Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Morocco and Algeria, together at last (at least in my MidEast class)

I'm taking a survey course on Middle Eastern history, and I just had to read the book and watch the movie version of Bab el-Oued, about Algerian Islamic extremism. Yesterday I read Year of the Elephant, a book about the Moroccan struggle for independence and those it left behind. Reading Year of the Elephant (in Arabic, عام الفيل), I was struck by how brave the Moroccan revolutionaries in the book were--and how quickly they forgot that the thirst for self-determination is unquenchable.

Have you read these two books, and what did you think? I promise I'm not looking for a plot summary so I don't have to read them myself.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:03 AM

    I have never heard of the year of the elephant book. But I've also never heard of a Moroccan revolution otherwise the absolute monarchy which has been in power since 1666 wouldn't have continued to exist until now. Isn't a revolution means a complete change of the system? However, everyone has heard of the Algerian revolution that forced the French to leave Algeria which they considered another French province. The Algerians lost one million and a half in the 7 years war against the French. That is a true revolution. The Moroccans did not do anything like that because they have got used to submission to the rulers. To understand those countries you need to delve deeper into the psychic and mentalities of the two peoples. You also need to learn about something that exists in Algeria and does not exist in its western neighbour and that is "Ennif", which a word that symbolises honour and dignity. It is a special Algerian word and very important for everything from life to politics. I let you to know ponder that word and please come back to us with what you find.

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  2. I don't know about ennif, but the Moroccans did fight a resistance war to get their sultan back and the French out. Obviously it wasn't as bloody or widespread as the Algerian revolution, but Moroccan fighters deserve credit for freeing their land.

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  3. Anonymous9:21 AM

    The Algerien revolution is well known on all the world, but if we want to speak of Morocco it is very known too, but only when we speak of consperancy against its neighbours like Algeria, mauritania and W. Sahara. Morocco is known when we speak of conspirancy against Palastine people, when we speak of povrity etc..

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  4. I can't speak for their promotions firm, but even if you think poorly of Morocco's post-independence policy, the rebellion did happen and I'd hate to denigrate a good struggle or its fighters.

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  5. Anonymous3:19 AM

    It took the algerians 140 years to finally start the resistance. When France entered Algeria it was the Moroccan sultan that helped his Algerian brothers (AbdelKarim) to fight against the french. The Moroccans where successfull in that unit the battle of Isly where the french defeated the Moroccans. It was after that battle that the French realised that Morocco wasn't as strong as they thought. The result of our help to the Algerian brothers was that France entered Morocco in 1912. However resistance continued and Morocco wasn't fully pacified by the French until 1944. In 1954 the resistance took a new dimension in the form of city guerilla. In 1956 Morocco was finally liberated. Before the colonization parts of western algeria until Oran where moroccan soil. Also most of Mauritania and pieces of Mali. So it is only natural that Morocco claims here lands after independence (algeria agreed to this in the form of president Abbas. But unfortunately he was quickly disposed by the army after algerian independence).

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  6. The word "ennif" i don't think is caracteristic of algeriens only, i have to note that moroccans have even far rebelious attitude of "ennif" because how they fought for centuries agianst invaders from portugal to ottomans, unfortunately the struggle has not been finalized as yet tow of the spanish enclaves are still on the moroccan soil. i said that "ennif" of moroccans is so because of their furiosity to be involved in the struggle that their algerien neighbor has gone through.

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  7. Anonymous3:03 AM

    €the million and half ppl that died in the so-called revolution of algeria is an exagerrated figure, not to mention that quite a substantial percentage was women who were raped and killed, and its funny how the word "Ennif" above have been mentioned, coz that's trait that's known about the moroccans for their long inherited pride rooted in their history of centuries of rebellion and fight against invaders to name spaniards, portugueses, and ottomans.

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