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Student Protests in Egypt

There are student protests going on at al-Azhar in Cairo, the Islamic university and one of the oldest universities in the world, because of a “security crackdown” in which some students were excluded from exams. I love a good protest, and these guys (both students and police) look mean! As an added bonus, the images are excellent on the photographic level. Can someone tell me what “samadoun” (on the headbands) means? Thanks to 3arabawy for the link.

Meanwhile, a friend in Fez reports that student protests are going on there, too. The whole university is shut down, and has been for most of the semester, because of a stalemate between students and the administration. Due to a new government policy to encourage early retirement (in principle a good idea) the university is short of professors, and the administration says there isn’t enough room for all the students who want to attend. Stalemates like this happen year after year in Fez, but this time they’ve consumed half the year already, with no end in sight…which shows the value given to public education in Morocco!!!


Comment from omarsoft
Time: December 14, 2006, 01:44

‘Samidoun’ means ‘we are resisting’

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 14, 2006, 08:38

Thanks Omar! :)

Comment from Hannibal
Time: December 15, 2006, 22:13

Omarsoft was quicker than me :P Anyhow, you have a nice blog and I really enjoyed the Morocco pics! They are a triumph! BTW and out of curiosity why “cruel Morocco”?:)

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 16, 2006, 14:54

Hannibal — That title “Morocco, a Cruel Country” which will inch’allah also be the title of my book about Morocco, comes from a young friend of mine who comes from a very poor family. When we first met he said to me, “If I were in your place I wouldn’t have come here. Morocco is a cruel country.” And that’s the paradox of Morocco for me, because despite the generous spirit so many Moroccans have, no one will deny the officials (police, bureaucrats) are cruel and don’t love their people! Also ordinary Moroccans can be cruel to each other (but never to foreigners like me) because of the desperation of competing against each other for a few “crumbs” that fall from the tables of the rich. Finally, I say “cruel Morocco” out of love and optimism because I look forward to the day when there will be no need to say it!

Thanks very much for your comments about the photos. I have a very large selection here but there will be more to come! I haven’t finished processing the photos from my final year. Then inch’allah I hope to narrow them all down to about 50 and make a gallery exhibition…. I’m glad you enjoy them!

Comment from Hannibal
Time: December 16, 2006, 16:55

Eatbees: thank you so very much for this clarification. From the pics, I bet you know Morocco better than me, though I am originally from a neighboring North African country. I am thus not in a position to talk about Morocco. I love the country and the people in a strange way and some say that I might have some historical or ancestral link to that country.Anyhow, and because of my experience in the US as a foreigner I think one could observe with a critical eye what is happening in that country that the natives may ignore or don’t pay attention to and I guess that was also your case in Morocco. What I can say is that you seem to be someone who is strongly infatuated with Morocco and you remind me of my then American professor who is a writer as well and his love for my country. He left the US and ended settling in my country for good. On a side note I started reading your online novel and I was wondering if it is available in bookstores.

Comment from Hannibal
Time: December 16, 2006, 16:57

I forgot to mention that I added you to my blogroll:)

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 16, 2006, 17:44

Thanks again, you are very kind, and I must say that although I’ve never been to your country, my ancestral ties to Tunisia are very real. My mother’s parents came to the U.S. from western Sicily which was settled by the Phoenecians as was Tunisia (Carthage). And I still have that “wandering spirit” which makes me wonder why we can’t share a borderless world…

About the novel, I have a complete manuscript but I’m afraid it might be too complicated or too long. One reason I put it here is to encourage my friends to comment on its strengths and weaknesses. (Anyone who reads it is my friend.) :) I want to spend a few more months improving it before I look for a publisher. Then, if I can’t find a publisher in 2007, I will distribute it myself, here and on!

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