complete with a weepy damsel waiting at a fog-machine-drenched train platform.

However, JCVD never makes his train, and, while on the lam from French gangsters and sorrowfully hiding on a cart of discarded vegetables,

he spies a poster for the French Foreign Legion,

which luckily has a late-nite drive-thru recruitment station.

Next thing you know, JCVD's wandering the desert with a rifle, and the movie has transformed into a kind of tedious '90s variant of GUNGA DIN or Von Sternberg's MOROCCO. And it's here that the movie begins to really drag.

It's trying very hard for poignancy the entire time, too, which makes it all the more painful, even if the filmmaking is technically more competent than his Cannon work.

You can tell it is a Serious Picture because of JCVD's patented pathos-face.

Anyway, there's lots of men and dust and guns and horses
and men with guns on dusty horses

and some Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

and I can't decide if it's more or less homoerotic than LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

I mean, maybe it's technically more homoerotic,

in practice, if not in spirit.

In comparison, JCVD's THE QUEST (which he directed and co-wrote) was also an earnest attempt at Oscar bait, but it brought a certain joie de vivre (Joie-Claude Van Vivre?) to the proceedings. It, too, was a period piece with tear-jerkin' pretensions, but it was at least centered around a martial arts tournament, and sort of felt like BLOODSPORT mixed with a '40s swashbuckler (and maybe a Dickens novel?)

In LEGIONNAIRE, JCVD still has the amazing newsie cap from THE QUEST, though it seems to have shrunk a bit.

Alas, his clown makeup from THE QUEST does not make a reappearance.

In any event, perhaps all you really need to know is that there are no splits in LEGIONNAIRE, at least not on-screen.
          Piñata — Marrakech, Morocco        
Vamos Pa El Mediterraneo y Marruecos
          Coca Cola Desert — Merzouga, Morocco        
Vamos Pa El Mediterraneo y Marruecos
          Simplicity — Casablanca, Morocco        
Vamos Pa El Mediterraneo y Marruecos
          Inshallah - Ojala - God Willing — Essaouira, Morocco        
Vamos Pa El Mediterraneo y Marruecos
          Beautiful land, beautiful people — Fes, Morocco        
Vamos Pa El Mediterraneo y Marruecos
          Global "Ease of Doing Business" Ranking        
Morocco gets the honors for "most improved", while Korea enters the top 10. Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, US and Denmark still rule.

29 Vote(s)
          Comment on Shaikha Fatima Championship for women a highlight of Morocco race card by Nils Rosenkjaer        
Why are all the riders in the picture wearing identical silks ? It seems counterproductive from both a spectator's, a racecaller's, a steward's and a judge's point of view. Same owner ?
          Loesje Morocco        
Loesje Morocco is active all over Morocco since 2017.


You have now joined the Loesje Morocco group on the international website of Loesje. 


/Loesje Morocco

          Eight Cape Town beaches were awarded Blue Flag status        

If beaches have Blue Flag status, that means they are clean, safe and secure, and adhere to international safety and tourism standards.

"Having Blue Flag beaches and marinas is a significant tourism draw-card, because international visitors know what to expect when visiting a Blue Flag beach or marina."

The city said Cape Townhad the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the country.

The Blue Flag is awarded annually to over 3650 beaches and marinas in 44 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, and the Caribbean.

The eight beaches granted Blue Flag status are as follows:

Camps Bay
Clifton 4th

The two marinas that got Blue Flag status are Granger Bay Water Club and the False Bay Marina.

To see full article see here. 

          Blue Flag Status for 8 of the City of Cape Town's beaches        
Picture: iafrica (source: Tumblr)

The National Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, confirmed that eight of the City of Cape Town’s beaches and two of its marinas have been awarded Blue Flag Status.

The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded annually to over 3650 beaches and marinas in 44 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean. The City has successfully participated in the Blue Flag Beach Programme since its inception in South Africa in 2001.

This year the City applied for Blue Flag status for eight of its beaches across the metropole – all of which have been granted this coveted status. This means that the City has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in South Africa.

The beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status for this season, which runs from 1 December 2012 to 31 March 2013, are Bikini, Mnandi, Strandfontein, Muizenberg, Llandudno, Camps Bay, Clifton 4th and Silwerstroomstrand.

Blue Flag beaches are required to meet 32 criteria spanning four aspects of coastal management: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and services. The status indicates that the beaches are clean, have adequate ablution facilities and parking, are environmentally sound, are safe and secure to visit, and adhere to international safety and tourism standards.

In conclusion, the Blue Flag brand adds value to Cape Town’s Responsible Tourism offerings and supports the implementation of the City’s Responsible Tourism Policy.

Read more:

          Morocco: criticism of equity & reconciliation commission        
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 02-12-2015 with Joel Davis        

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Fofoulah- Dont Let Your Mind Unravel Safe Travels - Fofoulah
Ester Rada- Lose It - Ester Rada
Celt Islam- In This World feat Danman - Irfan Ep
FirewoodPoetry- The Anatomist - Demo
Fabiano Do Nascimento- Primeira Estrella - Danca Dos Tempos
Karl Hector The Maclouns- Beyond Squares - Coomassi
- voicebreak -
Herbert- Bumps - Part 7
J Dilla- Jay Dee 3 - Jay Dee Aka J Dilla The King Of Beats Box Set
Eccodek- Singing In Tongues Morgan Doctor Remix - Remixing In Tongues
Freq Nasty- Check It Out feat Skibadee - Botchit Breakspeech
Dungen- Panda - Ta Det Lugnt
Giant Sand- Spell Bound - Blurry Blue Mountain
Asaf Avidan- The Labyrinth Song - Gold Shadow
Aretha Franklin- Lights Out Diplos Panda Bear Mix - Top Ranking a Diplo Mix Feat Santogold
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1 Giant Leap- What I Need Is Something Different feat Boots Riley Speech Omani Beduin - What About Me Awakening
Mr Lies- Flood You - Flood You Medusa Single
KNDL- Get Faded - KNDL
Sonido Desconocido II- Cumbia De La Cuesto Del Nero - Cumbia De La Cuesto Del Nero Single
Horseman- Computer - Dawn Of The Dread
Raw Produce Feat Mr Lif- I Am Myself - Sleepyhead Ii Classic Combos
DJ Brokenwindow- Hair Nails Percolator - Parallel Universe 1
Nobukazu Takemura- Serene - Mr Scruffs Big Chill Classics
Dengue Fever- Vacant Lot - The Deepest Lake
Telemachus- Land Snail - In Morocco
J Dilla- Jay Dee 7 - Jay Dee Aka J Dilla The King Of Beats Box Set
The KutiMangoes- Something Yellow - AfroFire
Dolores Vargas- AChiLiPu - Soul Jazz Records Presents Gipsy Rhumba The Original Rhythm Of Gipsy Rhumba In Spain 19651974
Charleston Okafor- Silly Things DJ Spooky Remix - Unreleased
The Breeders- Cannonball - Last Splash
Swami John Reis The Blind Shake- Zulu As Kono - Modern Surf Classics
Miss Kenichi- Under My Skirt - Collision Time
Intended Immigration- Noctambule - Una Cartina
Freddie Cruger And Anthony Mills Are Wildwookie- Serious Drug - Shapes Compilation 1101
Vijay Iyer Mike Ladd- Jon Stewart On Crossfire - Still Life With Commentator
Omar Giammarco- El Justiciero - Tribute To Os Mutantes El Justiciero Cha Cha Cha
Various Artists- Zydeco Force Zydeco From 1988 - Schultze Gets The Blues
Bjork- Army Of Me Martin White Accordion Mix - Army Of Me Remixes And Covers
Deadbeat- Deep Space - Adventures In Hyper Reality Single
Nuba Nour- Dessy Lemon - Dessy Lemon Single
Panda Bear- Boys Latin - Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper Bonus Mr Noah EP Edition
Chimurenga Renaissance- Bloggers Vs Journalists - Kudada Nekuva Munhu Mutema
Ancient Astronauts- Calvert Street Rock - Second Sky Thomas Blondet Remixes
Butcher Knives- Butcher Knives Unite feat Ephniko - Misery
William Onyeabor- Crashes In Love - Crashes In Love
Alucidnation- Spring - Aural Architecture
Various Artists- What The World Needs Now Is Love - Great Jewish Music Burt Bacharach
Boards Of Canada- Turquoise Hexagon Sun - Hi Scores
MC Maiquinho- Bonde Do Psico - Bonde Do Psicozona Sul jmay Remix
Marti Nikko DJ Drez- Jaya Radha Madhava - Dreaming In Sanskrit
Red Baraat- Bhangale Oochale feat Delicate Steve - Gaadi Of Truth
Shawn Lee- Christopher Walken On Sunshine feat Princess Superstar - Sing A Song
RJD2- Final Frontier Instrumental - The Horror Deluxe

playlist URL:
          by isawnyu on Flickr.Volubilis, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Morocco, features the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of northern Africa.        
by isawnyu on Flickr.Volubilis, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Morocco, features the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of northern Africa.
          Saffron Harvest        
I’ve just harvested my first saffron, but I don’t think Morocco has anything to worry about just yet as the entire crop will probably provide enough saffron for two meals at the most. Still, I have enjoyed the novelty of it all, harvesting the fragrant red stamens, drying them in the airing cupboard and storing […]
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 10-04-2013 with 99 & Barry        

Cyro Baptistas Banquet Of The Spirits- Batida De Coco - Infinito
Cyro Baptistas Banquet Of The Spirits- Batida De Coco - Infinito
Tal National- Kaani - Kaani
- Kon Togethy Come Together - Cover The Earth Vol 3
- Kon Togethy Come Together - Cover The Earth Vol 3
Ras G- All Is Well - Back On The Planet
Ras G- All Is Well - Back On The Planet
Jungle By Night- Rangda - Hidden
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Man Man- King Shiv - On Oni Pond
The Residents- Hit The Road Jack Remix - Our Tired Poor Huddled Ma
OOIOO- Ina - Gold And Green
Hello Skinny- Crush - Revolutions EP
Hello Skinny- Crush - Revolutions EP
Yuka Honda- Hydrosphere - Heart Chamber Phantoms
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Baba Brooks- Catch A Fire - This Is Dub Rare Jamaican Ska Reggae
Meridian Brothers- El Jazz Del Chupasangres - Devocion Works 20052011
Myeck Waters- The Banjo - Myecks Big Waste Of Time
Messer Chups- Midnight Preacher - Heretic Channel
La Vida- Peace Of Mind - Los Nuggetz 60s Punk Pop And Psychedelic From Latin America
Yamasuki Singers- Yama Yama - Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki
Count Stocky The Upsetters- To Hell And Back - The Sound Doctor
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AutorYno- Poznan - Cosmopolitan Traffic
Melvin Gibbs Elevated Entity- Represent Do Rio - Ancients Speak
- I Beg - Afrobeat Airways 2
Abdellah El Magana- Kassidat El Hakka The Poem Of The Truth - Kassidat Raw 45s From Morocco
Ornette Coleman- Blues Connotation - This Is Our Music
Todd Snider- Conservative Christian RightWing Republican Straight White American Males - East Nashville Skyline
The Clash- Straight To Hell - Hits Back
African Head Charge- Some Bizarre - Off The Beaten Track
Yann Tomita- Medical Service - Doopee Time
Matias Aguayo- Lleg El Don - The Visitor
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John Zorn- Light Chapels - Dreamachines
Hellebore- Artefact - Il Y A Des Jours
Les Enfants Du Monde- Les Bara Jeux Travail Et Funrailles DihimBoro Omaly Loiseau Qui A Dans Hier - Chant Des Enfants Du Monde Vol 14 Madagascar Chants De Brousse
Aya Nishina- Flora Ode To Infinity - Flora
Senking- Pathogenic Agent - List
Mylab- Earthbound - Mylab

playlist URL:
          Music Nights at Cafe Rozella        

The Music Nights at Cafe Rozella continue with some outstanding performers. Performances start at 7 p.m. on Fridays.

Alma Villegas brings her sultry voice to an exquisite and passionate selection of Latin favorites. Friday August 15th at 7 p.m.

From the bouncy feel of Perfidia to the passionate tango version of Besame Mucho and the salsa sound of Mi Tierra these selections have entertained and captured audiences internationally for decades.

Alma Villegas and her band have performed for five years at various venues including Dulces Latin Bistro, Serafina, Bouchée Café in Fremont, St. Clouds, Misto Café, Mamey’s Cuban Café, Madrid, The Tractor Tavern, El Sombrero, The Sitting Room, Julia’s, the Musicquarium at the Triple Door and Jazz Alley. And, of course, Alma is a regular at Cafe Rozella.
Children of the Revolution's Acoustic Trio Friday, August 22nd at 7 p.m.

"When you go to a Children of the Revolution show, you might as well leave your preconceptions about world music at the door" wrote Tina Potterf of the Seattle Times. Fans will usually say something like, "That was the best live show I've ever been to; I don't quite know how to describe it." From Bozeman Montana to the caves of Granada, Spain, from Istanbul to Taiwan, COTR make life-long fans wherever they go.

They can loosely be compared to such breakaway and high-energy world music artists such as Ozomatli, Gipsy Kings, Santana, Manu Chau and the Afro Celt Sound System, but all similarities stop there. Made up of virtuoso musicians, singers and dancers from around the world, COTR blend their Flamenco, Greek, and Rock roots creating, a lush and melodic sound driven by infectious Latin and Middle-Eastern grooves.

The group is fronted by lead singer Vassili, who grew up on the Greek Islands, and former metal head turned flamenco guitarist Eric Jaeger. Sharing the spotlight is Barcelona-born flamenco dancer Encarnación. Their electrifying and sexy concerts showcase outstanding musicianship and songwriting with world-class dance performances. Both world music aficionados and those new to the genre agree - COTR puts on one of the most unifying and entertaining shows in the world.

Guest artists both live and recorded have included legendary rock singer, Ann Wilson of
In less than two years, COTR went from playing small clubs to filling some of the Northwests most prestigious theaters such as Meany Hall, Benaroya Hall and the 3,000-seat Paramount Theater.

COTR is a consistent audience favorite of major festivals in the region such as Folklife, Vancouver Folk Festival, Bumbershoot and Montanas Sweetpea Festival, 3-6,000 people can be seen dancing and singing at these shows. Eleftheria (the Greek word for freedom) is their anthem that ends the show and ALWAYS gets the crowd jumping in unison!

COTR have the achievements, experience and systems in place to create a totally new movement in popular music. They have toured extensively through the Northwest and Canada and have been invited to perform at very special historical events such as; the first Western band invited to play for the Buddhas Birthday in Taiwan for over 30,000 people, the Government Leaders conference (organized by Bill Gates and Paul G. Allen) in Seattle at Experience Music Project, opening for former President Bill Clinton at his "We the People" speech in Seattle in 2006, and KROCKs 2005 Tsunami Relief benefit concert headlined by surviving members of Alice in Chains and Heart. COTRs concert DVD has aired on numerous PBS stations across the country and select tracks from their album, Liberation appear on Putumayo Records compilations.

After spending five months in Europe where they performed and studied with Flamenco masters in Spain, Rye singers in Morocco and Turkish musicians in Istanbul, COTR returned to record their latest CD, Life, Love and Guantanamo Bay. The album is an artistic breakthrough for Children of the Revolution and promises to bring them into the international spotlight.


Eduardo Mendonca’s exuberant energy always gets the house on its feet to his Brazilian beat!

Friday August 29th at 7 p.m.

A native of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, Eduardo traces his lineage to a royal African family bearing the hereditary title of Mama Beka (”prophet of the royal court”), as documented by the Instituto Geográfico e Histórico da Bahia. Eduardo Mendonça has lived for the past ten years in the Seattle area. He began performing in Seattle, and traveling throughout the United States and Canada with the Bakra Bata steel drum band. Now, he has his own group known as Show Brazil!, which has gained much recognition in the past ten years. Show Brazil! has played throughout Western Washington and Brazil at events and locations such as the Folklife Festival, Bumbershoot, Seattle Children's International Festival, BrasilFest, Redmond Arts in the Parks, Taste of Bellevue, Hispanic/Latin Month, Fiestas Patrias, Fall Fandango, Fat Tuesday, Sundiata Festival, World Rhythm Festival, Earth Day Festival, West Seattle Street Festival, Marymoor Heritage Festival, Brazilian Carnaval, Burien Strawberry Festival, Edmonds Festival, Mercado Modêlo (Brazil), Itaigara and Piedade Malls (Brazil), and the Catholic University of Salvador (Brazil).

Eduardo was also featured at Bumbershoot in Seattle, as guest artist of the internationally well-known performing group OLODUM, opening act for Olodum at the Brazilian Carnival in 2003 (Seattle, WA); the Brazilian Carnival in Vancouver- British Columbia - Canada; the Brazilian Carnival in Calgary - Alberta - Canada; the Brazilian Carnival in Seattle - WA - US; and at a Nike-sponsored show in Portland, Oregon. The performances listed above are just a part of Eduardo’s continued success as a performing artist. He also had the honor to play for Pope John Paul II’s welcome to Brazil, former South Africa President Nelson Mandela (Seattle,WA - USA - 1999), Brazilian President João Baptista Figueiredo (Brazil 1979), and was also featured in a Paul Simon documentary video in 1991.

- Eduardo is voting member of National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences - GRAMMY.

-Eduardo Mendonça is winner of “Outstanding Brazilian Male Singer based in the U.S.” for the Brazilian International Press Award 2007 (Florida)

- Winner of “Tribute for Excellence and Achievements in Advancement of Performing Arts and Education of the Brazilian Music in 2006” - Centro Cultural Hispano Americano and University of Washington;

- Eduardo is winner of Aspasia Phoutrides Pulakis Memorial Award 2005 for his significant contributions to the Brazilian Community and the community at-large of the Northwest
Charanga Danzón is a fluid ensemble of wonderful musicians, with a repertoire of Cuban music including traditional charanga, son/danzón, cha-cha-chá, classical, and jazz.
Friday, September 5th at 7 p.m.


REPTET brings their award-winning and energetic jazz to Rozella.

Friday September 12th at 7 p.m.

Reptet is a sextet consisting of six multi-instrumentalists all of whom are members of the internationally acclaimed Monktail Creative Music Concern based out of Seattle, WA. They have established themselves as a group of considerable excitement, flair and vision while simultaneously debunking preconceived notions of what a jazz group ought to be. Their music has been aired on radio stations across the United States and Europe, and their members have toured internationally. The arts organization Earshot Jazz has described them as, “A hot progressive combo of Seattle's best young players. Their music is intense, taut, and fresh.” With the release of their second full length CD Do This!, Reptet has established themselves as an irrepressible force in modern jazz.

Press Quotes
“This Seattle sextet does it all: it grooves, it rocks, it squawks - occasionally, it even talks. Mostly, it sounds like a New Orleans jazz band on crystal meth.” ~Alex Gelfand’s Critics pick for the best release of 2006, Jazziz Magazine~

“Trumpeter Samantha Boshnack's open voicings, jaunty tempos and buoyant timbral mixes for two winds and two brass have a friendly monster feel that conjures a bittersweet and elegiac mood of orchestral grandeur.” ~Downbeat~

“A juggernaut jazz band, arresting, compelling, and just plain cranked-up. Do This! is one of the most convincing albums of the last several years from Seattle jazz players.” ~Earshot Jazz~
          MUSIC NIGHTS AT CAFÉ ROZELLA STARTING FRIDAY JUNE 27, 2008 With Children of the Revolution         




FRIDAY JUNE 27, 2008 With Children of the Revolution

"When you go to a Children of the Revolution show, you might as well leave your preconceptions about world music at the door" wrote Tina Potterf of the Seattle Times. Fans will usually say something like, "That was the best live show I’ve ever been to; I don't quite know how to describe it." From Bozeman Montana to the caves of Granada, Spain, from Istanbul to Taiwan, COTR make life-long fans wherever they go.

They can loosely be compared to such breakaway and high-energy world music artists such as Ozomatli, Gipsy Kings, Santana, Manu Chau and the Afro Celt Sound System, but all similarities stop there. Made up of virtuoso musicians, singers and dancers from around the world, COTR blend their Flamenco, Greek, and Rock roots creating, a lush and melodic sound driven by infectious Latin and Middle-Eastern grooves.

The group is fronted by lead singer Vassili, who grew up on the Greek Islands, and former metal head turned flamenco guitarist Eric Jaeger. Sharing the spotlight is Barcelona-born flamenco dancer Encarnación. Their electrifying and sexy concerts showcase outstanding musicianship and songwriting with world-class dance performances. Both world music aficionados and those new to the genre agree - COTR puts on one of the most unifying and entertaining shows in the world.

Guest artists both live and recorded have included legendary rock singer, Ann Wilson of
In less than two years, COTR went from playing small clubs to filling some of the Northwests most prestigious theaters such as Meany Hall, Benaroya Hall and the 3,000-seat Paramount Theater.

COTR is a consistent audience favorite of major festivals in the region such as Folklife, Vancouver Folk Festival, Bumbershoot and Montanas Sweetpea Festival, 3-6,000 people can be seen dancing and singing at these shows. Eleftheria (the Greek word for freedom) is their anthem that ends the show and ALWAYS gets the crowd jumping in unison!

COTR have the achievements, experience and systems in place to create a totally new movement in popular music. They have toured extensively through the Northwest and Canada and have been invited to perform at very special historical events such as; the first Western band invited to play for the Buddhas Birthday in Taiwan for over 30,000 people, the Government Leaders conference (organized by Bill Gates and Paul G. Allen) in Seattle at Experience Music Project, opening for former President Bill Clinton at his "We the People" speech in Seattle in 2006, and KROCKs 2005 Tsunami Relief benefit concert headlined by surviving members of Alice in Chains and Heart. COTRs concert DVD has aired on numerous PBS stations across the country and select tracks from their album, Liberation appear on Putumayo Records compilations.

After spending five months in Europe where they performed and studied with Flamenco masters in Spain, Rye singers in Morocco and Turkish musicians in Istanbul, COTR returned to record their latest CD, Life, Love and Guantanamo Bay. The album is an artistic breakthrough for Children of the Revolution and promises to bring them into the international spotlight.

          Comment on Dream Vacation Destinations, 5 by Marla Kojima        
Would love to see the blue town in Morocco. Mesmerizing.
africa, jewel, and people image
          Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment (STRIPE)        

Rapid development has transformed many countries’ economies, but with this growth comes hazardous pollution. Globally, 80% of wastewater contaminated by toxic sludge, industrial chemicals and other pollutants flows untreated into the water that poor communities rely on for everything from their drinking water to their livelihoods. Many of these same communities also suffer from dangerously high air pollution. Each year, 6.5 million people die from causes directly related to air pollution.

A lack of information is a key part of the problem. Despite the passage of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws around the world, people still don’t know if their water is safe to drink or if their air is too dirty to breathe. Worldwide, 80% of countries do not publicly report the amount of pollution that companies discharge. Without this information, local communities cannot voice their concerns, participate in decision-making or hold powerful interests to account.

Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment (STRIPE) helps communities improve their environment and health by exercising their right to access information and participate in environmental decision-making. Working with civil society organizations and local communities, STRIPE:

  • Assesses countries’ transparency, participation and environmental laws
  • Evaluates what environmental information is available to the public and the barriers communities face in accessing this information
  • Works with community members to use FOI laws to request information from governments and tracks the results—how many requests were granted? How many were appealed? Was the information given complete? How much time did officials take to respond?
  • Analyzes findings to inform local advocacy campaigns that urge governments to improve transparency and proactively release environmental information
  • Build community members’ capacity to advocate for pollution prevention and restoration

STRIPE is one of The Access Initiative’s (TAI) projects. TAI is the largest civil society network in the world dedicated to ensuring that citizens have the right and ability to influence decisions about the natural resources that sustain their communities. Subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @TAIGlobal to learn more. 


Improving communities’ health and environment through their right to access information and participate in decision-making

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          Moumen Smihi: The Sorrows of a Young Tangerian        
One of the most important Arab filmmakers working today, Moumen Smihi is founding figure of the New Arab Cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). Introduction and Q&A for the film screening event at Tate Modern.
          Moumen Smihi: A Muslim Childhood        
One of the most important Arab filmmakers working today, Moumen Smihi is founding figure of the New Arab Cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). Introduction and Q&A for the film screening event at Tate Modern.
          Moumen Smihi: Moroccan Chronicles        
One of the most important Arab filmmakers working today, Moumen Smihi is founding figure of the New Arab Cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). Introduction and Q&A for the film screening event at Tate Modern
          Moumen Smihi: 44, or Tales of the Night        
One of the most important Arab filmmakers working today, Moumen Smihi is founding figure of the New Arab Cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). Introduction and Q&A for the film screening event at Tate Modern.
          Kassim racconta 3        
Terrore made in Morocco I detenuti islamici avevano – e hanno ancor oggi – il diritto di uscire dalle celle solo per un tempo che non supera i 20 minuti (massimo 30 minuti), esclusi sabato, domenica e festivi. Pensate che, … Continua a leggere
          Visit Dar Darma in Marrakech, Morocco!        
Dar Darma, the exclusive riad in the heart of Marrakech, invites all newlyweds to be pampered in a precious and cozy a-thousand and one-nights abode, to live pleasant adventures in the charming red city and its surroundings for a honeymoon full of unique and unforgettable experience. For those looking for a real love nest, Dar […]
          New torture flights between Lithuania and secret CIA prisons in Afghanistan & Morocco revealed as European Parliament debates rendition report        
Reprieve  September 10, 2011 Lawyers for “high value detainee” Abu Zubaydah – who was waterboarded 83 times by the CIA – have today filed a new submission concerning his transfer to and from a prison site in Lithuania. The filing, by London-based organization Interights, comes as Reprieve releases new information showing how renditions contractor Computer […]
          Yves St Laurent Models His First Men's Collection - 1969        
Hugely successful French couturier Yves St. Laurent designed his first collection of ready to wear clothing for men in the fall of 1969.  The clothing was sold exclusively in the Rive Gauche boutiques in New York and Paris. Here, a few of the designs are modeled by St. Laurent himself for Vogue magazine.  The photos were all taken at his home, Dar El-Hansh, in Morocco.

Above: White gabardine suit with flapped pockets, worn with a black cotton voile shirt and striped silk scarf.

 Laced glove leather tunic and corduroy jeans.  The tunic was also available in suede.

The same suit as the first photo, but in pale pink worn with a cotton floral shirt.

Photos by Patrick Lichfield for Vogue magazine, 1969.

          315,000-Year-Old Fossils From Morocco Could Be Earliest Recorded Homo Sapiens        
A team of European and Moroccan scientists has found the fossil remains of five individuals who they believe are the most ancient modern humans (Homo sapiens) ever found. In a remote area of Morocco called Jebel Irhoud, in what was once a cave, the team found a skull, bones and teeth of five individuals who lived about 315,000 years ago. The scientists also found fairly sophisticated stone tools and charcoal, indicating the use of fire by this group. The researchers' claim is controversial, however, because anthropologists are still debating exactly what physical features distinguish modern humans from our more primitive ancestors. Archaic forms of humans — other, earlier species of Homo — emerged more than a million years ago. Exactly how and when our species — Homo sapiens — evolved is a mystery. Up to now, the oldest known bones widely recognized as Homo sapiens were from people who lived in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. The new discovery in Morocco would push the date for
          Sex In The Hotel On Our Vacation In Morocco        
Watch Sex In The Hotel On Our Vacation In Morocco on - free hardcore porn videos and amateur sex tapes.

Assalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb.

Salam hangat dari kami, Annisa Travel
Semoga Bapak dan Ibu selalu dalam keadaan sehat wal’afiat.

Berikut kami sampaikan Penawaran Paket Tour Muslim by Emirates dengan beberapa destinasi menarik seperti :
Spain (Andalucia) – Morocco
Amman – Aqsha – Petra
Turkey – Dubai – Abu Dhabi

Adapun keunggulan dari Paket Tour Muslim ini adalah :
ü  Praying Time (Jadwal shalat Dzuhur / Ashar di Masjid saat tour)
ü  Halal Food (Makanan halal selama tour)
ü  Seat Guarantee Confirmed (Kepastian seat saat pendaftaran sesuai dengan jadwal dari Emirates)

Untuk keterangan lebih lanjut Bapak & Ibu dapat menghubungi marketing kami sebagai berikut:
 Santi       081290819280 | PIN: 527A0386 |
 Lukman  085313904720 | PIN: 292AD89F |
Rouf         089653412558 | PIN: 73E4F0A3 |

Berikut Ittinerary Paket Tour Muslim yang kami Tawarkan:


Wassalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb.

          By: TruthTeller        
Christina Smith; "Actually...Al-Karaouine in Morocco is the oldest University ". Seriously, Christina? Seriously? You're lecturing other people to fact check? Al-Karaouine was a backwater madrasa until the 20th Century, when the French made the effort to try and bring the locals out of the freaking Bronze Age. Mount Rushmore is millions of years old. Does that make those giant carved faces the oldest artwork in existence? But, hey, why let facts get in the way of what your profs taught you? Group think, my dear... it's the wave of the future.
          Firmenich assembles natural product producers from around the world.        

The livelihoods of 250,000–300,000 families depend on the future of natural aromatic crop production. As a result, Firmenich united natural ingredient producers and perfumers in Paris for its Naturals Together event over the period 12-13 November. 

The 14 'ambassadors' for the event include producers of more than 40 key ingredients such as rose, jasmine, vanilla, tuberose, orange flower, patchouli, eucalyptus, vetiver, lavender, mint, cardamom, violet leaves, mimosa, clove, chamomile and more.  Companies from Africa included: Authentic Products (Madagascar: vanilla); Les Aromes du Maroc (Morocco: orange blossom, rose, grapefruit flower, wild chamomile; Machalico (Egypt: grandiflorum jasmine, violet leaves, orange blossom, blue chamomile); Uvan (Uganda: vanilla).

          Clap! Clap! – DIG! DELVE! DAMN! (Dutch Archive Edition)        

Clap! Clap!

“DIG! DELVE! DAMN! (Dutch Archive Edition)”

“To have the honour of digging through the Dutch audio archives was like a dream come true! I was very excited to delve in and explore the vast differences between those countries. It was also an important responsibility to approach the project with respect for the sources of recordings, as many were from the ex-Colonies of the Netherlands.” -Clap! Clap!

Unlocking Sounds revives Amsterdam’s Tropenmuseum audio collection which features thousands of original field recordings from around the globe dating back to the 1920s. This collection was started by Dutch conservationist J.C. Lamster and Jaap Kunst, who would eventually coin the term ‘ethnomusicology’.

To connect with the source material and explore the multitude of intricacies that accompany topics like ethnomusicology, anthropology and cultural appropriation, all the artists visited the Netherlands where they conferred with leading researchers from the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Leiden University, and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies.

Much like the sampled source material, each artist translates the world sounds through their individual styles. Clap! Clap! – DIG! DELVE! DAMN! (Dutch Archive Edition) strips down his bombastic, multilayered take on global rhythms, jazz, and footwork, letting the samples take center stage. Drawing on the archive’s recordings from Afghanistan, Suriname, Zambia, Bali, Libya, India, Uzbekistan & Morocco, accompanying and accentuating them with his singular voice.

released July 28, 2017

Sampled sounds provided by the Tropenmuseum

          Liste des manifestations scientifiques organisées dans le cadre de INTI        
Liste des manifestations scientifiques organisées dans le cadre de INTI: Manifestations organisées dans le cadre de l’année 2015: Manifestations organisées dans le cadre de l’année 2014: Manifestations organisées dans le cadre de l’année 2013: Manifestations organisées dans le cadre de l’année 2012: Manifestations organisées dans le cadre de l’année 2011: Manifestations organisées dans le cadre de l’année 2010: Manifestations organisées dans le cadre de l’année 2015: Ouarzazate 14th Annual International Conference of Territorial Intelligence “Sustainable Development of Vulnerable Territories”, 21-22 October 2015, Ouarzazate, Morocco. 14e Conférence Internationale Annuelle d’Intelligence … Continuer la lecture de Liste des manifestations scientifiques organisées dans le cadre de INTI
          IWT Crew Has Arrived        
The IWT crew and the competitors have arrived to Morocco! Boujmaa Guilloul and his team of local organizers have put together an amazing Berber camp right on the beach of Moulay Bourzerktoune giving people the opportunity to experience a very authentic “North African camping.” Everyone has been enjoying the days before the official start of […]
          Misconceptions about Islam        
Misconception #1: Muslims worship a different God

First of all, there is only One God who created the Universe and all of mankind. Throughout history, people have created false gods in their minds and come up with false ideas about Almighty God, but regardless of this there is still only One True God - and He alone is worthy of worship. Unfortunately, some non-Muslims have come to incorrectly believe that Muslims worship a different God than Jews and Christians. This might be due to the fact that Muslims sometimes refer to God as "Allah", but also because over the centuries there have been many lies and distortions spread by the enemies of Islam. In actuality, Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus --- the same God as Christians and Jews. The word "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for Almighty God and it is the same word that Arabic speaking Christians and Jews use to refer to God. If you pick up an Arabic translation of the Christian Bible, you will see the word "Allah" where "God" is used in English. For more information on the word "Allah", please read: Who is Allah? But even though Muslims, Jews and Christians believe in the same God, their concepts about Him differ quite a bit. For example, Muslims reject the idea of the Trinity or that God has become "incarnate" in the world. Also, the teachings of Islam do not rely on or appeal to "mystery" or "paradox" --- they are straightforward and clear. Islam teaches that God is Merciful, Loving and Compassionate and that He has no need to become man (nor do humans need for Him to). One of the unique aspects of Islam is that it teaches that man can have a personal and fulfilling relationship with Almighty God without compromising the transcendence of God. In Islam there is no ambiguity in Divinity --- God is God and man is man. Muslims believe that God is the "Most Merciful", and that he deals directly with human-beings without the need of any intermediary. Actually, the phrase "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful" is one of the most repeated verses in the Holy Qur'an. Additionally, the pure and straightforward teachings of Islam demand that Almighty God be approached directly and without intermediaries. This is because Muslims believe that God is completely in control of everything and that He can bestow His Grace and Mercy on His creatures as He pleases - no Atonement, Incarnation or blood sacrifice is necessary. In summary, Islam calls people to submit to the One True God and to worship Him alone.

