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.