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Archive for January, 2007

Testing the Limits

I suggest that you visit Massir, a Tunisian blogger of unusual clarity and courage, and read her post “Damned to Hell?” in which she responds to the criticisms “Islam_ayeh” left in a comment thread on a different blog where she dared to defend the rights of homosexuals and call for tolerance toward them.

Loss of Identity

Identity is a subject that fascinates me. My feeling is that in the modern world, we are all mutants and our identity is fluid. Those who are able to reinvent themselves are better suited to living in a changing world. Standing in the way of change is dangerous both to the world and to us. Better to move with it.

Chuck Hagel, Patriot

Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, conservative Vietnam veteran, has long been critical of the way the war in Iraq is being run. Ever since the Democratic victory in the November elections, he seems liberated, and more willing than ever to criticize President Bush although they come from the same party.

Cynic or Believer?

Are you a cynic or a believer?

Not Drinking Soy Milk

The young man on the right is not drinking soy milk. For those of you who aren’t versed in the latest developments in American popular culture, it seems that soy milk and other soy products cause effemininity in men, and even homosexuality.

The Price of Freedom

After years of playing cat and mouse with him on account of his uncompromisingly independent journalism, the Moroccan State finally slammed Aboubakr Jamaï with a $350,000 fine a few months ago, a fine he cannot pay. To save the magazine he has decided to step down as its director and flee the country permanently with his family.

What Is Truth?

The following conversation with my friend Doga began with my insistence that Nichane has the right to publish popular jokes even if they are offensive to the sensibilities of some people. Doga was equally insistent that there are limits to what it is acceptable for public discussion, even in the West.

A Sacred Space

I mentioned Moulay Abdeslam in my last post, so I thought I would expand on what I was talking about there, the idea that Moroccans sometimes have a poor understanding of their own culture. I needed to visit the place itself before I could find someone who was able to tell me some of the details of Moulay Abdeslam’s life and what his spiritual philosophy might have been.

Foreign Aristocrat

Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m better off playing the foreign aristocrat who sits back and demands what he wants because the people around him are poor, or whether I should try instead to be a “friend of the people” who shares in their joy and suffering and considers himself to be a part of the family.

Victory, of a Sort

I have to take it as good news that the sentence handed down today in Morocco against the magazine Nichane and its two journalists, editor Driss Ksikes and author Sanaa Elaji, was as light as it was.