Misconception #2: Muslims worship Muhammad

According to Islamic belief, the Prophet Muhammad was the last Messenger of God. He, like all of God's prophets and messengers - such as Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus -- was only a human being. Christians came to the mistaken assumption that Muslims worship Muhammad by formulating an incorrect analogy - they worship Jesus so they assumed Muslims worship Muhammad. This is one of the reasons that they called Muslims by the incorrect name "Mohammedans" for so many years! Muhammad, like Jesus, never claimed divine status. He called people to worship only Almighty God, and he continually emphasized his humanity so that people would not fall into the same errors as Christians did in regards to Jesus. In order to prevent his deification, the Prophet Muhammad always said to refer to him as "the Messenger of God and His slave". Muhammad was chosen to be God's final messenger --- to communicate the message not only in words but to be a living example of the message. Muslims love and respect him because he was of the highest moral character and he brought the Truth from God - which is the Pure Monotheism of Islam. Even when Islam was in its very early stages, God revealed that Muhammad "was sent as a mercy to all of mankind" - thus informing us that the message of Islam would become very widespread. Muslims strive to follow the great example of Muhammad, peace be upon him, but they do not worship him in any way. Additionally, Islam teaches Muslims to respect all of God's prophets and messengers - but respecting and loving them does not mean worshipping them. All true Muslims realize that all worship and prayer must be directed to Almighty God alone. Suffice it to say that worshipping Muhammad --- or anyone else --- along with Almighty God is considered to be the worst sin in Islam. Even if a person claims to be Muslim, but they worship and pray to other than Almighty God, this cancels and nullifies their Islam. The Declaration of Faith of Islam makes it clear that Muslims are taught only to worship God. This declaration is as follows: "There is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, and Muhammad is the Messenger and Servant of God".

Misconception #3: Islam is a religion only for Arabs

The fastest way to prove that this is completely false is to state the fact that only about 15% to 20% of the Muslims in the world are Arabs. There are more Indian Muslims than Arab Muslims, and more Indonesian Muslims than Indian Muslims! Believing that Islam is only a religion for Arabs is a myth that was spread by the enemies of Islam early in its history. This mistaken assumption is possibly based on the fact that most of the first generation of Muslims were Arabs, the Qur'an is in Arabic and the Prophet Muhammad was an Arab. However, both the teachings of Islam and the history of its spread show that the early Muslims made every effort to spread their message of Truth to all nations, races and peoples. Furthermore, it should be clarified that not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs. An Arab can be a Muslim, Christian, Jew, atheist - or of any other religion or ideology. Also, many countries that some people consider to be "Arab" are not "Arab" at all -- such as Turkey and Iran (Persia). The people who live in these countries speak languages other than Arabic as their native tongues and are of a different ethnic heritage than the Arabs. It is important to realize that from the very beginning of the mission of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, his followers came from a wide spectrum of individuals -- there was Bilal, the African slave; Suhaib, the Byzantine Roman; Ibn Salam, the Jewish Rabbi; and Salman, the Persian. Since religious truth is eternal and unchanging, and mankind is one universal brotherhood, Islam teaches that Almighty God's revelations to mankind have always been consistent, clear and universal. The Truth of Islam is meant for all people regardless of race, nationality or linguistic background. Taking a look at the Muslim World, from Nigeria to Bosnia and from Malaysia to Afghanistan is enough to prove that Islam is a Universal message for all of mankind --- not to mention the fact that significant numbers of Europeans and Americans of all races and ethnic backgrounds are coming into Islam.

Misconception #4: Islam degrades women

Even though many aspects of Islam are misunderstood by non-Muslims, the ignorance, misinformation and incorrect assumptions that are made in regards to Islam's treatment of women are probably the most severe. Numerous verses of the Qur'an make it clear that men and women are equal in the site of God. According to the teachings of Islam, the only thing that distinguishes people in the site of God is their level of God-consciousness. Due to this, many people are surprised to find out that Islamic Law guaranteed rights to women over 1400 years ago that women in the Europe and America only obtained recently. For example, Islam clearly teaches that a woman is a full-person under the law, and is the spiritual equal of a male. Also, according to Islamic Law, women have the right to own property, operate a business and receive equal pay for equal work. Women are allowed total control of their wealth, they cannot be married against their will and they are allowed to keep their own name when married. Additionally, they have the right to inherit property and to have their marriage dissolved in the case of neglect or mistreatment. Also, Islam does not consider woman an "evil temptress", and thus does not blame woman for the "original sin". Women in Islam participate in all forms of worship that men participate in. Actually, the rights that Islam gave to women over 1400 years ago were almost unheard of in the West until the 1900s. Less than fifty years ago in England and America, a woman could not buy a house or car without the co-signature of her father or husband! Additionally, Islam gives great respect to women and their role in society --- it gives them the right to own property, marry who they want and many other rights. Also, it should be mentioned that the Prophet Muhammad's mission stopped many of the horrible practices in regards to women that were present in the society of his time. For example, the Qur'an put an end to the pagan Arab practice of killing their baby daughters when they were born. Additionally, Islam put restrictions on the unrestricted polygamy of the Arabs of the time, and put many laws in place to protect the well-being of women. Today, most of the so-called reforms in the status of women came about after the West abandoned religion for secularism. Even those in the West who claim to follow the so-called "Judeo-Christian tradition" really follow the values of Western liberalism --- but just to a lesser degree than their more liberal countrymen. For more on this subject, please read: Women in Islam versus Women in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition --- The Myth and The Reality. If women in the Muslim World today don't have their rights, it is not because Islam did not give them to them. The problem is that in many places alien traditions have come to overshadow the teachings of Islam, either through ignorance or the impact of Colonialization.

Misconception #5: Muhammad wrote the Qur'an

In addressing this misconception, it is interesting to not that no other religious scripture claims to the direct word of Almighty in toto as clear and as often as the Holy Qur'an. As the Qur'an clearly says: "if had been written by man, you would have found many discrepancies therein". At the time the Qur'an was revealed, the Arabs recognized that the language of the Qur'an was unique and that it was distinctly different from the language normally used by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The Arabs of that time, by the way, were known for their beautiful poetry and Muhammad was known to be an illiterate man! The Qur'an clearly says that Muhammad was unable to read and write, so if this wasn't true, certainly his contemporaries would have protested and rejected him. However, there are no reports of this. Certainly there were people who rejected Muhammad's message, just like other prophets were rejected, but none for this reason. On the contrary, Muhammad, peace be upon him, had thousands of loyal followers and the results of their efforts spread Islam from Spain to China in just over a century! It is also interesting to note that even though the Qur'an is not poetry, the Arabs more or less gave up writing poetry after it was revealed. It could be said that the Qur'an is the piece of Arabic literature par excellence - and Muhammad's contemporaries realized that they couldn't out do it. Additionally, it is easy to prove that Muhammad did not possess a great deal of the knowledge which is expounded in the Qur'an: such as knowledge of historical events, previous prophets and natural phenomenon. The Qur'an says in several places that Muhammad and his people did not know these things - so, again, if this wasn't true, certainly his contemporaries would have rejected his claims. Suffice it to say that not only is the Qur'an the most memorized and well preserved scripture on earth, it is also unequaled in eloquence, spiritual impact, clarity of message and the purity of its truth.

Misconception #6: Islam was spread by the sword

Many non-Muslims, when they think about Islam, picture religious fanatics on camels with a sword in one hand and a Qur'an in the other. This myth, which was made popular in Europe during the Crusades, is totally baseless. First of all, the Holy Qur'an clearly says "Let there be no compulsion in religion". In addition to this, Islam teaches that a person's faith must be pure and sincere, so it is certainly not something that can be forced on someone. In debunking the myth that Islam was "spread by the sword", the (non-Muslim) historian De Lacy O' Leary wrote: "History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever accepted." (Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p. 8.). It should also be known that Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During this time, and up to when they were finally forced out, the non-Muslims there were alive and flourishing. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan all have Christian and/or Jewish populations. If Islam taught that all people are supposed to be killed or forced to become Muslims, how did all of these non-Muslims survive for so long in the middle of the Islamic Empire? Additionally, if one considers the small number of Muslims who initially spread Islam from Spain and Morocco in the West to India and China in the East, one would realize that they were far too few to force people to be members of a religion against their will. Additionally, the great empire and civilization established by the Muslims had great staying power -- its citizens were proud to be part of it. The spread of Islam stands in contrast to the actions of the followers of Christianity, who since the time of the Emperor Constantine have made liberal use of the sword - often basing their conduct on Biblical verses. This was especially true of the colonization of South America and Africa, where native peoples were systematically wiped-out or forced to convert. It is also interesting to note that when the Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic Empire, instead of destroying the religion, they adopted it. This is a unique occurrence in history - the conquerors adopting the religion of the conquered! Since they were the victors, they certainly could not have been forced to become Muslims! Ask any of the over one billion Muslims alive in the world today whether they were forced! The largest Muslim country in the world today is Indonesia --- and there were never any battles fought there! So where was the sword? How could someone be forced to adhere to a spiritually rewarding and demanding religion like Islam?

Misconception #7: Muslims hate Jesus

Many non-Muslims are surprised to find out that according to Muslim belief, Jesus, the son of Mary, is one of the greatest messengers of God. Muslims are taught to love Jesus, and a person cannot be a Muslim without believing in the virgin birth and miracles of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. Muslims believe these things about Jesus not because of the Bible or any other religion, but simply because the Holy Qur'an says these things about him. However, Muslims always emphasize that the miracles of Jesus, and all other prophets, were by "God's permission". This having been said, many Christians feel to not believe that Jesus is the "Son of God", "God Incarnate" or the "Second Person" of the Trinity. This is because the Qur'an clearly says that Almighty God does not have a "Son" --- neither allegorically, physically, metaphorically or metaphysically. The Pure Monotheism of Islam rejects the notion of "defining" God (which is basically what the "Doctrine of the Trinity" does), saying that someone is "like" God or equal to him, or praying to someone else besides God. Also, Islam teaches that titles such as "Lord" and "Savior" are due to God alone. In order to avoid misunderstanding, it should be clarified that when Muslims criticize the Bible or the teachings of Christianity, they are not attacking "God's Word" or Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. From the Muslim point of view, they are defending Jesus and God's Word --- which they have in the form of the Qur'an. Muslim criticism is targeted at writings that some people claim are God's word, but Muslim's simply don't accept their claim that they are really God's word in toto. Additionally, Christian doctrines such as the Trinity and the Atonement are criticized by Muslims precisely because they did not originate from Jesus, peace be upon him. In this way, Muslims are the true followers of Jesus, peace be upon him, because they defend him from the exaggerations of the Christians and teach the Pure Monotheism that Jesus himself followed.

Misconception #8: Islam is fatalistic

Most Muslims find it rather odd that their religion, which strikes a beautiful balance between faith and action, could be accused of being "fatalistic". Perhaps this misconception came about because Muslims are taught to say "Praise be to God!" whenever anything good or bad happens. This is because Muslims know that everything comes from Almighty God, who is the All-Knowing Sustainer of the Universe, and that since a Muslim should rely completely on God, whatever happened must have been for the better. However, this does not mean that Muslims are not taught to take action in life --- just the opposite is true. Islam requires not only faith, but action --- such as regular prayer, fasting and charity. To be more precise, in Islam actions are part of one's faith. Islam total rejects the extreme beliefs of some religions that teach that you shouldn't go to a doctor when sick, but only pray for God to heal you. Islam's outlook is very positive, since it teaches that human beings can take positive action in this life. This was certainly what was taught by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to his followers --- since they obviously took the action of spreading Islam from Spain to Morocco in a very short period of time. Even though Islam teaches that God knows what human beings will do before they do it, human beings still have free will. Certainly God, who is All-Knowing and All-Wise, knows what is going to happen to everyone before it happens -- to deny this would be a denial of God Himself. However, if human-beings did not have free will, it would be ridiculous and un-just for God to demand that they do certain things and believe certain things. Far from being "fatalistic", Islam teaches that a human-being's main purpose in life is to be God-conscious. Due to this, Muslims worry less about material matters and view their earthly life in a proper perspective. This is due to the fact that Islam clearly teaches that if people worship and depend on Almighty God alone, then they have nothing to worry about - since God wants what is best for them. True freedom, from the Islamic perspective, does not mean aimlessly following all of your human desires for food, drink, wealth and sex. On the contrary, freedom means being able to control one's base desires and fulfilling them in a proper and legal way. This brings one's desires in tune with what God wants for us --- only then is a person truly free!

Misconception #9: The Islamic Threat

In recent years, a great deal of attention in the media have been given to the threat of "Islamic Fundamentalism". Unfortunately, due to a twisted mixture of biased reporting in the Western media and the actions of some ignorant Muslims, the word "Islam" has become almost synonymous with "terrorism". However, when one analyzes the situation, the question that should come to mind is: Do the teachings of Islam encourage terrorism? The answer: Certainly not! Islam totally forbids the terrorist acts that are carried out by some misguided people. It should be remembered that all religions have cults and misguided followers, so it is their teachings that should be looked at, not the actions of a few individuals. Unfortunately, in the media, whenever a Muslim commits a heinous act, he is labeled a "Muslim terrorist". However, when Serbs murder and rape innocent women in Bosnia, they are not called "Christian terrorists", nor are the activities in Northern Ireland labeled "Christian terrorism". Also, when right-wing Christians in the U. S. bomb abortion clinics, they are not called "Christian terrorists". Reflecting on these facts, one could certainly conclude that there is a double-standard in the media! Although religious feelings play a significant role in the previously mentioned "Christian" conflicts, the media does not apply religious labels because they assume that such barbarous acts have nothing to do with the teachings of Christianity. However, when something happens involving a Muslim, they often try to put the blame on Islam itself -- and not the misguided individual. Certainly, Islamic Law allows war --- any religion or civilization that did not would never survive --- but it certainly does not condone attacks against innocent people, women or children. The Arabic word "jihad", which is often translated as "Holy War", simply means "to struggle". The word for "war" in Arabic is "harb", not "jihad". "Struggling", i.e. "making jihad", to defend Islam, Muslims or to liberate a land where Muslims are oppressed is certainly allowed (and even encouraged) in Islam. However, any such activities must be done according to the teachings of Islam. Islam also clearly forbids "taking the law into your own hands", which means that individual Muslims cannot go around deciding who they want to kill, punish or torture. Trial and punishment must be carried out by a lawful authority and a knowledgeable judge. Also, when looking at events in the Muslim World, it should be kept in mind that a long period of colonialism ended fairly recently in most Muslim countries. During this time, the peoples in this countries were culturally, materially and religiously exploited - mostly by the so-called "Christian" nations of the West. This painful period has not really come to an end in many Muslim countries, where people are still under the control of foreign powers or puppet regimes supported by foreign powers. Also, through the media, people in the West are made to believe that tyrants like Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Moamar Qaddafi in Libya are "Islamic" leaders -- when just the opposite is true. Neither of these rulers even profess Islam as an ideology, but only use Islamic slogans to manipulate their powerless populations. They have about as much to do with Islam as Hitler had to do with Christianity! In reality, many Middle Eastern regimes which people think of as being "Islamic" oppress the practice of Islam in their countries. So suffice it to say that "terrorism" and killing innocent people directly contradicts the teachings of Islam.
          May Revolution Celebrations         

Argentina Polo Field

Commemorating the 207th anniversary of the May Revolution, Military parade with the participation of 6000 officers and 1000 musicians pertaining to the marching bands from Argentina and invited countries will be held on Saturday, May 27th, 2017, along Avenida de Libertador between Salguero and Av. Dorrego, finalizing with an exhibition at the Palermo Polo Field.

The start of the parade, at 11 am, will be accompanied by airplanes from the Air Forces and the Argentine Army that will perform an aerial parade. Starting from Av. Del Libertador & Salguero the troops will march towards the Argentine Polo Field, on Av. del Libertador & Dorrego, where at 2.30 pm the public will assist to the performances by the militarily bands, with free entrance, but with limited capacity.

The invited military bands from Uruguay, Chile, United States, and Morocco, will present a repertoire representative of the music of their respective countries.

          The Streets of the Revolution: North Africa, One Year Later        
Twelve months ago, a young man in Tunisia ignited himself and triggered a revolution that spread across northern Africa. A year later, correspondent Alexander Smoltczyk set out in a new series on a journey to assess the changes the tumultuous Maghreb region has undergone -- from Morocco to Egypt.
          Morocco: Prominent Journalist Jailed        

(Tunis) – A Moroccan court on July 25, 2017, sentenced a prominent journalist to three months in prison on a charge that violates his right to peaceful speech, Human Rights Watch said today. The journalist, Hamid Mahdaoui, is in prison in Casablanca and is under investigation on other charges.

A court of first instance in Al Hoceima sentenced Mahdaoui, who directs the news website, to the prison term and a fine of 20,000 dirhams (US$2,000) for helping to organize and inciting people to participate in an unauthorized protest. The case was based on comments he made in a public square in Al Hoceima on July 19, supporting the “Hirak” protest movement over government neglect of the central Rif region and condemning the government’s decision to ban a Hirak demonstration planned for July 20.

Screenshot from a video of Hamid Mahdaoui, a Moroccan journalist and director of the news website, speaking on his Youtube channel. 

© 2017 Hamid Mahdaoui/Youtube

“Disagreeing with a state policy and applauding public protest shouldn’t land anyone in prison,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of banning protests and imprisoning journalists, Morocco should enforce its own constitution, which guarantees free speech and free assembly.”

Mahdaoui became popular in Morocco from the many videos on social media that feature him offering political and social commentary and interviewing public figures. He had previously been convicted for disseminating “false news” in cases involving the then-minister of justice, a governor, and the head of the national police. In the first two cases, the court sentenced Mahdaoui to suspended prison terms; those verdicts are still on appeal. The third case was settled after the plaintiff dropped the charges.

On the evening of July 19, while Mahdaoui was walking in one of Al Hoceima’s main squares, fans stopped him, asked to take selfies with him, and pressed him to comment on the Hirak movement, his lawyer, Lahbib Hajji, told Human Rights Watch. A video of the gathering filmed by a police officer was used as evidence in Mahdaoui’s trial. According to a transcript of the video, Mahdaoui criticized the government’s decision to ban the July 20 protest, saying, “It is our right to protest in a peaceful and civilized manner; (…) I am oppressed and looked down upon, it is my right to express myself and demonstrate.”

Human Rights Watch watched the video and read the transcript and found nothing in either that contains a direct incitement by Mahdaoui to others to participate in the banned July 20 protest. Hajji, the lawyer, said that the court did not provide any other evidence than the video and transcript.

Plainclothes police agents arrested Mahdaoui on July 20 in Al Hoceima, as described by a friend accompanying him. After Mahdaoui spent three days in pretrial detention, a prosecutor charged him with “inciting people to commit a serious or minor offense by means of speeches and shouting … in a public place” and “participating in the organization of an unauthorized protest” (article 299-1 of Morocco’s penal code and article 14 of the Law on Public Assemblies, respectively). The appeals trial has yet to begin.

Morocco’s 2011 constitution guarantees the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and peaceful protest. The Law on Public Assemblies requires organizers only to notify officials of an upcoming demonstration, rather than to obtain prior authorization. But the law allows local authorities to ban the event if they believe that it could disturb the public order.

Officials announced the ban on July 17, justifying it on the basis that the organizers of the march lacked the legal status that the Law on Public Assemblies requires of demonstration sponsors. The police dispersed the hundreds of people who attempted to demonstrate on July 20 despite the ban.

On July 28, authorities transferred Mahdaoui from Al Hoceima prison to Casablanca’s Oukacha prison, at the request of an investigative judge in Casablanca who was examining another case against him. The case is based on investigations into the Hirak protests conducted by the National Brigade of the Judiciary police, according to a communiqué issued July 28 by the office of the prosecutor attached to Casablanca’s Court of Appeals.

The second case is based on evidence collected from tapping Mahdaoui’s phone. On December 1, 2016, the president of Rabat’s Court of Appeals granted the Judiciary Police the authorization to tap 30 telephone lines, including Mahdaoui’s, as part of an investigation into the Hirak protests. Authorities produced a transcript, dated June 2, 2017, of a phone conversation between Mahdaoui and a man identified as “Noureddine,” purportedly a Moroccan anti-monarchy activist based in the Netherlands. 

According to the transcript, Noureddine mentioned that he and others intended to smuggle weapons in Morocco and “purchase tanks” to create armed strife in support of the Hirak movement. The transcript shows that Mahdaoui repeatedly urged Noureddine to abandon any such notion, highlighting that the Hirak protests were peaceful and should remain so.

According to the July 28 communiqué, the prosecutor asked the investigating judge to keep Mahdaoui in custody and look into whether he had failed to report an attempt to harm the state’s internal security, an offense that could bring up to five years in prison under article 209 of the penal code. The investigative judge accepted the prosecutor’s request.

The court rejected a petition for provisional release filed on August 2.

The Hirak protest movement in the Rif sprang from an incident in October 2016, in which a fishmonger was killed while trying to rescue his goods that authorities had just confiscated. The movement has staged mass protests to end what they consider to be the government’s discrimination against the region in terms of economic development.

“A journalist has the same right as any Moroccan citizen to criticize the prohibition of a protest rally without being sent to jail for incitement,” Whitson said.

          Climbing a Massive Sand Dune in Europe        
Climbing a sand dune has always been on my bucket list.  Going to Morocco was the closest I’ve ever come to the desert, but sadly during the trip I didn’t have […]
           Limpet Shells from the Aterian Level 8 of El Harhoura 2 Cave (Témara, Morocco): Preservation State of Crossed-Foliated Layers         
Article Nouet, J. , Chevallard, C. , Farre, B. , Nehrke, G. , Campmas, E. , Stoetzel, E. , El Hajraoui, M. A. and Nespoulet, R. (2015) Limpet Shells from the Aterian Level 8 of El Harhoura 2 Cave (Témara, Morocco): Preservation State of Crossed-Foliated Layers , PLOS ONE, 10 (9), e0137162 . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137162 , hdl:10013/epic.46044
          Greatest Movie of All time        

As this is my first entry I figured why not start of by making a bold statement. I know there is no such thing as the greatest movie of all time, just as there isn’t one great book of all time. All books in general are great, that however can’t be said for all movies. Movies nowadays are laden with special effects combined with fast-paced-in-your-face action. This movie that I’m talking about does not contain a single second of special effects and by today’s standards (or perhaps even from its own time) can be considered extremely slow.

This movie won 7 Academy Awards.

This movie was released over forty years ago, many moons before I was born. Calling it long would be an understatement. The director’s-cut version is over 216 minutes – that over 3 ½ hours! Who would want to watch a movie that long, unless it’s another movie by Peter Jackson, which happen to have hobbits or gorillas? No. This movie has no such creatures or characters. It is neither fiction nor fantasy. It is based, perhaps loosely, on true events but those events are extraordinarily riveting.

This movie has lots and lots of sand.

It was shot in Jordan, Morocco and Spain, spanning over 2 years. It was shot in the most ungodly climates with temperatures that could boil, melt, and fry a brain. It was shot in the desert. Did I mention not a single frame is computer generated? This means all those desert scenes could not be created inside an air-conditioned room. It had to be on location, regardless of how devastating nature could be. Steven Spielberg, who, according to reports, watches this movie before starting working on each and every one of his films, has said if this movie was shot now it would cost over $300 million.

This movie has lots of camels.

It is a vision to see, with its long canvas scenes that fill the entire screen and evoke a sense of being there. It has perhaps one of the most beautiful and heart-stopping scores ever written. At the time it contained an ensemble cast that was the envy of it’s time. It has action sequences that would rival any movie today, excluding those with computer special effects, of course. It has a script that is top notch, with dialogue that sticks in your memory for a long, long time.

This movie has Peter O’ Toole, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, and Anthony Quinn.

By now you’ve guessed which movie I’m talking about, unless you’ve spent your entire life with no TV, no magazines, no newspapers, no movies, no internet, no nothing. In short you’ve been living underground like a mole and have just come out and somehow stumbled upon this website (how you learned to use a computer or the internet I don’t know). This movie that I think is the Greatest Movie of All Time is…David Lean’s masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia.

          A Royal Pain for IHT Readers - repeat stories, way behind the news curve.        
I'm becoming increasingly frustrated by the IHT running NYT pieces, on stories that IHT editors (alert, on the ball, all good) had already picked up weeks earlier.

To give an example from today's paper, compare and contrast the following:

A royal pain for the Spanish monarchy
By Victoria Burnett
Monday, November 17, 2008
MADRID: When the English monarch in Alan Bennett's novella "The Uncommon Reader" decides to write her memoirs, she takes the prudent step of abdicating first. Queen Sofia of Spain may be wondering whether she, too, should have waited for her husband, King Juan Carlos, to leave office before granting a Spanish journalist a series of uncharacteristically candid interviews.
The resulting book, "The Queen Up Close," has provided Spaniards an uncomfortably close look at their queen's conservative views. Her comments on homosexuality, gay marriage, euthanasia and religious education have outraged liberal Spaniards and tarnished an image of discretion that she had carefully tended for decades.
In the most notorious gaffe in the book, the queen said that she respected people's different sexual tendencies but did not understand why "they should feel proud to be gay."
"That they get up on floats and parade in the streets? If all of us who are not gay were to parade in the streets, we'd halt the traffic in every city," she said. She then added that while gay people had a right to unions, they should not be permitted to call them marriages.
As well as homosexuality, the queen takes several forays into politically tricky territory, saying that she does not support euthanasia - an issue being hotly debated in Spain - and that she believes schoolchildren should be taught the origins of man from a creationist point of view.
The book is also peppered with personal tidbits about world leaders and royal travels. At one point, Sofia congratulates herself on persuading the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, to wear a suit and tie, instead of his "shapeless" military garb. The late King Hassan of Morocco drove her "crazy" with his mania about food, she says, bringing a retinue of cooks and his own supplies when he visited Spain because "he didn't trust us." Former President Jimmy Carter was a good enough sort, but "behaved really badly toward the Shah of Iran" when he refused him asylum, she said.
The controversy is one of a series of incidents that have revealed cracks in the cocoon of respect that envelops the Spanish royal family. Recent attempts to stifle embarrassing cartoons or claim privacy from the news media have challenged the balance between protecting free speech and protecting Spain's royals.
"I don't think many people would be surprised to learn these were the queen's views," said Juan Díez-Nicolás, a professor of sociology whose organization, ASEP, polls the Spanish public about the monarchy. They are routinely voted the most respected public figures in the country.
"What surprises them is that she would say such things for publication," he said. And moreover, "not offering a view that is widely shared by Spaniards."
Born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark in November 1938, the queen converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Catholicism when she married Juan Carlos, then the future king, in 1962. Elegant, circumspect and fluent in several languages, she became popular in part because of her role in helping to steer Spain toward democracy after the death of Franco in 1975.
Long considered a paragon of royal reserve, the queen emerges from the book as the 70-year-old observant Catholic that she is, rather than the sweet, demure figure that the Spanish public apparently wants her to be, people who follow the monarchy said.
Her comments on gay pride and marriage provoked indignation from the gay community, which won the right to marry in 2005, and prompted a swift apology from the royal household. In a statement read to the press late last month, a spokesman for the royal family said the queen "deeply regrets that the inaccuracy of the comments attributed to her may have caused discomfort or offense."
The statement claimed that the queen had been quoted "inexactly" and suggested that the interviewer, the journalist Pilar Urbano, had published comments intended to be private. Urbano denied this and said galleys of the book had been reviewed by the queen's office, which approved them for publication.
In an interview by telephone, Urbano said she had interviewed Sofia several times, though she did not use a tape recorder. Journalists who closely follow the royal family said that the king was incensed by the book and that those responsible for giving the green light may yet be fired.
Antonio Poveda, president of the Spanish Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals, said his organization accepted the palace's apology but that "there's definitely still some bad feeling among the gay community."
"The monarch has always been at pains not to comment on social or political issues," he said. "It seems they have broken with this tradition."
The publication of the book, "The Queen Up Close," follows a rash of setbacks for members of the royal family and Spanish aristocracy looking for greater protection from the press that have contributed to a sense that they are no longer untouchable. A court this month ruled against the Duchess of Alba, who was seeking to have copies of a satirical magazine whose cover featured her lying naked in pile of money removed from news stands.
Telma Ortiz, sister of Queen Sofia's daughter-in-law Princess Letizia, this month lost a court battle to obtain restraining orders against dozens of media outlets, which she accuses of hounding her and her family. The court ruled that Ortiz, an aid worker, is in the limelight by dint of her relationship with her sister and ordered her to pay around €45,000, or about $57,000, in costs, according to press reports.
While Díez, the sociology professor, said the ruckus over the book would blow over and have no impact on Sofia's popularity, other analysts said the dents in the Spanish royal family's image were part of a wider trend away from monarchy in Europe.
"Monarchy is old-fashioned by nature, and Europe is modern in its self-esteem," said Geoffrey Hindley, a historian who has written on European monarchy. "The ethos of republicanism is the style of the majority in Europe."

Over two weeks ago, the IHT ran the piece below on and an edited version in the paper.

I imagine the NYT didn't but their global edition did and it's not evident to me that two weeks later Victoria Burnett (was she on holiday at the time?) has added all that much value.

And if you're an IHT reader in Spain, you must be yawning over breakfast.

Spanish book quotes queen's disapproval of gay marriage
The Associated Press
Friday, October 31, 2008
MADRID: A Spanish journalist on Friday defended the accuracy of her book that quotes Queen Sofia criticizing gay marriage.
The book has irked the Royal Palace.
The Spanish king and queen are largely respected as figurehead representatives of the state, and rarely speak out on political or social issues.
The veteran journalist, Pilar Urbano, released the book - "La Reina muy de cerca," or "The Queen, very close up," - this week to mark the queen's 70th birthday Sunday. The journalist said it was based on 15 interviews with Queen Sofia, and that the Royal Palace approved the book's galley proofs before it was published, according to news agency Efe.
"What the queen said is what my book says," Urbano said.
The Royal Palace has challenged the comments attributed to the monarch, however, saying in a statement they "do not correspond exactly" with what she said. The palace also said the book also fails to reflect the queen's traditional neutrality on public affairs or respect for people who suffer discrimination, like homosexuals.
"I do not answer to the queen or king, or the Royal Palace. I answer to the truth," Urbano told Efe.
In the book, the queen is quoted as addressing a wide range of issues and saying she opposes abortion and euthanasia. Spain allows the former under restricted circumstances, and outlaws the latter. But the queen's alleged remarks on same-sex marriage are the main source of friction and have angered gay rights groups.
Spain legalized gay marriage in 2005, becoming one of the few countries in the world to recognize same-sex couples as having the same rights as heterosexual ones, including the right to adopt children.
"If those persons want to live together, dress up as bride and groom and get married, they can do so, but that should not be called marriage because it is not," the queen is quoted as saying in Urbano's book.
The conservative newspaper El Mundo said the queen erred by breaking with her tradition of quiet neutrality.
"As human as this burst of royal sincerity might be, certainly there were better ways to make Queen Sofia's birthday a new tool for bringing society closer to the throne," the newspaper said in an editorial.


Just so you know I'm not imagining this problem as being regular, as opposed to infrequent, compare and contrast today's story about fighting in the Congo threatening gorillas (by Gettleman) with the same story from Reuters run in the IHT and on on November 10th, 2008, on the same subject.

Once again, wire service well ahead of the curve, and not a hell of a lot of added value from the NYT correspondent.

It's this type of absurd allocation of precious foreign correspondent resource which is why newspapers seem so damn irrelevant and it seems their own memories of what they've already run are really pretty poor.


