Frantz Fanon is a key author for anyone interested in development, colonialization or the post-colonial experience. I first came across him during my Masters on Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and bought a copy of The Wretched of the Earth as some not-particularly-light (but very relevant) holiday reading on a trip to the country of the living revolution, Cuba. An opportunity to see Hassane Mezine’s documentary, Fanon: Hier, Aujord’hui (Fanon Yesterday, Today) in the 2019 Africa in Motion Film Festival was an opportunity to learn more about Fanon’s life and philosophy and also to discover the continuing relevance and legacy of his work. Continue reading
After a critically-acclaimed run in Paris, the Medieval Morocco exhibition, which was part of the Parisian Moroccan Autumn, comes to Rabat. The exhibition features work spanning 5 centuries from when the Moorish influence was at its greatest. The artefacts have been assembled from the Iberian Peninsula as well as North and West Africa.
The exhibition is now on and runs until 1 June. If you are in Morocco over the next months, it’s not to be missed! Read my review here.
The origins of Morocco’s traditions in jewellery and silversmithing are a reflection of the country’s position along the routes of the camel trains and its historical cultural diversity. To learn about the Berber silver jewellery of Morocco, the wedding jewellery traditions, the significance of the fibula or the ancient craft of Jewish artisans passed through the generations, read my article for Travel Exploration here.
Many visitors to Morocco are surprised to learn of the country’s cultural diversity. Although today a majority Arab Muslim country, Morocco has a significant Jewish past (and present) as well as indigenous Amazigh (also known as Berber) population who pre-date the Arab immigration. A fascinating aspect of Morocco’s history is where Berber and Jewish history and culture intertwine.
Read the article I wrote for Journey Beyond Travel on this interesting part of Morocco’s diverse history here. (Unfortunately the article is not visible to internet users in Morocco).
It was re-published by Morocco World News and is visible to all internet users here.
Cet article est disponible en français ici.
Essaouira-Mogador occupies a unique place in the history of Morocco. This is largely based on the exceptional unity of social, philosophical and cultural relations between communities of diverse religious faiths. The High Atlas Foundation and its many local partners have initiated a preservation and maintenance program for the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cemeteries in Essaouira, which stand as present-day reminders of the peaceful and prosperous coexistence of the past.
Essaouira has two Jewish cemeteries: the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. The photograph (left) shows Malika, the caretaker of both, in the new cemetery. I was very privileged to visit both cemeteries with Asher Knafo, who is a poet, writer, and researcher of the history of Jewish Mogador. Several members of his family are buried in the new cemetery. An article I wrote about my day with Asher was published by Scoop in New Zealand. Read it here.
Since leaving up my work in the UK civil service to move to Morocco, I have been very fortunate to find work as Project and Development Manager at the High Atlas Foundation. HAF is a Moroccan association and US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to participatory development through local, national, and international partnerships. The HAF philosophy is to create an inclusive process for community development that relies on the participation of all local stakeholders, and especially the most marginalized groups.
I have been working for HAF since February 2013 and recently wrote a guest post for Drops of Elixir about an inter-cultural heritage project I manage in Essaouira, Morocco. Read my guest post here.
In the week where hostilities in between Israel and Palestine are in the news once again, a film about halcyon days of Muslim-Jewish coexistence was all the more poignant. And the film had all the more impact because it was made – not by a nostalgic Jew, but by a young historian and film-maker of many identities, none of which was Jewish or Israeli.