recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : morocco   14

Vox Borders - YouTube - YouTube
"Reporting from six borders around the world, Emmy-nominated journalist Johnny Harris investigates the human stories behind the lines on a map in a new series for Vox.com

The six-part documentary series airs Tuesdays starting October 17th.

For additional content, travel dispatches, and more visit http://www.vox.com/borders "

[VOX BORDERS S1 • E1
Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WvKeYuwifc

VOX BORDERS S1 • E2
It's time to draw borders on the Arctic Ocean
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx_2SVm9Jgo

VOX BORDERS S1 • E3
Inside North Korea's bubble in Japan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBfyIQbxXPs

VOX BORDERS S1 • E4
How the US outsourced border security to Mexico
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xbt0ACMbiA

VOX BORDERS S1 • E5
Building a border at 4,600 meters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECch2g1_6PQ

VOX BORDERS S1 • E6
Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_Yiu2U2Ts ]
borders  haiti  dominicanrepublic  arctic  arcticocean  japan  northkorea  korea  mexico  us  centralamerica  border  2017  spain  morocco  china  nepal  españa 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Y-Fi
"Experience Loading Animations / Screens in wifi speeds around the world. This website was inspired by this conversation I had on twitter. I was home (Nigeria) for a bit before I started work and was annoyed at how long I had to look at loading animations. I wondered how long people wanted to wait around the world screaming.

Notes / How this works

• Data about wifi speeds is from: Akamai's State of the Internet / Connectivity Report.

• I chose countries based on what suprised me and to get diversity across speeds.

• To get most data about loading times, I used a combination of Firefox DevTools and the Network Panel on Chrome DevTools. For Gmail I used this article on Gmail's Storage Quota.

• The wifi speeds and sizes of resources are hard-coded in so you can see them and the rest of the code at the repo.

• Any other questions / thoughts? Hit me up on twitter!"

[via: https://twitter.com/YellzHeard/status/890990574827851777 via @senongo]
omayeliarenyeka  internet  webdev  webdesign  wifi  broadband  nigeria  loading  speed  diversity  accessibility  paraguay  egypt  namibia  iran  morocco  argentina  india  southafrica  saudiarabia  mexico  china  chile  greece  ue  france  australia  russia  kenya  israel  thailand  uk  us  taiwan  japan  singapore  hongkong  noray  southkorea  perú 
july 2017 by robertogreco
The world's oldest library is in Morocco—and it was started by a woman — Quartz
"Founded by a Muslim woman, the University of Al Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morroco, opened its doors in 859. Its library has been restored during the last three years by another woman, Canadian-Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni. A wing will be open to the general public later this year.

The library houses a collection of 4,000 rare books and ancient arabic manuscripts written by renowned scholars of the region. According to the AP, the manuscripts include a 9th century version of the Quran and a manuscript on Islamic jurisprudence written by philosopher Averroes.

The University complex was founded as a mosque by Fatima Al-Fihri, who inherited her merchant father’s fortunes after the family moved from Al Qayrawan, or modern day Tunisia. In “The golden age of Islam,” (French, video [https://vimeo.com/115488225 ]) a documentary that aired on France 5 Channel, Al-Fihri was described as a young woman fascinated by knowledge and curious about the world. She oversaw the construction of the mosque, and until her later years, attended lectures by reputed scholars who travelled to teach at the mosque school.

It is still considered a leading religious and education institution in the Muslim world. Today, the University of Al Qarawiyyin has moved away to another part of Fez, but the mosque and the library remain at the ancient complex.

Chaouni, originally from Fez, says she had not heard of the library before she was enlisted by the Moroccan Culture Ministry in 2012 to take charge of its restoration, which suffered from the climate and humidity over the years. “Throughout the years, the library underwent many rehabilitations, but it still suffered from major structural problems, a lack of insulation, and infrastructural deficiencies like a blocked drainage system, broken tiles, cracked wood beams, exposed electric wires, and so on,” says Chaouni on TED.com. [http://ideas.ted.com/restoring-the-worlds-oldest-library/ ]

The restoration equipped the library with solar panels, a new gutter system, digital locks to the rare books room and air conditioning that will help control humidity and protect books in the library. The library was previously open only to scholars and researchers. It now will have a wing open to the general public, which includes an exhibition room and a small café."
libraries  morocco  859  fez  azizachaouni  fatimaal-fihri  architecture  islam  history  mosques 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The burning issue in Banksy’s Graffiti — Medium
"Over half term Banksy broke into Bridge Farm Primary School in Bristol and drew a giant image of a girl rolling a burning tyre away from a distant school house. Media coverage of this event has, perhaps inevitably, gravitated towards the price of the art work and the disciplinary implications of Banksy’s letter to the children telling them that it’s “always easier to get forgiveness than permission”. What is less covered, and what is perhaps more worthy of a national discussion, are the subversive criticisms of the state of formal education and the lives of children in the UK and around the world which are evident in Banksy’s latest piece of work.

