Interesting Post: One Victim of the Toulouse Assassin Buried in Morocco

In a blog post on March 22 Rachid Aadnani points out an element of the terrible story of the “Toulouse Killer” in France that I was not aware of.

The remains of Imad Ben Ziaten, the 31 year old paratrooper who was gunned down by the “Toulouse Killer”  were laid to rest in Morocco this past Tuesday.  His family had requested he be burried in his hometown of Md’iq a short distance from the city of Tetouan in Northern Morocco.

The other alleged victims of the assassin were a rabbi and he three young children.  The murder of children is always shocking.  What could a 3 year old, or even a 7 year old have done to justify being murdered in cold blood.  That is what is so gut-wrenching about the story of Robert Bales, the US soldier who committed the massacres in Afghanistan on March 11.  We want to see our men in uniform as heroes, to the point that we overlook a lot.  But shooting innocents at home, that is only possible when the enemy has been completely dehumanized.

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In Memory of Mohamed Arkoun

Few of Arkoun's Books are available in translation, but this is on Amazon.

Mohamed Arkoun, a great philosopher and scholar, particularly on the role of Islam in the development of Maghrebi society and on the relationship of Islam and the West, died Tuesday September 14 in Paris and was buried the following Friday, September 17 in Achouhada cemetery in Casablanca. He was 82 years old. In Robert Altman’s cinema adaptation of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, the angel of death whispers to a woman weeping over the discovery that a loved one has died peacefully, “The death of an old man is not a tragedy.”

That struck me as fundamentally true. But I thought to myself that it doesn’t make it less painful to those close to him. And while it may not be a tragedy, it is certainly still a loss, especially when the man is a figure of the stature of Mohamed Arkoun. I remember reading his writing when researching my dissertation, and it returned to my mind in the weeks and months after 9-11. It comes to mind again now, as we see nasty rhetoric against heating up again in this country.
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Video Game Developed in Casablanca Will Premier Tomorrow at E3

Ubisoft LogoA short item in the May 30 – June 5 edition of Jeune Afrique notes that the French software company Ubisoft will reveal a new video game conceived and developed entirely in Casablanca, Morocco at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) which starts tomorrow in Los Angeles and continues until the 17th.

The article in Jeune Afrique is not specific about which game it is, but the press release on Ubisoft’s web site reports that at least three games will be exhibited at the Ubisoft booth.

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Higher Education, Technology, and the Job Market in Morocco… and the USA

King Fahd School of Translation

I was in Morocco last week for two events relating to the the role of the university in preparing graduating students for the evolving job market in this country. The first was the annual April seminar at the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies. This year it focused on higher education and the job market and delved into some important issues. I found developments at Abdelmalek Essadi University particularly exciting because I have something of a relationship with that institution. I taught at the King Fahd School of Translation for 2 1/2 years which is a branch of the university, and because a close friends used to teach there.

The universities in Morocco have much more autonomy than they did when I was there, and it appears that the Abdelmalek Essadi, which has campuses in both Tetouan and Tangier, is one of the institutions that has taken greatest advantages of this.  It’s outgoing President, Mohammed Bennounna, has done much to transform the institution into one that is responsive to the rapidly changing economic and social realities of contemporary Morocco.  Representatives of the private sector at the seminar seemed quite impressed with what has been done, so it seems that the reform is, in fact, movement in the right direction.

Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane

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Higher Education, Collaboration, and Education for the 21st Century


In a few days I am off to Morocco for a seminar at TALIM on higher education and employment in Morocco. But the job market in the United States is also very challenging of college graduates right now, and American educators may well be asking themselves if higher education in this country is adequately preparing students to enter the work force of the global era.

We still function in terms of national economies, but those economies are increasingly connected so that a crisis in one affects many others.  We also live in a world in which graduating students in America compete for employment, directly or indirectly, with their peers in Mexico, Morocco, India and Taiwan. And the whole lot of them are also competing with graduating students in Pakistan, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Israel and Poland. Continue reading

Academic Freedom Media Review, February 19-26, 2010

Compiled by Scholars at Risk
(It was released by SAR on Friday. I apologize for posting it so late.)

Science-Rights Coalition Has Global Impact in First Year
Benjamin Somers and Becky Ham, Science Magazine Vol. 327. no. 5969, p. 1097, 2/26

Simon Singh and the silencing of the scientists
Sarah Boseley, The Guardian, 2/25

British Court Rules for Professor Whose Decision to Fail Students Was Overturned
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/25
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Video of El Jadida, Morocco

These are two rather nice videos, discovered via a Twitter search.  It’s a tour of the “Portugese City” in El Jadida in Morocco.  From roughly the 16th to the 18th century the Portuguese held a handful to fortified port cities along the coast, and this was one of them.  AlthoughEssaouira is probably the most well known, but El Jadida is arguably better preserved, though both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  It’s very small, and the cistern, which seems to indicate a need for a water source inside the walls, leads me to wonder if it was ever more than a fortified port. Perhaps “city” is an overstatement.

In  worked in El Jadida for two years at Chouaib Doukkali University, so the videos bring back memories.  It is mostly the images that I really appreciate.  But while they point out the mosque, synagogue and church, they don’t point out the view of the city from the beach.  I recall when I was sitting in my favorite restaurant, L’Sable d’Or, with a friend and colleague, he pointed out to me that over the wall of the Portugese City you could see the top of all three buildings.  This was around sunset, and it was beautiful.

Qantara: Mediterranean Heritage

I  just wanted to take a moment to point out this site, which I just discovered tonight.  It is a fantastic pedagogical resource, interactive and rich in media.  The interactive maps are particularly particularly fun, but there is all kinds of rich media.

The Qantara project is part of the Euromed Heritage programme, which hopes to contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue between Mediterranean cultures by highlighting their cultural heritage. It aims to encourage intercultural dialogue by supporting the preservation and promotion of the shared historical and cultural heritage of the Euromed region, through human, scientific and technological exchanges…

The Qantara Project is a reflection of the Institut du Monde Arabe in its pursuit of openness and peace, in its modern and multimedia format that targets specialists and non-specialists alike, and in terms of its organisation, which unites several partner countries – Algeria, France, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Spain – as well as a guest country, Egypt. Qantara’s goal is to build or rather consolidate the bridge between the North and South, and the East and West of the Mediterranean.

Three Interesting Links from Morocco

This post is simply to pass on a few links, all relating to Morocco.

The first is to the site for the Maroc Blog Awards. The title is slightly misleading because you don’t just vote on blogs. There is an award for the photo, Facebook group, and Twitterer of the year, among others. Morocco and Moroccans don’t have a huge online presence. It’s a small country. But they took to the internet relatively early in the global scheme of things. I attended a conference about the internet in Morocco in the mid 1990s and it was packed. It is also a pretty well wired country and lots of Moroccans who are active in online media outside of Morocco still prominently identify their online selves as Moroccan, so there is some good stuff for voters to choose from. It will be interesting to see, however, if any of the recently arrested bloggers. The latest was on December 8.

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