"Books about cosmopolitan urbanites discovering the joys of country life are two a penny, but this one is worth a second glance. Walthew's vivid description of the moral stress induced by his job as a high-flying executive with the International Herald Tribune newspaper is worth the cover price alone…. Highly recommended."
The Oxford Times
Ian Walthew

'I read
A Place in My Country with absolute unalloyed delight. A glorious book.'
Jeremy Irons (actor)

‘Ian Walthew was a newspaper executive with a career that took him round the world, who one day did a mad thing. He saw a for-sale sign on a cottage in the Cotswolds, bought it, resigned and moved in. For the first few weeks he just lay on the grass in a daze. Then he started talking to his neighbours and digging into the rich history of this beautiful part of England. Out of his inquiries grew this affecting and inspiring memoir.What sets it apart from others of its ilk is the author’s enviable immunity to cliché and his determination to love his homeland better than he used to.
His elegiac account of relearning how to be an Englishman should be required reading for anyone who claims to know or love this country.’ Financial Times

Ian Walthew

For more reviews visit

Business trip to the IHT in Paris or friends and family coming to visit you? Fed up with hotels? Bring the family (sleeps 6) to superb Montmartre apartment - weekend nights free of charge if minimum of 3 work nights booked;. Cable TV; wifi, free phone calls in France (landlines); large DVD and book library; kids toys, books, travel cot and beds; two double bedrooms; all mod cons; half an hour to Neuilly and 12 mins walk from Eurostar. T&E valid invoices.

10% Discount for NYT employees; 15% Discount for IHT Employees

International Herald Tribune
New York Times
The NYT Company

          La Mamounia Marrakech | Destination Wedding in Morocco        

      Location: La Mamounia Planning: Boutique Souk Florals: Boutique Souk Stationery: Rosie Harbottle Wedding Dress: Luisa Beccaria Shoes: Manolo Blahnik Reception Dress: Alice & Olivia Processing: Richard Photo Lab   Save Save Save Save

The post La Mamounia Marrakech | Destination Wedding in Morocco appeared first on Destination Wedding Photographer | Catherine Mead Photography.

          Welcome Drinks at El Fenn| Marrakech Destination Wedding        

F & T flew in from Dubai for their incredible destination wedding in Marrakech, hosting 60 of their closest friends and family for welcome cocktails at amazing Riad El Fenn, followed by their wedding at La Mamounia, one of Morocco’s finest hotels. Here’s the first part of their Moroccan wedding adventure with their Friday night […]

The post Welcome Drinks at El Fenn| Marrakech Destination Wedding appeared first on Destination Wedding Photographer | Catherine Mead Photography.

          Published | Martha Stewart Wedding feature Marrakech Wedding        

So excited to see Federica and Tommaso’s incredible 2 day Moroccan destination wedding in Marrakech featured by Martha Stewart Weddings showcasing their beautiful rehearsal dinner at El Fenn, and wedding at La Mamounia             See the full feature over at Martha Stewart Weddings!  

The post Published | Martha Stewart Wedding feature Marrakech Wedding appeared first on Destination Wedding Photographer | Catherine Mead Photography.

          Annapolis named best 'under-the-radar' destination wedding location        

Annapolis, you hopeful romantic, you.

This month, the website Pop Sugar declared the city the best place to have an "under-the-radar" destination wedding. Barcelona, Spain, New Orleans, Marrakesh, Morocco and Iceland rounded out the top 5 list of the "most creative places where couples are getting...

          Orson Welles in Theodore Roszak's "Flicker"        
Before there was Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code, there was Theordore Roszak's 1991 novel Flicker. In both stories a secret cabal of Gnostics hide out from "orthodox" Christianity, leaving subtle clues everywhere, and the hero has to find them for "the big reveal." Only difference is, in Flicker the Gnostic Cathars are far from benign. The survivors of the Cathar persecutions are still alive and well - and making movies. Film scholar Jonathan Gates begins a decades-long affair with avant-garde critic Clare Swann, and there's more than steamy sex between them. There's also Gates's fascination with deceased German expressionist filmmaker Max Castle - and the strange subliminal messages Gates finds embedded in Castle's films, hidden in "the flicker," the 1/24th of a second frame frequency required by the human eye/nervous system to give film the illusion of smooth, continuous movement.

Gates's suspicions grow as his analysis of Castle's films deepens. He discovers that Max Castle has at one point worked with Orson Welles on Welles's Heart of Darkness (which Welles in reality did attempt to make, and which he actually finishes in this story, with Castle's help.) Gates goes to New York City hoping to rekindle the affair with Clare, but is met with a great surprise when he arrives:

The evening's entertainment announced itself before I knocked at the door of the smallish flat she was renting in the West Sixties. A laugh as vast and almost as menacing as a lion's roar penetrated to the hallway. It was vaguely familiar but I couldn't pin a face to it. The the door opened and the voice attached to the laugh came at me like a baritone avalanche. And I knew at once.

... The guest of honor needed no introduction. Seated at the head of the table in a blue-gray cloud of his own cigar smoke, Orson Welles looked like a human volcano flirting with the possibility of eruption. Taking my hand in a tight, meaty grip, he grunted a hello that managed to be friendly and at the same time haughty. He was sporting a black dagger beard and hair down to his jowls. His brow was knotted into a permanent frown that made even his smile seem slightly menacing. Already well advanced toward a Falstaffian corpulence, he took up the place of two at his end of the room ...

Orson, registering the heat of the evening in a sheen of sweat at the brow, the lip, the cheek, was peeled down to a see-through white caftan and bare feet. The robe clung to his chest, revealing masses of hair and nipples large as eggs. His dishabille suggested he was a house guest. Was he? Clare, seated next to the great man, was lavishing much attention on him. How interesting. Her love life in the big city seemed to have taken on status.

Orson had been talking when I entered. After our brief introduction he resumed - and held the floor for pretty much the remainder of the evening, with little more time alloted to the rest of us than he needed to catch his breath, swig some drink, or drag on a Havana the size of a baseball bat. Even then, his labored respiration, blown like a whale's spouting from gaping nostils, was portentous enough to dominate the brief intervals he left for others to speak ...

My entrance had interrupted an anecdote about the king of Morocco. Orson had been filming in Morocco. Orson, it seemed, had been filming everywhere. He never got back to his story. Nobody cared. He went on to another and another. Stories about movies, plays, parties, intrigues, famous people, scandalous love affairs. It was a glittering performance; you could have sold tickets to hear it. It lasted through coffee, cognac, two servings of Clare's rum-soaked crepes (three for Orson) before, much to my surprise, the talk circled around to me. I have no idea how we got there; as he downed more cognac, Orson's perorations were growing too baroque to follow. At one point, he was going on about dining on camel steaks in Egypt; the next thing I knew, he was paying me what sounded like a well-rehearsed compliment. (But then, everything Orson said sounded well-rehearsed ...)
(p.220-221, 2005 Chicago Review Press edition.)

If I recall aright, this scene in Flicker takes place in the early 1970s, right around the time Welles actually did make F for Fake - and there is a delightful dinner party scene in that movie where Welles does take the center stage in just the way described here.

Later, at the end of the evening, Gates finally gets to confront Clare about Orson:

... As we waited for the pokey elevator to make its way back to her floor, I asked, "Should I congratulate you?" She gave me a puzzled look. I nodded back to her apartment. "Something permanent?"

She let a few beats go by, then answered. "Hardly. And that's for the best. It's an adventure to have him here, but otherwise ... well, you remember your little fling with Nylana the Jungle Girl. Things don't always translate off the silver screen as you might like, do they?"

I agreed she was right about that. She allowed another weightier, heavier pause to set in. Then: "I don't have to tell you this, but whatever the disenchantments, he's the first man I've liked having around the house since I left LA ..."

(PS: my_daroga, I think you would really enjoy this novel; it's packed with real and imagined film history, as well as being an engaging and well-plotted story.)

X-posted to men_in_full
          Shinan: Carrie and the cook        

[George Pimentel / Wireimage]

What we learned at a well-festooned fundraiser held at the Four Seasons on Saturday night? Well, for gosh gala starters, that our own chef David Rocco is worth more than Sarah Jessica Parker — even Sarah Jessica Parker in a maxi in the desert, running into an old flame in a crowded souk, dammit.

“I can’t believe it,” whispered the Dolce Vita TV chef from across our table, not long after we’d watched him sell himself off (but not in an Indecent Proposal way) for a nice mint of $13,000. And not long after even that, when we’d watched a nothing-to-sneeze-at package for SJP — complete with tickets to the Sex and the City 2 premiere, trip to Morocco (where part of the film was shot!) and, cherry-on-top, two pairs of Manolo Blahniks — all go for a Payless Shoes cost (well, not quite) of a mere $10,000.

“Seriously,” I bowed thereabouts to Rocco.

What could it all mean, here in the social arteries of the spring fling known as Fandango, an annual Toronto funder held in aide of Bridgepoint Health? That there might possibly be Carrie Bradshaw brand fatigue — or what Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott calls “the Robin Leach dreckitude of Sex and the City 2: Samantha Rides a Camel.” That, oh, maybe this is simply more of a Dexter/Meet the Press/Little Mosque on the Prairie crowd? Or that people just really like the idea of a Food Network Romeo coming over to your house and conjuring up some carbicide for seven of your closest friends with casual Tuscan nuggets provided by Pusateri’s, and wine donated by a “private Toronto cellar?”


Rocco couldn’t explain it to me, but maybe his new agents know something we don’t. He did, after all, I hear, just sign with the same people at William Morris in the U.S. who rep the likes of Giada De Laurentiis and Rachael Ray.

Oh, and the second thing we learned at Saturday’s well-festooned gala — the one that had brought out social duos such as John and Velvet Haney, Paul and Gina Godfrey, Allan and Anne Fotheringham, etc., etc.? Well, that love springs eternal … and that it doesn’t hurt to own the joint!

Out for the first slow dance, while the rest of us had barely got down to the business of the antipasto was, as per usual, Four Seasons dynamic duo Isadore and Rosalie Sharpe. Together, I’ve noticed, whether in a ballroom or not, they always have the blush of “first date” about them.

Sex and the City, indeed.


Blink and you’ll miss it, says Malcolm Gladwell. A recent headliner in a This Much I Know feature found in Britain’s The Observer, the one-man Canadian book-machine proclaimed this: “Rereading is much underrated.” For example, he cited: “I’ve read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold once every year since I was 15. I only started to understand it the third time.”

And, oh:

Touching on the bizarre-o movement to recruit him back to Canada and take on the post of the next Governor-General, William Shatner tells ET Canada that he’s only willing to consider it if it’s, like, 20 hours a week or something. “I have some things to do down here,” Shatner said from Los Angeles But “if it could be part-time Governor-General,” then, yeah, let’s talk.


           Hundreds of migrants repelled by police at Spanish border         
About 700 migrants attempted to storm the border between Morocco and Spain at the enclave of Ceuta (pictured) while 12 rode into EU waters off the enclave on jetskis, with one man drowning.
          Music in the Scientific Revolution        
Adam Fix is a second-year graduate student here at the University of Minnesota. He studies the history of philosophy, mathematics, and the physical sciences during the early modern period. His post this week is a wonderful intersection of these topics: music. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Adam plays music himself. Check out some of his pieces here!

The history of natural philosophy is also a history of music. Music defined Pythagorean philosophy and played an integral role in the Scholastic quadrivium. Both Galileo and Huygens played the lute and had prominent composer fathers. The list of seventeenth-century natural philosophers that addressed musical problems—Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Beeckman, Mersenne, Huygens, and Newton, among others—reads like a roll call of great names in early modern science. These natural philosophers sought, above all, to solve a problem that went all the way back to the Pythagoreans, namely the problem of consonance: why do some sounds seem consonant and pleasing while others seem painfully dissonant and jarring? However, in stark contrast to the spectacular new theories in physics, astronomy, and anatomy emerging at the time, music during the Scientific Revolution gradually fell out of the scientific discourse. The problem of consonance was never satisfactorily solved and an entirely new science of sound, known to us as acoustics, took its place. Music thus presents an unusual and illustrative historical case: a branch of natural philosophy that did not become a science.

(By convention, the classical science of music is often referred to as “harmonics,” although to scholars both ancient and early modern it was simply musica[1])

Whereas the modern word “music” serves as a catchall term for songs, symphonies, hymns, etc., the Latin musica before the seventeenth century bore no necessary connection to audible sound. Medieval scholastics, foremost among them the philosopher Boethius (c. 480–524), recognized three principle types of musica: musica mundanawas seen as the music of the world and heavens; musica humana dealt with relations between people, ethics, and the body; and (last and usually least) musica instrumentalis, which stood for audible music either sung or produced by instruments. Thus the music of the quadriviumwas the mathematical study of time, ratios, and proportions that purportedly governed both the celestial and human realms. Musical sound was merely the sensed expression of these inherent harmonies in nature and musica instrumentalis was man’s attempt at “aping his creator” as Kepler eloquently put it.  The skill of writing and performing music was exactly that: a skill of artisans and craftsmen learned through constant, menial practice rather than the inborn genius philosophers cherished.

Kepler’s planetary melodies for the six known planets plus
the moon, as presented in the Harmonices mundi of 1619
Kepler’s so-called “music of the spheres” is by far the best-known example of musica mundana. Kepler studied the motions of the planets as part of a much larger, personal quest to uncover the hidden harmony of nature. These harmonies would express themselves as simple, whole number ratios between planets (in the Mysterium Cosmographicum, back when Kepler assumed circular planetary orbits) or later as “planetary melodies” as planets traversed their elliptical orbits (detailed in the Harmonices Mundi). Kepler’s philosophy grew out of neo-Pythagorean traditions that sought to describe nature in fundamentally numerical terms. “Harmony” to him meant a natural adherence to simple ratios, and his quest to discover these harmonies drove nearly all of his astronomical work. Kepler’s answer to the problem of consonance was that musical sounds pleased the ear precisely becausethey imitated the cosmic harmony of nature.

(Incidentally, this is what Kepler’s cosmic harmony would actually sound like. Listen at your peril.)

The Scientific Revolution saw music transformed from an abstract notion of harmony in nature to the concrete study of physical sound. The first great revolution in music came from Vincenzo Galilei, composer, lutanist, and (most famously) father of Galileo. Scholastic thought maintained that harmony resulted directly from specific proportions in sonorous bodies. For example, an octave occurred when two strings, one half as long as the other, vibrated simultaneously. The consonance resulted from the harmonious 2:1 proportion and vibration was correlated with, but not the cause of, the music. Humans enjoyed consonant sound for the same reason that a rational mind favored simple, precise proportions. Vincenzo, however, noted that solid bodies such as hammers (as in the original myth of Pythagoras) did not follow the same proportions as vibrating strings: for two hammers to produce an octave, their weight had to be in a 4:1 proportion. Vincenzo himself did not propose much of a solution to this conundrum but his work turned music theory on its head by rejecting an almost two-thousand-year-old tradition. As the only natural philosopher of our story whose main occupation was as a composer and performer of musica instrumentalis, Vincenzo shifted attention away from harmonious proportions and towards the physical construction of the harmonious object. The stage was now set for a physical study of music that emphasized not abstract numerology but concrete matter and its properties.

Galileo Galilei one-upped his father. In Two New Sciences Galileo—after recounting experiments performed with a vibrating chisel and glasses filled with water—made the first connection between rate of vibration of a body and the tone heard. Harmonious ratios (2:1 for an octave, etc.) resulted not from string length but from relative frequency; an octave was made when a string (or bell, hammer, etc.) vibrated twice as fast as another string. Following the rise of mechanico-corpuscular views of nature, philosophers such as Isaac Beeckman were just beginning to understand sound as the transmission of pressure (either as waves or as rectilinear pulsations) from bodies to the “drum of the ear” as he called it. Galileo’s discovery fit the mechanical worldview perfectly: two notes were consonant, according to Galileo, if the sound pulses the emitted coincided often, an idea known to historians as the coincidence theory of consonance. [2]An octave’s pulses would coincide every other instance and thus sound very consonant. Thus the work of the Galileis neatly exemplify that a key trend in early modern science—replacing ancient, abstract theory with physico-mathematical explanations backed by experiment—applied to music as much as any other domain of natural philosophy.

With the Scholastic theory of music brought under scrutiny, natural philosophers of the seventeenth century set out to determine a new physics of music. In his Compendium musicae (1618) Descartes became the first to explicitly declare that “the object of music is sound,” a statement not at all self-evident at the time. Marin Mersenne, the first to identify a mathematical relation between the length, weight, tension, and frequency of a vibrating string (now known as Mersenne’s law), also became nearly the last natural philosopher to believe in an abstract harmony of nature. Mersenne insisted that nature would only produce harmonies and in his studies of overtones (the partial tones that, as we now know, make up the musical harmonic series) he adamantly denied hearing dissonant harmonics. Mersenne, in short, studied sound only insofar as it informed his understanding of harmony. He asked why certain sounds were harmonious and what role harmony played in nature, but sound in general was not the main interest for Mersenne or his contemporariesMusic, not sound, remained primary.

By the end of the seventeenth century the natural philosophy of music had largely been replaced by the fledgling science of sound soon to be known as acoustics. In 1696 the French mechanic and early acoustician Joseph Sauveur modified Descartes’ definition of music, adding that “the object of music is sound in the sense that it is agreeable to the parts of the ear.” Moreover in 1701 Sauveur defined acoustics as the study of all sound and therefore “a science superior to music.” Among Sauveur’s key insights was that harmonics need not be harmonious in the traditional sense of “pleasing to the ear.” The seventh harmonic (forming a highly dissonant ratio of 7:1 with the fundamental) is the best example of this; Sauveur broke with Mersenne and recognized the seventh harmonic as a legitimate part of acoustics despite it never being used in music. Whereas previous natural philosophers like Mersenne had emphasized harmony and studied sound only insofar as it explained the underlying harmony of nature, Sauveur asserted that sound—not just harmony, but allsound, regardless of how consonant or dissonant it might seem to fallible human ears—was now the fundamental phenomenon under scientific investigation.
Jean-Philippe Rameau, seen here
looking extremely French

A very different science of music emerged in the Enlightenment by the hand of Baroque composer and theorist Jean-Philippe Rameau.  In his Traité de l'harmonie of 1722 Rameau famously declared that “music is a science which should have definite rules; these rules should be drawn from an evident principle; and this principle cannot really be known to us without the aid of mathematics.” He thus earned the title of “the Newton of harmony.” [3] Rameau certainly recognized the tremendous social, cultural, and intellectual prestige surrounding the new science and sought to secure for music a place at the scientific table. Starting with the principle of the major triad—itself derived from the intervals of the harmonic series—Rameau derived all consonant intervals as inversions of the notes in a given triad. Rameau’s Traité de l'harmonie became the gold standard of musical education and many of his principles are still in common use today. However Rameau rarely, if ever, directly dealt with acoustics and did not supply physical justifications for his principles of harmony, stating outright that “we shall leave the task of defining sound to physics.” The end result was a science of music that resembled other sciences in method—a well-formed, empirico-analytic system of study and practice—but not in subject matter. It was not physics, mechanics, geometry, or natural philosophy. A science of music perhaps, but formulated by a musician for musicians with no effort to relate its principles to the rest of the sciences.

(A few of Rameau’s harpsichord pieces can be heard here. They are composed with the kind of mathematical precision that one might expect from the “Newton of harmony.”)

The history of the science of music is, in some sense, a classic Scientific Revolution narrative: out with Scholastic ideas of numerology and abstract qualities, in with the mathematical study of physical bodies and their sonorous properties. Away with God and His divine harmony; the new science of acoustics concerned only the nature of sound, never the harmony of nature. Above all the belief that nature somehow preferred harmony, that certain sounds were intrinsically consonant and others were intrinsically dissonant, lost scientific credibility. Science could not differentiate between musical sound and sound in general—only human beings could do that. This marked the fundamental distinction between acoustics and music theory, a distinction embodied by the acoustician Sauveur, who could not play music to save his life, and the composer Rameau, who did not even read Sauveur’s acoustical work when formulating his Traité de l'harmonie. Hence by the midst of the Baroque era science and music had very little overlap. The word “music” came to denote primarily the audible art form, for all other conceptions of musica lost meaning. In an Enlightenment world that demanded precise quantification and mechanization in science, acoustics thrived but the old natural philosophy of harmonics simply had no place.

[1]Thomas Kuhn employs the term “harmonics,” whereas H. Floris Cohen simply calls it “music.” Thomas S. Kuhn, “Mathematical vs. Experimental Traditions in the Development of Physical Science,” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 7, no. 1 (July 1, 1976): 1–31; H. F. Cohen, Quantifying Music : The Science of Music at the First Stage of the Scientific Revolution, 1580-1650 (Dordrecht Netherlands ; Boston: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1984).
[2] Cohen, Quantifying Music, 32.
[3] John Hawkins, A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (London : Printed for T. Payne and Son, 1776), Vol. 2, p. 901.

          Why You Want to Visit The Jemaa el Fna Square        

Morocco has many tourist destinations, but the city of Marrakesh is one of its most famous and popular destinations. And there lies Jemaa el Fna Square which is the city’s main square and a major marketplace; it’s located in the medina quarter which is seen as the old city. Name origin and history of Jemaa el Fna [...Read More]

The post Why You Want to Visit The Jemaa el Fna Square appeared first on Tedy Travel.

          Business Proposal:        
Dear noppy12.text,

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          Education in the Middle East        

Dublin Core


Education in the Middle East


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This teaching module provides a wide variety of sources to explore the history of schooling in the Middle East, a topic that is largely misunderstood in the west.


Heidi Morrison


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  1. Doumato, Eleanor Abdella and Gregory Starrett, ed. Teaching Islam: Textbooks and Religion in the Middle East. Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007.
    The contributions to this edited volume explore the political and social priorities behind religious education in nine Middle Eastern countries. The authors find vast differences in how Islam is presented in textbooks and a general lack of incitement to violence in the name of religion, or for any other reason.
  2. Hefner, Robert W. and Muhammad Qasim Zaman, ed. Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
    This edited volume looks at Islamic education in countries as different as Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The contributors demonstrate that Islamic education is neither timelessly traditional nor medieval, but rather complex and evolving.
  3. Nadwi, Mohammad Akram. Al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam. Oxford: Interface Publication, 2007.
    This book is an adaption of a larger 40-volume biographical dictionary of female Muslim scholars in the pre-modern period. This book can be used to understand the traditional system of transmission of knowledge and to counterbalance charges of misogyny against Islam.

Document Based Question

by Heidi Morrison
(Suggested writing time: 50 minutes)

Using the images, texts, and audio recording in the documents provided, write a well-organized essay of at least five paragraphs in response to the following prompt:

  • Imagine you are at a dinner party and the topic of conversation turns to international politics. One person at the table makes the statement, "Since ancient times, children in the Middle East have been taught violence against infidels." Using at least six primary sources related to the history of schooling in the Middle East, write an essay that responds to this theoretical statement.

Your essay should:

  • have a clear thesis,
  • use at least six of the documents to support your thesis,
  • show analysis by grouping the documents into at least two groups,
  • analyze the point of view of the documents, and
  • recognize the limitation of the documents before you by suggesting an additional type of document or source to make your discussion more complete or valid.


Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following institutions for primary sources:

About the Author

Heidi Morrison is an assistant professor of modern Middle East History at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. She is currently writing a book entitled State of Children: Egyptian Childhoods in an era of Nationalism, Modernity, and Emotion. Heidi is also the editor of the forthcoming The History of Global Childhood Reader (Routledge Press, 2011). She is working on a project on the history of boys and mental health in Palestine.

Case Study Institution

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse


In recent years, westerners have been fascinated by the education of children in the Middle East, raising concern over whether or not schools teach extreme radicalism or anti-Americanism. The Arabic word madrasa, which literally means "school," has come to imply in the minds of some pundits and politicians a pro-terrorism center with political or religious affiliation. The situation was very different in the pre-modern era, when schools in the Middle East were world renowned: students from as far away as Spain traveled to regions such as Iraq to study with noted teachers.

In the early days of the Islamic community in the Middle East (i.e., from the death of the prophet Muhammad in 632CE through the four Islamic caliphates and the Umayyad Dynasty in 750CE), the leading Muslims of the Arabian peninsula employed tutors or owned slaves to teach their sons the basics of religion, to read and write, to use the bow and arrow, to swim, and to be courageous, just, hospitable, and generous. The elite expected their daughters to attain skills relating to the household as well as the basics of religion, and sometimes to learn music, dance, and poetry.

The majority of children in rural areas learned how to work the land from their families. The only formal education they received would be from the kuttab, or mosque school, listening to Qur'an readers in mosques, or from informal exchange of information in the family.

In urban areas, boys typically began apprenticeships at around eight years of age to master a craft or skill. In terms of higher education, if a child had memorized the Qur'an (by about 12 years of age) he would often then travel around the Islamic world in quest of a teacher who had an understanding of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Students would gather around these teachers in mosques and master the teacher's approach to law without much questioning.

With the consolidation and cultural development of the Islamic empire during the Abbasid Dynasty (750-1258CE), a systematic method of schooling was established in the Middle East for both elementary and higher education. This remained the main form of education until the 20th century.

A maktab, or "elementary school," was attached to a mosque and the curriculum centered on the Qur'an, which was used to teach reading, writing, and grammar through recitation and memorization. Physical education was emphasized in childhood education because Islam gives importance to the training of the body as well as the mind. (Children of wealthy and prominent families continued to receive individual instruction in their houses.)

After attending a maktab, a student could attend a madrasa, or "higher education institution," attached to a mosque. Individual donors, rulers, or high officials funded these through pious endowments. The endowment funds maintained the building, paid teacher salaries, and sometimes provided stipends for students.

The madrasa founder generally set the curriculum. With a focus on fiqh, schools sometimes also taught secular subjects, such as history, logic, ethics, medicine, and astronomy. Memorization was a critical aspect of a student's training in law. The material memorized formed the base used by jurors to practice ijtihad, or the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation of legal sources.

The most famous madrasas in the Middle East were Cairo's Al-Azhar, founded in the 10th century, and Baghdad's Al-Nizamiyya, founded in the 11th century. (Medical schools were usually attached to hospitals.)

The period of the Abbasid Dynasty is often referred to as the Golden Age of Islam, due in large part to the thriving centers of learning. Scholars during this time translated, preserved, and elaborated Greek philosophy (later used in European universities). They also made advances in algebra, medicine, trigonometry, mechanics, optics, visual arts, geography, and literature.

During the early-modern era (1500-1800), education continued to flourish under the Ottoman and Safavid Empires. One study suggests that up to half of the male population was literate in Cairo at the end of the 18th century, implying that maktabs were numerous.

The madrasa continued to be constructed as part of the mosque complex, reflecting the importance of education to religion and the sense that education took place within the religious framework. Scholarship under the Ottomans and Safavids centered on the notion that the most advanced science came from Islam and that scholars before them knew best. This was in contrast to Europe during the 19th century, where higher education in new types of institutions of learning began to free itself from church control to embody the Enlightenment value of questioning religion (i.e. putting the laws of science over the laws of God), although reform of the older universities in Europe proceeded slowly.

In the face of Europe's growing power from advanced technology and commercial wealth, Ottoman rulers entered the modern era (1800-present) with a series of educational reforms. The reforms aimed to modernize the empire by adapting aspects of western life. (In contrast, Iran, under the Qajars, did not undergo the same level of educational reforms.)

The Ottomans sent envoys to Europe to translate their scholarship and learn new scientific discoveries. They secularized society such that educational opportunity became equal for all subjects in state schools. In cities such as Istanbul, Cairo, and Tunis, reforming governments established specialized schools to train officials, officers, doctors, and engineers. Some contesting voices in the Ottoman Empire argued, however, that the problems of the Empire were not from a lack of western ways, but from a need to return to the ways of the early age of Islam and the Golden Age.

Nonetheless, by the end of WWI, almost all of the Middle East had fallen under European colonial rule. The maktab and madrasa system of education began to wane in the place of French and British schools. These schools had limited enrollment due in large part to their scarcity in number; access was restricted to a select local elite trained to enhance colonial administration. Study in the maktab and madrasa no longer led to high office in government service or the judicial system.

Although the colonizing authorities introduced compulsory schooling measures of one kind or another, they often failed to include sufficient funding in colonial budgets, so the percentage of the total child population in schools remained dismally low. Children in rural areas who attended school often studied for a half day and worked the other half. In Algeria, for example, by 1939 the number of secondary school graduates was in the hundreds for the entire country.

Various types of private Islamic schools existed as alternatives to government secular schools, but the colonial governments sought to exercise close control through subsidies, curriculum expansion, and inspection systems. Religious schools often served—as they did in European efforts to extend education to the middle and lower classes—as a base from which to build capacity. A small number of European and missionary schools, as well as some indigenously operated Christian schools existed alongside the government and Islamic schools. In cities, these Christian schools of various denominations sometimes gained importance as institutions where children of elites accessed European education. In this way, a two-tiered education system developed under colonialism. In all of these systems, girls were able to acquire a nominal education; if it continued, it was usually in the form of training for teaching, nursing, or midwifery.

Post-colonial governments in the Middle East prioritized mass popular education to build strong nations. Egypt's Gamel Abdel Nasser, for example, promoted free education and promised each graduate a position in the public sector. In countries such as Egypt, Syria, Morocco, and Algeria, schools underwent a process of "arabization." This meant a focus on teaching Arabic language and culture. Traditional schools either closed or became incorporated into the state system. Iran, in contrast, had never been colonized. It became increasingly westernized in the mid-20th century, until the Revolution and subsequent Islamization of the state and schools.

While access to education has improved dramatically in the Middle East in the second half of the 20th century, the public education system tends to suffer from overcrowded classes led by poorly-trained, overworked teachers with inadequate materials. The curriculum is for the most part secular, and when the history of Islam is taught, the goal is not to incite children to violence. Many families must hire private tutors to help children with their end of the year exams, which emphasize the memorization of massive amounts of material. If children fail these exams, they can conceivably remain in the same grade level for as many years as it takes to pass, or they fail to qualify for secondary or post-secondary training of their choice. A very small percentage of families can afford to send their children to private European or American schools in the Middle East, which provide a western-style education.

Case Study Author

Heidi Morrison


This teaching module provides a wide variety of sources to explore the history of schooling in the Middle East, a topic that is largely misunderstood in the west. Schools in the Middle East today take various forms, from secular to Islamic. Current research of textbooks in the Middle East finds little in them that could be construed as incitement to violence in the name of religion, or for any other reason. Many western pundits, politicians, and academics portray schools in the Middle East as breeding grounds for terrorists and Islamic extremists. These schools are also portrayed as unchanging institutions, which implies that they have not evolved since medieval times and that even in medieval times the schools were static.

The truth is that medieval Islamic schools produced a wealth of knowledge that European scholars translated from Arabic after the 12th century, and incorporated into institutions of higher learning between the 14th and 16th centuries. Furthermore, in today's world, schools in the Middle East take various forms, from secular to Islamic. Current research of textbooks in the Middle East finds little in them that could be construed as incitement to violence in the name of religion, or for any other reason. Wherever military struggle is mentioned, it is always in the context of defense against an aggressor.

With the first four sources, encourage students to explore the various characteristics of schooling in the Middle East in medieval times. In regards to the emphasis on memorization, students should understand that there were scholars who challenged this accepted method, such as Ibn Khaldun. Likewise, students should themselves grapple with finding the strengths in a method of instruction that emphasizes memorization. Do students agree with the Ottoman reformers who thought that a modern nation must have an educational system similar to Europe's? Do students think that the various early 20th-century Middle Eastern reformers' justification for schooling girls marked a step towards modernization?

They key problem governments in the Middle East face today in regards to the educational system is not extremism, but rather identity crisis, underfunding, and conflict. The article on schools in Algeria since independence shows that colonization created an abused collective psyche that initially sought to heal itself through insulation. Might the educational system in Iraq be on a similar path? What evidence do we have that people in the Middle East value education, despite the challenges they have faced in its pursuit in the 20th century?

Discussion Questions

  • Look at the two ijazahs (diplomas) from medieval times. Even without reading the Arabic, what stands out to you most about them? For a system of education that emphasized rote memorization, do you discern a sense of creativity?

    Possible answer:
    Creativity can perhaps be discerned in the designs on the diplomas and the difference in appearance between the two. The annotation also mentioned that the diplomas used individualized flattery.
  • Imagine you are in a debate with Ibn Khadlun. Present an opposing argument, including in your stance some of the merits to memorization that el-Baghdadi lists in his autobiography as well as some of the achievements medieval Islamic society made for humankind as a whole.
  • Envisage yourself a student in a medieval maktab: Who would be in your class with you? What would you learn? How would your progress be evaluated? To what might you aspire in terms of higher education?
  • Arguably, schools can be viewed as a means of controlling a population. Provide examples of how this has been attempted through physical and intellectual means, particularly under colonialism and the independent nation-state.