Banksy’s painting depicts a 14 foot stick figure girl with her back to a school house. The school, also drawn in simple lines, appears small and insignificant in the background. Its windows are barred. The one element of the painting that appears vivid and real is the burning tyre, with smoke billowing up into the air. The girl holds a stick in her hand and is pushing the tyre along, away from the school and towards a solitary flower. Her expression is blank and somewhat confused. The game she is playing is hoop rolling, where children use a stick to tap a hoop or tyre along, rolling it forward and preventing it from toppling over. Children used to play it on the streets of England as early as the 15th century, though you are unlikely to encounter a hoop roller on the streets today. Children in many parts of the world, especially in less economically developed countries, can still be seen rolling and racing tyres down the road for fun. The difference in Banksy’s image is that the tyre is billowing in flames.

One’s initial instinct upon seeing the image may be concern for the child. The fire appears large and out of control and the girl is blindly ploughing forward pushing it away from the seemingly safe space of the school building. Does the tyre represent the world outside the school walls? Have we created a world that is so hostile to children that we have to keep them cocooned in schools for 13 years of their lives before they are equipped enough to survive it? Is this why we have created schools that compartmentalize and pre-package the world into safe and “useful” learning parcels rather than letting children learn and be inspired first hand?

Education and learning have always been around in one form or another, yet the ways in which we learned in the past were more diverse, local, contextual, culturally and ecologically sound. However mass compulsory schooling, the idea that every child must spend a vast chunk of their lives in an institution, is a very new idea. It originated in Prussia in the 19th century in order to produce obedient and disciplined soldiers following Prussia’s defeat in the Napoleonic wars. Men did not know how to fight, or perhaps did not want to fight, so they were bred to fight. The model worked well for the industrial revolution as well, freeing parents from childcare in order to work in the factories, and breeding children with basic skills and literacy who would follow in their parents’ footsteps, working for others. During the colonial era, education was used intentionally to wipe out indigenous cultures and create subservient clerks for the colonial administration. As Thomas Macaulay, who was largely responsible for the development of modern schooling in India put it, schools needed to create “a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect”. Today, we imagine that schools are more liberating and have a broader curriculum, but perhaps we need to look again.

I have a vested interest in the different ways formal schooling has been designed and accessed around the world. In 2004, fresh out of university, I went to work in Yemen, on the island of Socotra. I had visited the island in 1997 on a school trip from the capital, Sanaa, and it had left a deep impact on my learning. Socotra is an island of extreme botanical diversity and natural beauty, and one where traditional environmental management systems had maintained harmony between human needs and the balance of the ecosystems which sustained them. When I arrived, Socotra was going through its first real boom in development. An airport had been built, tourists were starting to arrive, and villagers and nomads were settling in towns and sending their children to schools. The schools that were being built were of two types: government schools that promised students a path towards a secure government or private sector job, or faith schools that promised parents and children a route towards a secure religious identity. Both types of schools removed children from the land, the forests, the streams and the beaches they used to roam, play on and learn from. Slowly, children who used to know the names of all the plants and their uses and who used to follow generations old customs to preserve the unique diversity of the island forgot the names of the plants, they forgot how to scramble up the mountains and dive for seashells, and they happily started driving their 4x4s, playing loud music and chucking litter out the windows. The new environmental management system for the island then had to be imported, with computers, international experts, degrees from western universities, and more 4x4s.

My experience watching this transformation in Socotra has remained with me. Since then, I’ve worked and visited schools in other parts of Yemen, in Jordan, in Morocco, in Chad, in India, in the UK and in refugee camps from Algeria to Palestine. Around the world, a similar story can be seen. A story where children’s connection to place and to community is being replaced by a connection to a very narrow idea of what success and happiness looks like. A vision of identity and status being linked to consumption, where learning “useful” knowledge is done in classrooms and not in the real world.

Children in schools today wear school uniforms, blazers, suits and ties. We teach them that in order to be successful they must sit behind a desk and use a computer. School children don’t wear dungarees as uniforms. Most don’t learn that they can be happy being woodworkers or growing food or fixing bikes. They by and large don’t get the chance to learn about deciduous forests by being in them, smelling them, feeling them and playing in them. They learn about deciduous forests by reading about them and answering exam questions about them. When we took a group of year 11 students from my school in London to the south coast, one of them looked at the English channel and asked “is that the river?” One in four of the children in my Modern Foreign Languages class had never seen the River Thames, despite living within a half hour’s walk from it. These children attend a school that sets very high expectations and cares incredibly about the wellbeing of its students. The same children would go on to achieve GCSE results which place them in the top 10% in the country. They are highly successful students.

Schools have discipline and authority. Some schools may have active student councils, but by no stretch of the imagination are our schools democratic structures. We tell our children that we live in a democracy but children know fully well that they have no power to change the status quo, or to challenge authority. I understood this very quickly teaching in London. The school rules stated that “I do as I’m asked the first time I’m asked”. There was no room for negotiation, it was for the greater good of maintaining discipline and not “disrupting learning”. The unwritten rules were even more disconcerting. I quickly learnt that as a teacher, if I were to witness a dispute between a teacher and a student, it was my job to back my colleagues regardless of the situation. It was for the greater good of maintaining discipline. Perhaps we need to look at these dynamics to understand why Britain is struggling to get its youth to vote in the European referendum.

We give lessons about sustainability, and some schools may even have recycling bins and green clubs, but the environmental footprint of schools from construction to transport, energy and water has a long way to go to meet sustainability parameters. Seeing the smoke billowing out of Banky’s tyre, one cannot but think of environmental damage, pollution and global warming. Does the tyre represent the environmental destruction that we as humans are creating? Does it represent the mindset that we instill in our children during their schooling where we are inherently taught to blindly plough forward, producing waste and consuming fossil fuels, because that is the path to growth?

