Saturday, January 06, 2007

Saddam's Execution -- Reactions in Morocco

A newcomer to the Aqoul group blog opens with a post rich in nuance and insights from the Maghreb. It is reassuring to learn that ignorance and shallowness is as widespread there as in the rest of creation. Except for the particulars I might be reading about suburban Atlanta or anyplace else in America.

While those airing these kind of views tend to be a minority, they usually share with the majority an abysmal ignorance of the nitty-gritty of the situation in Lebanon or Iraq. MSK's interesting piece about Sunni and Shi'i names prompted me to comment that "the distinction between sunnis and shi'i is about as clear in the mind of the
average Moroccan as the distinction between jacobites and melkites in the mind of the average Swede". Except for the not-so-rare Al Jazeera addict, most would not know Nasrallah Sfeïr from seyyed Hassan Nasrallah nor Walid Jumblatt from hisfather. The existence of Christian Arabs is a puzzle to most Moroccans, for whom "Arab" and "Muslim" are generally synonyms - oblivious to the fact that quite a few Moroccan Arabs used to be Jews. As for the Druze, Alaouites, Kurds, Circassians, Armenians, Assyrians and Copts...

This is fairly obscure reading for the average person, but illuminating for the person trying to grasp the reasons behind various reactions to the execution in other places. Yesterday's reference to Libya is a case in point. This last paragraph captures the kernel of the message.
It is interesting to note how the Iraqi government has undeservedly escaped its substantial part of blame - the US government attracts hostlity as dung attracts flies. It could be put on the Moroccan public's sketchy understanding of the Iraqi situation, but it would appear that Morocco is not alone in this. A point worth reflecting on since Morocco is probably the most westernized of all Arab countries, along with Tunisia and Algeria.


pictruandtru said...

I listen to this guy's commentary on a local radio show, and think that you would enjoy his view on todays events, and his blog.

also another great objective source:

Hoots said...

Hello, again.

Two good links there, both of which I have come across.

The strategy forcasting service is a paid subscription service providing timely valuable information to movers and shakers...Hedge Fund Managers; Global Finance, Insurance and Investment Experts; Oil & Gas Executives; Government & Military Leaders; Manufacturers...
I wish I were in that league.

Austin Bay is one of the top-tier pundits...also excellent. His blogroll reads like a Who's Who of the blogosphere (except for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and a couple of others probably specific to his personal interests).

I tend to be more of a bottom feeder, digging about in more obscure places where big shots rarely venture. After a story gets big I tend to lose interest.

The first and last word people have a different conversation and lots of them tend to be a one-note tune. LGF is a case in point. And I don't think I look at Drudge or Instapundit more than three or four times a year. I figure if they are on it I'll hear about it sooner or later so it saves me valuable time just to wait for their opinions (to the extent that I ever hear them) later.