    Possible answer:
    Some examples to include in the answer would be: schools were funded by endowments in the medieval period and the benefactors set the curriculum; as the devshirme illustration indicates, when first conscripted, the boys were dressed in red to avoid their escape; and, the reform of education during the tanzimat was for the sake of the nation and military; education under the colonists was intended to benefit the British; education in post-independence countries had economic and social development as a main goal. Students might also point out instances of where the student is a free agent, such as in medieval times when he would travel from scholar to scholar seeking knowledge. Generally speaking, students can discuss the role that the individual student can play in thinking on his/her own and not being fully controlled.
  • After you summarize the New York Times article about education in Algeria, analyze its tone. What approach does the author take to the issue? Do you notice any bias? Does the author leave out any important issues? How do you think context influences content? What information might this article reveal about modern-day US concerns regarding education in the Middle East?
  • The podcast on young people's accounts about war in Iraq focuses almost entirely on their experiences with school. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages to studying political issues through educational institutions? In your answer, reflect as well on some of the other sources provided.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan: Education in the Middle East

by Heidi Morrison

Time Estimated: two to three 45-minute classes


  1. Be able to accurately and succinctly summarize a document, in the context of the history of schooling in the Middle East.
  2. Articulate how context influences content, in regard to various documents published over time about schools in the Middle East and also in regards to one's own knowledge.
  3. Gather information about the history of schooling in the Middle East in order to state characteristics that can be used when grappling with regional stereotypes.
  4. Use the information about the history of education in the Middle East to formulate opinions on current-day debates about education's role in society.


Students must come to class already having read the primary documents (in the case of the podcast, listened to it and recorded notes). For this lesson, students will need a hard copy of the documents and/or their notes. A notebook, paper, and pen are also required.


Share with the students this quote from a widely-cited article in the New York Times Magazine reporting that in Pakistan, "There are one million students studying in the country's 10,000 or so madrasas, and militant Islam is at the core of most of these schools." 1 Tell students that other commentators have suspected that an equally militant spirit pervades schools in predominately Muslim countries.

Ask students what comes to mind when they think about schools in the Middle East, a predominately Muslim area of the world. Have them write down their thoughts anonymously and collect them to read out loud. They may mention variations of such terms as "jihad factories" or "backwards" or "outposts of medievalism." If these subjects come up, ask students to speculate about how and why schools in the Middle East have developed such negative associations with extremism.


Explain to students that they will learn about the history of schools in the Middle East. They will study primary sources that will help them understand the characteristics of schools in the pre-modern Middle East as well as the contemporaneous debates around schools. They will also study primary sources that will help them understand the changes that these schools have undergone in entering the modern era. This lesson will help students formulate an informed image of schools in the Middle East, which is the ultimate goal of the Document Based Question.

First Activity
The first activity will focus on piecing together information from the various sources about how schools functioned in the pre-modern Middle East.

Divide the class into four groups. Tell them that each group will be assigned part of the larger project that is to create an imaginary 11-year old male pupil living in the Middle East in the 10th century. After each group completes their part of the project, they will present to the entire class. Every student in the class is responsible for learning all components of the material. Assign each group one of the following topics to describe in detail about the virtual student and tell them to base their answers on the first four sources provided in this module:

  • Why he goes to school;
  • What he learns in school;
  • How he is taught in school;
  • His aspirations for the future.

Second Activity
Students will be challenged to advance their understanding of the history of schools in the Middle East, as well as to improve their critical reading skills.

Divide the class into six groups and assign each group one source from sources 6–12 to summarize. Tell students to pay attention to what the sources say about changes schools in the Middle East have undergone in the modern era. When the students are ready, have them present their group summaries to the class.

Now tell the students that there is as much information in what sources from what they don't say as in what they say. Tell the students to return to their groups and decipher new information based on what is not included in their source. When the students are ready, have them present their ideas to the class.

A final step to this activity is to have the students return to their groups and talk together about how context influences content. Students should discuss how the information they garnered from the documents was influenced by what they know about the author of the source and/or what was happening in society at the time of its production. This discussion should force students to reevaluate the information they presented to the class thus far. Each group should do one final presentation to the class about what they know from their assigned document about education in the Middle East in the modern era.

Third Activity
Students will synthesize what they covered in the last two activities.

In a general class discussion, have the students recap what they find to be the main characteristics of education in the Middle East over the pre-modern and modern eras.

After this is completed, tell students there are many ways in which the history of education (as a field) contributes to current-day debates. Now that students possess a wide breadth of knowledge about the history of schools in the Middle East, ask them to articulate their opinions on the following topics:

  • Do you think that schools are a means of controlling a given population?
  • What do you think are the best pedagogical tools for learning?
  • How does access to education, or lack thereof, impact society?

Many students may have a tendency to base their opinions about these questions on their experience/knowledge of schooling in the west. Ask the students to formulate opinions in the framework of their knowledge of the history of schooling in the Middle East. This exercise will force students to integrate what may have previously been foreign to them (schooling in the Middle East) into how they construct their worldview.

If there is time, conclude by telling students to "shift gears" and write down all the associations that come to mind when they hear the words "women in the Middle East" or "religion in the Middle East." Listen to their responses and ask why you might conclude a lesson on schooling in the Middle East with such a question. Encourage students to take away from this module not only information about schooling in the Middle East and an exposure to larger interdisciplinary debates on education, but also an awareness that just as the texts are shaped by their context, so too is our knowledge.

1 Goldberg, "Inside Jihad U.; The Education of a Holy Warrior," New York Times Magazine, June 25, 2000.

Primary Sources

460, 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 466, 467, 468, 469, 470, 471

          Adakah Anwar Ibrahim terlibat dgn Fahaman Sesat Islam Liberal?        
Liberalisme adalah satu faham yang berkembang di Barat.

Prinsip2 pemikiran fahaman sesat ini ialah:
 1.prinsip kebebasan individu mutlak.

2.prinsip kontrak sosial.

3.prinsip masyarakat pasaran bebas.

4.perinsip meyakini wujudnya Pluraliti Sosio - Cultural dan Politik Masyarakat.

Misi utama Islam Liberal adalah untuk menghalang @ menghancurkan gerakan Islam fundamental.

Kesamaan cita-cita mereka dengan cita-cita Amerika, iaitu menjadikan Turki sebagai model bagi seluruh negara Islam.

Prof. Dr. John L. Esposito menegaskan bahawa Amerika tidak akan rela mengiktiraf negara Islam sebelum seluruh negara-negara Islam tampil seperti Turki.

Dr. Greg Barton ialah seorang pengkaji & pendokong kpd fahaman sesat Islam Liberal yang merupakan profesor di Monash University, Australia bertindak memancarkan segala doktrin sesat Islam Liberal yg berpusat di Universiti Harvard,(The Pluralisme Project) ke Asia melalui Universiti Monash dan disalurkan ke negara-negara yang menjadi sasarannya.

Menurut Dr Greg Barton, kehebatan Islam Liberal bukan sekadar pada namanya "Liberal", tetapi lebih hebat kerana Islam Liberal berjaya memusnahkan akar-akar Islam termasuk persoalan akidah dan syariah.

Islam Liberal akan meruntuhkan prinsip2 asas Al Quran melalui methodologi dekonstruksi (kritik teks) dan memusnahkan akar syariah dengan methodologi ijtihad (penafsiran) terbuka.

Abu Saif al Mahshari, Setiausaha Persatuan Ulama Malaysia (PUM), Pulau Pinang dalam kertas kerjanya menyenaraikan beberapa tokoh pemula yang menjadi rujukan kpd fahaman sesat Islam Liberal iaitu John Locke, Immanuel Kant dan Voltaire.

Tokoh - tokoh ini dipanggil 'Religious Enlightenment' (Pencerahan agama). Kemudian dikuti oleh Adam Smith dan diperbaharuhi oleh Charles Kurzman dan lain-lain.

Fakta yg harus diketahui:

1. Ketika berucap di Forum New York Democracy Forum, Amerika Syarikat (Disember 2005) dan the Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy di Istanbul, Turki (April 2006) Anwar Ibrahim mengakui demokrasi dan kebebasan berasaskan pemikiran John Locke, yang mempengaruhi penggubalan undang-undang Amerika, turut menegaskan yg ianya juga sesuai di dunia Muslim untuk memenuhi keinginan manusia kepada kebebasan dan demokrasi.

2. Anwar Ibrahim menulis dalam Journal of Democracy (Oktober 2007) bertajuk "Anwar Ibrahim on freedom, democracy and the rule of law " memetik pendapat John Locke yang membenarkan individu menentang kerajaan sekiranya kerajaan menyekat hak kebebasan asasi. Dalam tulisan itu Anwar secara jujur mengakui gembira bersekutu bersama NED, sebuah Yayasan Demokrasi tajaan Amerika.

3. Ketika berforum dengan Emma Rothchild (keluarga Rothchild pemilik akhbar Liberation, Perancis ?) dalam 'Wacana Empat Tokoh di Florence, Italy' (2007) Anwar menggesa umat Islam agar memberi perhatian kepada pemikiran 'Adam Smith' yang telah diketengahkan oleh Emma Rothchild.

4. Anwar Ibrahim bersetuju dengan gesaan Muhammad Iqbal (salah seorang tokoh Islam Liberal) agar umat Islam membuka pintu ijtihad yang seakan-akan telah ditutup dan dengan pembukaan semula pintu ijtihad Anwar berpendapat umat Islam dapat menyesuaikan diri dengan keadaan semasa.

Tokoh kontemporari yang menjadi rujukan kpd kumpulan fahaman sesat Islam Liberal ini adalah Charles Kuzman, Professor Sosiologi di University of North Carolina, US.

Charles Kurzman turut menyenaraikan nama Anwar Ibrahim (Malaysia) sebagai salah seorang antara tokoh2 pendokong fahaman sesat Islam Liberal, sebaris dengan Abdurrahman Wahid (Indonesia), Asghar Ali Engineer (India), S.M. Zafar (Pakistan), Rachid Ghannouchi (Tunisia), Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), Fatima Mernissi (Morocco), Ali Shari`ati (Iran), Muhammad Iqbal (India), Nurcholish Madjid (Indonesia) dan lain-lain.

          Vintage Amber & Turquoise Ring by SilkRoadJewelry        

79.00 USD

This is a vintage handmade ring from North Africa, probably Morocco. It features a pair of blue Turquoise rounds and a lovely Amber centerpiece. The band is pierced, and appears to be brass with a silver rim. It measures approx. 9-1/2 - 10.

          The Dutch Transformation        
“It was a mistake, the (Dutch parliamentary) report said, to allow children to speak Turkish, Arabic and other native languages in primary schools rather than Dutch. And it criticized the policy vacuum that still allows between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of Dutch-born immigrants to import their spouses from ‘home’ countries, mostly Turkey or Morocco. The report concluded that Holland’s immigrants needed to become more Dutch, and spend more time learning the language”

While I, a first generation immigrant, do agree with the notion that learning the host country’s language is a primary duty of a newcomer, I find the criticism against “importing spouses from ‘home’ countries” quite absurd, especially when the Dutch Crown-Prince himself is not immune to importing one from, thank god, Argentina. Obviously, the criticism is against the origin of the import, not the process itself, another example of pragmatic racism of deluded ‘liberals’.

On the other hand, when I learn that some of my fellow Bangladeshi immigrants, primarily ‘barely legal’ female ones, are forced by their parents to marry someone from the ‘home’ country, available either in the local market (i.e., Toronto) or needs to be imported, to ‘save’ them from western ‘shamelessness’, I feel appalled.

My point is neither the state nor the family should be able to exercise any legal or otherwise power to restrict the choice of an individual, host or immigrant.
          Democracy in Arab World        
Yes, we still support Arab autocracy

by Bradley Glasser [Asia Times Online: Jan 15, 2005]

Since September 11, 2001, Western governments have articulated a breathtaking vision of democratic reform in the Arab world. Government officials, with the support of myriad policy wonks and pundits, have embraced the idea of Western support for a democratic transformation of the Middle East. Western officialdom has argued that a democratic boom in the region would alleviate the discontent that fuels terrorism and fanaticism in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

This post-September 11 interest in democracy-promotion in the Middle East is supposed to mark a reversal of decades-old Western support for Middle Eastern dictatorships. The Bush administration has touted this apparent transformation in US policy toward the region in countless policy addresses and campaign speeches in 2003 and 2004. (Indeed, in a November 2003 speech, President George W Bush apologized for American support for Middle Eastern dictatorships over the last 50 years.) And the official rhetoric has seemingly been matched by a concerted policy effort among Western powers.

At the June 2004 Group of Eight Summit at Sea Island, Georgia, the US and European governments presented a Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative, which outlined a common US-European framework for democracy-promotion in the Middle East. The initiative created a global forum for the discussion of Middle Eastern political reform, and created a fund for democracy-promotion activities throughout the Arab world.

Most Arab rulers have rejected the imperialist overtones of Western democracy-promotion in the region, and indeed the Arab media have by and large denounced Western efforts to reshape Arab political systems. At the same time, the Western initiative has sparked some debate on political reform in Arab societies, and has pushed Arab governments to acknowledge the need to open up their polities. A few states like Jordan and Morocco have even indicated their willingness to work with Western donors on democracy-promotion.

Sadly, the grandiose Western proclamations and the impassioned Arab debate simply obscure a stifling global consensus that will militate against genuine Arab democratization for the foreseeable future. Overwhelmingly, rhetoric aside, Western governments - including the Bush administration - seem to agree with Arab rulers on a critical point: in general, the authoritarian stability of the existing Arab order should be maintained; at best, Arab and Western governments are considering exceedingly cosmetic political reforms that alleviate domestic discontent and present a positive face to the international community.

Here the confusion - whereby the American media and public assume the US government is pushing for genuine democracy from Morocco to Egypt to the Arab Gulf - stems from the critical distinction between political liberalization and democratization. For more than a decade, the US and the European Union have invested comparatively trivial sums in political liberalization programs in Arab countries. Such aid programs have sought to support civil-society groups seeking greater political participation, or have had a technical orientation that sought, for example, to upgrade the infrastructure of the justice and parliamentary systems in countries like Egypt and Jordan.

What the democracy aid projects of the 1990s did not do was pressure the various rulers to share power in any meaningful way: to allow free and fair parliamentary elections, or to ease the overwhelming institutional power of the ruling parties (in the Arab republics) or of the ruling families (in the Arab monarchies), or to roll back the brutal dictatorial powers of the Arab state. The trivial scope of the democracy aid has reflected the traditional American and European interest in preserving geopolitical stability in the Middle East. For decades, of course, Western governments have preferred to ally themselves with friendly Arab dictators who would guarantee the flow of Middle Eastern oil and keep anti-Western radicals at bay. In designing the democracy aid projects in the 1990s, American and European policy-makers assumed that marginal reforms - enacted at a glacial pace - might enable Arab regimes to ease popular discontent and in turn work to prevent anti-Western revolutions (as occurred in Iran, for example).

The post-September 11 Western approach to Arab reform is essentially the same one employed so ineffectually in the 1990s, notwithstanding the deafening and misleading rhetoric. Indeed, Western-sponsored reforms have perversely worked to enhance the legitimacy of the Arab rulers: enabling them to project a "democratic" facade to their domestic critics and to the international community. In Egypt and Jordan in the 1990s, for example, while aid flowed, human-rights conditions actually deteriorated and the rulers further marginalized their political opponents.

At first glance, some current American and European reform initiatives seem worthwhile. In recent months, for example, the US State Department has highlighted a new Middle East Partnership (MEPI), which will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Arab reform, broadly defined. In Bahrain last September, MEPI sponsored a judicial reform conference for 200 representatives of Arab justice ministries. Conference participants discussed various aspects of Western judicial practice, including judicial ethics, the recruitment of judges and court administration. The premise of the State Department is that such promotion of Westernized notions of "the rule of law" will contribute to the eventual democratization and Westernization of Middle Eastern polities. That may - or may not - be the case in the long run, as Arab officials absorb Western political and legal values in the coming decades.

But in the short and medium term, the current Western aid projects do nothing more than burnish and enhance the repressive status quo. Since Arab rulers thoroughly dominate their judiciaries and parliaments, the upgrading of judicial and parliamentary procedures mean little or nothing - at least in terms of genuine democratization. Indeed, the aid projects enable rulers to claim that they are democratizing and modernizing, while political conditions in fact continue to deteriorate in major Arab states.

In the end, Western governments may well have little or no power to promote substantial reforms in Arab countries. But given the failures of the gradualist aid approach in the past decade or so, only a more aggressive policy - that of political conditionality - has any hope of contributing to real democratization in the region. In other words, the provision of foreign aid and the expansion of trade ties should be conditioned on genuine political liberalization and democratization. Such progress would include meeting well-defined benchmarks in terms of respecting human rights and press freedoms, allowing free and fair parliamentary elections, and the implementation of constitutional curbs on executive power.

Arab rulers may well refuse to participate in such an intrusive program. But even that eventuality would be preferable to the current "democracy" activities, which simply seem to perpetuate a dangerous and dysfunctional status quo.


Bradley Glasser is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of Economic Development and Political Reform: The Impact of External Capital on the Middle East (Edward Elgar, 2001).

[Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved.]
          A kinder, gentler view of the Falklands        

By UK guest blogger Dr Claire Goodwin. Claire is a marine biologist at National Museums Northern Ireland. Her work involves SCUBA diving survey projects and the study of marine invertebrates – she has a particular interest in sponges. She has recently been on diving expeditions with the Falkland Islands-based Shallow Marine Surveys Group, helping them document the sponges of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia - research highlights are here.

Black-browed Albatrosses on what Darwin called 'miserable islands'. Photo Claire Goodwin 

Here’s hoping Prince William enjoys the Falkland Islands more than Charles Darwin did. In March 1834, HMS Beagle arrived in ‘these miserable islands’ with a population ‘of which rather more than half were runaway rebels and murderers’. Darwin saw an ‘undulating land with a desolate and wretched aspect…everywhere covered by a peaty soil and wiry grass, of one monotonous brown colour’ which ‘can boast of few plants deserving even the title of bushes’.

Exploring the islands on horseback with Gauchos, he found ‘nothing could be less interesting than our day’s ride’, although maybe his mood was not improved by the hail and rain they tramped through and lack of sleep as ‘the ground on which we slept was on each occasion nearly in the state of a bog, and there was not a dry spot to sit down on after our day’s ride.’ He didn’t think much of the overall climate either - comparing it to the mountains of North Wales, only with more wind and rain.

Having visited the Falklands for research over the last few years, I can agree with Darwin about the windy weather, but found its wildlife much more interesting and its human inhabitants much more hospitable. However, I did have the advantage of escaping underwater from any inclement conditions as I was participating in diving surveys with the Shallow Marine Surveys Group.

Exploring the shallows. Photo Claire Goodwin

The Falkland Islands are situated in the South Atlantic roughly 400 miles from the coast of Argentina and 850 miles north of the Antarctic Circle. The archipelago includes two main islands, East and West Falkland, and 778 smaller ones. It offers a wide variety of dive sites, but the shallow marine zone remains largely unsurveyed. Much of the coastline around the islands is rocky, and beneath the waves, swoops into a series of dramatic pinnacles, gullies and ledges.

What the Falkland archipelago lacks in terrestrial trees it makes up for underwater. The giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, forms long-leaved stands which reach several meters in length, trailing on the surface and forming a trap for unwary diver legs and boat props. Tree kelp (Lessonia trabeculata) is found in deeper water and, as the name suggests, its holdfasts are thick and tree-like: ideal for grabbing onto in a swell but tricky to manoeuvre around when surveying. Underneath the kelp, the bedrock is covered with colourful splodges of encrusting invertebrates.

SMSG are conducting SCUBA surveys trying to document the shallow underwater species and habitats of the island, many of which may be new to science – on a survey of the Jason Islands in 2008 we found 12 new species of sponge, and we’re in the process of describing several new species from a second expedition. Being based on the expedition yacht Golden Fleeceallows the group to reach far-flung corners of the islands such as Beauchêne Island – some 40 miles to the south of the main group.

SMSG vessel Golden Fleece. Photo Claire Goodwin

The productive shallow water environments are one reason that the Falkland Islands are globally important for bird life. The penguins, which Darwin observed crawling through the tussock grass and diving ‘like a fish leaping for sport’, comprise five different species including 30% of the world’s population of Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua). Two-thirds of the world’s populations of black-browed albatrosses are also found here, and we often encountered vast colonies with birds sitting on sandcastle-like mud nests or wheeling overhead when we went ashore from the survey vessel.

Less friendly were the Striated Caracaras (Phalcoboenus australis) or Johnny Rooks as they are locally known, which frequently dive-bombed us. As Darwin noted these ‘extraordinarily tame and fearless’ birds ‘are very mischievous and inquisitive; they will pick up almost anything from the ground’. We had to be on guard of our cameras when they were around, and Darwin’s party experienced several losses including ‘a large black glazed hat…carried nearly a mile’ and ‘a small Kater’s compass in a red morocco leather case which was never recovered’. Despite being noted by Darwin as ‘exceedingly common’, the species is now listed as ‘near threatened’ by BirdLife International. Its decline is partly because its habit of attacking lambs and weakened sheep has historically brought it into conflict with sheep farmers.

Rooks contemplating petty thievery - or lunch. Photo Claire Goodwin

From Johnny Rooks to the endemic Hairy Daisy, both above and below water the Falklands have many species and habitats of importance.  Much research has been undertaken since Darwin’s day – for example the grassland he dismissed as ‘monotonous’ has been found to harbor 175 species of plant, including 14 endemic species. The work of the Shallow Marine Surveys Group and Falkland Conservation continues to document and study the fascinating wildlife of these Islands. We hope they’re joined in the near future by researchers and students traveling with the new Beagle– and traveling with ample woolies and waterproofs! 

          Watchtower of Turkey        

Over than 3500 km traveled in 20 days, capturing landscapes from the bluish tones of Pamukkale to the warm ones of Cappadocia, the all passing by a great variation of colors, lights and weathers through six other cities.
I've crossed Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Istanbul, Konya; and tasted baklava, kunefe, doner, the turkish tea; and got the chance to meet the soul of Turkey, its people.. and got their smiles and their hospitality.
This is Turkey lived by me from north to south, and I hope you enjoy it :)

Directed and edited by Leonardo Dalessandri
Music: "Experience" by Ludovico Einaudi

Voice off: Meryem Aboulouafa

I have a new page on Facebook:
You can like it, share it, or just have a look at it :)

Watch my previous work "Watchtower Of Morocco":

Cast: Leonardo Dalessandri and Meryem Aboulouafa

Tags: istanbul, goreme, cappadoce, pamukkale, konya, selcuk, ephesus, balloon, timelapse, panasonic gh3 gh4, hyperlapse, mevlana, nature and travel

          Marrakesh Magic        

The Marrakesh Basin, brought to you by Kohler, is named after the ancient capital of Morocco, Marrakesh.  With its intricate design, inspired by the Moorish architecture scattered around this ancient city, the Marrakesh basin evokes a sense of mystery, where one is transported to a city filled with treasures and exotic spices. The classic Bol […]

The post Marrakesh Magic appeared first on House and Leisure.

          Robert Pattinson talks choosing roles, The Rover, and working in Australia with The Courier Mail        

Seven weeks in the baking heat of the South Australian Outback has accomplished something even an army of vengeful Volturi couldn’t.
Described by one influential industry magazine as “career redefining”, Robert Pattinson’s against-type performance as a slow-witted drifter in desert Noir thriller The Rover has enabled him to emerge from the long shadow cast by the Twilight franchise.
That might explain the 28-year-old English actor’s relaxed and charming demeanour during interviews for David Michod’s hotly-anticipated follow-up to Animal Kingdom — the film that reinvented both Jacki Weaver’s and Ben Mendelsohn’s careers — which stands in marked contrast to his polite and unassuming but slightly-guarded approach to the media at the height of the Twilight phenomenon.
Pattinson says the glowing reviews that came out of the Cannes Film Festival last month, where TheRover screened in a prestigious midnight slot, felt like a validation “for about five seconds”.
But his next film is almost more important.
“With all that Twilight stuff, I know that if I was not me, I would be judging me,’’ he says.
“It’s almost like setting up a brand. If you get enough good reviews so that people go in expecting a good movie, then half your job is done.”
Guy Pearce, Pattinson’s co-star in The Rover, made the transition from soapie heart-throb to serious actor two decades ago with The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, which was also selected for a midnight screening slot at Cannes.
“Basically, he is a leading man but he consistently does character parts,’’ says Pattinson.
“I always kind of admired how he did that and it is basically the same career path that I would like to have.”
The actor has just finished filming his own Queen of the Desert, helmed by veteran German director Werner Herzog and starring Nicole Kidman as archaeologist Gertrude Bell, in Morocco.
The role of T.E. Lawrence, he says, was his most challenging thus far.
“Even though it’s only a few scenes, it was definitely the scariest thing I have done. I am playing Lawrence of Arabia. Those are huge shoes to fill. It was just crazy walking in with the outfit on.”
Even when Edward Cullen was dominating his life, Pattinson still made time for other projects, such as Remember Me with Australia’s Emilie de Ravin, Water for Elephants, with Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz, and the period drama Bel Ami, with Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci.
His collaborations with veteran Canadian director David Cronenberg, on Cosmopolis and Map to the Stars, for which co-star Julianne Moore won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival this year, gained art house respect.
But it’s the character of Rey, a slow-witted misfit needy almost to the point of self-annihilation, that has drawn a firm post-Twilight line in the sand.
Michod put Pattinson through two rigorous three-hour audition sessions before casting him in the role.
“I had always thought he was some angular, super good-looking brooding guy,’’ says the director.
“Then I met him and he was way more interesting than that. He wasn’t just a pretty boy. He had a really interesting face. He was interestingly awkward. And clearly very bright.
“And the fact that he was willing to come back two days later (for a second audition) said to me quite definitively that he really wanted to do this movie and he really wanted to work hard.
“It also said that he was humble enough to not think it should be handed to him on a platter.”
Since The Rover had a budget of $12 million, and required a challenging, seven-week shoot in the South Australian Outback in February and March, it’s clear that neither money nor glamour were driving factors in Pattinson’s desire to land the role.
But the remoteness of the locations might actually have been a bonus for Pattinson, who would have been keen to escape the media attention that followed his split with long-time girlfriend Kristen Stewart in the wake of her affair with Snow White and The Huntsman director Rupert Sanders.
“The environment doesn’t really let you go outside,’’ he said during a break from filming in the one-pub town of Marree, at the intersection of the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Tracks. The mercury on set that day hovered around the early 40s.
Time and distance have changed his perspective.
“I am constantly being prompted to say how awful it was,’’ Pattinson said during a press conference last week ahead of the film’s Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival.
But I really liked it. I just found it incredibly serene being able to look to the horizon. I liked the hardness of the landscape as well. There’s something strangely mystical about it.”
The external transformation of Pattinson from handsome heart-throb to brutalised victim took some doing.
The hair and make-up department sprayed him with a combination of olive oil, fly spray and sunscreen to achieve Rey’s sallow, unhealthy-looking complexion. The actor’s arms were shaved to make him look thinner, even whiter, and more vulnerable. And his hair was shorn crudely to help give the impression that he was suffering from a nasty case of mange. It was a daily process that took almost two hours to complete.
Pattinson’s internal shift is even more startling.
Ironically, the actor credits his experience on the Twilight films as a major factor in helping him find that character that allowed him move on.
“I never really had anyone pick on me at school. I think I just managed to skirt the edge of every different little group imaginable,’’ says Pattinson.
“But for some reason, I just got Rey, who has been bullied his whole life.
“I think it’s about fear as well. And I guess maybe the last few years, being a little scared of crowds, being a little bit paranoid when you are walking down the street, that fed into it a little bit.
“(That sense of) being extremely wary and also not knowing how people will react. There are trust issues there. Being a little more isolated, you get bit dislocated from normal behaviour.
“Rey is looking at people not knowing whether they are going to slap him or laugh.”
The Rover opens in Australia on June 12.

          Argan Oil Benefits For Skin and Hair        

Picture of Argan Oil

What is Argan Oil? Argan oil is a type of oil that is extracted from argan tree kernels. It is highly prized for its cosmetic properties. It is often used for treating dry skin, wrinkles, acne, stretch marks, eczema and psoriasis. Where Does Argan Oil Come From? Argan oil comes from Southwestern Morocco and can only be extracted from trees in this area. The argan tree is endangered and is grown in a UNESCO protected biosphere. The oil is rare and highly prized as each tree only..... Read more

Original Article Source: Herbs List - A Comprehensive List Of Herbs and Their Health Benefits

          Qatar Enlists a New Ally in Its Diplomatic Crisis: 4,000 Cows        

Qatar, the subject of a crippling blockade by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, will welcome 4,000 herbivorous foreigners in the coming months to help fulfill the country’s dairy demands. Arriving on a Qatar Airways flight from Germany via Budapest, the first batch of 165 cows landed in the tiny Gulf nation on Tuesday and were promptly transported to a newly built dairy facility.

Dairy products found in Qatari supermarkets used to be imported from neighboring Saudi Arabia. But on June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed the land, air, and sea blockade of their neighbor. Doha, the capital of the primarily oil-exporting economy, rejected a list of 13 demands as preconditions for lifting the sanctions, so the blockade continues.

According to one estimate, more than 99 percent of Qatar’s food is imported, primarily through its land border with Saudi Arabia. Although the Qatari government promises that there’s enough Ben & Jerry’s to keep the country of 2.7 million people happy, news of the blockade led many Qataris to stock up on supplies. “I’ve never seen anything like it – people have trolleys full of food and water,” one Qatari shopper told Doha News on the day the blockade was announced. Even as the blockade put Qatari shoppers on edge, it presented a business opportunity for others.

According to Bloomberg, the Qatari firm Power International Holding purchased the cows from Europe to be flown in via 60 flights. Chairman Moutaz al-Khayyat says he expects the cows to meet 30 percent of the country’s dairy demand. Qatar has also been seeking new trade routes, importing yogurt from Turkey and meat and fruit from Morocco and Iran. A rival to Saudi Arabia’s ambitions in the Middle East, Iran has also granted Qatar access to three of its ports, and Turkey flew four cargo planes of food to Qatar immediately after the blockade began. “New import arrangements have been made with different countries including Turkey to ensure uninterrupted supply of food products,” a representative of Qatar’s Lulu supermarket chain told the Peninsula in June.

Qatar, which currently boasts the highest per capita income in the world, has continued to dismiss the blockade’s economic toll. Even as the Gulf country has been hit with a ratings downgrade over the crisis, its leaders and people insist on its resilience.

“Even if we don’t import or export for the next year, we have enough materials to cover our infrastructure and private sector projects,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani told Al Jazeera earlier this month.

“It’s a message of defiance, that we don’t need others. Our government has made sure we have no shortages and we are grateful for that. We have no fear. No one will die of hunger,” Qatari resident Umma Issa told Bloomberg.

And although the cows might enjoy their new surroundings, hundreds of camels have reportedly died from starvation and thirst after their Qatari farmers were kicked out of Saudi Arabia. According to the Independent, the Qatari government was able to save 8,000 stranded camels, but many died en route across the desert.

Maybe Qatar Airways’ cattle car isn’t a bad way to travel after all.

          Nedjma an Arab Slut from Morocco        
Hot mature slut dressed up in black and feeling very horny, relaxing in her apartment and dildoing her wet mature pussy! Check out more photos of this slut Nedjma! If you wanna see more fucked Arab sluts check out Rebel Arab Sluts and download tons of free videos and photos with sexy chicks in hijab!
          Nadia Yummy Rebel Arab Slut        
Nadia, 20 year old, is from Morocco and she is a rebel. She came to us because she likes sex. In fact, she said she wanted to become a porn star. She now started a career under the name Emma Angely. For this casting, she came wearing a veil because she wanted us to see […]
          Florida Trip: Day 4        
Easy morning. Woke up and had the free breakfast at the hotel. I know now why it is free. It includes your typical hotel serve yourself breakfast. Cereals, yogurt, breakfast meats, baked goods, etc... My word though, the "juice" was pretty much apple or orange flavored water. But, again, it was free.

Jude has been doing really well. I'm not sure if he is used to trips now or if it is just his easy going nature. That being said, ever since he realized he could walk help-free, that is all that kid wants to do. I'm sure those of you of whom has experience with kids knows that is adults tend to walk a wee bit faster than them. Needless to say there were many times today where he was upset because someone was carrying him.

One more thing about Jude, he absolutely loves his Papa. When he is not nursing, walking, or in his stroller, he wants to be with Pat. Once he is with him, he could care less about any of us.

Oookay. So, today we went to Epcot. We were planning on taking the van from the hotel, but there are no strollers allowed and it is offered at only 8:30 am and 12:30 pm. That is stupid. Epcot is quite grand upon entering. Spaceship Earth (the huge globe) is huge. The first thing we did was ride in Spaceship Earth which was narrated by Judy Dench and took us on a history lesson of a ride.