In the international development agenda, the goal of ‘Education for All’ is inseparable from the development path of nations. Children have to learn their Maths and their English. They forget about traditional knowledge systems, local food sources, water resources, languages and community cohesion. The world is a competitive place and they must learn the skills to allow them to move to cities where they too will consume and fuel our endless growth and our endless piles of burning tyres. It is also clear that a lot of very well intentioned work is being done. For example, when I worked on education in refugee camps in Jordan, people were thinking about psychosocial care for children affected by trauma, on creating safe spaces and child friendly spaces for children and on equipping them with the skills they would need to move on after devastating conflict. All of this is important and invaluable work, but where are these learning models coming from? How do they connect to local identities, and what vision of a happy, successful and ecologically sound future do they aspire to?

Maybe Banksy was being kind by sending us a note along with his art. He gave us a red herring to tend to our sensibilities, in case we are not quite ready to face the art. But perhaps one can hope that, … [more]
education  unschooling  deschooling  rowansalim  colonialism  happiness  success  community  children  learning  culture  place  experience  2016  banksy  environment  development  summerhill  asneill  shikshantar  highered  highereducation  compulsory  schooling  schooliness  via:carolblack  society  nature  knowledge  ater  food  jordan  yemen  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  discipline  authority  negotiation  socotra  morocco  chad  india  uk  algeria  palestine  identity  status  consumption  economics  sanaa  thomasmacaulay  liberation  curriculum  sfsh 
june 2016 by robertogreco
What History Teaches Us About Walls - The New York Times
"It is lost to history whether Hadrian, Qin Shi Huang or Nikita Khrushchev ever uttered, “I will build a wall.”

But build they did, and what happened? The history of walls — to keep people out or in — is also the history of people managing to get around, over and under them. Some come tumbling down.

The classic example is the Great Wall of China. Imposing and remarkably durable, yes, yet it didn’t block various nomadic tribes from the north. History is full of examples of engineering thwarted by goal-oriented rank amateurs. But Donald Trump has promised to build a wall on the United States-Mexican border that he says will be big, beautiful, tall and strong, and he says Mexico will pay for it.

Here’s some more historical perspective on walls."
walls  borders  border  us  mexico  israel  palestine  germany  history  2016  photography  donaldtrump  china  spain  españa  morocco  melilla  hadrian'swall  england  moscow  russia  vaticancity  korea  southkorea  northkorea  romania  roma  warsaw  poland  india  bangladesh  cyprus  ireland  northernireland  mauritania 
may 2016 by robertogreco
Moroccan Writer and Scholar Fatema Mernissi, 75 | Arabic Literature (in English)
"On writing, she once said: “Writing is one of the most ancient forms of prayer. To write is to believe communication is possible that other people are good, that you can awaken their generosity and their desire to do better.”"
fatimamernissi  arabic  literature  morocco  writing  prayer  communication  generosity  whywewrite 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Economists tested 7 welfare programs to see if they made people lazy. They didn't. - Vox
"All of the above evidence concerns the developing world. But it's worth being skeptical about welfare queen claims in rich countries as well. For one thing, the biggest program the US currently runs for prime-age poor adults is the earned income tax credit. There's a substantial body of evidence showing that the EITC encourages work, usually by pulling single parents into the workforce. That lets it have an anti-poverty impact beyond the actual cash that the tax credit provides to families.

But even unrestricted cash programs aren't likely to have a major effect on work in rich countries. A number of studies in the US in the 1970s examined "negative income tax" programs, where a set sample of poor households received cash grants whose size shrunk as the households earned more money through their jobs. The studies found very mild declines in work, largely due to people taking longer to find a good job while unemployed and spending longer in school. Even those estimates were exaggerated by participants underreporting the amount of work they were doing, perhaps to get bigger checks; when researchers examined administrative data, rather than survey responses, they found barely any effect on work at all.

A much better experiment in Canada, where an entire town got a guaranteed income by way of a negative income tax, found even milder reductions in work, and then only with new mothers (who spent longer at home with their newborns) and teenagers.

There's no doubt that poorly designed social programs can deter work. Aid to Families With Dependent Children, the pre–welfare reform welfare program, was found to decrease hours worked by 10 to 50 percent among recipients; that likely has something to do with the fact that AFDC benefits were taken away at a rate of 100 percent, so every dollar earned on the job was a dollar not received from AFDC. Who would work under that condition?

But most welfare programs are better than AFDC. Whether they're in the US or in developing countries, they don't tend to keep people from working."
welfare  labor  economics  2015  behavior  honduras  indonesia  mexico  morocco  philippines  nicaragua  universalbasicincome  canada  afdc  ubi 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Q&A: Tackling taboos in Morocco's art scene - Al Jazeera English
"Morocco's location on the Mediterranean Sea has made it a departure point for undocumented migrants in Africa hoping to cross to Europe.

These dangerous journeys have resulted in many migrants drowning and the Mediterranean earning the morbid nickname of "the sea cemetery", with a recent incident claiming 800 victims. Some who do not cross opt to settle instead in Morocco, where they have reportedly experienced abuse from the local population.

