This weekend the clocks go back. In many countries that would simply mean changing the alarm clock when you go to bed on Saturday night, and a belated twiddle of the kitchen clock on Sunday morning. Not in Morocco, where Summer Time has been deployed with a charming whimsicality only since 2008. Until this year, … More The Problem of Summer Time
Once they used to say that Cairo writes, Beirut publishes, and Baghdad reads, and when I lived in Baghdad in 1988-90 the book market flourished, a scruffy haven of old and sometimes wonderful books. Later I read of the dreadful business of libraries sold off piecemeal as the price of survival, the slow, tragic dismantling … More Bulldozing Books
I’ve just got back from ten days in London, starting with a splendid event at Chatham House, where a group of young policy analysts, from across the MENA region, a dozen of them from Morocco, debated their policy proposals. They had been working on these for eight months, covering subjects like energy, education reform, youth, … More Innocence and Muslims
Two weeks ago I took part in the launch event for Young Arab Voices, a project that the Anna Lind Foundation is running with the British Council. It took the form of a debate in front of TV cameras in a marquee outside the Bibliothèque Nationale, in front of an audience of about 400. On … More Arab identity: Truth or Fiction?
When I came to Morocco in 2010 I restarted a subscription that I last had as a postgrad in the 1980s, to a magazine called MERIP – the Middle East Research and Information Project. It’s a useful and interesting quarterly magazine published in Washington DC, a left-of-centre counterweight to US political and foreign policy orthodoxies. … More Culture and the Arab Revolts
A day in Marrakech for TEDx, the local franchise of the TED conference, run by Vanessa Branson at her lovely Riad al-Fenn. It’s not a format that I’m familiar with, and the rapid-fire, pump-action delivery of ideas is invigorating, dazzling and kaleidoscopic. Writing in the first break, I’m digesting with my coffee contributions by the … More TEDx in Marrakech