Epcot is divided into two main sections laid out in an hour glass form. The first half is Future World and it includes Spaceship Earth and about 4 or 5 "attractions" with such themes as innovations, the environment, land, and sea.

The second hour glass section is the World Showcase and it consists of the following countries surrounding the Showcase Lagoon:

- Mexico
- Norway
- China
- Germany
- Italy
- The American Adventure
- Japan
- Morocco
- France
- United Kingdom
- Canada

Each country has shops and eateries that are authentic to where they represent. Some even feature a small, slow moving water ride. What is really neat is that the crew members who opperate each country is actually from that country.

Our next stop was the World Showcase. Let me pause here a moment and say that at 10 am, the humidity was extremely high and the sun was just beating down. It would take too long to highlight what all we did there, so I will just include the main ones. Epcot is undergoing their food and wine expo. This means that there are several state fair sized booths from all over the globe, not just what is represented in the Showcasw, that feature food and wine from those places. We did not partake of this event, however, we did partake of the Beer Hop (I hope they intended a pun).

There are two side by side booths that feature 8 beers from all over the world. The idea is that you receive a passport and get to sample 4oz of 4 beers of your choice. Wendy and I did this together, so by the time we were done, we tried all 8 beers.

The next highlight was lunch. We ate in Germany at the Biergarten or beer garden. This was a traditional eating hall that featured a buffet of traditional German food, schnitzels, spatzels, sausages, pretzel rolls, etc... Delicious. Needless to say I had a 1/2 liter of the Opitmator, a dark German beer.

We did a see a couple Circlevision 360 films. You stand in a circular room with 10 screens around you that are all syncronized to play together. Really neat.

At the America area, coinciding with the expo, the Boston Beer Co. had a 20 minute history lesson of the company/explanation of the brewing process/beer tasting. We tasted about 2oz of 4 of their beers. We each got a bottle opener key chain, and yes, Nichole actually partook.

After the Showcase we went to the Sea area for a couple Finding Nemo related attractions, the three of us really enjoy that movie. Next we headed back to the Showcase for a quick bite and to see the light show on the Lagoon.

Well, that is it for tonight. I'm tired so I'm ending this, some of this may not make sense, so let me know if there are any questions or if you want me to expand on something.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Crest on the bottom left represents the area in Germany my great-grandmother is from.

          Cats Hd Wallpapers         
Cats Hd Wallpapers Biography
The HD Cat has two estrus periods, one in December–February and another in May–July.[59] Estrus lasts 5–9 days, with a gestation period lasting 60–68 days.[60] Ovulation is induced through copulation. Spermatogenesis occurs throughout the year. During the mating season, males fight viciously,[59] and may congregate around a single female. There are records of male and female wildcats becoming temporarily monogamous. Kittens usually appear in April–May, though some may be born from March–August. Litter size ranges from 1-7 kittens.[60]
Kittens are born blind and helpless, and are covered in a fuzzy coat.[59] At birth, the kittens weigh 65-163 grams, though kittens under 90 grams usually do not survive. They are born with pink paw pads, which blacken at the age of three months, and blue eyes, which turn amber after five months.[60] Their eyes open after 9–12 days, and their incisors erupt after 14–30 days. The kittens' milk teeth are replaced by their permanent dentition at the age of 160–240 days. The kittens start hunting with their mother at the age of 60 days, and will start moving independently after 140–150 days. Lactation lasts 3–4 months, though the kittens will eat meat as early as 1.5 months of age. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of 300 days.[59] Similarly to the housecat, the physical development of African wildcat kittens over the first two weeks of their lives is much faster than that of European wildcats.[47] The kittens are largely fully grown by 10 months, though skeletal growth continues for over 18–19 months. The family dissolves after roughly five months, and the kittens disperse to establish their own territories.[60] The species' maximum life span is 21 years, though it usually only lives up to 13–14 years.[59]
The Hdcat's distribution is very broad, encompassing most of Africa, Europe, and southwest and central Asia into India, China, and Mongolia.[2]
The northern African subspecies, F. s. lybica, occurs across northern Africa, extending around the Arabian Peninsula's periphery to the Caspian Sea, encompassing a wide range of habitats, with the exception of closed tropical forests. It occurs in small numbers in true deserts such as the Sahara, particularly in hilly and mountainous areas, such as the Hoggar. In North Africa, the subspecies occurs discontinuously from Morocco through Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and into Egypt. It occurs throughout the savannahs of West Africa, ranging from Mauritania on the Atlantic seaboard, eastwards to the Horn of Africa, Sudan and Ethiopia. In the south, F. s. lybica is replaced in all East and southern African countries the southern F. s. cafra. The border range between the two subspecies encompasses Tanzania and Mozambique. The Asiatic wildcat, F. s. ornata, ranges from the eastern Caspian into western India, and north to Kazakhstan and into western China and southern Mongolia. The Chinese F. s. bieti is indigenous to western China, and is particularly abundant in the Quinghai and possibly Sichuan provinces. The European subspecies, F. s. silvestris, was once very widely distributed in Europe, being absent only in Fennoscandia and Estonia. However, between the late 1700s and mid 1900s, the species underwent declines and local extirpations, resulting in a fragmentation of its range. It is now extinct in Holland, and possibly extinct in the Czech Republic. It is considered regionally extinct in Austria, though vagrants from Italy are spreading into Austrian territory. In the Pyrenees, the wildcat occurs from sea level to 2,250 m. It is possible that in some areas, including Scotland and Stromberg, Germany, pure wildcats have crossbred extensively with domestic cats. The only island in the Mediterranean to house wildcats is Sicily, with other populations in Sardinia, Corsica and possibly Crete possibly being descended from feral populations introduced there from Neolithic times.[2]The Hdcat is considered an icon of the Scottish wilderness, and has been used in clan heraldry since the 13th century.[82] The Picts venerated wildcats, having probably named Caithness (Land of the Cats) after them. According to the foundation myth of the Catti tribe, their ancestors were attacked by wildcats upon landing in Scotland. Their ferocity impressed the Catti so much, that the wildcat became their symbol.[84] A thousand years later, the progenitors of Clan Sutherland, equally impressed, adopted the wildcat on their family crest.[12][84] The Chief of Clan Sutherland bears the title Morair Chat (Great Man of the Cats). The Clan Chattan Association (also known as the Clan of Cats) is made up of 12 different clans, the majority of which display the wildcat on their badges.
Cats Hd Wallpapers 
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          Fernweh: Winds From Morocco        

Nach Marokko much ich demnächst auch mal reisen. Überhaupt möchte ich gerne Afrika mal komplett bereisen *träum*. Für den Moment, wird es jetzt…

Der Beitrag Fernweh: Winds From Morocco erschien zuerst auf @GillyBerlin.

          The Philosophies and Religions of the Roman Empire Dr. C. George Boeree Part II        

Roman Philosophy was rarely more than a pale reflection of the Greek, with occasional flares of literary brilliance, but with few innovative ideas.  On the one hand, there was the continuation of a sensible, if somewhat plodding, stoic philosophy, bolstered to some extent by the tendency to eclecticism (e.g. Cicero).  On the other hand, there was the growing movement towards a somewhat mystical philosophy, an outgrowth of Stoicism usually referred to as Neo-Platonism.  It’s best known proponent was Plotinus.
Plotinus (204-269) was born in Lycopolis in Egypt. He studied with Ammonius Saccus, a philosopher and dock worker and teacher of the church father Origen, in Alexandria.  Plotinus left for Rome in 244, where he would teach until his death.  He would have considerable influence on the Emperor Julian "the Apostate," who tried unsuccessfully to return the Roman Empire to a philosophical version of Paganism, against the tide of Christianity.
On a military campaign to Persia, he encountered a variety of Persian and Indian ideas that he blended with Plato's philosophy:
God is the supreme being, the absolute unity, and is indescribable. Any words (even the ones I just used) imply some limitation. God is best referred to as “the One,”  eternal and infinite.  Creation, Plotinus believed, is a continuous outflow from the One, with each “spasm” of creation a little less perfect than the one before.
The first outflow is called Nous (Divine Intelligence or Divine Mind, also referred to as Logos), and is second only to the One -- it contemplates the One, but is itself no longer unitary.  It is Nous that contains the Forms or Ideas that the earlier Greeks talked about. Then comes Psyche (the World Soul), projected from Nous into time.  This Psyche is fragmented into all the individual souls of the universe. Finally, from Psyche emanates the world of space, matter, and the senses. 
Spirituality involves moving from the senses to contemplation of one’s own soul, the World Soul, and Divine Intelligence -- an upward flow towards the One.  Ultimately, we require direct ecstatic communion with the One to be liberated.  This made neo-Platonism quite compatable with the Christianity of ascetic monks and the church fathers, and with all the forms of mysticism that would flourish in the following 1800 years!
Another proponent of Neo-Platonism worth mentioning is Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415).  A woman of great intellect, she became associated with an enemy of the Christian Bishop Cyril.  He apparently ordered his monks to "take care" of her.  They stripped her naked, dragged her from her home, beat her, cut her with tiles, and finally burned her battered body.  The renaissance artist Raphael thought enough of her to include her in his masterpiece, The School of Athens.

One of the most popular religions of the Roman Empire, especially among Roman soldiers, was Mithraism.  Its origins are Persian, and involves their ancient hierarchy of gods, as restructured by Zarathustra (c. 628-c. 551 bc) in the holy books called the Avestas.
The universe was seen as involved in an eternal fight between light and darkness, personified by Ahura-Mazda (good) vs. Ahriman (evil).  This idea probably influenced Jews while they were in Babylon, which is when they adopted HaShatan -- Satan -- as the evil one!
Within the Persian pantheon, Mithra was “the judger of souls” and “the protector,” and was considered the representative of Ahura-Mazda on earth.
Mithra, legend says, was incarnated into human form (as prophesized by Zarathustra) in 272 bc. He was born of a virgin, who was called the Mother of God. Mithra's birthday was celebrated December 25 and he was called “the light of the world.”  After teaching for 36 years, he ascended into heaven in 208 bc.
There were many similarities with Christianity:  Mithraists believed in heaven and hell, judgement and resurrection. They had baptism and communion of bread and wine.  They believed in service to God and others.
In the Roman Empire, Mithra became associated with the sun, and was referred to as the Sol Invictus, or unconquerable sun.  The first day of the week -- Sunday -- was devoted to prayer to him.  Mithraism became the official religion of Rome for some 300 years.  The early Christian church later adopted Sunday as their holy day, and December 25 as the birthday of Jesus.
Mithra became the patron of soldiers.  Soldiers in the Roman legions believed they should fight for the good, the light. They believed in self-discipline and chastity and brotherhood. Note that the custom of shaking hands comes from the Mithraic greeting of Roman soldiers.
It was operated like a secret society, with rites of passage in the form of physical challenges.  Like in the gnostic sects (described below), there were seven grades, each protected by a planet.
Since Mithraism was restricted to men, the wives of the soldiers often belonged to clubs of Great Mother (Cybele) worshippers.  One of the women’s rituals involved baptism in blood by having an animal- preferably a bull - slaughtered over the initiate in a pit below.  This combined with the myth of Mithra killing the first living creature, a bull, and forming the world from the bull's body, and was adopted by the Mithraists as well.
When Constantine converted to Christianity, he outlawed Mithraism. But a few Zoroastrians still exist today in India, and the Mithraic holidays were celebrated in Iran until the Ayatollah came into power.  And, of course, Mithraism survives more subtly in various European -- even Christian -- traditions.

Jesus was born, it is thought, about 6 bc.  His name is Latinization of the Hebrew name Yeshua, which we know as Joshua.  Legend has it that he was born in the small town of Bethlehem, to a virgin named Mary, the fiancée of a carpenter, Joseph.  He grew up in Nazareth, part of a large Jewish family.  He was apparently very intelligent and learned, for example, to read without formal education.
As a young man, he became very religious, and joined a group of ascetic Jews led by a charismatic leader named John the Baptist.  When John was beheaded by local authorities for “rabble-rousing,” many began looking to Jesus for leadership.
He had 12 disciples from various towns and walks of life, and literally hundreds of other followers, men, women, and children.  They wandered the area, in part to spread their beliefs, in part to stay ahead of unfriendly authorities.
At first, Jesus’s message was a serious, even fundamentalist, Judaism.  He promoted such basic ethics as loving one’s neighbor and returning hatred with kindness.  He particularly emphasized the difference between the formal religion of the priests and Jewish ruling class and the less precise, but more genuine, zeal of the simple people.  Supporting the message was his apparent ability to heal the sick.
The Jews of his time felt oppressed by their Roman overlords, and many believed that their God would intervene on behalf of his people by sending a messiah -- a charismatic leader who would drive out the Romans and establish a new Jewish state.
Many of Jesus’s followers, of course, believed that he was the messiah.  At some point in his career, he began to believe this, too.  Unfortunately, the Jewish authorities, answerable to the Romans, were concerned with his popularity, and had him arrested in Jerusalem.
He was condemned to death and crucified.  His followers were clearly disappointed that the promised Jewish state was not delivered.  But rumor of his coming back to life, and his appearance as a vision to several of his followers, reignited their faith.  Many believed that he would return -- soon! -- to lead them.
As time went by, of course, it was clear that he wouldn’t be coming back in their lifetimes.  The less messianic, more religious aspects of his teaching began to be emphasized, and his notion of the kingdom of God as within us, or at least as our heavenly reward, replaced the hoped-for Jewish state.
For better or worse, Judea was actually quite metropolitan -- heavily “Hellenized” if not so “Romanized.” The same currents of thought in other parts of the empire where felt here as well.  So the story of Jesus, as recorded in the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, began to be attached to ideas that were more properly neo-Platonist, gnostic, or even Mithraist!
The gospel of John, for example, is very different from the others, and refers to Jesus as the word, or Logos -- a common Greek idea.  Revelations, also attributed to John, but very different in style and content,  has all the complex imagery of gnostic and Mithraist end-of-the-world stories, popular among the Jews at this time.  It includes the idea of an eventual resurrection of the body -- a concept that Jesus of the gospels did not promote, and which most Christians today do not believe in.
But it was Paul (c. 10 - c. 64 ad), a Romanized Jew, who would be most responsible for re-creating Jesus, whom he had never met, and never refers to by name.  He is also responsible for divorcing this newly formed religion from its Jewish roots.  It was Paul who introduced the idea that Jesus was the son of God and that only by faith in him could we hope to be “saved” from our inherent sinfulness.
For nearly a century, the early Christians were split into two hostile camps:  One group followed Peter, one of Jesus’s original disciples.  They were predominantly Jews and continued many Jewish traditions, as Jesus himself had done.  The other group followed Paul, who was far more open to non-Jewish converts and waived much of Jewish law for those not born into it.  The battle between these groups was, of course, won by Paul.  Some critics suggest that Christianity ought to be called “Paulism!”
Both Peter and Paul were executed in Rome about 64 ad.  Paul was beheaded. Peter was crucified upside-down (at his request, so as to avoid comparison with Jesus).
The Patrists, or church fathers, were the first Christian philosophers.  In the eastern part of the empire, there was Origen of Alexandra (185-254);  in the west, there was Tertullian of Carthage (165-220).  Tertullian is best remembered for saying that he believed (in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) precisely because it was absurd.  Origen, on the other hand, had much more of the Greek in him, and pointed out that much of the Bible should be understood metaphorically, not literally.  Keep in mind, though, that Origen cut off his own genitals because he took Matthew XIX, 12 literally!
The idea of the trinity, not found in the Bible itself, preoccupied the Patrists after Theophilius of Antioch introduced the concept in 180 ad.  Tertullian felt that the trinity referred to God, his word (Logos), and his wisdom (Sophia).  Origen was more precise, and said that it refers to the One (the father), intelligence (Logos, here meaning the son), and soul (Psyche, the holy spirit), following the Neo-Platonic scheme. Because the concept of the trinity is a difficult one, it was the root of many different interpretations which did not coincide with the official explanation.  These alternative interpretations were labelled heresies, of course, and their authors excommunicated and books burned.  (Click here for a list of heresies!)
Origen also did not believe in hell:  Like the Neo-Platonists, he thought that all souls will eventually return to the One.  In fact, it is believed that Origen and the great neo-Platonist Plotinus had the same teacher -- a dock worker/philosopher by the name of Ammonius Saccus.
The Patrists' philosophies were for the most part the same:  All truth comes from God, through the mystical experience they called grace (intuition, interior sense, light of faith).  This clearly puts the church fathers in the same league as the neo-Platonists, and contrasts Christian philosophy with that of the ancient Greeks:  To take truth on faith would be a very odd idea indeed to the likes of Socrates, Plato, Democritus, and Aristotle!
Christianity had certain strengths, with strong psychological (rather than philosophical) messages of  protection, hope, and forgiveness.  But its greatest strength was its egalitarianism:  It was first and foremost a religion of the poor, and the empire had plenty of poor!  Despite incredible persecution, it kept on growing.
Then, on the eve of battle on October 27, 312, a few miles north of Rome, Emperor Constantine had a vision of a flaming cross.  He won the battle, adopted Christianity, and made it a legal religion with the Edict of Milan. In 391, all other religions were outlawed.  But even then, Christianity still had competition.

Gnosticism refers to a variety of religio-philosophical traditions going back to the times of the Egyptians and the Babylonians.  All forms of Gnosticism involved the idea that the world is made up of matter and mind or spirit, with matter considered negative or even evil, and mind or spirit positive.  Gnostics believe that we can progress towards an ultimate or pure form of spirit (God) by attaining secret knowledge -- “the way” as announced by a savior sent by God.
The details of the various gnostic sects depended on the mythological metaphors used -- Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Jewish, Christian... Gnosticism overall was heavily influenced by Persian religions (Zoroastrianism, Mithraism) and by Platonic philosophy.
There was a strong dependence on astrology (which they inherited from the Babylonians).  Especially significant are the seven planets, which represent the seven spheres the soul must pass through to reach God. Magical incantations and formulas, often of Semitic origins, were also important.
When Christianity hit the stage, gnosticism adapted to it quickly, and began to promoted itself as a higher, truer form of Christianity.  The theology looked like this:
At first, there was just God (a kind of absolute).  Then there were emanations from God called his sons or aions.  The youngest of these aions was Sophia, wisdom and the first female “son.”  Sophia had a flaw, which was pride, which then infected the rest of the universe. We need to undo this flaw (original sin) but we cannot do it on our own. We need a savior aion, who could release Sophia from the bonds of error and restore her to her status as an emanation of God.
Worship among the gnostics included baptism, confirmation, and the eucharist. In fact, it is likely that several of the non-canonical gospels were written by Christian gnostics, and some say that John was a gnostic.
Gnosticism was strongly refuted by the early Christian Church in the 100’s and 200’s, as well as by the neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, who saw it as a corruption of Plato’s thought.  In fact, of course, the reason for the animosity was more a matter of how similar gnosticism was to Christianity and neo-Platonism!

Manicheanism was founded by Mani, born 215 ad in Persia.  At 12, he was visited by an angel, who told him to be pure for 12 more years, at which time he would be rewarded by becoming a prophet. He would eventually consider himself the seal (i.e. the last) of the prophets, a title Mohammed would later claim for himself.
Forced to leave Persia, he wandered the east, preaching a gnostic version of Mithraism, with elements of Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism. He considered himself an apostle of Jesus. When he returned to Persia, he was imprisoned and crucified.
In Manicheanism, Ormuzd (a corrupion of the name Ahura Mazda) is the good god, the god of light, creator of souls. There is also a god of evil and darkness -- sometimes referred to as Jehovah! -- who created the material world, even trapping Ormuzd’s souls in bodies.  Another tradition has Ormuzd placing fragments of light -- reason -- in the evil one’s mannequins.
So there is light trapped inside of darkness! Mani believed that salvation comes through knowledge, self-denial, vegetarianism, fasting, and chastity.  The elect are those who follow the rules most stringently.  Their ultimate reward is a release of the light from its prison.
His followers were severely persecuted, by Persians and Romans alike.  Still, the religion spread to Asia Minor, India, China, the Middle East, even Spain.  It lasted in Europe until the 10th century ad and influenced later Christian heresies such as the Bogomils and the Cathars.

St. Augustine
St. Aurelius Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was a Manichean for 10 years before converted to Christianity in 386 ad.  He would go on to become the best known Christian philosopher prior to the Middle ages.
He is best known to us for the first truly psychological, introspective account of his search for truth, in his Confessions.  A hint of the intimate detail of his account can be gotten from one of his best known quotes:  He prayed to God to "give me chastity and continence, but not yet!"
His philosophy is a loose adaptation of Plato to the requirements of Christianity.  In order to reconcile the idea that God is good with the evil that obviously exists in the world, he turned to the concept of free will and our personal responsibility for sin.  And he emphasized intentions over actions when it comes to assigning moral responsibility
There are, of course, problems with his arguments:  If God is omniscient and omnipotent, he knows what we will do and in fact made us this way, so isn’t he still responsible for evil?  Besides which, despite the admittedly great evil we human beings do to each other, aren’t there also natural disasters and diseases that could be considered evil, yet have nothing to do with our free will?  These arguments would trouble philosophers even into the twentieth century.  (See Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov for examples!)
Augustine became bishop of Hippo Regius (west of Carthage) in 395.  He died in 430, during the seige of Hippo by the Vandals, a Germanic tribe that conquered North Africa (which was the “breadbasket” of Italy in those times!).  You could say he lived through the fall of the Roman Empire.

The Fall of Rome

The Roman Empire was seriously declining. The economy began to stagnate.  Too much money was being used to simply maintain the borders and unity of the empire. The cities began to deteriorate.  City services declined, and hunger and disease severely hurt the poor. Many moved out to the country, where they found themselves working in the great latifundi -- what we might call agribusinesses -- as peasants and artisans.  Free peasants turned over their ownership of land to these powerful landlords, in exchange for protection.  In turn, these latifundi were ready-made mini-kingdoms for the barbarian chieftains who would be coming soon!

By the third century, the empire was being attacked from every direction. It was nobly defended by 33 legions (5000 men each).  Internally, it was suffering from sheer size, and in 395, it officially split into two halves, the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire.

In the 400s, the Huns entered Europe from the Russian steppes, and got as far as Chalons, near Paris. They spread terror everywhere they went.  Their empire collapsed in 476, but not before they set dozens of German tribes in motion towards the Roman Empire.

The Romans fought some off, paid some off, and let some in to protect the borders.  Most of the mighty legions were eventually composed of German soldiers!  One rather large tribe, the Visigoths (western Goths), began to move towards Italy from their settlements in the Balkans. In 410, they destroyed Rome.  The western half of the Roman Empire was for all intents and purposes dead and in the hands of the various invaders.

The Eastern Roman Empire was also in decline and was plagued by wars, external and internal.  Emperor Justinian (527 - 565) tried but failed to reconquer Italy and sent the Eastern Empire into financial crisis.  His efforts to discourage pagan philosophies and eliminate Christian heresies would eventually lead to much dissatisfaction with his rule.  On the other hand, Justinian codified Roman law and adapted it to Christian theology, and he promoted great works such as the building of the Hagia Sophia, with its incredibly large dome and beautiful mosaics.

Barbarians at the gates were only part of the Empire’s problems, however. There was famine in the remnants of the Roman Empire on and off from 400 to 800.  There was a plague in the 500’s.  The Empire’s population dropped by 50%.  The city of Rome’s population dropped 90%.  By 700, only Constantinople-- capital of the eastern Roman Empire -- had more than 100,000 people.

In the late 600's, Arabs conquered Egypt and Syria (up till then still a part of the Eastern Empire), and even attempted to take Constantinople itself.  In the 700’s, Europe was attacked by Bulgars (a Mongol tribe), Khazars (a Turkish tribe which had adopted Judaism), Magyars (the Hungarians), and others.  The Eastern Empire would see the Turks take Anatolia (appropriately renamed Turkey) in 1071, and finally take Constantinople in 1453.

In the meantime, western Europe was ruled by various size gangster-like hierarchies of illiterate warriors.  The great mass of people were reduced to slave-like conditions, tilling the soil or in service jobs in the greatly reduced cities.  We don’t call ‘em the dark ages for nothing!

But, when the sun sets on one civilization, it is usually rising somewhere else.... 

So, as the Roman Empire faded into the sunset, the opportunity for other civilizations to make a mark arose.  I doubt that anyone at the time would have guessed that the major contender would come from the relatively desolate western coast of Arabia.  Arabia could only marginally sustain its population agriculturally.  But, positioned nicely between the wealthy empires to its north and the untapped resources of Africa to its south -- and later the ocean roots to India and beyond -- it managed to provide its people with the option of lucrative trade.
Mohammed was born 569 ad in Mecca, a merchant town near the Red Sea.  His mother died when he was six, so he was raised, first by his grandfather, later by his uncle.  He was probably illiterate, but that was the reality for most Arabs of the time.
At 26, he married a wealthy widow 14 years his senior, who would be his only wife until she died 26 years later.  He would have ten more wives -- but no living son.  He and his first wife had a daughter, Fatima, who would become a significant character in Islamic history.  She married Mohammed’s adopted son, Ali.
As he got older, he became increasingly religious, and sought to learn about Judaism and Christianity.  He began to meditate alone in the desert and local caves.
In 610 ad, Mohammed fell asleep in a cave, when tradition has it that the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him he would be the messenger of God (Allah*).  He would have this experience repeatedly throughout the rest of his ife.  Each time, the angel would provide him with a lesson (sura) which he was to commit to memory.  These were eventually recorded, and after his death collected into the Islamic holy book, the Quran (or Koran).
He preached to the people of Mecca, but was met with considerable opposition from pagan leaders.  When the threat of violence became clear, he left Mecca for the town of Medina, to which he had been invited, with some 200 of his followers.  Here, he was much more successful, and eventually he took over secular authority of the the town.
Relations with the pagan families of Mecca continued to deteriorate, and relations with the Jews of Medina, at first promising, deteriorated as well.  An alliance between the Meccan families and the Medina Jews fought Mohammed’s followers over the course of several years.
In 630, Mohammed took Mecca.  Within two more years, all of Arabia was under his control, and Islam was a force to be reckoned with.  Mohammed died June 7, 632.
Mohammed’s basic message was simple enough:  We must accept Allah as the one and only God, and accept that Mohammed was his prophet.  Say words to this effect three times, and you are a Moslem.
Islam means surrender, meaning that we are saved only by faith.  Allah, being all-knowing, knows in advance who will and who will not be saved.  This idea (which we will see again among the Protestants in Europe) tends to encourage bravery in battle, but it also tends to lead a culture into pessimistic acceptance of the status quo.  But that would not happen to Islam for many hundreds of years!
The Quran says that some day (only Allah knows when), the dead will rise and be reunited with their souls.  They will be judged.  Some will be cast into one of the seven levels of hell.  Some will be admitted into paradise -- described in very physical, even hedonistic, terms.  Much of this scenario came from the Jews, who in turn got it from the Persians.
Islam is very rule-oriented, blending the religious with the secular. Church and State are one.  In the Quran, there are rules for marriage, commerce, politics, war, hygiene -- very similar to the Jewish laws, which Mohammed imitated.  Among those rules, Moslems are not to eat pork or dog meat and may not have sex during a woman’s period, just like the Jews.  Mohammed added a rule against alcohol. The society Mohammed envisioned is approximated by such authoritarian states as Saudi Arabia and Iran today.
Marriage was encouraged, and celibacy considered sinful.  Polygamy was permitted, within limits.  Women, as in Judaism and Christianity, were clearly secondary to men, but were not to be considered property. They were equal to men in most legal and financial dealings, and divorce, while easy, was strongly discouraged.  Likewise, although slavery was not condemned, many rules were designed to humanize the institution.
Mohammed and the Moslems were generally accepting of Jews and Christians (“people of the book”), but intolerant of pagans.  War and capital punishment were clearly condoned and practiced by the prophet: “And one who attacks you, attack him in like manner” (ii, 194).
The Arabic culture and language, and the religion of Islam, soon would dominate much of the world, from Spain and Morocco to Egypt and Palestine to Persia and beyond.  For a while, it would present a progressive, tolerant face, and Moslem philosophy would rival that of the ancient Greeks.
(For more information about Islam, especially its Sunni and Shiite branches, click here!)

* Allah is the Arabic word meaning "the God."  It comes from the same root as the Hebrew Elohim, and ultimately comes from the Cananite word El, which referred to the father of all the gods.
source : 

          Edited Volume Released: Reparations & Human Rights        
Waging War, Making Peace - Reparations and Human Rights will be formally launched by Left Coast Press at this years AAA meetings.

This book is subtitled "A Report from the American Anthropological Association, Committee for Human Rights, Reparations Task Force" and is developed from a 2006 CfHR-sponsored session at the AAA's and subsequent task force work. The book was developed as an interdisciplinary reader -- meant to communicate anthropological insights and experiences to a broader public and academic audience.

Click here for additional information.

Table of Contents

2. REPARATIONS AND THE ILLUSIVE MEANING OF JUSTICE IN GUATEMALA ~ DILL, Kathleeen (Latin American Studies Institute, University of Texas, Austin) and Barbara Rose Johnston (Ctr. For Political Ecology)
4. REPARATION: NICARAGUA ~ PHILLIPS, James (Southern Oregon University)
10. THE ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF PEACE ~ SCHAFFT, Gretchen (American University)

USAJILI ndiyo jambo gumzo zaidi katika kipindi hiki hata baada ya kufungwa kwa dirisha lenyewe la usajili.

Kila upande ukianzia mashabiki, wanachama na hata viongozi wa timu wamekuwa wakijiuliza kama wako sahihi au la.
 Ukiangalia kwa sasa, pamoja na kujiuliza kila upande unaweza ukawa na majigambo ya awali ambayo uthibitisho wake ni hadi hapo itakapoanza ligi wikiendi ijayo. Baada ya mechi kadhaa, utaanza kupata majibu akina nani walipatia mapema au akina nani ili wapatie wanatakiwa kuanza kurekebisha mambo mapema au wakati wa dirisha dogo.

 Binafsi ningependa kuuzungumzia usajili wa Yanga kwa kipande kimoja tu cha ushambulizi. Kwangu naona pamoja na wengi kuamini Yanga hawako vizuri sana, lakini kwa takwimu na watu walionao inaonyesha bado wana nafasi ya kuwa tishio au hatari kwa safu nyingi za ulinzi watakazokutana nazo.

 Yanga ilicheza Ligi Kuu Bara kwa misimu mitatu mfululizo na kufunga mechi dhidi ya timu zote ilizokutana nazo bila ya kujali ilipoteza au kushinda.

 Kama hiyo haitoshi, utaona wachezaji wake wote ni wale waliokuwepo misimu minne, mitatu au miwili iliyopita na wanaweza kuungana na kufanya vizuri zaidi kwa msimu unaofuata.

Katika safu ya ushambulizi ya Yanga, Donald Ngoma alifunga mabao nane, Amissi Tambwe akafunga 11 na Obrey Chirwa akapachika 12, angalia wachezaji hawa walivyo na uzoefu na ambavyo wameonyesha kuwa wanaweza kuifanya kazi yao kwa uhakika.

 Ngoma alikosekana mwishoni kutokana na majeruhi, lakini Chirwa akageuka kuwa shujaa na tegemeo na Tambwe akaendelea kufunga mabao muhimu katika kipindi yanayotakiwa kufanyika. Hii ni sehemu ya kuiangalia safu ya ushambulizi ya Yanga kwa jicho la pili.

 Mtu wanayemkosa hapa ni Simon Msuva ambaye amekwenda Morocco kucheza soka la kulipwa. Bado wana mtu kama Emmanuel Martin ambaye atapata msaada mkubwa kutoka kwa kinda Baruan Akilimali ambaye ni mpya lakini bado kinda Yusuph Mhilu pia ana nafasi ya kuwa msaada mkubwa.

 Kama utafuatilia kwa mtu mpya ambaye unaweza kusema wamemuongeza ni Ibrahim Ajibu kutoka Simba. Unategemea kumuona naye anaongeza nguvu kwa kiasi kikubwa. Ndiyo maana baada ya Simba kumalizana na Ngoma na wakisubiri kumsainisha, Yanga walilitambua hilo litawaangusha, wakafanya juu chini na kumbakisha.

 Katika usajili mpya utagundua ukiachana na Ajibu, Yanga hawakutaka kupeleka nguvu nyingi katika ushambulizi maana Kocha George Lwandamina anajua watu alionao ni wale wanaoeleweka na wenye uhakika.

Badala yake akashuka nguvu nyingi katika kiungo hasa baada ya kuondoka kwa Haruna Niyonzima lakini katika safu ya ulinzi kwa kuwa anajua baadhi ya wachezaji wake ni wazoefu lakini taratibu umri unawatupa mkono.

 Kwa misimu minne mfululizo, safu ya ulinzi ya Yanga ndiyo iliyofunga mabao mengi zaidi kuliko safu ya nyingine zote, jambo ambalo hata msimu huu linaweza kuendelea kwa kuwa uchezaji wa Lwandamina zaidi ni kushambulia kwa nguvu.