Moroccan-French photographer and video artist Leila Alaoui has attempted to tackle such issues through her art. At the Traces of the Future exhibit at the Marrakech Museum of Photography and Visual Arts, which runs until September, Alaoui's video installation Crossings showcases testimonies of sub-Saharan migrants against the backdrop of the Mediterranean. 

Al Jazeera spoke with Alaoui about Crossings, as well as her focus on migration throughout her larger body of work.



Al Jazeera: The testimonies of sub-Saharan migrants in Crossings could be perceived as a controversial topic within Morocco, because migrants are often targets of repression. Why did you decide to focus on sub-Saharan migrants? How did you research this project?

Alaoui: As a Moroccan, I felt very ashamed and felt some kind of responsibility to fight against the violent treatment of sub-Saharan migrants, who because of their "clandestine" status are deprived of basic human rights.

When I decided to work on this subject, I spent many months as a participant observer among migrant communities in very under-privileged neighbourhoods in Rabat and Tangier. I became involved with activists, journalists and humanitarian organisations working on the migration crisis in Morocco.

This experience nurtured the idea of an immersive audiovisual experience through which to share personal stories of migration and re-enact the disturbing sensations of the journey. I truly wanted to do a project that humanised and dignified the migrants.



"Al Jazeera: You've previously spoken up about art and self-censorship in Morocco. Could you elaborate on the prevalence of self-censorship? Do you think this artistic self-censorship is more ubiquitous in Morocco than in other parts of the Arab world?

Alaoui: We see Moroccan artists still suffering from censorship in the latest debate on Nabil Ayouch's film on prostitution, Much Loved.

However, when looking at contemporary artists in the Middle East and North Africa, there is very little engaged art emerging from Morocco.

Most of the artists whose work has a strong political message are usually from the Moroccan diaspora or living abroad, such as Mounir Fatmi or Mohamed El Baz.

I personally think artists should be engaging more on sociopolitical issues. In my opinion, art plays an important role in reflecting and questioning our societies.

Moreover, Moroccan society is going through a major transition. We are lost between modernity and traditions, freedom of expression and fear of the authority. We still don't know where to position ourselves and aren't ready to face our real selves.

We prefer to stay quiet, in denial and make sure the country keeps its positive image to stay in peace.

I believe the lack of engagement of artists is more a result of auto-censorship than censorship itself.

But we also have strong examples of artists living in Morocco whose work is very political, such as Mahi Binebine's work on the dark years of Moroccan political repression. This shows us that there is space for freedom of expression as long as we respect the values of the kingdom.

Al Jazeera: You say that in France, you're considered Moroccan, and in Morocco, you're considered French. How does this affect your work in both countries?

Alaoui: Although I feel at home in Morocco, I always felt like a foreigner in both countries.

I certainly believe that my hyphenated identity and my experience living abroad have deeply influenced my work and interest in cultural diversity, identity and migration.

My current project questions the contemporary reality of immigration in a post-colonial era and focuses on North African communities in France. Through this project, I try to understand the shared history of both countries, but it may also be a personal quest for own identity."



Al Jazeera: What are your future plans?

Alaoui: After living in New York, Marrakech and Beirut, I am now in France.

My current work explores the contemporary reality of post-colonial immigration through a visual art project mixing photography, video installations and archival documents.

Following weeks of research as a participant observer among different generations of North African immigrants and their children, I am building a body of work that reflects on individual memories, collective history and identity reconstruction.

My work uses a visual language that combines the narrative depth of documentary storytelling and the aesthetic sensibilities of visual art.

I will also be presenting my series The Moroccans in a solo show at the prestigious Maison Européennede la Photographie in Paris as part of the Arab Photography biennale in November.
via:javierarbona  morocco  leilaalaoui  2015  art  photography  migration  mediterranean  rabat  tangier  race  racism  repression  portraits  self-censorship  politics  society 
july 2015 by robertogreco
A Quiet Taco Revolution is Happening in South L.A. | The Nosh | Food | KCET
"Now that bulgogi tacos are de rigueur and foie gras tacos are back, the taco landscape is expanding once again. Introducing North African tacos via Revolutionario Tacos in South Los Angeles.

Chef and owner Farid Zadi worked in fine dining for years and taught at Le Cordon Bleu, but the French Algerian chef from Lyon is returning to the cuisine he knows best: the food of his childhood. In the case of one Tuesday afternoon, it's shakshuka.

In the kitchen, Zadi seasons layers of onions and red and green bell peppers with his homemade ras al hanout, a staple of North African cooking. He recites what goes into his spice mix: "Lavender, saffron, paprika, cumin, coriander. Some people put garlic powder, but I don't."

While he goes through his spice shelf, he continues: "Cumin, coriander...."

Zadi loses his train of thought when it's time to add the tomatoes and he re-seasons the sweating vegetables. "I'm making shakshuka in a wok, so I call it wok-shuka," he says.

He's also making a large stock pot of harissa at the same time, occasionally stirring the mixture of chilies. It's also made with what seems like an infinite number of spices: "Coriander, turmeric, lavender, saffron, sumac, anise seed, fennel seed, Spanish paprika, chili powder," he says. "I use three types of chilies: chile de California, chile de Mexico, and chile de árbol."

As the shakshuka cooks down, he takes it all in. "Now this is starting to smell like my childhood."

