Generation 9/11: Ten Years On

Ten years on, the impact of the 9/11 attacks and the events that followed has yet to be fully assessed. For the young people who were coming of age during that time that day and its aftermath served as a seminal moment in shaping their worldview.

Today, the British council is launching a video campaign called “Generation 9/11.” The project is seeking to capture the views of people online in an effort to use the anniversary of the attacks of 9/11 to move the dialogue on Muslim – Non-Muslim relations forward.

The first batch of videos was sent from contributors in the U.S., Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco and Hungary:

You can watch my contribution here. Your comments are more than welcome.

You can watch the latest updates by following these links:

Secret Files Show Americans and Arabs Aided Gaddafi in Rebel Fight

Interesting report from AJE’s Jamal El Shi-yal who discovers secret Gaddafi files showing how some political circles in the US tried to help Gaddafi beat the revolution.

Despite Gaddafi’s anti-American rhetoric there is evidence the dictator maintained contact with influential US politicians and diplomats, right to the last moment before his fall.

We learn that David Welch, for example, former Assistant Secretary at the US Department of State, currently working for the reconstruction company Bechtel, advised Libyans on how to win the propaganda war and undermine the rebels. He also advised the Libyans to use the assistance of foreign intelligence services including those of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

According to Al Jazeera’s report, what appears to be a transcription of minutes of that meeting with Welch reads:

“Any information related to Al-Qaeda or other terrorist extremist organisations should be found and given to the American administration but only via the intelligence agencies of either Israel, Egypt, Morocco or Jordan. America will listen to them… It is better to receive this information as if it originated from those contries.”

Apart from the US’s double standard, this suggests that countries like Morocco, Egypt or Jordan, who rushed to support the NTC right after the fall of Gaddafi, had no moral constraint whatsoever dealing and working with Gaddafi should he win his ugly war against the rebellion.

Morocco: Pro-Democracy Movement Calls for Boycott

The February 20 movement is calling for the boycott on the upcoming referendum on a Constitutional amendment introduced by the king on his June 17 speech. The movement released this video today outlining the main reasons behind their call.

For English subtitles, click on CC.

Ahmed Benchemsi on Al Jazeera: “Pro-democracy supporters will boycott the poll”

In this short interview with Al Jazeera, Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi reacts to Moroccan king’s speech. Benchemsi considers that the outlines of the new Constitution as announced by the king tonight, show little progress in the way of insuring a real separation of powers. He also says the pro-democracy camp will probably boycott the poll, praising the role played by Moroccan activists on the Internet, especially a group called Mamfakinch (We Won’t Give up!) which has called for an equal share of airtime on public TV and radio during the referendum campaign between those who agree and those who disagree with the process.

Ahmed Benchemsi: The Anatomy of the Moroccan Dictatorship (#feb20)

Ahmed Benchemsi is a celebrated Moroccan journalist, former editor, publisher and founder of popular weekly magazines TelQuel and–the now-disappeared–Nichane (Straight Forward). Mr. Benchemsi has now moved to the US where he works as a researcher at Stanford University. Here he speaks at the Oslo Freedom Forum about what he calls “the subtleties” of both the Moroccan dictatorship and that of the pro-democracy youth movement. He dissects, then entertainingly demystifies some of the major arguments the Moroccan regime usually uses to sell its image abroad as an “Arab exception.” A must watch presentation!

A Must Watch: Absolute Power

This is a fascinating, at times chilling documentary from Aljazeera by one of its senior journalists, at least one of my favorite, since his days in the BBC, Rageh Omar, revealing “the tricks of the trade” of Arab dictatorship.

Morocco: Heading For A Make Or Break Moment

Sunday, February 20, 2011 was a rainy and cold day. Not the kind of days you would think one would choose to start a revolution. Yet Moroccan pro-democracy activists chose to make that day the start of what now has become a nationwide movement for change.

I’m not going to tell you a lot about the politics of Feb. 20 Movement (or #FEB20 as the movement is now widely recognized on Twitter), but I will rather be talking to you about the momentous moment that lies ahead in the road for reform in Morocco.

Later this year (probably in September) Moroccans will be asked to vote Yes or Noto a revised, already controversial, version of the Moroccan Constitution. How important will this moment be for the future of the country? What is really at stake? And what can we learn from other countries’ experience in using freely accessible technology to help people make informed and critical decisions on the day of the vote?

I’m working on a translation of this post which will be soon available in both Arabic and French.

I will be moving my blog soon to another platform. You can view this post in my new page here.

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A Song For Tunisia: The Free Knows No Fear

Nothing encompasses the spirit of what we can now safely call the Tunisian revolution, better than the Tunisian anthem itself. Written by the celebrated Tunisian poet Abi El Qacem E’chebbi, it is probably the most recognizable Arab anthem across the region. But if you’re looking for the perfect alternative then you have to listen to this young and talented Tunisian virtuoso, Amel Mathlouthi, who was already singing for the free in 2007, in La Bastille square, foretelling the revolution to come:

I am the free who knows no fear
I am the secrets that won’t disappear
I am the voice that does not bow
I’m in the midst of chaos
I’m the right of the oppressed
… My voice is free