Yanga wanajilinda kwa kushambulia, wakitumia mfumo wa kisasa wa “ulinzi kwa kuhifadhi mpira”. Huu ni mfumo unaoilazimu timu inayoshambuliwa ishindwe kuchukua mpira kwenda kushambulia badala yake inawekeza akili zake katika ulinzi zaidi na kufanya isiwe na madhara katika lango la timu pinzani.

Mambo mawili pekee yanaweza kuiangusha safu hiyo ya ushambulizi ya Yanga kufanya vizuri kama ilivyokuwa kwa misimu miwili iliyopita.

 Kwanza ni majeruhi. Kama itatokea majeruhi mfululizo, inaweza kuwa na shida. Hili Yanga wanatakiwa kuomba kwa kuwa safu yao ya ushambulizi ina ‘advantage’ ya wachezaji wazoefu ambao wanaweza kuisaidia sana kama nilivyoelezea.

 Lakini wazoefu maana yake “wamekula chumvi”, umri wa kuanzia miaka 30 au zaidi ya 25. Wengi wao kama watapata jeraha kubwa, mara nyingi wanachelewa kupona ukilinganisha na vijana wengi kama ambavyo sayansi ya mwili inavyoeleza.

Jambo la pili ni uongozi; hili ni muhimu zaidi. Maana timu inaweza kuwa na kikosi kizuri, chenye washambulizi wakali na wasiwe majeruhi, lakini uongozi ukawavunja moyo na mwisho wakashindwa kupambana.

 Suala la uendeshaji ni muhimu sana. Lazima uongozi uwe makini katika kuhakikisha unawahisha mishahara, uwe karibu na wachezaji na kuwapa morali kabla na baada ya mechi. Kama utashindwa, utageuka kuwa tatizo na huenda washambulizi hao watashindwa kuonyesha walichonacho.


Baba mzazi wa mshambuliaji wa zamani wa Yanga, Saimon Msuva amesema fedha yote ya usajili ya kwanza kabisa ya mwanaye waliipeleka kanisani na kufanya maombi.

Happygod Msuva amesema walifanya hivyo baada ya Msuva kulipwa Sh 200,000 na Moro United kama usajili wake.

“Baada ya kulipwa, tulichukua dau lote la usajili la Sh laki mbili alizokuwa amepewa. Tukaenda kanisani na kutoa sadaka yote, pia tutafanya maombi.

“Pamoja na juhudi kubwa anazofanya yeye pamoja na familia lakini tumekuwa tukifanya maombi, tunamuomba Mungu na kweli njia  tumekuwa tukiiona,” alisema.

Happygod ambaye ni fundi maarufu wa magari katika eneo la Mabibo, amesema anaamini mwanaye atapiga hatua zaidi kwa kuwa ni mtu anayetaka mafanikio.

Kwa sasa Msuva anakipiga katika kikosi cha Difaa Al Jadid cha Morocco.


Mtanzania Simon Msuva alikuwa mmoja wa Watanzania waliopata nafasi ya kutambulisha jezi za ugenini za klabu ya Difaa Al Jadid ya Morocco.

Mtanzania huyo aliungana na wachezaji wengine wawili kufanya utambulisho huo akionekana kuwa ni sehemu ya chaguo.

Msuva amesaini mkataba wa miaka mitatu kuichezea Difaa Al Jadid, akitokea kikosi cha mabingwa wa soka Tanzania, Yanga.

          UN Women Announces 16 Steps Policy Agenda | Say NO - UNiTE        
UN Women Announces 16 Steps Policy Agenda | Say NO - UNiTE

In her first message for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, since UN Women became operational earlier this year, Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet outlines a comprehensive policy agenda to end violence against women globally. Focusing on the three critical pillars of prevention, protection and provision of services, Ms. Bachelet’s call for action, urges world leaders to mobilize political will and investment to ensure that women can live a life without violence.

16 Steps Policy Agenda to End Violence against Women

1. Ratify international and regional treaties …
that protect the rights of women and girls, and ensure that national laws and services meet international human rights standards.
2. Adopt and enforce laws…
to end impunity, bring perpetrators of violence against women and girls to justice and provide women with reparations and remedy for the violations perpetrated against them.
3. Develop national and local action plans…
for ending violence against women and girls in every country that bring the government, women’s and other civil society organizations, the mass media and the private sector into a coordinated, collective front against such human rights violations.
4. Make justice accessible to women and girls …
by providing free legal and specialized services, and increasing women in law enforcement and frontline services.
5. End impunity towards conflict-related sexual violence …
by prosecuting perpetrators in conflict and post-conflict contexts and fulfilling survivors’ right to comprehensive reparations programmes that are non-stigmatizing and have a transformative impact on women and girls’ lives.
6. Ensure universal access to critical services…
at a minimum, women’s and girls’ emergency and immediate needs should be met through free 24-hour hotlines, prompt intervention for their safety and protection, safe housing and shelter for them and their children, counseling and psycho-social support, post-rape care, and free legal aid to understand their rights and options.
7. Train providers of frontline services…
especially the police, lawyers and judges, social workers and health personnel to ensure that they follow quality standards and protocols. Services should be confidential, sensitive and convenient to women survivors.
8. Provide adequate public resources…
to implement existing laws and policies, recognizing the devastating costs and consequences of violence against women not only for the lives directly affected, but to society and the economy at large, and to public budgets.
9. Collect, analyze and disseminate national data…
on prevalence, causes and consequences of violence against women and girls, profiles of survivors and perpetrators, and progress and gaps in the implementation of national policies, plans and laws.
  • Gender-based violence study in Morocco reveals that approximately 60 percent of Moroccan women have experienced some form of violence recently, and violence against women is three times more likely in urban areas than in rural ones.
  • Together for Girls, a global effort to prevent sexual violence against girls, of which UN Women is a partner, makes an urgent call for national surveys. The alarming finding in Swaziland—one-third of girls have experienced sexual violence—spurred a national education campaign, strengthening of the capacity of police to respond to sexual violence, and the establishment of a child-friendly court. For more information about Together for Girls, click here.
  • Access data on prevalence, laws and more at Progress of the World’s Women and Violence against Women Prevalence Data: Surveys by Country.
10. Invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment…
to tackle the root causes of violence against women and girls. Strategic areas are girls’ secondary education, advancing women’s reproductive health and rights, addressing the inter-linkages of violence with HIV and AIDS, and increasing women’s political and economic participation and leadership. Gender equality and ending violence against women must be placed squarely at the heart of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Up to three quarters of women and girls worldwide experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The MDGs and Gender Series cautions, unless violence against women is curbed, meeting all of the eight Millennium Development Goals will be impossible.
11. Enhance women’s economic empowerment…
by ensuring women’s rights to own land and property, to inheritance, equal pay for equal work, and safe and decent employment. Women’s unequal economic and employment opportunities are a major factor in perpetuating their entrapment in situations of violence, exploitation and abuse.
  • In a land torn apart by years of bitter conflict, the daily struggle to survive is an ongoing battle. Feeding the family is a constant challenge. Bread Winner, Bread Maker tells the story of some inspirational women who are bringing hope to thousands in the occupied Palestinian territory.
  • Millions of women work overseas each year and endure abuse and exploitation. On the Move: Nepal’s Women Migrant Workersfight for their rights.
12. Increase public awareness and social mobilization…
to stop violence against women and girls, and to enable women and girls subjected to violence to break the silence and seek justice and support.
  • With over 2 million actions and 600 partners, Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women offers a global platform for information, action and social mobilization. Visit and post your action today!
13. Engage the mass media…
 in shaping public opinion and challenging the harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence against women and girls.
14. Work for and with young people as champions of change…
 to end violence against women, and ensure that educational systems empower girls and boys to transform and build gender relations based on harmony, mutual respect and non-violence.
15. Mobilize men and boys…
 of all ages and walks of life to take a stand against violence against women and girls, and foster equality and gender solidarity.
16. Donate to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women..
 the only grant-making fund in the world exclusively dedicated to channeling expertise and financial support to national, local and grassroots efforts.
  • It’s the 15th anniversary of the UN Trust Fund—since its establishment, the UN Trust Fund has supported 339 programmes in 127 countries and territories, relying on voluntary contributions. Please help us make the world a safer place for women and girls by sending a donation today!

Related links: Download the 16 Steps to End Violence against Women.

          Voices From the Region: Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia        
“My life? I don’t have one. Explosions, blast walls blocking the ways, no services.

          Comment on Hibernate Batch Processing – Why you may not be using it. (Even if you think you are) by Hayley Snider        
Awesome post. Some really good points in there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>
          30 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Visit Morocco        
Morocco continues to move rapidly into the 21st century, but marries its past with its present and future in a way almost nowhere else in the world does.
          Photo Contest "IN SEARCH FOR INCREDIBLE"        
Hello my friends!!!

My son 
got shortlisted just recently with a photo/storytelling contest  in the Netherlands. He is among the 10 finalists from Holland. Now its a voting phase, to move on to the final stage. Help is deeply appreciated, simple stuff.

Over the link, find a few thumbnails below.

His will be the "Al-Maghrib, Morocco", with a cover photo of usually some Arab typography, or a motorcycle/tapestries.

Simply click "STEM NU" (vote, in dutch) , type name & email (no third parties will be sent), and "VERSTUREN" (send, in dutch).
This is his photo:
 Thank you so much!    :)

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          An Atelier Doré Retreat!        

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          BLOG: Listening to Leonella (from the Archives)        
In London, radical Muslim activists are calling for the execution of Pope Benedict XVI (B-16).  In Morocco, the government, offended by the comments of B-16 a week ago, has said it will remove its ambassadors from the Vatican in protest.  In the Palestinian territories, more than half a dozen churches have been bombed and fired upon, and Gaza hosted a protest drawing about 2,000 angry participants.  In Iraq, Muslim terrorist groups are vowing revenge.  Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor reports that “the Mujahidin Shura Council… said Bush was leading a ‘new crusade’ and, addressing the pope, said: "We will destroy the cross... then all that will be accepted will be conversion or [death]."
Angry Muslims around the world through their protests, threats, and burning effigies of the Pope are saying the remarks made by B-16 offended them and misrepresented Islam.  Even moderate Muslims agree that the speech from the Pope was unfortunate, unwise, and ill-timed.  We are hearing loudly and clearly voices from all over the world saying that the Pope should not have said what he said.  We have heard this judgment from all vantage points.  Yet, before we render our own verdict on the matter, we need to hear a couple of other voices, too, the voices of Leonella and Ali.
You might have heard of Sister Leonella Sgorbati by now.  Sister Leonella, 66, was an Italian nun who worked at a Children’s hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia.  Since 2002, she has been working to train nurses at the SOS Kindergarten Hospital.  She finished work on Sunday and was walking to her home when 8 shots rang out.  Three of the shots hit her in the back.  She was taken to the hospital, where she died while undergoing treatment.  Her bodyguard died in the attack along with her.
Suspicions are high that she was attacked in response to the Pope’s statements.  Some at the scene have stated that the attack was motivated by anger over what the Pope said.  Others are not so sure.  Even the nuns from the order to which Sister Leonella belonged have said they know of no connection with the Pope’s statement. Many, because of the uncertainty still lingering over the motive of the killers, are hesitant to connect the dots between the Pope’s words and the assassins’ bullets. 
Whether there is a direct link between the Pope’s statements and this murder or not, the incidents most certainly are connected.  Here’s how: The Pope in his lecture invoked the writings of a Byzantine emperor from the 1300’s to make the point that dialog between Christians and Muslims must begin with the realization that there are two very different ways of reasoning at play between Muslims and Christians.  Christians have an authoritative place for reason, believing that God—the author of reason—would not act in a way that is unreasonable.  Because God does not contradict reason, God’s will can be embraced by even those outside the Christian faith on the basis of reason. 
Muslims do not view God as operating this way, believing instead that God is free even of the constraints of reason and must be obeyed even if the matter is unreasonable.  This fact makes the starting place of discussions with Muslims difficult.  Yet, recognizing this distinction can help the conversation have a start.  Pope B-16 used his lecture to invite an open and frank discussion of the differences between Islam and Christianity.  He offered reason as a good starting place and argued that Muslims and Christians could agree that using killing and violence to spread their faiths would be unreasonable.  This is, basically, what the Pope said.  Many Muslims and others said, “This offends us.”
Sister Leonella has now made quite a statement of her own.  Has she not voiced agreement with the Pope through her death?  Is it not unreasonable to kill a servant of mercy in Mogadishu in response to being offended by something the Pope said at a German university?  And what if her death proves not to be linked to B-16’s speech?  Is it not, then, even more unreasonable for this servant to have been killed simply because she was not a  Muslim?   Is she the picture of the “Western Devil” so commonly portrayed by many a radical Muslim imam?  When we hear the story of Leonella Sgorbati, we don’t exactly think of her as a villain, infidel, or dancing pig. Rather, she appears more like a humble servant glad to lay down her life for the good of children and for the glory of the Savior, who also died to serve others.  It probably will not surprise you to know that Sister Leonella reportedly spent her last words offering forgiveness to those who murdered her, even as Christ Himself prayed a prayer of forgiveness for others when He was in His last hour.  Leonella, now dead, says much about the Christian faith.  Muslims need to answer what her death says about Islam.
Add to Sister Leonella the voice of Ali Mustaf Maka`il, a 22-year-old college student and cloth merchant.  Ali lived in Mogadishu, Somalia, too.  Ali converted to Christianity almost a year ago and last week found himself in an ethical quandary.  The crowd gathered around him was chanting verses from the Koran in commemoration of a lunar eclipse.  Ali was not comfortable joining with the chants.  So, an offended soldier with the Union of Islamic Courts (a group which rules part of Somalia) shot Ali in the back and killed him.  This happened September 7th, before the Pope said what he said.
According to Barnabas Fund, a British group that tracks the persecution of Christians, Somalia has witnessed many such murders of Christians recently.  Three Christians were reported killed in July as they were coming home from prayer meeting.  Islamists were responsible.  Last year, Osman Sheik Ahmed, a Christian evangelist, was killed by Islamic radicals in Somalia.  The gospel he was speaking obviously offended some Muslims.  Muslims—at least some among them—have a convincing way of letting people know when something has offended them. 
So, the question arises: Do the deaths of Leonella and Ali offend Muslims?  What do the voices of Leonella and Ali say about the Muslim faith?  If the murders of Leonella and Ali do not represent true Islam, then where is the outrage against such a misrepresentation of Islam?  I have heard even moderate Muslims express anger at the Pope for quoting a 14th Century emperor who supposedly misrepresents true Islam.  The non-Muslim world is left to wonder why this centuries-old quote provokes riots and ire from Muslims around the world, and, yet, the murders of Leonella and Ali in the name of Islam stir not the slightest outrage at all?  Don’t the murders of Leonella and Ali misrepresent Islam, too?  Let’s listen to what the Muslims say.

          Statement at Diplomatic, NGO and Media Briefing on COP 23 and the UN Oceans Conference         
Suvavou House
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Honourable Attorney-General and minister responsible for climate change,

Honourable Cabinet Ministers,

Your Excellencies, members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Representatives of Non-Government Organisations,

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media,


Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

2017 is going to be a huge year for Fiji in its engagement with the rest of the world – President of COP-23 and cohost of the United Nations Conference on Oceans. So I want to brief you all on how I see the year ahead, its importance to our nation and what it means to every Fijian.

To those of you in the Diplomatic Corps and from Non-Government Organisations, I want to begin by thanking you for the support that you have already given Fiji and to ask for your continuing assistance.

We are a small nation with limited resources. And we will need the help of our development partners to enable us to take a lead role in these two very important initiatives for humanity – confronting the threat of climate change and reversing the degradation of our oceans and seas.

I want to say a special vinaka vakalevu on behalf of the Fijian Government and Fijian people to those nations that have actively supported Fiji’s candidacy to preside over these important global events.

The confidence that has been placed in us is deeply appreciated. As I said in Marrakesh on Friday, we are honoured and humbled to have been entrusted with these leadership roles. And we will be doing everything possible to make the events the success they need to be. Not only for those of us here in the Pacific and other low lying areas of the world, but for every single person on the planet.

Of course, these are separate events – The UN Oceans Conference in New York in June and the UN Climate Change Conference – COP 23 – in Bonn later in the year. But they are extremely important because they address the two greatest challenges facing the world at this time.

We need urgent global action for a more decisive response to global warming to keep temperatures down and ward off the extreme weather events and rising sea levels associated with climate change. And we need urgent global action to stop the assault on the health of our oceans and seas caused by pollution and overfishing.

Nowhere do these two imperatives come together more starkly than in our own region – in Fiji and the rest of the Pacific. At precisely the same time as we are having to deal with stronger and more frequent cyclones, arable land ruined by salinity and the need to relocate entire communities out of the way of the rising seas, the quality of the water around us on which we depend for food and our livelihoods is under unprecedented threat.

You may have heard me say in Marrakesh that as a former naval commander, I have an intense interest in the health of our oceans and seas. It has been painful for me over the years to see our beautiful Pacific ocean increasingly clogged with rubbish – more and more plastic bottles, plastic bags and other refuse. Some of it generated by ourselves but a lot more generated by nations on the Pacific Rim and drifting down to us on the prevailing currents.

In my younger days, I also remember our waters teeming with fish. You could throw a line out and in many instances, just reel them in. But I don’t have to tell the keen fisherman in the room that those days are becoming a dim memory.

The overfishing of the Pacific and other oceans and seas by selfish nations and selfish commercial interests poses a direct threat, especially to the welfare of our coastal communities. Because they rely on fish not only for food but as a source of income. And fishing is the foundation of many local maritime economies.

We must get an international consensus in New York in June on the scale of this crisis - this threat to all oceans and seas - and we must decide on a plan of radical action. And I promise that with our Swedish friends and co-hosts, I will be bringing a great deal of passion and resolve to making the UN Conference on Oceans the success it deserves to be. The success that it must be.

And then later in the year, Fiji has another opportunity to show leadership at COP-23 – the next United Nations Conference on Climate Change. As you may have noticed at COP-22 in Morocco, there is a growing realisation that what we decided to do in Paris twelve months ago is not enough. That we need a far more radical carbon emission target than we agreed in Paris – which was to cap the global temperature at “well below” a 2 percent per increase over the temperature of the earth at the time the industrial age began.

In fact, there is a growing realisation that even the one-point-five degree cap that the Pacific island nations proposed in the Suva Declaration is not enough. And that we may need to rethink that as well if we are to avert an even more grave situation.

I am going to be honest with you. I sat in the room in Marrakesh and looked around for evidence of the kind of resolve that the global community must have if we are to save ourselves. And I’m afraid that in far too many instances, it simply wasn’t there.

Yes, there is a growing realisation that something must be done and we must all thank those nations that have taken the first step by ratifying the Paris Agreement. But I don’t think there is sufficient appreciation yet of the scale of the threat the world faces.

It was suggested to me at one stage that Fiji needed to be more diplomatic when I formally accepted the presidency of COP-23. No! We are going to press as hard as we can for decisive global action. And Fiji, as the President of COP-23, intends to bring the global community together. And encourage the high carbon emitters and the low carbon emitters to find common ground. Because I passionately believe that only by working together cooperatively and educating the world about the facts of climate change, can we tackle the crisis that confronts us all.

It is also the time for some plain speaking. For Frank to be frank, which I am always keen to do. In our quest to bring everyone together for a truly global solution – which is in the best interests of all nations in the long run - we will at times have to speak very plainly and frankly.

We cannot be muzzled by diplomatic niceties. And as President of COP-23, I intend to tell it like it is. Because it is the only way for us all to move forward.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. We simply must get more decisive action to curb carbon emissions. Because those emissions from the industrial nations are putting us all at risk. We must get the necessary finance in the form of grants to build our resilience to climate change. To future proof our nations and their economies. And to future proof future generations.

We also need the financial tools to strengthen our infrastructure. To build walls to keep the seas at bay. To put our power lines underground. To move our communities out of the path of the rising waters. We need to build our economic and social resilience.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it is critically important for every nation to join the fight for action on climate change. To support the program of carbon emission reductions and contribute to the international fund to help vulnerable nations with their climate adaptation.

We cannot have the second biggest carbon emitter in the world - the United States - unilaterally withdrawing from this effort. We must persuade the American President-elect, Donald Trump, to change his mind about pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Because if he does, then there is no hope for the world to comprehensively tackle this issue.

Without America, the battle against climate change is doomed. Without America, it is already lost. And as I said in Marrakesh, I appeal to Mr Trump to have a personal change of heart and a public change of policy on this issue.

As you know, I have asked President-Elect Trump to re-examine the evidence and to come to Fiji to meet Pacific leaders and see the impact of climate change for himself. I hope he takes me up on the offer. Because as the President of COP-23, I genuinely want to work with him on this issue in an atmosphere of friendly cooperation.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, you are fully aware of the enormity of the task ahead. And we need your support. I want to appeal to the Heads of Mission in this room to talk to your capitals about assisting Fiji. We will also be making direct representations to your respective governments and the multilateral agencies.

I also appeal to the representatives of NGOs to work together with my Government to make the presidency of COP-23 a success. To make the outcomes practical, achievable and enduring for every global citizen.  We need to work together. All of us.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, in the next few weeks, I will be announcing a number of appointments to the team that Fiji is building to carry out our duties at COP-23. Apart from the secretariat team in Bonn, we intend to have a dedicated secretariat here in Fiji.

We also need to spread the message far and wide. And to the journalists who are here today, please do everything you can in the coming months to inform the Fijian people of the crusade that we have embarked on and the progress that we make along the way.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Fiji stands taller in the world today than at any other time in our history. Never before has the global community entrusted us with two such grave responsibilities. And we are determined as a nation to be worthy of that trust.

We look to 2017 with confidence and pride as an opportunity to show the world what we can do. And to give voice to the concerns, the hopes and the aspirations of billions of people the world over.    


Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.


          Fiji Signs International Solar Development        
Marrakesh, Morocco
Friday, November 18, 2016
Fiji has secured greater access to solar financing, technologies, research and development opportunities, and capacity-building programmes following Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s signing of the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Prime Minister Bainimarama lauded the agreement as an important stepping stone to help Fiji realise its potential as a regional hub of solar development. In particular, he highlighted the benefit that Fiji’s vast solar resources could have for rural and maritime communities.

“As one of the founding members of the ISA, Fiji recognizes the importance of advancing solar technology as an alternative to the burning of fossil fuels that is contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions warming our planet. This agreement will help lay the foundation for Fiji to take full part in the global solar revolution and give our people improved access to one of the fastest-growing forms of renewable energy on the planet,” he said.

The agreement was signed by the Prime Minister on the margins of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP22) in Marrakech. Following the signing, Prime Minister Bainimarama also held talks with the Indian Minister of State (independent charge) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr. Anil Madhav Dave, during which the prime minister reaffirmed Fiji’s commitment to international cooperation on solar development.

The ISA was launched at the end of 2015 as a common platform for cooperation among sun-rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn that are seeking to massively ramp up their use of solar energy, thereby helping to reduce global greenhouse emissions while providing clean and cheap energy.


          Hon Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Statement Accepting the Presidency of COP-23        
Marrakesh, Morocco
Friday, November 18, 2016

Mr Chairman/Madam Chair,


Distinguished Delegates


Fiji is honoured and humbled by the confidence that the community of nations has placed in us to preside over the next United Nations Conference on Climate Change – COP 23 – in Bonn, Germany, next year.

We are the first Pacific Islands nation to be given this important task and we are acutely aware of the great responsibility that has been entrusted to us.

As the region of the world that is destined to bear the worst brunt of the effects of climate change, we have been given a crucial platform to put our case. And I make the following pledge to our island neighbours and the other low lying nations of the world, along with the rest of the international community.

Fiji will do everything in its power to fulfill its duty to place climate change at the very top of the global agenda. As President of COP-23, we will use this platform to continue to press for deeper cuts in carbon emissions to reduce global warming even further. And to counter the rising sea levels and extreme weather events that threaten the very existence of some nations.

We will also do everything we can to lobby the industrial countries who are responsible for these emissions to allocate adequate funding - in the form of grants - to enable us to build our resilience and adapt to the terrifying new era that awaits us.

I again appeal to the President-Elect of the United States, Donald Trump, to show leadership on this issue by abandoning his current position that man-made climate change is a hoax. On the contrary, the global scientific consensus is that it is very real and we must act more decisively to avert catastrophe.

As the second biggest carbon emitter on earth, the United States must take responsibility for contributing to our collective response to this crisis and show leadership at this critical time.

We in the Pacific – in common with the whole world - look to America for that leadership and for its engagement and assistance on climate change,  just as we looked to America during the dark days of World War Two. And I say to the American people: You came to save us then. And it is time for you to help save us now.

I renew my offer to President-Elect Trump to come to Fiji to see the effects of climate change for himself. And to meet Pacific Island leaders face-to-face in Fiji to discuss the crisis we are all facing, along with other low-lying areas of the world including parts of America.

Fiji warmly thanks the nations of the Asia-Pacific for putting us forward and giving us our own opportunity to show leadership by presiding over COP-23. And I again pledge to do everything in our power to draw global attention to this most pressing issue that humanity faces - the preservation and survival of the planet on which we all live.


Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you

          Natural Bourne Identity- Vanishing Cultures        

What makes an expedition memorable is not the primary mission but the people you meet along the way.

When you asked me if I'd spent any time with indigenous, native or primitive people my head started spinning thinking about all the years of travel and the dozens and dozens of expeditions I have participated in.

One of the intense pleasures of my travels has been the unique opportunities that I have had to live amongst those whose lives at first glance were so much different than mine. It is privilege every time I get the chance to peer into the world of native people as they are living looking glasses into our cultural past. I like to think of them as those who have not forgotten the old ways. Their deep set beliefs, ethics and customs unify and strengthen their families and communities and engender a genuine curiosity and hospitality toward visitors.
Most recently while filming with the BBC One and Discovery Science I lived and traveled with the Afar people of Ethiopia. They are an interesting group as they struggle to hold onto their old ways amidst a modern world closing in on them. You may know their name as they are a tribe notorious for castrating their enemies – I tried to view this reputation as core to some of their values. e.g. revenge, respect and honor. With that in mind, in the month I spent with them, I learned many lessons of manners and etiquette far quicker than I would have in any posh English Boarding school.

It is sometimes difficult to distinguish native, indigenous and primitive people as most groups have a combination of all three. My experience of these people scans the world and their open disposition and customs continue to inspire me. I have lived and traveled with many Chagga and Massai people of East Africa, several of which are now my friends (in fact I will be spending part of January 2009 with a good Chagga friend).
More than once, I trekked the deserts and drank tea with nomadic Berber and Bedouin in Morocco.
I have learned to be ingenuous with ice from the Eskimo of Alaska and the Inuit of Canada. While tagging Jaguars in Mexico I navigated the jungle with ancestors of the Mayan and Aztec. With native Shongaans as my guides, I have tracked wildlife and observed the intricacies of the ecosystem in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. I have chewed on coca leaves and shared stories with the Quechua and Aymara Indian tribes in the Colca Canyon of Peru. I gathered Yak dung for a stove with the Nepalese Sherpa’s. I foraged for food and spoke of the Rainbow Serpent with the aborigine of Australia.

In the 21st century we live in a world of vanishing cultures and as explorers it is our inherent duty to understand, share and sometimes preserve their traditions. We share with these cultures a passion for story telling, team work and camaraderie - and as such we keep their worlds alive. . I have often thought about this tradition and I usually envision one person standing over a fire to a spellbound audience telling a tale of lands far away. No matter what the language is it is generally started with the first sentence “you'll never guess what happened to me “or “you’ll never believe what's on the other side of that hill.”

These are times when people are becoming more aware of the need to promote and preserve indigenous cultures of specific localities and communities. Although we may look at these past cultures as primitive - or in the case of head hunters barbaric,a wisdom for mental wellbeing and a code to live one’s life by sometimes surfaces from apparently unlikely sources.

          A Personal Online Geography of Words        
"People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading."
--Logan Pearsall Smith

Because the Internet is a large, messy universe, it is good to have one's things neatly arranged in a single place. I have done a fair job on that with regards to my photography. However, until now, I had not yet done so for my writing, that is my fiction, essays, haiku, and interviews. It's important to have a home for one's work, organized for the benefit of readers. After all, if it weren't for you, then all the writing would be just metaphysical trees falling silently...


(in alphabetical order of magazines)

The Adirondack Review: "Our Treasured Future" A rowdy confrontation challenges a family visiting the zoo on the hottest day of the year.

The Blue Penny Quarterly: "Spirit of the Word" Following the disastrous trifecta of Japan's 2011 quake-tsunami-meltdown, a young American professional working in Tokyo, having lost all sense of control in his life, slips into kleptomania.

The Dirty Napkin: "Finding Jaga (the Amazing Guru)" A middle-aged wreck of a man searches India for the guru he studied with thirty years earlier.

The Diverse Arts Project: "Just Say Yes" A young radical visits his estranged Peace Corps girlfriend in Morocco's Rif mountains, hoping to save their faltering relationship.

The Literati: "Hit and Ran" A man struggling to make ends meet plunges into crisis when he runs over a punk kid and leaves the scene of the accident.

Marco Polo Arts Mag: "Prospect for a Tom Sawyer Song" A young woman attending a hip indie band's performance is picked up by the lead singer.

The Molotov Cocktail: "That's Some Good Tea" A micro-story on the inevitability of some relationships.

Zouch Magazine: "The Invisible Man Speaks" A brief glimpse into the mind of a garrulous, opinionated bank security guard.

Nonfiction, Essays & Criticism

Heso Magazine: I have a regular column on Heso called Pop Zeitgeist. 

The Rumpus: Occasional contributor, film criticism.


Some Interviews, Elucidations, & Profiles

Some Presentations, Shows, and Workshops

"Picturing Haiku: the Pairing of Images and Poems in Pursuit of a More Thorough Sensibility" 
Japan Writers' Conference, Naha, Okinawa, November, 2013

"I Do Haiku You"
Japan International Poets Society, Kyoto, September, 2013

"I Do Haiku You"
Pechakucha, Kyoto, April, 2013

"One Plus One Is Three"
Gallery show at Mitsukoshi, Taipei, Taiwan, March, 2013

Group show at 3-Gai Gallery, Kyoto, February, 2013

If you are interested in viewing some of my photo publications, I keep them relatively well updated on my flickr profile page.

I also have a blog that I intermittently update and I do tend to speak out now and then on twitter.

Finally, if you are looking for a little music, I've put together a "mixed tape" you can listen to online. It's available here.

Thanks for stopping by and do come back as I'll be updating now and then.

All photos & writing (c) copyright 2013 by Sean Lotman

          Agent Vinod (2012)        
While one is tempted to praise Saif Ali Khan on a brave attempt at creating an Indian super spy franchise filled with jazzy locations, beautiful babes, toys, explosive action, witticisms and what not, Agent Vinod ends up living in no man’s land and can neither be counted as a new flavor of super spy nor does it do a good job of copying the ones that have gone before it.

Agent Vinod, never reveals his name. He is shown breaking out of an ISI controlled terror camp in Afghanistan. The agency he works for – RAW, the Indian intelligence wing is alerted of a nuclear bomb that has fallen into the hands of terrorists. The bomb needs an activation device which is embedded in a copy of Omar Khayyam’s collection of poems - Rubaiyat. This is up for auction in Morocco. Vinod needs to follow the device, capture it and return it to RAW, but ends up losing it thanks to some counter intelligence work by Iram, a Pakistani spy. While initially wary of Iram, Vinod grows close to her after he learns of her conscription into spying by the ISI. They now have to make sure that the nuke does not make its way to Delhi and go off.

I wouldn’t fault the basic story. It had all the ingredients of a multi-country end of the world plot, something that super spy movies thrive on. The locations range from Afghanistan to Morocco to Karachi and our very own New Delhi. But, you don’t enjoy movies just because of locations. The logic that a few powerful people are behind some of the terror that is seen in the world is also believable. Where Agent Vinod fails to tickle the senses is in the sordid screenplay, pitiful editing and monotone acting by its protagonist. Pritam's background score and music tracks are forgettable and do nothing to help the visuals.

Agent Vinod makes you notice the Editor. An Editor is like a wicket-keeper in cricket. If he’s had a good day, you don’t notice him. If he is brilliant, you do. If he is woeful, it sticks out like a sore thumb. In this case, the tempo of the film is all messed up, a clear case of poor co-ordination between the Director, Editor and Music Director. It could also be put down to poor screenplay writing. One can easily see the screenplay inspirations – Bond’s brief flirting with Money Penny before entering the boss’ chamber, his introductory scene in Die Another Day, befriending a gay man to further his means from The Day of the Jackal, so on and so forth.

Several moments, where the main character of Vinod needed to stand out with a crisp one-liner or a zoom-in are botched up, as is the climax. Comprehend this - when a breathless person struggling for oxygen gives you a name, do you ask her to spell it? The dialogues are largely cheesy. When Iram is struggling to hold back tears on her return to Karachi, Vinod tells her ‘Sorry to disturb your Yaadon ki Baraat’. The attempted deadpan humor falls flat throughout the movie.