The smells swirling around the kitchen are of the Maghreb, the North African region that includes Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. And while most of us may be familiar with typical North African fare like Merguez sausage, lamb tagine, brik, and mint tea, Zadi uses ras al hanout and harissa in a very accessible, knowable way for Angelenos. His tacos, which include smoked beef and lamb smoked outside for four hours, are topped with his red, green, and Habanero harissa. Zadi says these flavors are very similar to Mexican food, due to the cultures' shared Spanish and Moorish influences.

Zadi and his wife and partner Susan quietly opened Revolutionario Tacos on May 31. They didn't do any marketing, but they already have something of a following from Zadi's pop-up events around town and from his previous restaurant Cafe Livre et le Marche in Culver City.

Weekends started to pick up and they've added weekend brunches in collaboration with chef Rui Mateo to make Japanese Peruvian-inspired food: ceviche and tiradito.

That might sound fancy, but they're still going to keep the prices down. As Susan puts it, their no-frills restaurant is a "quirky model" meant to challenge the fast casual dining experience. They want to provide convenient, fresh, and affordable meals for their new South L.A. community. Their menu includes a value menu of tacos under $2, but points out that a fuller meal won't cost any more than $10. They're also eager to get other chefs to do the same, but so far, no one has taken on their #FastFoodRevolution challenge when they put the call out on social media.

They're also trying to accomplish what other restaurants in this neighborhood aren't doing: cooking fresh vegetables that people crave. They say that 70% of their orders are vegetarian dishes, the blacked eyed pea falafel taco being the most popular.

They have a small table devoted to garnishes, pickled vegetables, and chilies. Perhaps thumbing their noses at high end establishments, a sign reads: "We source water locally straight from the TAP."

As Zadi finishes simmering the chilies, he strains some of the liquid and processes it until it becomes a thick paste. This should be enough for the week.

"I want to do something different," he says when he talks about his new restaurant concept. "But I'm still a purist in some ways. Everything needs to be properly cooked."

*********

Recipe: Preserved Lemons

From Chef Zadi: "You can use preserved lemons in any number of Mediterranean and Latin American soups, stews, and braises. Depending on how salty you want a recipe, you can use them un-rinsed with the pulp, or discard the pulp, rinse the skin, and finely chop the lemon quarters."

6 Meyer lemons
2/3 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
1 pint size mason jar or other food safe glass jar with non-corrosive lid

Wash and quarter lemons.

Put a layer of lemon quarters inside the jar and sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt. Repeat until you have added all the lemons. Pack them down, as much as you can, while adding more salt. There should be enough juice from the lemons to completely submerge the lemons. If not, add more lemon juice to top off.

Seal the jar and let it preserve for at least 30 days before using."
tacos  food  losangeles  2015  faridzadi  recipes  northafrica  morocco  tunisia  algeria  glvo  ruimateo  japanese  perú  restaurants 
june 2015 by robertogreco
LALLA ESSAYDI
"Lalla A. Essaydi grew up in Morocco and now lives in USA where she received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/TUFTS University in May 2003. Essaydi’s work is represented by Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston and Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York City. Her work has been exhibited in many major international locales, including Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Texas, Buffalo, Colorado, New York, Syria, Ireland, England, France, the Netherlands, Sharjah, U.A.E., and Japan and is represented in a number of collections, including the Williams College Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Fries Museum, the Netherlands, and The Kodak Museum of Art. Her art, which often combines Islamic calligraphy with representations of the female body, addresses the complex reality of Arab female identity from the unique perspective of personal experience. In much of her work, she returns to her Moroccan girlhood, looking back on it as an adult woman caught somewhere between past and present, and as an artist, exploring the language in which to “speak” from this uncertain space. Her paintings often appropriate Orientalist imagery from the Western painting tradition, thereby inviting viewers to reconsider the Orientalist mythology. She has worked in numerous media, including painting, video, film, installation, and analog photography.

"In my art, I wish to present myself through multiple lenses -- as artist, as Moroccan, as traditionalist, as Liberal, as Muslim. In short, I invite viewers to resist stereotypes.""



"ARTIST STATEMENT
In a sense, my work is haunted by space, actual and metaphorical, remembered and constructed. My photographs grew out of the need I felt to document actual spaces, especially the space of my childhood. At a certain point, I realized that in order to go forward as an artist, it was necessary to return physically to my childhood home in Morocco and to document this world which I had left in a physical sense, but of course, never fully in any deeper, more psychological sense. In order to understand the woman I had become, I needed to re-encounter the child I once was. I needed to return to the culture of my childhood if I wanted to understand my unfolding relation to the “converging territories” of my present life. This culture, and the space of my childhood within it, was defined for me by specific domestic spaces, ones that still exist, but are in the process of slowly deteriorating. So I embarked on a project to photograph these physical spaces before they were lost, and in doing so, to see the role they played in shaping the metaphorical space of my childhood.

It is obvious that while my photographs are expressions of my own personal history, they can also be taken as reflections on the life of Arab women in general. There are continuities, of course, within Arab culture, but I am uncomfortable thinking of myself as a representative of all Arab women. Art can only come from the heart of an individual artist, and I am much too aware of the range of traditions and laws among the different Arab nations to presume to speak for everyone. My work documents my own experience growing up as an Arab woman within Islamic culture seen now from a very different perspective. It is the story of my quest to find my own voice, the unique voice of an artist, not an attempt to present myself as a victim, which would deprive me of the very complexity I wish to express.

