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Siwan

The title of this album, released in 2009 by ECM Records, means “balance” in the language of Aljamiado, which developed in medieval Andalus.  Aljamiado was a hybrid language of Latin…

A woman leads chants through a non-functioning megaphone in Tahrir Square near the Egyptian Museum

Of Revolutions and Other Trivial Pursuits

The “fall of dictators” has been celebrated everywhere as the well-deserved victory of oppressed youth over an aging ruling elite.  First Tunisia, then Egypt and Libya, and judging from the…

A Tale of Two Casablancas

In Laila Lalami’s second novel, Secret Son, there are two Casablancas: one where families like Youssef and Rachida El Makki live in rusty, tin-roofed shacks amidst the stench of garbage,…

Salvation Army—A Review

Salvation Army is Abdellah Taïa’s third novel to date. It is the story of a young Moroccan man coming to terms with his sexual penchant for men. Through this autobiographical…

Another summer is another year in Tangier

I grew up on the water, from a long family tradition of “easy sailors.” Why “easy,” well because for those that had the opportunity to either own a boat or…

The Daughter of Dr. Butrus: A Short Story

I lay on my mattress tossing and turning. I have been restless ever since I talked to Sundus. The family’s return to Morocco complicated life for me. Their departure was…

The Bridge With Islam

I am a Jew of Islam. Not an Arab Jew, mind you, since that term makes as much sense as Slavic or Baltic or Arian Jew, but a Jew of…

Women's Headscarves on Display / Adam Jones, Ph.D./Global Photo Archive/Flickr

Headscarves—fashion or faith?

In the 1980s and ‘90s, when I lived in Marrakech, the headscarf was a simple affair. In Gueliz, the New Town, few women wore either a headscarf or a djellaba—an…

The Unknown Terrorist(s)

The Australian novelist Richard Flanagan dedicates his important and timely new novel, The Unknown Terrorist (Grove, 2007), to his compatriot David Hicks, who was captured as an unlawful combatant in…