There are some positives though – a pre-climactic sequence, where Vinod and Iram escape from their hotel is shot much like a music video in 1 long shot of 10 minutes and is done very well. This film finally portrays an Indian operation as an intelligent coordinated one with some semblance of technology used to fight crime.

Saif Khan never allows his real-life charisma to feed Vinod. The character appears confused and is a botched up combination of ruthless, sexy, humorous and emotional. Towards the end of the movie, you wonder what this guy was all about. In hindsight, the look he reveals at the end of the film, should have been his look. Kareena Kapoor as Iram does a better job, but is not convincing as the conscripted spy. She does her best to pout her way through and is not helped by poor writing. The support cast is good with a combination of good character actors, who make the film somewhat bearable. But only just.

Agent Vinod is a poor attempt at creating an Indian super spy. Give me Byomkesh Bakshi anyday. 

          Heading West in Med        
We left Marina di Ragusa in Sicily later than most cruisers due to solving a corrupted fuel issue. We'd filled with some dreadful "biodiesel" in Turkey and ended up with "fuel snot" that clogged the filters. While the biocide was eating the bad stuff in the fuel tank we took 5 weeks and traveled around Great Britain during the rainest April on record. Still had a great time going counterclockwise from London up to Scotland and to Wales and Dartmoor and back. We spent 7 days in London. It was one of our very best trips and we plan to return as soon as we have saved enough money. It doesn't come cheap.

So in June, after fixing up CYAN to cruise, we took off from Sicily saying goodbye with a tear to the grand time we had in Italy. We thought we would spend some time in Sardinia but we hate marinas and the anchorages are dreadful. They are open and rolly and I get cranky with bad sleep. So we took off for the Balearics hearing that the anchorages are better. When getting a Vodaphone usb key for net connection our credit card was compromised by the dealer [we hadn't used it anywhere else and within minutes over $1000 was charged] and we had to have some new ones sent to Spain, held for our arrival. It was caught immediately by our faithful account rep, Helene, at Merrill Lynch...bless her.
                               It's often Clothing optional for the Captain!

The Balearic Islands; Minorca, Mallorca and Ibiza, did have better anchorages but most were just filled with discos blaring until 5am, jetskiers, water skiers, and super yachts moving around way too fast. this makes it more rolly than the sea! We are not big fans of cruising in the Med even though we have enjoyed seeing the European locations with their history and art but at great expense....more than the USA now.

                                                Water is crystal clear

We are in the south of Spain at present, waiting for a few miscellaneous parts and doing a great clean up. Here in Almerimar, they have blocks and blocks built huge condos that are unoccupied or unfinished and already going dirty and getting rundown with graffiti and fruit flies that are astounding. Remember the big Med Fly trauma years ago? Now we know why they worked so hard to keep them out. You have to cover your mouth to talk! In a few days we head to Gibraltar for a while and get to travel around Spain for a few weeks.
                               Impressive rock cliff anchorage in Mallorca

In about September we hope to be heading to Morocco and perhaps on to Senegal in Africa. Then it's the Canaries, Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic and in December we head home to Florida.

Compared to our other locations and adventures our latest travels have been pretty routine so excuse our lack of enthusiasm. We do hear good things about Africa and we usually find third world countries to be more interesting and welcoming.
          Morocco to Reach 48 Degrees Celsius        

Morocco's heatwave continues with a fresh warning from the National Meteorological Department (MND) saying that maximum temperatures of up to 48 degrees will be reached today (July 29) to Tuesday, August 1 in several regions of the Kingdom

Hot - with a chance of dust storms

On Saturday temperatures between 43 and 48 ° C are forecast at Errachidia, Zagora, Tata, Assa-Zag, Es-smara, Boujdour, Aousserd, Oued Eddahab and the interior of Laayoune and Tarfaya.

Temperatures ranging between 39 and 43 ° C will be experienced in the regions of Guercif, Taourirt, Jerada, Boulemane, Figuig, Fez, Moulay Yaâcoub, Taounate, Khouribga, Beni Mellal, Fquih Ben Saleh, Settat, Kelaâ des Sraghna, Rhamna, Marrakech, Youssoufia, Khémisset, Sidi Slimane, Sidi Kacem, Ouazzane, Taroudante, Ouarzazate, Tinghir and the interior of Essaouira, Sidi Ifni, Guelmim and Tan-Tan.

On Sunday, the regions of Errachidia, Zagora, Tata, Assa Zag, Es-smara, Aousserd, Oued Eddahab and Boujdour will have maximum temperatures between 41 and 46 ° C, while Guercif, Oujda, Jerada, Taourirte, Boulemane and Figuig, Errachidia, Zagora and Tata will see temperatures between 39 and 44 ° C on Monday and Tuesday.

In addition, gusts of strong winds will be experienced on Monday and Tuesday with duststorms in some areas.


          New Service to Tinghir from Fez Airport        

Moroccan low-cost airline Air Arabia Maroc has expanded its Fez-Errachidia bus service by 135 km to reach Tinghir in the region of Draa-Tafilalt

The updated bus service will also stop at Goulmima, a city in the province of Errachidia.

Air Arabia has said that the new service “marks an additional step in the continuing support that the company offers to develop tourism in Morocco.” The company pointed out that this service would also increase accessibility to previously hard-to-reach regions.

The shuttle bus services are provided by Air Arabia Express.

Tinghir is the perfect destination from which to explore the Todra Gorge. Situated on the east side of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the Todra Gorge is recognised around the world as one of the most spectacular canyons, where over the millennia the Todra and Dades rivers have carved out layers of rock, giving rise to canyons 300 metres (980 ft) high but in some places only 10 metres (33 ft) wide. After leaving the gorge. the river widens, developing into an oasis edged with the red ochre of the desert.

The gorge, though in a remote area of Morocco, is a popular tourist destination and has been outfitted over the years with hiking paths and a well-maintained dirt road that visitors can walk along, though they must share it with mules and other pack animals.


          Flights Marrakech Krakow Brings Record Polish Tourists        
According to the office of the Moroccan National Tourist Board (ONMT) in Warsaw, the number of Polish tourists visiting Morocco last June saw a surge of 70% compared to the same period the previous year

The ONMT delegate in Warsaw, Rachid Ennaciri, said that this 70% performance in June alone, exceeding 4,500 visitors, is the best ever recorded in the Polish tourist market.

This gradual increase is attributed to the promotional campaign of the Morocco destination initiated by the ONMT on the Polish market, said Ennaciri, pointing out that three Polish television channels (TVN, TVN Style and TVP 3) produced documentaries

The ONMT and the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair have entered into a partnership agreement to serve Marrakech from Krakow with two flights a week (Monday and Friday) giving Polish tourists the possibility of having city breaks in Marrakech and Fez.

One of the last times Morocco saw a surge in Polish tourists was when Suzanna Clarke's book, A House in Fez, was translated into Polish. (See more here)

For our Polish readers!

Co byście powiedzieli, gdyby brodaty notariusz wręczył wam akt kupna domu wykaligrafowany na papirusie zupełnie niezrozumiałym dla was pismem? Albo gdyby zatrudniony przez was stolarz okazał się fundamentalistą? A jeśli do tego wszystkiego musielibyście strzec się dżinnów? To wszystko, a nawet więcej, może was spotkać gdy kupicie dom w Maroku!

Dom w Fezie to prawdziwa historia dwójki australijskich dziennikarzy, którzy straciwszy głowę dla plątaniny barwnych uliczek i zaułków arabskiej medyny, w porywie szalonego uczucia postanawiają… kupić dom w sercu Fezu – najstarszego i jednego z najpiękniejszych miast Północnej Afryki.

Suzanna Clarke z humorem opowiada o perypetiach związanych z renowacją trzystuletniego riadu, potyczkach z marokańską biurokracją i specyfice pracy miejscowych fachowców. Opisuje uroki tętniącej życiem medyny i relacje z nowymi sąsiadami. "Dom w Fezie" to klimatyczna, pełna kolorów podróż po meandrach marokańskiej kultury. Miejscami zabawny, miejscami wzruszający zapis codziennych spotkań z Marokańczykami zaskakuje, uczy, a także pozwala inaczej spojrzeć na siebie i własną kulturę.

Propozycja dla wszystkich, którzy pokochali Maroko i tych, którzy dopiero planują się tam wybrać


          A Trans-Maghreb TGV ~ Feasibility Study        

The possibility of taking a train journey across the Maghreb is back on the table. A TGV link between Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria could become one of the great train trips

Nothing is certain, but the project to rehabilitate the Trans-Maghreb train is underway. The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) is holding the 3rd ordinary session of the commission to oversee the feasibility study of this ambitious project.

The four day session will be devoted to the evaluation of the technical and financial offers presented by consulting firms that participated in the invitation to tender. The study is financed to the tune of $1.7 million by the African Development Bank (ADB).


          Malaysia - Morocco ~ Now Visa Free        
The Moroccan government and its Malaysian counterpart have signed an agreement to allow citizens of both countries to travel back and forth without visa requirements
Morocco's Ambassador to Malaysia Mohammed Reda Benkhaldoun and Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim

The partial abolition of the visa agreement was signed by Foreign Affairs Ministry secretary-general Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim on behalf of the Malaysian government and the Kingdom of Morocco's Ambassador to Malaysia Mohammed Reda Benkhaldoun on behalf of Morocco.

Under the new agreement, Malaysian and Moroccan passport holders who are travelling for business or social visits with valid documents are allowed to enter and exit both countries without a visa for a maximum period of 90 days.

Malaysian passport holders, including diplomatic passport holders, will be able to enter Morocco freely for a maximum period of 90 days, for official or social purposes without the requirement of a visa.

The visa waiver is also applicable to transit passengers travelling through both countries.

In an official statement, the Malaysian ministry said the agreement is expected to further enhance bilateral relations between the two Muslim countries.

It will also enhance economic, trade, investment and tourism cooperation between both countries.

The agreement will take effect after all requirements have been fulfilled by both countries.

Morocco established diplomatic ties with Malaysia in 1963.

Morocco exports canned fish, food, fertilisers, plastics and chemical products to Malaysia and imports mainly electric and electronic goods.

Bilateral trade between Malaysia and Morocco stood at about US$200-US$300 million in 2015. 2,927 Moroccans visited Malaysia in 2016 and the number is expected to increase gradually following the agreement.


          Amazigh Festival - Recommendations        
After the closing of the Thirteenth International Festival of Amazigh Culture in Fez, the organisers issued a call to consolidate diversity and reform school curricula in order to build intercultural and inter-civilisational understanding as ramparts against the rise of all extremisms
Hadda Ouakki  at Bab Makina

The thirteenth international festival of Amazigh culture, which was organised under the patronage of His Majesty the King, in Fès from the 14th to 16th of July, on the theme "Amazighity and Cultural Diversity in the Face of Extremism", came to a close early morning on Monday.

This festival was organised by the Fes-Saiss Association and the South South Centre in partnership with the Fes-Meknes Region and the Esprit Foundation of Fès. It was a resounding success at the academic, artistic and organisational levels. It stressed the positive impact of intercultural dialogue and the consolidation of cultural diversity on living together and peace.

Participants at the international forum discussed relevant and varied issues, including aspects of Amazigh culture in North Africa; the importance of mixing between Amazigh, African and Mediterranean cultures; the fight against extremism and violence in the region; The role of art and culture in the struggle against extremism; the role of intellectuals and civil society in the resolution of conflicts and the fight against violence.

This forum highlighted the contribution of Amazigh culture to the consolidation of peace, dialogue, and diversity. It advocated making cultural diversity a lever for integration and sustainable development.

More than a hundred intellectuals, artists and musicians representing different regions of Morocco, and thirteen friendly countries, participated in this festival, which also included book exhibitions, art and Amazigh carpets, with round tables and workshops on painting, writing and storytelling.

The third musical evening of the festival ended last Sunday in a festive atmosphere. Thousands of festival-goers came to the beautiful Bab Makina, to vibrate to the Mediterranean rhythms. Italian artist Laura Conti, Hadda Ouakki of the Middle Atlas and the great star of the modern Moroccan song, Abdelhafid Douzi, made it unforgettable evening.

Laura Conti was a crowd favourite

Participants in the international Forum made the following recommendations:

1) Emphasise the central role of the Amazigh culture as vectors of the universal values of living together
2) Strengthen and support the values common to cultures and civilisations
3) Establish intercultural and inter-civilisational understanding as a barrier against the rise of all extremism.
4) Strengthen gender equality in order to foster social integration.
5) Reform and modernise school and university curricula to encourage living together and respect for diversity
6) Teaching interaction and exchange among civilisations
7) Teaching the history of religions, in order to compare religions in their historical contexts
8) Emphasise the values of peace and coexistence.
9) Separate religion from politics, and consolidate the separation of powers.
10) Strengthen the democratic culture and values of freedom, with a view to achieving global and sustainable development.


          Festival of Malhoun Music in Fez        
The 15th edition of the National Festival of Art of Malhoun will take place from the 21st to 29th of July in Fez under the theme "for the preservation of our artistic heritage"

Organised by the urban community of the city of Fez, this cultural event aims to perpetuate and enhance intangible cultural heritage and to promote its influence.

The Malhoun Festival includes a wide range of cultural activities and thematic conferences with professionals and researchers in the field.

This festival performances are planned in many areas of the spiritual capital such as Jnan Sbil and Jardin Lalla Amina. It is expected to involve a dozen Malhoun groups and orchestras from various regions of Morocco.

Mohamed Soussi (photo Sandy McCutcheon)

It includes exhibitions on the subject including publications of the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco and a ceremony in homage to the artist Mohamed Soussi, president of the association "Thami El Medghari for the art of Malhoun".


          Morocco's Heatwave Continues        
According to today's bulletin from Morocco's Meteorology Office, the heat wave will persist from Saturday to next Tuesday in several regions of the Kingdom with maximum temperatures oscillating between 37 and 46 ° Celsius

Temperatures ranging from 42 to 46 ° C will be recorded on Saturday and Sunday in Aousserd, Oued Eddahab, Boujdour, Smara, Assa-Zag, Tata, Zagora, Errachidia, Tan Tan, Guelmim, Sidi Ifni, , Beni Mellal, Rhamna, Kalaa Sraghna, Khouribga, Fqih Ben Saleh, Settat, Youssoufia, Khemisset, Meknes, Fez, Taounate, Moulay Yacoub, Sefrou, Sidi Kacem, Sidi Slimane, Ouezzane and the interior of Larache and Essaouira.

The mercury will climb up to 38/41 ° C in Figuig, Boulemane, Taourirt, Jerada, Guercif, Taza, Chefchaouen, El Hajeb, Khenifra, Berrechid, Benslimane, Sidi Bennour, Chichaoua, Safi, Tiznit, Chtouka a Baha , Inzegane, Agadir (interior), Ouarzazate, Azilal and Kenitra (interior).

On Monday and Tuesday, maximum temperatures between 41 and 44 degrees will interest Taroudant, Tata, Zagora, Aousserd, Smara, Assa Zag, Marrakech, Rhamna, Taounate and Moulay Yacoub.

The temperatures will be 37 to 40 degrees in Fez, Meknes, Ouazzane, Sidi Kacem, Sidi Slimane, Larache (interior), Khemisset, Khouribga, Fqih Ben Saleh, Settat, Youssoufia, Kalaa Sraghna, Beni Mellal, Errachidia, Oujda, Taourirt, Guercif and the interior of Safi and Essaouira.

The hot weather will persist in the southeast and eastern regions of the Sahara on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 July.


          Morocco's Heatwave - Understanding the "Chergui"         

In a recent bulletin the Directorate of National Meteorology indicated that the very high temperatures are due to the “chergui”. The View From Fez received a flurry of emails asking "what is the chergui?"

The chergui or sharqi (Arabic: شرقية‎‎ šarqīa) is the name of a continental easterly or southeasterly wind which blows on the southernmost part of Morocco, a hot and dry wind coming from the Sahara Desert. This wind can be compared with the sirocco, a very hot and very dry desert wind.

The Arabic word means "coming from the east", as the chergui emanates from the desert east of the Atlas Mountains. This is a rain shadow wind, and it descends after passing over the top of the mountain range as very hot and dry air into the coastal plains area towards the Atlantic ocean. This brings soaring temperatures typical of the desert, often over 40 °C (104 °F), and can even bring about 48 °C (118.4 °F) during the day. The relative humidity is extremely low, nearly always below 15%.

The chergui can also (more rarely) blow in wintertime, and is responsible for warm, sunny and dry weather.


          Amazigh Festival Tackles Big Questions        
There is a fascinating array of academic experts participating in the International Festival of Amazigh Culture and today they showed that they weren't backing away from contentious issues
Michael Willis identified the antagonism between Islamists and Amazigh movement

The day started with an address by Maatti Kabbal from the l’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. His topic was "A Critique of Extreme Reason."

This was followed by a panel discussion on Amazigh Culture in North Africa, with Jilali Saib from the University of Mohammed V in Rabat, Amazigh activist Meryam Demnati from the Observatory of Amazigh Rights in Rabat., Madina Touré from Nouakchot University in Mauritania and Slimane Douih from the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez.

"Don't forget our African heritage"- Slimane Douih 

Slimane Douih, who comes from the area of the Moroccan Sahara, made the point that while much of the discussion centres around the common belief that majority of North Africa's population is believed to be Amazigh in origin, but, due to Arabisation most ethnic Amazigh identify as Arabised Amazigh. Douih challenged this by pointing out that much of the rock art and cave paintings point to a very strong African element. He made the point that while much of Amazigh culture and history is now recognised, that the African component is totally ignored. He also pointed out that his study of the Saharan Hassani language is not an Arabic language but rather linked to Amazigh. Likewise social customs and dance, show a particularly strong African rather than Arabic influence.

After a coffee break and much discussion, came a presentation by Michael Willis (Oxford University) on the topic; Enemies Allies or Competitors? Islamist-Amazigh Movement Relations in Morocco and Algeria. Willis started by saying that following the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, there has been a strong belief that Morocco and Algeria are Arab cultures. He pointed out that Islamists and Amazigh view each other as a threat. From the Islamist perspective pluralism is a threat to Islam and that, at root, the movement is post-colonial secularism.

On the other hand, the Amazigh movement sees a different kind of colonialism; saying that Arabisation, in the form of dress, customs and language, is being promoted by various Arab countries outside the Maghreb.

Willis says, that while there is antagonism between the two groups, there have been moves to build bridges. Much of this has come from the state who have a desire to use the Amazigh movement as a bulwark against Islamism. In the process, he claims, many Amazigh activists have been coopted by state institutions. During the recent tensions in the Riff region there was a coming together of the Islamists and Amazigh, though, as Willis points out, the Hirak movement is a social one rather that simply Amazigh or Islamist.

Long time Amazigh Activist Meryam Demnati

Speaking with The View From Fez, Meryam Demnati agreed and pointed out that it was a common problem with the mass media who see things in simplistic terms.

One irony Willis highlighted, was that when Morocco's Islamist PJD party came to power it was presented with the task of implementing the Amazigh policies enshrined in the new constitution - policies that they had been fighting against.

The conference winds up tomorrow after another full day of discussion. It is very much worth attending.


          Under the Sweltering Sky - Fez Scorches        

Taking a non-airconditioned taxi in Fez is like travelling in a fan-forced oven. "It's like a baker's oven," the driver declares and then shrugs and grins. "Could be worse. You could be in Marrakech." He's right, but only just 

Fez Medina bakes under a sweltering, cloudless sky

This week has seen some of the hottest weather Fez has experienced in many years. Temperatures reached 47 Celsius a couple of days ago and are now back to a (slightly cooler) 44C. Marrakech is sweating with a very hot day - 46C.

The Directorate of National Meteorology says that the hottest temperatures would be in the north. In central Morocco, Ouarzazate is set to reach 41C and Oujda 39C.

Temperatures in Rabat and Tangier will be a comfortable 33C, while Essaouira will have Saturday afternoon’s lowest temperature at 24C.

The coming week sees some relief for Fez on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with temperature highs of 36, 34 and 35 respectively, before heading back up to 42 over the next weekend.


          Amazigh Festival Opens in Fez        

The 13th edition of the International Festival of Amazigh Culture opened last night at the Hotel Merinides. A capacity crowd were welcomed by Festival Director, Moha Ennaji

Before the inaugural address, the Festival paid homage to three notable Moroccans; Mohammed Kabbaj, ex-president of Esprit de Fes and the Fes-Sais Association, Emeritus Professor Ahmed El Khamliche and the Belgian-Moroccan writer Issa Ait Belize.

The inaugural address was delivered by the French writer Hubert Haddad, who spoke about "Le tissage des langues" - "the weaving of languages".

The Festival has an intriguing display of Amazigh art

The large audience was truly international and multicultural, with participants and visitors from around the world. The Festival had anticipated this and thoughtfully provided instant translations via headphones.

In the audience, The View From Fez spoke with Lebanese writer and journalist,  General Nizar Abdelkader (pictured left), who said this was his third visit to Morocco and his second as a participant in the Festival.

Abdelkader specialises in writing on international politics and is the author of many books on the subject. "I have always been fascinated by politics', he said, "at the moment I am watching close the developments in Iran. They dream of rebuilding the Persian Empire."

Nizar Abdelkader will be speaking at a forum on Multiculturalism, Multilingualism and Extremism at 18.05 today. On the same panel will be Belkacem Boumedini and Nebia Dadoua Hadria, both from Algeria. Also on the panel is one of the organisers of the Festival, Fatima Sidiqi.

Academic and Festival orgaiser, Fatima Sadiqi

The Festival continues until Sunday at the Merinides Hotel, with evening concerts at Bab Makina. Tonight (Saturday) the concert will feature the group Ahidous Tahla, Hassan Berkani and Ibtissam Tiskat.


          This Weekend in Fez- Culture, Music and Photography         
Friday afternoon sees the opening of the International Festival of Amazigh Culture at the Merinides Hotel. See the programme here   

From 14 to 16 July, the city of Fez will host the thirteenth edition of the International Festival of Culture Amazigh under the theme "Amazighity and cultural diversity confronting extremism". Numerous Moroccan and European artists will take part in this edition, including Abdelhafid Douzi, the star of classical Amazigh song Hadda Ouakki, Moroccan singer Ibtissam Tiskat, Saïd Senhaji, Aïcha Tachinouite, Hassan El Berkanai, Italian artist Laura Conti, in addition to the star of Flamenco dance Monica Arrabal and other musical and artistic activities.

The forum will provide an opportunity for experts, researchers and civil society actors to discuss current issues related to peace, dialogue and cultural diversity and its role in addressing all forms of extremism, and in the consolidation of democracy, coexistence, tolerance and the culture of solidarity.

At the same time, the festival will organize workshops on storytelling, painting, as well as poetry readings and art exhibitions, and book and carpet exhibits.

The music programme is impressive.


Saturday Night: GROUPE AHIDOUS TAHLA (Morocco). HASSAN ELBERKANI (Morocco) and IBTISSAM TISKAT (Morocco)

Sunday Night: HADDA OUAKKI (Morocco); LAURA CONTI (Italy) and ABDELHAFID DOUZI (Morocco)

Sunday's Photo Walk
Come and join the photo walk to discover the many layers of the Fez medina. Lead it by Hamza Ben Rachad Photo Walk Sunday, July 16 at 10:00 AM. Meet in front of the Batha Fountain


          Morocco's New Airline Routes        
Two Airlines have just announced new routes to Morocco. The British low-cost airline Easyjet will launch a new route between Manchester and Agadir's Al Massira airport. Roundtrip flights will be operated twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday) starting at 33.99 pounds, a little over 400 DH

Departures are scheduled for 7:35 am (arrival at 11:35 am) and 2:35 pm (arrival at 6:35 pm), while return flights departing from Morocco are scheduled on Wednesday at 12:20 pm (arrival at 4:30 pm) and Saturday at 7:20 pm (arrival at 11:30 pm). On this route, Easyjet will compete with Air Arabia and Thomsom Airways.

A new direct link between Morocco and Italy will starting operating on November 4th when the European low-cost airline TUI fly will connect the airport of Turin with that of Marrakech.

According to the local newspaper Torino Oggi , the company will schedule a weekly flight on Saturday. In local times, he will depart at 7.55pm from Turin and will land at 10.30pm in Marrakech. From Marrakech, the plane will take off at 15:00 to arrive at Turin at 19:20.

The flight, lasting about three and a half hours, will be aboard a Boeing 737-700 with 148 seats.

It will meet the needs of Italian tourists who wish to go to Morocco for their holidays, but also to the 55,000 members of the Moroccan community who live in the Piedmont region of north-western Italy. Half live in the province of Turin.

Airline tickets are already on sale on the airline's website with prices starting at 69.99 euros (about 770 dirhams).


          Morocco's Tourism Sector Bounces Back        
After an uncertain few months last year, Morocco has seen a healthy growth in tourist numbers. According to the Tourism Observatory a total of 3.8 million tourists visited Morocco between January and May 2017, up 9% from the same period a year earlier, according to the Tourism Observatory

The number of foreign tourists grew by 12.3%, while arrivals of Moroccans resident abroad increased by 3.4%.

The increase was particularly strong from Germany (+ 9%), Spain (+ 8%) and Belgium (+ 7%), the Observatory said.

In more good news, it appears that the emerging tourism markets for Moroccohave maintained their upward trend, with China growing by 760%, while Japan, South Korea, the United States and Brazil posted increases of 45 %, 42%, 34% and 35%.

The total number of nights spent in classified tourist accommodation increased by 17% during the first 5 months of 2017 (+ 22% for non-resident tourists and + 6% for residents).

Marrakech and Agadir alone accounted for 60% of total overnight stays at the end of May, says the Observatory, which notes that these two cities increased by 19% and 16%, respectively.

Other destinations also performed well, particularly in the cities of Fez and Tangier, with increases of 38% and 31% respectively.

Revenues from non-resident tourism in Morocco amounted to MAD 22.86 billion at the end of May, compared with MAD 22.7 billion a year earlier, an increase of 0.7 %.

The entry of Moroccans resident abroad has increased in comparison with the year 2016, both on the sea and air routes.

Launched on June 5 to welcome Moroccans living abroad (MRE), Operation Marhaba 2017 will continue until September 15. A total of 17 reception areas have been set up under the direction of the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity.

No fewer than 709,620 nationals have returned to the national territory, according to statistics from the Central Coordination Office of the Foundation. This represents an increase of 7.09% compared to 2016 until 10 July. Indeed, 51% of the MREs (362,951 persons) have returned via air, while 49% have returned to the territory by sea.

Thousands of Moroccans return home for the holidays

A total of 178,233 people transited through the port of Tangier Med, representing 51.4% of the MREs that opted for this route. It is followed by the port of Nador, where 56,666 people transited (16.4%), recording an increase compared to last year (34,058 people on the same date). Bab Sebta (43,420 people - 12.5%), Bab Melilla (35,039 - 10.1%) and the port of Tangiers (29,118 - 8.4%) are the most important.

In terms of air transport, Casablanca airport received the largest number of MREs, numbering 113,931, with 31.6% of the total number of people returning by air. It is followed by the airport of Fez, which welcomed 42,917 people until July 10, or 11.8% of the total.

The first two airports are followed by Tangiers (42,267 - 11.7%), Marrakech (42,124 - 11.6%) and Nador (38,819 - 10.6%) respectively. In addition, Nador airport registered 35,298 people in 2016, an increase of 9.97% as of July 10, 2017.

At the entry points, the foundation teams in charge of hosting the MRE offered social and medical assistance.

The entry of Moroccans residing abroad is expected to peak between July 15 and August 2.


          The Saga of Palais Jamaï Continues!        
The Palais Jamaï in Fez has had a rocky history. From starting life as a grand residence it eventually be became a hotel, but was finally closed and basically abandoned in 2014. However, it appears that a new chapter has started and Palais Jamaï will be reborn in grand fashion

The Jamaï Palace was built in 1879 by Si Mohammed ben Arbi el Jamaï, Grand Vizier of the Sultan Moulay Hassan 1 (1836-1873-1894).

On the death of the sultan in 1894 the family was out of favour with the the new Sultan Abd El Aziz (1878-1943) who had two members of the Jamaï family were imprisoned. The family was dispersed, and its property was confiscated.

The Jamaï family were proud Fassis and eventually recovered their property. During the period of the French Protectorate, the family put the Jamaï Palace up for sale and began negotiations with Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, through its subsidiary the Great North African Hotels (SVHNA).

This sale was not easy: as one account puts it, "This acquisition, a real Arab tale, was sealed by an act signed by some forty heirs of the Grand Vizier and forms a large roll of enlightened parchment, enclosed in a precious wooden chest, worked and padlocked ! But this, after interminable negotiations which began in 1923, and many obstacles, the least of which was not to obtain the departure of the women who populated the harem and who obstinately refused to evacuate the palace. The last five heirs, entrenched in the inextricable maquis of the Moroccan procedure, took four years to affix their signatures to the bottom of the famous parchment in 1929

The North African Travel and Hotel Corporation transformed it into a hotel for the accommodation of tourists coming for North African Auto-tours.

In 1927 the hotel was enlarged by the architect Edmond Gourdain (1885-1968).

But after the collapse of the Transat in 1931, THE Palais Jamaï was bought by the Company of the Railways of Morocco.

After the end of the Protectorate in 1956, the National Railway purchased three concessions that linked the former Moroccan capital Fez to the Atlantic. One of them was the Moroccan Railway Company (CFM), which owned the Palace.

In 1998, the ONCF sold the hotel for a period of twenty years to the Accor group, which operated it under the Sofitel label. The group invested fifty-four million dirhams (5 million euros) for the renovation of the Palace.

In December 2014, the Accor group ended its management and closed the hotel.

The ONCF took over the Palais Jamaï de Fès, announcing on January 5, 2015 that the hotel will have to be redeveloped and renamed and that it will be renamed in Mamounia .

But in September 2016 the Jamaï Palace was still closed, the work had not started and the hotel was abandoned.

According to a decision published in the Official Bulletin of 6 July, the national railway company, headed by Mohamed Rabie Khlie, was authorised to establish a public limited company known as "Palais Jamai SA" with a capital of 10 million DH.

The company will rebuild, equip and operate this hotel. The decision in the Official Gazette was co-signed by the Head of Government and the Minister of Finance. Its objective is to give a new life to this palace to make it a hotel establishment awith standards identical to those of La Mamounia in Marrakech and Michlifen near Ifrane.

The works will require a total budget of 572 million dirhams, 40% of which is capital and 60% financed by bank loans. The text specifies that Palais Jamai SA will be open as early as 2023.

At the end of the reconstruction work this famous Fassi palace will have 31 suites and 60 new rooms, in addition to outbuildings.


          Morocco's Heatwave reaches 46 Celsius        

Morocco's heatwave is a scorcher with temperatures rising to 46 degrees this week. The heat wave should continue until at least Saturday

In a special bulletin, the Directorate of National Meteorology indicated that this rise in temperatures is due to the “chergui”, a hot wind coming from the south of the country and that it should continue until Saturday

Today (Tuesday) Tata, Zagora, Errachidia, Taounate, Moulay Yacoub, Taza, Guercif, Oujda, Sefrou, El Hajeb, Fez and Khénifra will experience temperatures ranging from 41 to 44 degrees.

Temperatures between 38 and 41 degrees are expected in Figuig, Beni Mellal, Marrakech, Sidi Kacem, Sidi Slimane, Meknes, Khouribga, Ouazzane, Boulemane, Taourirte and Jerada.

From Wednesday, July 12 to Saturday, July 15, temperatures between 42 degrees and 46 degrees are forecasted in Taounate, Moulay Yacoub, Fez, Sidi Kacem, Sidi Slimane, Meknes, Sefrou, Taza, Guercif, Oujda, Taourirte, Ouazzane, Sidi Kacem, Sidi Slimane, Khémisset, Khénifra, Khouribga, Fkih Ben Saleh, Settat, Kelaat De Seraghna, Marrakech, Beni Mellal, Rhamna, Tata, Zagora, and Assa Zag.

Morocco World News issued a warning to tourists and locals, saying they should follow these tips to keep hydrated and avoid over-exhaustion:

Drink plenty of hydrating fluids, and avoid caffeine, stimulants, diuretics, and alcoholic beverages as they have dehydrating properties. Avoid heavy meals.

Wear light and loose fitting clothing that will allow perspiration to evaporate and cool the body. Wear wide-brimmed hats in light colors to keep the sun from overheating the head and neck and from hurting the eyes.

Apply sunscreen 15 or more 30 minutes before exiting, and continue to reapply according to the instructions of the package.

Avoid strenuous exercises during daylight hours when temperatures are at their highest. Do aerobics and other exercises after sundown.

Apply cold compresses or wet towels on the neck, face, torso, head to lower body temperatures while performing strenuous activities or sunbathing,

Eat foods that are high in water content such as fruits and vegetables. Avoid eating raw food and foods that have been exposed for hours in restaurant buffets.