These photographs have led me to a greater understanding of the importance of architectural space in Islamic culture. Traditionally, the presence of men has defined public spaces: the streets, the meeting places, the places of work. Women, on the other hand, have been confined to private spaces, the architecture of the home. Physical thresholds define cultural ones, hidden hierarchies dictate patterns of habitation. Thus crossing a permissible, cultural threshold into prohibited “space” in the metaphorical sense, can result in literal confinement in an actual space. Many Arab women today may feel the space of confinement to be a more psychological one, but its origins are, I think, embedded in architecture itself. In my photographs, I am constraining the women within space and also confining them to their “proper” place, a place bounded by walls and controlled by men. The henna painted on their bodies corresponds to the elaborate pattern of the tiles. The women then, become literal odalisques (odalisque, from the Turkish, means to belong to a place).

But my work reaches beyond Islamic culture to invoke the Western fascination, as expressed in painting, with the odalisque, the veil, and, of course, the harem. Here is another way in which my work cannot be read simply as a critique of Arab culture. Images of the harem and the odalisque still penetrate the present and I use the Arab female body to disrupt that tradition. I want the viewer to become aware of Orientalism as a projection of the sexual fantasies of Western male artists––in other words as a voyeuristic tradition.

It is not only the West that has been prevented from seeing Arab culture accurately. How people in the Arab world see themselves has also been affected by the distorted lens of Orientalism. There is some evidence that the Orientalist perspective has had an impact on the actual lives of Arab men and women, and especially that the rules for Arab women became much stricter as a result of Western influence. When the West portrays Eastern women as sexual victims and Eastern men as depraved, the effect is to emasculate Eastern men, and to challenge the traditional values of honor and family. So Arab men feel the need to be even more protective of Arab women, preventing them from being targets of fantasy by veiling them. The veil protects them from the gaze of Orientalism. While we’ll probably never know whether the return to the veil and the rules that accompany it is a response to Western influence or merely coincidental, it is hard to believe there is no relationship. In a sense what the West did was to erase the boundaries of public and private; in part the Arab world responded by re-instating those boundaries in a way that would be clear and visible. Within the veil, an Arab woman has a private space.

I want to stress that I do not intend my work simply as a critique of either culture, Arab or Western. I am going further than mere critique to a more active, even subversive, engagement with cultural patterns, in order to get beyond stereotypes and convey my own experience as an Arab woman. In employing calligraphic writing, I am practicing a sacred Islamic art that is usually inaccessible to women. To apply this writing in henna, an adornment worn and applied only by women, adds a further subversive twist. Thus the henna/calligraphy can be seen as both a veil and as an expressive statement. Yet the two are not so much in opposition as interwoven. The “veil” of decoration and concealment has not been rejected but instead has been integrated with the expressive intention of calligraphy. Although it is calligraphy that is usually associated with “meaning” (as opposed to “mere” decoration), in the visual medium of my photographs, the “veil” of henna in fact enhances the expressivity of the images.

By the same token, the male art of calligraphy has been brought into a world of female experience from which it has traditionally been excluded. Also, by choosing to use a number of women, I subvert their imposed silence. These women “speak” through the language of femininity to each other and to the house of their confinement, just as my photographs have enabled me to speak. Through these images I am able to suggest the complexity of Arab female identity – as I have known it--and the tension between hierarchy and fluidity at the heart of Arab culture.

By reclaiming the rich tradition of calligraphy and interweaving it with the traditionally female art of henna, I have been able to express, and yet, in another sense, dissolve the contradictions I have encountered in my culture: between hierarchy and fluidity, between public and private space, between the richness and the confining aspects of Islamic traditions.

As an artist now living in the West, I have become aware of another space, besides the house of my girlhood, an interior space, one of "converging territories." I will always carry that house within me, but my current life has added other dimensions. There is the very different space I inhabit in the West, a space of independence and mobility. It is from there that I can return to the landscape of my childhood in Morocco, and consider these spaces with detachment and new understanding. When I look at these spaces now, I see the two cultures that have shaped me and which are distorted when looked at through the "Orientalist" lens of the West. This new perspective has led me in my most recent photographs to situate my subjects in a non-specific space, one which no longer identifies itself as a particular house in Morocco, but rather the multivalent space of their/HER own imagination and making. In these images, the text is partly autobiographical. Here I speak of my thoughts and experiences directly, both as a woman caught somewhere between past and present, as well as between "East" and "West," and also as an artist, exploring the language in which to "speak" from this uncertain space. But in the absence of any specificity of place, the text itself becomes the world of the subjects – their thoughts, speech, work, clothing, shelter, and nomadic home. This text is of course incomplete. It involves the viewer as well as the writer in a continual process of reading and revising, of losing and finding its multiple and discontinuous threads. Similarly, figures of the women in the photographs can only be gathered and informed by multiple visual readings. As you can see, the Orientalist tradition is more directly called forth, and played with, in my most recent photographs than in … [more]
lallaessaydi  morocco  art  photography  artists  henna  women 
may 2015 by robertogreco
The Fences Where Spain And Africa Meet | KSMU Radio
"On a rocky beach in North Africa, a chain-link fence juts out into the Mediterranean Sea.

This is one of Africa's two land borders with Europe, at two Spanish cities on the African continent. Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish soil — and thus part of the European Union — separated from the rest of Europe by the Mediterranean, and separated from the rest of Africa by huge fences.

