The main idea of the article, as it has been summarized, is that Morocco
needs a change. This is a statement no one contests in Morocco, where
it has become one of Moroccans' favorite discussion topics. The point
is to know what kind of change the country needs.
The last four years we've had a new government, a new
king, new governors, and a new civil society, but no real change, except
for the fact that things are getting worse. This means that the only real
change Moroccans can effect is immigration. (One study has revealed that
70 percent of Moroccans dream of leaving the country). This also explains
the high score of Islamists in the latest elections, as they
appear to be the only opposition to the actual situation. This fact was
well explained in the conference by Moulay Hicham, but it was explained
from a secular point of view.
I think that more than any human explanation or political
manipulation what makes people choose the Islamists path is faith. People
face very hard times, and they are turning to the only force that seems
to be able to help them: God. And in Arabic lands God is reachable trough
The problem is that most of these people are ignorant
(60 percent of Moroccans can not read) which makes them the ideal victims
for those who use Islam to achieve their own goals. Using ignorance to
manipulate is something the monarchy has been doing for more than 40 years.
And here is where universities and schools should concentrate
their efforts: teaching what Islam is. Teaching is of utmost importance.
Keep in mind that the first verse that has been revealed to prophet Muhammad
(peace on him) was READ.
in PAW on Moulay Hicham paints him as a Moroccan moderate looking
to democratize the Arab world. This excited me so I looked further in
PAW plus online to find any mention of the Arab-Israeli conflict to see
if this prince was a spokesman for truth in the Arab world. I found nothing
An online search reveals the following:
Middle East Quarterly, article by Martin Kramer:
"More from Old Nassau. When Israelis
and Palestinians clash, the academic tribes rally. Its happening
once more across America. Activist organizations spring into action. Faculty
members speak out. All of this is legitimate. What is illegitimate is
when the very institutions of a university academic units such
as departments, centers, and institutes turn themselves into blatant
partisans of one side or the other. This is just what happened at Princeton
in the spring of 2001.
"Background: in 1994, Prince Moulay Hicham
Benabdallah of Morocco, a Princeton alumnus, bestowed a hefty gift on
the university to establish something called the Institute for the Transregional
Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.
Princeton, of course, has a renowned department of Near Eastern studies,
the oldest in the country. But the prince wanted something all his own
and was prepared to pay for it. A Moroccan anthropologist, Abdellah Hammoudi,
directs the vanity institute. It organizes conferences, many of them outside
the country, and passes out a couple of fellowships each year.
"This past spring, the Institute for Transregional Study announced
a lecture series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When genuine academic
units organize lecture series, the usual approach is to recruit speakers
who will represent diverse views. After all, diversity is the mantra of
the American university. In fact, what one often gets are identical views
expressed by people of diverse backgrounds. Call it false diversity. The
Institute for Transregional Study, in its spring lecture series, produced
what must be regarded as the textbook case, the purest form, the ideal
type, of false diversity.
"The nine-lecture series brought together a truly broad collection
of supporters, sympathizers, and apologists for the Palestinian cause.
Celebrities? Edward Said and Richard Falk addressed the "end,"
the "collapse" of the peace process, and who could doubt where
they would lay the blame? Journalists? Inveterate Israel-basher Robert
Fisk, of the London Independent, delivered his usual indictment. Sylvain
Cypel, international correspondent of Le Monde, analyzed the approach
of the French press, with its predictable sympathies. (Notice: no American
journalists.) Academic experts? Palestinian professor Salim Tamari and
Lebanese writer and militant Elias Khoury demanded the "right of
return." Sara Roy, perpetual "research associate" at Harvard
University, once again explained Israels "political economy
"Israelis? Of course there were Israelis. After all: diversity rules
the university. There were two. Ilan Pappé, the zealous anti-Zionist
at Haifa University, a man for whom even the post-Zionists are Nakba-deniers,
described what he thought would be a "fair settlement." (Pappé
thinks it must be based on Israels total and abject acceptance of
all responsibility for the conflict and all of its consequences.) Amira
Hass, the very engagée Palestinian affairs correspondent of Haaretz,
now a resident of Ramallah, lectured on "The Israeli Policy of Closure:
A Means of Domination and a Form of Neo-Occupation."
"And that was it. This was the entire line-up of the institutes
semester-long lecture series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"No doubt this would pass for diversity at the Mohammed V University
in Rabat, former home to Professor Hammoudi. Perhaps it would pass for
diversity in Moulay Hichams palace. It shouldnt pass for diversity
at Princeton. The question is whether Princeton will continue to ignore
the abuse of its name for blatantly political purposes or will affirm
the basic neutrality of its academic units even a cash cow like
the Institute for Transregional Study."
So there you have it: the Prince sponsors an Institute that presents a
biased perspective on the conflict. I guess it's the same old Arab worldview
of hate and propaganda, this time sprinkled with a touch of democracy.