          International Festival of the Amazigh Culture - Program Update        
logo fondation esprit de fès sais logoAF[2]

The International Festival of the Amazigh Culture

13th Edition

Merinides Hotel, Fès

International Festival of Amazigh Culture in Fez July 14-16
Douzi, Senhaji and Tiskat sing love and brotherhood
From 14 to 16 July, the city of Fez will host the thirteenth edition of the International Festival of Culture Amazigh under the theme "Amazighity and cultural diversity confronting extremism". Numerous Moroccan and European artists will take part in this edition, including  Abdelhafid Douzi, the star of classical Amazigh song Hadda Ouakki, Moroccan singer Ibtissam Tiskat, Saïd Senhaji, Aïcha Tachinouite, Hassan El Berkanai, Italian artist Laura Conti, in addition to the star of Flamenco dance Monica Arrabal and other musical and artistic activities.
The forum will provide an opportunity for experts, researchers and civil society actors to discuss current issues related to peace, dialogue and cultural diversity and its role in addressing all forms of extremism, and in the consolidation of democracy, coexistence, tolerance and the culture of solidarity.
At the same time, the festival will organize workshops on storytelling, painting, as well as poetry readings and art exhibitions, and book and carpet exhibits.
During the opening ceremony of the festival, which will take place on Friday 14 July afternoon, a vibrant tribute will be paid to Mr. Mohamed Kabbaj Founding President of the Fez-Sais Association and the Spirit of Fez Foundation, and a tribute will be paid to the thinker Ahmed El Khamlichi, director of Dar Al Hadith Al Hassania, and to the eminent Belgian-Moroccan writer Issa Aït Belize, in recognition of their many praiseworthy contributions to social and cultural development of Morocco. In the evening in Bab Makina, three concerts will be held, including that of Aicha Tachinouite, the Catalan group Monica Arrabal and Said Senhaji.
Many writers, thinkers, and researchers will participate in this great cultural event, namely Jean-Marie Simon, France, Saad Eddine Ibrahim of Egypt, Alfonso de Toro of Germany, Roberto Tonini of Italy, Hubert Haddad of France, Nizar Abdelkader (Lebanon), Michael Willis (Great Britain), Johan Goud (Netherlands), Ahmed Assid, Abdelkader Benali, Mohammed Taifi, Mohammed Nedali (Morocco) and many more!
All in all, this thirteenth edition of the Fez Festival of Amazigh culture will be rich and varied, and a good opportunity for all the young people and the inhabitants of the Fes-Meknes region, to enjoy the highlights of the Festival: debates and music concerts in the heart of the medina of Fez, an imperial and marvellous historical city.

Programme of the Forum

Amazighity and Cultural Diversity Confronting Extremisms

Friday, July 14

17:00:   Arrival of participants
17:30:   Opening of the Forum and the Festival  
             Opening remarks

19:00 Tribute to the Honourable:  Mohammed Kabbaj, Ahmed El Khamlichi, and
           Issa Ait Belize

18: 30   Keynote 1: «The Weaving of languages" (in French)
                                    Hubert Haddad (Writer)

19:20 Reception and a Tour of Expositions

Saturday, July 15

9:00 – 9:30
Room 1

              Keynote 2:   Criticism of Extreme Reason
                                       Maati  Kabbal (Institute of The Arab World, Paris)
                                         Moderator: Fatima Sadiqi
9 :30 – 10 :30
Room 1

First Session:      Insights on Some Apects of the Amazigh Culture in North Africa
                                  Moderator: Issa Aït Belize

Jilali Saib (Mohamed V University, Rabat)
Meryam Demnati (Amazigh Observatory of Rights and Freedoms, Rabat)
Madina Touré (Nouakchot University, Mauritania)
Slimane Douih (Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez)

10:30 – 11:00 Debate

11:00 – 11:30

              Keynote 3: Enemies, Allies or Competitors? Islamist-Amazigh Movement Relations in Morocco and Algeria
                             Michael J. Willis (Oxford University, United Kingdom)
                               Moderator: Moha Ennaji

11 : 30 – 11 : 50   Coffee break

Room 1
11 : 50 – 12 :50

Second Session : Reflections on the Theories of Cultural Studies and                        
                                    Moderator:  Alfonso de Toro
Speakers :  
Mohamed Taifi (University of Virginia, USA)
Issa Aït Belize (Moroccan-Belgian Writer, Brussels)
Bouthaina Ben Kridis (University of Carthage, Tunisia)
Alberto Tonini (University of Florence, Italie)

12: 50 – 13: 15 Debate

15:30 – 16:15  

Room 1

Third Session:          Literature, Art and Cohabitation
Moderator: Mohamed Fousshi
Speakers :
Enza Palamara (François Rabelais University, Tours, France)
Ali Fertahi (Moulay Slimane University, Béni-Mellal)
Juliane Tauchnitz (University of Leipzig, Germany)

16:15 –16 :45  Debate

16 :45 – 17 :15

                              Keynote 4: Alfonso de Toro (University of Leipzig,  
                                           Culture as a Weapon against Extremism
      Moderator : Jilali Saib

17:15 – 18:05   Coffee break

18 :05- 19 :35  
Room 2

Parallel Session: Painting Workshop on "Fighting Extremism"
Hosted by Khadija Madani Alaoui and Tarek Sadki (University of Fez)

18 :05 - 18:50  
Room 1

Fourth Session:   Multiculturalism, Multilingualism and Extremism
                                  Moderator:   Juliane Tauchnitz

Nizar Abdelkader (Lebanon)
Fatima Sadiqi (International Institute for Langues and Cultures, Fez)
Belkacem Boumedini (Mustapha STAMBOULI University, Mascara, Algeria)
Nebia Dadoua Hadria (CRASC. Oran, Algeria)

18:50 -19:20 Debate

Sunday, July 16th

9 :00 – 12 :00

Room 2

Parallel Session: Story-telling Workshop on "Fighting Extremism"
Facilitated by: Jean-Marie Simon (Stories lighter, France and Mohammed El Alami, University of Fez)

Room 1
9 :00 – 10 :00

Fifth Session:   Amazigh, Religion and Democracy
                               Moderator: Meryam Demnati
Johan Goud  (University of Utrecht, Holland)
Yahya Belaskri (France)
Moha Ennaji (International Institute for Langues and Cultures, Fez)

10 :00 – 10:30  Debate

10 :30  - 11 :00

                     Keynote 5: Equality values in Amazigh Culture
                 Ahmed Assid (Amazigh Observatory of Rights and Freedoms, Rabat)
Moderator: Mohamed Nedali

11 :00 – 11:20  Coffee break
11 :20 – 12:35

Sixth Session:     Radicalization of Youth and Extremism
                                Moderator : Nizar Abdelkader

Abdelkader Benali (Moroccan-Dutch writer)
Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (Senior Research Fellow)
Jean-Marie Simon (France)

12:35 - 13: 05   Debate

13: 05 – 13:35   Programmed speech: Saad Eddine Ibrahim (Ibn Khaldoun
          The Ruined Garden - planting and renovation        
This is the time of the year in Morocco when many people take holidays and so the folk at The Ruined Garden will be taking a well deserved break. Not just for recreation, but also for some interesting renovations

The Ruined Garden will close after lunch on 12th July for 2 weeks of renovation. After a busy year, as many have had in Fez it is time to rearrange the kitchen and the coffee and drinks dispense area as well and ‘re-hang’ the Garden. The planting is now 4 years old and it is time to release some of the fruit frees currently in pots and plant directly into the soil. Also grape vines and peach, nectarine and apricot trees will be planted and then trained to form living walls behind tables in the central rectangle. Direct planting into Fez clay will reduce water consumption as well as increase yield. One day - Chateau Idrissy?

The restaurant will re-open for dinner on the 27th July with a revised menu and a greater selection of tapas for lunchtime (Hake Chermoula with olive oil cooked potatoes, couscous omelette, mint and cucumber soup, fried sardines and lemon) Tapas from 20 dirham per plate, a few regulars will remain on the tapas menu but many will be new.

The real Pigeon B’Stella

In the evening there will be more celebratory dishes including Pigeon B’Stella, this is one of the high points of Fez cooking and is hard to find on an A La Carte Menu and not within a fixed price set menu (in the garden 200 dirham - order a day in advance, boneless pigeon, spices, roast almonds, egg and sugar, with a tomato and orange salad).  #riadandgarden
reservations or +212(0) 649191410

Riad Idrissy will also close for 2 weeks and re-open on 27th July.


          Opinion: Why Morocco chose to be neutral on the Gulf crisis        
The attempts to blockade Qatar are an extraordinary exercise in opportunism, brought about in part by the ineptitude of President Trump. While the situation drags on, the citizens of Qatar are being supported by a group of nations, including Morocco. Not only has the Kingdom despatched plane loads of food, but have also offered to moderate in the dispute. Samir Bennis is a political analyst with more than eight years of experience as a political adviser with an Arab mission to the United Nations in New York. In a recent article he examines Morocco's stance.

Why Morocco chose to be neutral on the Gulf crisis

In the past week, Morocco's decision to send planes loaded with food to Qatar has been criticised in light of the internal problems the North African country has recently been facing. People accused the Moroccan government of trying to aid a foreign country before responding to the grievances of its own people. Such a critique, however, is superficial and fails to take the historical context of regional relations and Morocco's foreign policy ambitions into consideration.

Certainly, Moroccan government is currently facing serious problems in several regions of the country and it needs to address them efficiently without further delay. To solve these problems, the government needs to embark on several large-scale projects.

The Moroccan government must address the needs of the citizens who have been protesting in Al Hoceima and elsewhere in the country. It needs to acknowledge the need to listen to the oppressed and work seriously to improve their living conditions. A weak response to the demands of these protesters will surely precipitate additional problems.

A humanitarian decision

However, the state's commitment to addressing internal problems cannot come at the expense of its foreign policy interests. Putting their emotions and hasty judgements on the issue aside, Moroccans should be proud of this symbolic, yet humanitarian, decision demonstrating Morocco's political savoir-faire.

By announcing that it would be sending food supplies to Qatar, Morocco showed that it would not take part in an unwise dispute among the Gulf countries. Instead, it confronted the crisis with a well-reasoned and balanced approach calculated to reflect its leadership on the world stage.

Morocco's decision to play the card of neutrality in the Qatar-GCC rift is strategic and the country may soon take up a bigger role in this crisis by acting as a mediator.

By staying neutral and deciding not to follow countries' that are blockading Qatar, Morocco is preserving the balanced relationship between King Mohammed VI and the other kings and princes of the Gulf.

In so doing, the country is preserving the independence of its foreign policy decisions, and proving that its moves in the international arena are not based on the agendas and stratagems of other countries. The decision is courageous as it distinguishes Morocco's foreign policy from Saudi Arabia.

Morocco's decision to send food aid to Qatar, which came only days after the king offered to mediate between the parties, demonstrates that the country has learned its lesson from its hasty 2009 decision to sever relations with Iran because of Bahrain.

Not only was Morocco's decision to aid the people of Qatar politically wise, but it will likely be beneficial to Morocco, in the short, medium and long terms. Morocco is in urgent need of foreign investment to embark on necessary large-scale infrastructure projects. Qatar and its people will never forget Morocco's symbolic humanitarian gesture in their time of need.

Strong relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Morocco's decision to send food to Qatar is unlikely to harm its relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Relations between Morocco's king and the leaders of these two countries are currently too strong to be affected by a decision like this.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE's strong relations with Algeria also influenced Morocco's decision to continue its relations with Qatar. Algeria has been trying to destabilise Morocco and establish an independent state in the Western Sahara for over four decades. Yet King Mohammed VI has not asked the Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to sever their ties with Algeria. In fact, both countries are working towards strengthening their relations with Algeria and the UAE is among the largest foreign investors in Algeria.

Its renewed ties with Iran were also influential over Morocco's decision to stay neutral in this crisis. Morocco restored its diplomatic relations with Iran last October, after more than six years of severed ties due to Iran's conflict with Bahrain. The decision to renew ties came at the height of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, because of Iran's nuclear ambitions and the war in Syria. Despite this, Morocco's decision to restore ties with Iran did not affect its relations with its Gulf allies.

Similarly, in Egypt, Morocco did not immediately recognise General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's presidency after the coup against Mohamed Morsi, although Saudi Arabia and the UAE did so. Since Sisi seized power, relations between Morocco and Egypt have not returned to the same level as before 2011 and remained tense. Yet, while relations between the two countries have not improved, this has not affected relations between Morocco and its Gulf allies.

In the past month, King Mohamed VI cancelled a trip to a summit in Riyadh and a visit to Egypt at the last moment and these decisions were neither arbitrary nor coincidental. It is far more likely that Morocco received intelligence that the outcome of the conference would not serve its interests. Therefore, by cancelling these visits, the King aimed to avoid being trapped in regional calculations of the Gulf states.

Morocco's decision to play the card of neutrality in the Qatar-GCC rift is strategic and the country may soon take up a bigger role in this crisis by acting as a mediator.

Samir Bennis is a political analyst with more than eight years of experience as a political adviser with an Arab mission to the United Nations in New York. 

He is the co-founder of Morocco World News, and an expert on Morocco's foreign policy, UN-related issues and the Maghreb.


          Comentario en The hallucinatory encyclopedia of Morocco por liqen        
ya no se si hacer fotocopias, jajaja, que lo hago mas rapido.
          Comentario en The hallucinatory encyclopedia of Morocco por Pa        
Ahora a currarse una plancha de grabado meu..quiero uno como ese para mi colección...
          Lesson #1 - How to Say “Thank You!” in Arabic        
Learn Arabic travel phrases with! A little Arabic can go such a long way! Whether you’re traveling, visiting, or sightseeing, has all the essential travel phrases just for you! Today we cover a high frequency Arabic phrase sure to be of use on your trip, travels or vacation to Morocco. Today’s Survival Phrase is [...]
          Lesson #6 - How to ask “Where is the Bathroom?” in Arabic        
Learn Arabic travel phrases with! A little Arabic can go such a long way! Whether you’re traveling, visiting, or sightseeing, has all the essential travel phrases just for you! Today we cover a high frequency Arabic phrase sure to be of use on your trip, travels or vacation to the Morocco. Today we will [...]
          Lesson #7 - How to Say “I Don’t Understand Arabic”        
Learn Arabic travel phrases with! A little Arabic can go such a long way! Whether you’re traveling, visiting, or sightseeing, has all the essential travel phrases just for you! Today we cover a high frequency Arabic phrase sure to be of use on your trip, travels or vacation to Morocco. Today we learn how [...]
          Lesson #9 - Can You Say It Again?        
Learn Arabic travel phrases with! A little Arabic can go such a long way! Whether you’re traveling, visiting, or sightseeing, has all the essential travel phrases just for you! Today we cover a high frequency Arabic phrase sure to be of use on your trip, travels or vacation to Morocco. Today we provide you [...]
          Lesson #13 - Restaurant 2 - In the Restaurant        
Learn Arabic travel phrases with! A little Arabic can go such a long way! Whether you’re traveling, visiting, or sightseeing, has all the essential travel phrases just for you! Today we cover a high frequency Arabic phrase sure to be of use on your trip, travels or vacation to the Morocco. Before smoking in [...]
          Lesson #14 - Restaurant 3 - At The Table        
Learn Arabic travel phrases with! A little Arabic can go such a long way! Whether you’re traveling, visiting, or sightseeing, has all the essential travel phrases just for you! Today we cover a high frequency Arabic phrase sure to be of use on your trip, travels or vacation to the Morocco. Today, we’ll be [...]
          Lesson #15 - Restaurant 4 - Getting the Check (paying bill)        
Learn Arabic travel phrases with! A little Arabic can go such a long way! Whether you’re traveling, visiting, or sightseeing, has all the essential travel phrases just for you! Today we cover a high frequency Arabic phrase sure to be of use on your trip, travels or vacation to the Morocco. Today, we’ll go [...]
          Jesus Christ... It Ain't About Religion!!        

Today's history lesson comes to you courtesy of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

If you are gonna raise hell about Trump's executive order on travel restrictions, you should know history.  And then you should wonder why you never even heard of the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.  And why you STILL have not heard any Democrat refer to it this week.  And after you learn history, you should read Trump's Executive Order to know exactly what it says.  By the way, it mentions only one country by name... Syria.

FYI, the Visa Waiver Program is a US program that was passed in 1986 during Reagan's administration.  It allows citizens of 38 identified, developed countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without having to apply for and obtain a visa.  Nationals of countries not part of the agreement must apply for a visa in order to travel to the US.  In order to get a visa to the US, one would need to apply, get fingerprinted and have a face to face visitor visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in their country.  There is generally a wait of several weeks.

On December 18, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016, which included the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (the Act). This Act identified that nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Sudan after 2011 were no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the VWP.  In February, 2016, Obama's Dept of Homeland Security added Libya, Yemen and Somalia to that list of Countries of Particular Concern.  They would now need to apply for a visa as any other citizen of any other non-VWP country.  Simply because they VISITED one of the seven countries.  

Now... near as I can figure, that is a travel policy implemented by Obama that makes a distinction between these seven countries and the rest of the world.  I never heard anyone accuse Obama of making sweeping policy changes based on someone's religion.  Yet, when Trump used that preexisting list of seven countries in his order to suspend issuance of visas, somehow HIS policy is racist and un-American.

So THAT'S your history lesson.  Now for your "PRESENT" lesson.

A BAN ON ONE RELIGION?   NOPE.   President Trump's order targets seven countries that happen to be also be Muslim-majority countries.  There are FIFTY Muslim-majority countries in this world.  I have been out of school for a lot of fukkin' years, but my math tells me that citizens in 43 Muslim-majority countries are not effected by this order.  That includes citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria and Morocco, all of which are 99% Muslim.  So when Marty Walsh spouts into a microphone that discrimination based on religion is not American, don't applaud him blindly because he's a Democrat.  Remind yourself that Obama separated the same seven countries from the rest of the world.

Trump's order TEMPORARILY suspends the issuance of any visas to any nationals of the seven aforementioned countries for a period of 90 days.  During the first 30 days, the Secretary of State and Dept of National Intelligence are to review the current vetting process and determine what information is going to be needed to properly vet those seeking admission into the United States.  They will determine which countries are not providing that information and give them 60 days to comply.  If they do not comply, citizens of those countries will be barred from traveling to the US.

BARRING GREEN CARD HOLDERS?  Nope again.  Green card holders WILL NOT be barred from re-entering the country.  Citizens of those target countries who have permanent residency will be subject of greater scrutiny, but will likely be allowed through.  Yep, that means that for the next three months, citizens of those countries will be detained for a few hours undergoing questioning by customs agents.

HALTING REFUGEES:  The Refugee Admission Program is suspended for 4 months while the new administration reviews the vetting process before allowing them to resettle in the US.  People escaping religious persecution will still be allowed to resettle in the US, just so long as their religion is not the majority religion of the country from which they are running.

In the end, this executive order represents a suspension of certain policies while this administration reviews and determines how best to protect this nation while remaining a country of immigrants and continuing to show compassion to those fleeing oppression.  But it is a delicate balance.  A balance that has thrown the left into more tantrums.  The former President feels he is still relevant because he sounded off today.  Go away asshole.  You had your 8 years.

          Let Go - سعد المجرد        

          Dakhla Day 1 – GKA Kite-Surf World Tour 2017        
A new combination wave and freestyle format will push riding development at the GKA Kite-Surf World Tour round two in Dakhla, Morocco. 32 riders are entered and the qualifiers kick off today.

Today in Tablet Magazine, Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry listens to the pop music of Jewish Morocco with fan and blogger Chris Silver.

Moroccan Grooves, Blogged

Continue reading "" at...

          Comment on Yes We Can Inchallah: Morocco OER Strategy Forum by Petition to support Morocco in achieving the vision of Open Education: the OER Morocco Declaration | UNIMED        
[…] idea of having a national declaration about Open Education in Morocco has arisen during the Morocco Open Education Day at Cadi Ayyad University on December 6-7 2016 within the frame of the OpenMed project, where a large series of projects, initiatives and thoughts […]
          Comment on Yes We Can Inchallah: Morocco OER Strategy Forum by Petition to support Morocco in achieving the vision of Open Education: the OER Morocco Declaration | UNIMED        
[…] The idea of having a national declaration about Open Education in Morocco has arisen during the Morocco Open Education Day at Cadi Ayyad University on December 6-7 2016 within the frame of the OpenMed project, where a large series of projects, initiatives and thoughts […]
          Comment on Petition to support Morocco in achieving the vision of Open Education: the OER Morocco Declaration by Petition to support Morocco in achieving the vision of Open Education: the OER Morocco Declaration | UNIMED        
[…] Reposted from the OpenMed blog […]
          Comment on Petition to support Morocco in achieving the vision of Open Education: the OER Morocco Declaration by Petition to support Morocco in achieving the vision of Open Education: the OER Morocco Declaration | UNIMED        
[…] Reposted from OpenMed blog […]
          African Players with 10+ Goals in European Leagues - 2013/2014        
African players that scored 10 or more goals in top division European leagues in the 2013/2014 season.

16 - El Arbi Hillel Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb: Croatia)

13 - Igor Vetokele (København: Denmark)

16 - Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient: France)
13 - Leandre Tawamba Kana (MFK Ružomberok: Slovakia)
11 - Mbilla Etame (Khazar Lankaran FK: Azerbaijan)
11 - Leonard Kweuke (Rizespor: Turkey)
10 - Maxim Choupo-Moting (Mainz: Germany)

Cape Verde Islands
11 - Garry Rodrigues (Levski Sofia: Bulgaria)
10 - Héldon (Sporting CP: Portugal)

Central African Republic
13 - Mouhamadou Habibou (KAA Gent: Belgium)

15 - El Fardou Ben Nabouhane (Veria: Greece)

14 - Francis Litsingi (FK Teplice: Czech Republic)
10 - Prince Oniangué (Reims: France)

Côte d'Ivoire
20 - Yaya Touré (Manchester City: England)
18 - Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow: Russia)
17 - Wilfried Bony (Swansea City: England)
16 - Salomon Kalou (Lille: France)
15 - Serge Deblé (FC Shirak: Armenia)
12 - Yannick Boli (Zorya Luhansk: Ukraine)
10 - Didier Drogba (Galatasaray: Turkey)

DR Congo
13 - Dieumerci Mbokani (Dynamo Kyiv: Ukraine)

13 - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund: Germany)

11 - Demba Savage (HJK: Finland)

10 - David Accam (Helsingborg: Sweden)

10 - Anicet Andrianantenaina (FK Botev Plovdiv: Bulgaria)

12 - Cheick Diabaté (Bordeaux: France)
11 - Mustapha Yatabaré (Guingamp: France)

17 - Aatif Chahechouhe (Sivasspor: Turkey)
15 - Abderrazak Hamdallah (Aalesund: Norway)
13 - Omar Er Rafik (Differdange: Luxembourg)
12 - Youssef El-Arabi (Granada: Morocco)

15 - Stanley Ohawuchi (Sliema: Malta)
14 - Ikechukwu Uche (Villarreal: Spain)
14 - Kennedy Igboananike (AIK: Sweden)
13 - Marco Tagbajumi (Ermis FC: Cyprus)
12 - Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahçe: Turkey)
11 - Alfred Effiong (Qormi: Malta)
11 - Obinna Obiefule (Hibernians: Malta)
11 - Abiola Dauda (Crvena Zvezda: Serbia)
10 - Imoh Ezekiel (Standard Liege: Belgium)
10 - Sylvester Igboun (Midtjylland: Denmark)
10 - Adeshina Lawal (B36 Tórshavn: Faroe Islands)
10 - Shola Shodiya (Birkirkara: Malta)
10 - Leke James (Aalesund: Norway)

15 - Moussa Sow (Fenerbahçe: Turkey)
13 - Sadio Mané (FC Red Bull Salzburg: Austria)
13 - Dame N'Doye (Lokomotiv Moscow: Russia)
12 - Baye Omar Niasse (Akhisar Belediyespor: Turkey)
10 - Ibrahim Sidibé (Debrecen: Hungary)
10 - Malek Mane (Sogndal: Norway)
10 - Lamine Diarra (Antalyaspor: Turkey)

11 - Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur: England)

17 - Hamdi Harbaoui (KSC Lokeren: Belgium)

Stats from European 'Summer' leagues in Scandinavia and elsewhere are from the completed 2013 season.

          All-Time Asian World Cup Wins        
Japan - Cameroon (1:0, 2010)
Japan - Tunisia (2:0, 2002)
Saudi Arabia - Morocco (2:1, 1994)
South Korea - Togo (2:1, 2006)

Iran - USA (2:1, 1998)

Australia - Serbia (2:1, 2010)
Japan - Denmark (3:1, 2010)
Japan - Russia (1:0, 2002)
North Korea - Italy (1:0, 1966)
Saudi Arabia - Belgium (1:0, 1994)
South Korea - Greece (2:0, 2010)
South Korea - Italy (2:1, 2002)
South Korea - Poland (2:0, 2002)
South Korea - Portugal (1:0, 2002)


          All-Time African World Cup Wins        
All-time World Cup wins by African nations.

Cameroon - Saudi Arabia (1:0, 2002)
Cote d'Ivoire - North Korea (3:0, 2010)

Ghana - USA (2:1, 2006)
Ghana - USA (2:1, 2010)
Tunisia - Mexico (3:1, 1978)

Algeria - Germany (2:1, 1982)
Cameroon - Romania (2:1, 1990)
Cote d'Ivoire - Serbia & Montenegro (3:2, 2006)
Ghana - Czech Republic (2:0, 2006)
Ghana - Serbia (1:0, 2010)
Morocco - Portugal (3:1, 1986)
Morocco - Scotland (3:0, 1998)
Nigeria - Bulgaria (3:0, 1994)
Nigeria - Bulgaria (1:0, 1998)
Nigeria - Greece (2:0, 1994)
Nigeria - Spain (3:2, 1998)
Senegal - France (1:0, 2002)
Senegal - Sweden (2:1, 2002)
South Africa - France (2:1, 2010)
South Africa - Slovenia (1:0, 2002)

Algeria - Chile (3:2, 1982)
Cameroon - Argentina (1:0, 1990)
Cameroon - Colombia (2:1, 1990)

          ICAO TRIP Strategy Strengthens Border Control Efforts        
World Border Security Congress organised by Torch Marketing and KNM Media, will take place in Casablanca, Morocco on 21st-23rd March 2017.
          European Commission proposes a European Travel Information and Authorisation System        
World Border Security Congress organised by Torch Marketing and KNM Media, will take place in Casablanca, Morocco on 21st-23rd March 2017.
          President of the EAASP to speak at this year's World Border Security Congress        
World Border Security Congress organised by Torch Marketing and KNM Media, will take place in Casablanca, Morocco on 21st-23rd March 2017.
          Peru again.....and a bit of Bolivia too        

I was worried Cusco and Machu Picchu might not seem as special second time around but Cusco was just as charming as on first inspection. And Machu Picchu was even better cos there was no rain and no rush. We got to spend a whole beautiful blue day there and saw the sun gate and lots of llamas ‘mowing’ the lawns. It’s been renovated but in a sensitive way that blends in with the original site - just more walls and more gardens and smoother paths to prevent injury.

Aguas Calientes has grown a bit with more hotels but is still as beautiful as ever.

The rest was new territory. Ollantaytambo turned out to be our favourite town. It's a living Inca town where people live in the original Inca houses on tiny cobbled streets and small canals run down every street carrying fresh water.  We stayed at Casa de Mama hostel which had a very friendly manager Victor and endless hot water, yay! (finally got to wash my hair). We visited the main ruins on the hill overlooking Ollantaytambo, which were very simple ancient walls but gave fantastic views over the surrounding countryside and farms in the Sacred Valley and the colourful native flowers growing all over the hillsides. Next day we trekked to some ruins on the other side of the valley just above Ollantaytambo which cost nothing and gave fabulous views over the old Inca houses in town and their lovely gardens and mini orchards.   

Practically all of Peru was perfect. Highlights were the Nazca Lines, Huacachina sand dunes (highest dunes in South America) and the islands on Lake Titicaca (highest altitude navigable lake in the world). The reed islands were the most interesting because they were so different but sadly we didn't get to stay on a reed island. But the island we did stay on overnight was beautiful - we felt as though we were on an island in the Mediterranean with the calm blue lake so huge it felt like an ocean and all the colourful flowers and buildings very Mediterranean as well.  We were billeted in a large hostel built by a middle-aged couple as their income source. After getting totally soaked on our rainy trek to the top of the island to watch the sunset, we were fed and dressed in warm traditional clothing and taken to the community hall to dance to music by a local band.  Next day we toured another 'Greek' island where a man gave us a great feed in his garden and demonstrated how they make shampoo from a plant that grows there.

Bolivia was all about Uyuni – the world’s largest salt desert – which took us two days of bus rides to get to. We set off from Puno on the shore of Lake Titicaca through beautiful high altitude hills with great views down over the lake on both the Peruvian and Bolivian sides. We could tell straightaway when we saw our first Bolivian town that this was a poorer country than Peru. When we finally reached Uyuni it was amazing. A friend in Australia had said to me when I told her I wanted to travel miles from anywhere to see the world's largest salt flats and Michael couldn't understand why, 'Well, think about it Elizabeth - salt flats!'

But what salt flats. They were endless and as it got nearer to sunset the textures and colours revealed themselves more strongly. By the time we got to the cactus island, our final stop on the tour, it was late afternoon and the walk around the island in the early evening sunshine was breathtaking. It's hard to describe the vast sparkling immenseness of it, you had to be there. But the photos certainly help!

We left so late - it was hard to drag ourselves away when the full sunset hit - we thought we were in danger of missing our overnight bus back to La Paz, Bolivia’s highest altitude city. But these tour operators obviously know what they're doing. They got us back just in time to grab a snack bar and jump on the bus (luckily they'd fed us well at lunch in a cave-like restaurant built entirely from salt).

We arrived at La Paz central bus station at 4am so we had a long wait before we could respectably arrive at our hostel. Stay in La Paz for a day to check out the views of the snow-capped mountains overlooking this highest altitude city in the world, eat at the 'vegetarian' restaurant Tierra Sana (Healthy Earth) which has non-vegetarian versions of all its vegetarian fare, then go. (And be prepared for taxes on everything, from the few metres trip from the bus station to the bus stop, to the tax at Cactus Island that you weren't told about in the tour itinerary.)
We stayed an extra 'unnecessary' day in La Paz: unnecessary for sight-seeing but necessary for recovery from our Uyuni trip - day and night on bus to get there, day there, whole night to get back. Yours truly then picked up a brochure at the hostel about the Peru/Bolivia Hop bus just as her long-suffering Michael was about to book us a plane to Lima for a few days' rest & a day trip to the Nazca lines, before flying home. 
So the last week of our trip was spent cramming in as many of the sights of Peru as we could by Hop bus. We went straight to Copacabana just before the border on the Bolivian side. It was in glorious sunshine so we planned to spend the day on Isla del Sol, a Bolivian island on Lake Titicaca, but there was an argument between the tour boats and the Islanders about money so they were on strike. Our consolation prize was to climb to the top of a hill overlooking the lake and enjoy the 'Mediterranean' scenery again. Onward to Arequipa which was supposed to be one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Peru. We were a little bit underwhelmed because the colonial part of the town was fairly small but our free walking tour explored the local market which sold interesting things like llama foetuses and cactus fruit. And ended at a restaurant which gave us free Pisco sours, our first Pisco sours since arriving in South America.

Next day we did a long day tour to Colca Canyon, the world's second deepest canyon - scenery was beautiful, sweet cactus fruit tasted like kiwifruit, sour cactus fruit was so sour it made my eyes water but the most amazing part was watching the condors gliding overhead. The canyon was pretty but not a patch on the Grand Canyon or any of the other canyons we've seen like the one on Kauai or the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado. Fun trip though with a nice bunch of travellers, a great buffet lunch and got to 5000 metres on a plateau where we saw lots of llamas.

Bussed to Nazca, which was a nice little town with the typical family-oriented central square like in most other Central and South American towns. The trip to Nazca passed through some beautiful desert hills winding right down to the Pacific Ocean. The very high and dry rocky dunes reminded me of the beautiful rockscapes in Morocco. Next day we did the light plane flight over the Nazca lines which was as much fun for the dipping and swerving plane ride as for the huge figures of birds, monkey etc..

By early afternoon we were back on the bus for a lightning trip to Huacachina which has the highest sand dunes in South America. Shame we could only stay an hour but we got the best hour of the day - sunset hour. Just had enough time to climb up one of the dunes and get a view of all the other surrounding dunes and the oasis below in the tiny town. Then on to Lima where we arrived late at night to crash in a comfortable hostel room right opposite Kennedy Park. So we got to say a brief hello to the cats of Kennedy Park next morning on our way to pick up our bright red Peru Hop T-shirts and zip in a taxi to the airport.
The cats of Lima