If someone manages to scale those fences, he lands in Europe. Tens of thousands of African and Arab migrants try to do that each year. Many have traveled hundreds of miles already, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, but also from conflict zones like Syria or Somalia. Their journeys are similar to those many Latino migrants make northward to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Thousands of people cross the Morocco-Ceuta border legally every day. Dozens more are believed to cross illegally — smuggled in the back of trucks, or hidden in secret compartments under cars or in their trunks. Others manage to scale a huge double fence, lined with anti-climbing mesh and patrolled by border guards.

Still others swim.

"Nine hours in the water — I was hungry!" says Mohamed Ba, 21, from Guinea Conakry in West Africa. "I didn't take my clothes or shoes. I was suffering."

Ba swam around the fence near the Tarajal crossing between Morocco and Spain. He spent his family's life savings on the trip north to Morocco. He'd planned to pay smugglers to hide him in the back of a truck, to cross into Spain. But he got robbed.

"I had 200 euros ($210) in my pocket. They pulled the money off me and they beat me. You see that?" he says, pointing out a long scar on his arm. "I begged them and pleaded, but they did not leave me alone."

Broke, Ba was determined to reach Europe. He refused to turn back. So he waited until nightfall, and jumped into the water and swam — around the chain-link border fence topped with barbed wire. At times, he had to hold his breath underwater, to avoid being seen by Spanish border guards.

Nine hours later, shivering, he emerged onshore in Spain the next morning. "It was cold, and I didn't have anything with me," he says.

A Red Cross team treated him for the early stages of hypothermia. This was back in September, when the Mediterranean is at its warmest. Ba is one of the lucky ones.

In February 2014, at least 15 Africans died trying to swim around the same fence, when border guards fired rubber bullets at them in the water. Sixteen Spanish troops have been indicted in that incident.

"That was a monumental mistake, but we work under so much pressure," says Juan Antonio Delgado, a Civil Guard spokesman. "You've got 500 desperate Africans face to face with 50 of us guards. It's very dramatic. They're absolutely determined to get across."

Thousands do, with the potential to overwhelm public services in Ceuta, a city of about 85,000. The local jobless rate tops 30 percent, without including migrants, all of whom are unemployed. Spain is asking for more EU help to secure its border and prevent migrants from entering.

Moroccans who reach Ceuta illegally are automatically deported, because of a bilateral treaty between Spain and their country. But many African countries have no such treaties. And many migrants try not to disclose their origin, so Spanish officials can't deport them.

Once a migrant enters Spain, he or she has two options: Claim political asylum, or be considered an "economic migrant" — Ba.

"I need a job because my people have nothing, and my father is dead," he says, explaining why he left his native Guinea. He says his dream is to someday work in Barcelona and send money home to his family. "I have only my mom and two younger sisters. I want to give them food and help them. ... They are all in Guinea."

One of the first people many migrants encounter is Germinal Castillo, a Red Cross worker who's part of a team of first responders dispatched to Ceuta's beaches and port, where scores of migrants turn up.

"They're often in a terrible, horrible state. Most often it's hypothermia," says Castillo, who treats an average of about 20 migrants a week in winter — and sometimes 10 times that in summer. "The problem is that they arrive without any documents. They kiss the ground, but then they have to wait months for visas and work permits."

"They're all looking for a better life," he says. "They're looking for what we already have."

While they wait for that paperwork, migrants are housed in local immigration and asylum centers — huge, prisonlike fortresses nestled in the hills of Ceuta and Melilla and across mainland Spain.

Many of the centers are filled beyond capacity, and human rights groups have complained of abuses. Migrants must adhere to curfews and mealtimes but can otherwise come and go freely despite big metal bars and razor wire around the centers.

I met Ba at one of these facilities, where West African men milled around outside, smoking and drinking beer. Ba has been awaiting the paperwork he needs to travel elsewhere in Europe.

Finally, after six months, the documents have come through.

"I was sleeping and the immigration people woke me in my bed to tell me, 'Today you have your pass — and tomorrow you can travel to the [Iberian] peninsula,' " he says, lifting a can of beer on his final night in Ceuta. "Because of that I'm very happy. I am laughing! I am eating good and sleeping good."

The next morning, he disappears into a crowd boarding a ferry for the Spanish mainland, chasing his dream to work in Barcelona."
borders  spain  españa  2015  africa  mediterranean  ceuta  melilla  europe  militarization  fences  morocco  immigration  migration 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Association for Cultural Equity
"The Association for Cultural Equity (ACE) was founded by Alan Lomax to explore and preserve the world's expressive traditions with humanistic commitment and scientific engagement. ACE was registered as a charitable organization in the State of New York in 1983, and is housed at New York City's Hunter College.

OUR MISSION

Inspired by the example set by Alan Lomax, our mission is to stimulate cultural equity through preservation, research, and dissemination of the world's traditional music, and to reconnect people and communities with their creative heritage."

[Sound recordings: http://research.culturalequity.org/home-audio.jsp ]
[Video recordings: http://www.culturalequity.org/rc/videos/video-guide.php ]
[Photographs: http://research.culturalequity.org/home-photo.jsp ]
[Geo archive: http://www.culturalequity.org/lomaxgeo/ ]
archives  culture  music  us  alanlomax  video  audio  spain  italy  appalachia  photography  caribbean  europe  africa  russia  centralasia  afghanistan  anguilla  armenia  azerbaijan  bahamas  dominica  dominicanrepublic  england  france  georgia  guadeloupe  ireland  kazakhstan  kyrgyzstan  martinique  morocco  netherlandsantilles  romania  scotland  españa  tajikstan  stkittsandnevis  stlucia  trinidadandtobago  uzbekistan  wales  turkmenistan  mississippidelta  neworleans  cajun  louisiana  johnsisland  fieldrecording  nola 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Live storytelling packs a powerful punch – Richard Hamilton – Aeon
"My first job was as a lawyer. I was not a very happy or inspired lawyer. One night I was driving home listening to a radio report, and there is something very intimate about radio: a voice comes out of a machine and into the listener’s ear. With rain pounding the windscreen and only the dashboard lights and the stereo for company, I thought to myself, ‘This is what I want to do.’ So I became a radio journalist.

As broadcasters, we are told to imagine speaking to just one person. My tutor at journalism college told me that there is nothing as captivating as the human voice saying something of interest (he added that radio is better than TV because it has the best pictures). We remember where we were when we heard a particular story. Even now when I drive in my car, the memory of a scene from a radio play can be ignited by a bend in a country road or a set of traffic lights in the city.

But potent as radio seems, can a recording device ever fully replicate the experience of listening to a live storyteller? The folklorist Joseph Bruchac thinks not. ‘The presence of teller and audience, and the immediacy of the moment, are not fully captured by any form of technology,’ he wrote in a comment piece for The Guardian in 2010. ‘Unlike the insect frozen in amber, a told story is alive... The story breathes with the teller’s breath.’ And as devoted as I am to radio, my recent research into oral storytelling makes me think that Bruchac may be right."



"Why do we love stories? And why do we love hearing them spoken aloud, in person? Psychologists and literary scholars have devoted a good deal of thought to the first question. Perhaps, they suggest, fiction helped mankind to evolve social mores. In a 2008 study by the psychologist Markus Appel, professor at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany, people who watched drama and comedy on TV as opposed to news had substantially stronger beliefs in a just world. Stories do this ‘by constantly marinating our brains in poetic justice’, according to Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal (2012). On the other hand, perhaps storytelling is a sort of flight simulator that allows us to practise something without getting hurt. Keith Oatley, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, believes that stories are an ancient virtual reality technology: we get to imagine what it would be like to confront a dangerous man or seduce someone else’s spouse without suffering the consequences."



"In a 2001 study by Robin Mello at the University of Wisconsin, children were asked for their responses to stories they heard in class. To her surprise, Mello found that the children focused less on the story’s content and more on how it was told. They enjoyed the way the teller made up funny voices for the different characters, and said reading the stories silently from books was boring. Stories may be how we make sense of the world, but the heart of the story is the human voice."



"Perhaps it is in this accepting spirit that many people, even as they feel sad about the demise of the Moroccan storytellers, ultimately say ‘So what?’ The world has lost many things, from dodos to snuff boxes, and we cannot lament them all. Why is storytelling so important? When my daughter can read for herself, she might not want me to read to her. The same has happened on a global scale. When societies learn to read they no longer need storytellers to read to them. But then, not that many societies even learn to read and write. Out of an estimated 6,000 languages spoken in the world today, two thirds never had a written form. On average, one of those oral languages dies every two weeks. When a language that has never been written down dies, it is as if it has never been. We have then lost a unique interpretation of the world and our existence. This reminds me of a saying in Marrakech: ‘When a storyteller dies, a library burns.’

Abderrahim rarely performs in the main square any more. I asked him why and he gazed at a point in the distance. ‘Look, there is no room and it is too noisy.’ Nowadays, he said, Moroccans would rather watch DVDs or use the internet than listen to him. Modernity and electronic media in particular is killing the storyteller. ‘When electricity came,’ as they say in Ireland, ‘the fairies flew out the window.’

Bruchac warns that we ignore the power of oral narration at our peril: ‘If we imagine that technology can take the place of the living human presence experienced through oral tradition, then we diminish ourselves and forget the true power of stories.’"
stories  storytelling  oraltradition  radio  imagination  humans  human  creativity  narrative  fritzheider  mariannesimmel  2013  robinmello  thinking  meditation  performance  giacomorizzolatti  reynoldsprice  troubadours  richardhamilton  journalism  morocco  markusappel  jonathangottschall  keithoatley  josephbruchac 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Nonformality | The revolt of the young
"From revolutions and protests to riots and unrests: young people are taking their fight for the future to the streets. Intergenerational contracts have become obsolete, with many young people feeling robbed of their future in the light of the employment crisis, a damaged environment and social inequality. Observers and activists describe a world awakening with rage, and a revolt of the young that has only just begun. But what will happen next?"
2011  unrest  politics  policy  generations  generationalstrife  classwarfare  economics  environment  inequality  disparity  unemployment  youth  arabspring  crisis  wealth  awakening  engagement  uk  chile  egypt  tunisia  zizek  manuelcastells  wolfganggründiger  future  pankajmishra  dissent  revolt  revolution  algeria  iraq  iran  morocco  oman  israel  jordan  syria  yemen  bahrain  greece  spain  españa  portugal  iceland  andreaskarsten  change  protests  riots 
august 2011 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read