CONTENTS OF Vol. 30, No. 1, 2005
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STUART SCHAAR: `Abd Al-`Azīz Al-Tha`Ālbī: An early bridge between Indian, Middle Eastern and North African Islam
ABSTRACT: Only after Habib Bourguiba (c.1903-2000),
the first president of independent Tunisia was deposed on 7 November
1987, did scholars begin the serious work of correcting the one-sided
rendering of history that the Supreme Combatant imposed
on his country. Shaykh `Abd al-`Azīz al-Tha`Ālbī (1876-1944),
the prominent leader of early Tunisian nationalism, was one of the victims
of Bourguibas rivalry, jealousy and animosity. Court historians,
ordered to relegate him and others to the dustbins of history, rewrote
the Tunisian past, while leaving out personalities whose memory might
diminish the aura of greatness surrounding the president.
MOSHE GERSHOVICH: Like a Marabout visiting home Reflections on Oral History in the Moroccan countryside.
ABSTRACT: On a sunny but cold winter day in March 2000, I left the compound at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane where I was teaching and living, and travelled on the winding road that connects Fez and Marrakech, Moroccos imperial capitals of yesteryear. I drove about 60 miles south to the township of Mrirt. Stuated 30 km north of Khenifra, in the midst of the Middle Atlas Mountains, Mrirt has grown considerably in recent years. According to the last three censuses, its population has risen from 4,837 in 1971, to 13,856 in 1982 and to 25,942 in 1994. It has become a magnet for rural inhabitants, forced from their hamlets in quest of employment. Many among them use Mrirt as a jumping-off point for further migration towards the Atlantic coastal urban areas around Casablanca, or even overseas. Among the residents of Mrirt and its immediate surroundings live several hundreds war veterans, Moroccans who served in the French army and participated in its wars. When I reached the centre of Mrirt I met my research assistant Hamid Nouamani, and together we headed towards the local Bureau that handles veterans affairs. There, during the course of the day we interviewed 12 veterans and integrated their stories into the gallery which, with the completion of my project, would include more than 150 individuals. This essay concerns the manner in which I conducted my oral history research project in Morocco. In it I discuss various methodological issues, practical problems and ethical concerns I encountered, as well as the ways in which I have sought to deal with them and the compromises I had to make in order to carry it through to completion. At various points in the paper I will return to the events of that day in Mrirt as illustration.
MOHAMED KABLY: A propos du Makhzen des origines: Cheminement fondateur et contour cérémonial
RÉSUMÉ: Par delà lappréhension privilégiant le système makhzenien moderne et lisolant pratiquement de ses racines, lon entreprend ici de restituer la partie immergente de liceberg. Une fois situé dans son contexte culturel global, le terme makhzen, tout en étant polysémique, paraît avoir été finalement réservé au système centralisateur apparu par suite de lémergence, au tournant du VIe/XIIe siècle, dun nouvel espace portant le nom, peu après, dal-Maghrib al-Aqsà (Maghreb-Extrême). Appréhendé comme mode de gestion et de pouvoir, ce système, loin de se présenter demblée comme système accompli, aura été par contre généré au fil des siècles par diverses versions plus ou moins opposées et procédant, en gros, des mêmes données de structure essentielles. Implicite ou noyée dans la durée, une telle réalité transparaît sans peine au niveau du cérémonial adopté par chacune des dynasties concernées. Au point que le Makhzen des origines se démarque, de fait comme en image, du Makhzen chérifien qui lui fit suite. Néanmoins, tout en sécartant de ce dernier sous ce double rapport, il ne pouvait guère éviter de lui léguer un certain nombre de traits apparemment indélébiles. Du fait quil privilégiait lautorité par dessus tout, il aurait été conduit, peu à peu, à synthétiser ses propres versions opposées pour souvrir, dorénavant, au pragmatisme tempéré par la parade et soutenu, le plus souvent, par la rigueur.
MOTAZZ A. SOLIMAN: Libyan Foreign Policy from the Middle East to Africa: History, Transition and Implications
ABSTRACT: Having chanting Pan-Arabist ideology and slogans since 1969, the regime of Muammar Qaddafi set its eyes on creating a regional leadership role for Libya in the Middle East. However, through diplomatic activity in the 1990s, Libya has more explicitly sought to redefine itself in the context of an African entity, while distancing itself from the Arab world. As a result, African leaders have drawn closer to Qaddafi than other Arab leaders and Libyan relations with Arab counterparts still appear somewhat cold. This dramatic shift occurred alongside the heyday of the Pan-Africanist struggle against imperialism and whit-minority regimes in the Black Continent, with Libya leading Arab efforts in assistance for the struggle of African self-determination. At the conclusion of the Cold War order, the shift in Libyas orientation reached dramatic heights as Qaddafi repeatedly renounced his countrys old traditions and banners, above all, Pan-Arabism. Multiple factors may account for this shift, namely: 1. Libyas political system and its implications on a Pan-African basis; 2. The history and evolution of Libyan-Egyptian relations since 1969 and Libyas eventual isolation in the Middle East; 3. Qaddafis ideology; 4. Common Arab and African experiences; 5. Libyas international isolation and African friendship since the 1980s. Further complicating Libyas international relations are the countrys recent political rapprochement, and expansion of economic ties, with the west. These two developments come at a time when the United States has redefined its security interests concerning Africa in a post-9/11 framework of thought. No known relationship between the 9/11 tragedy and Libya exists. Yet a new, complex love-hate Libyan-West relationship, given Libyas capacity as a potential peace-broker or destabilizing agent on regional (African, Middle Eastern) and international levels on the one hand, and as a valuable economic partner on the other. Both economic expansion and political rapprochement appear to be unclear and undefined, or at least seem to be moving at a confusing speed while giving mixed signals. This research paper specifically attempts to explore in depth the reasons behind Libyas overtures to Africa and what implications these overtures may have for its relations with the Middle East and West. Conversely, the paper also poses the question of what implications the new Libyan-West honeymoon may have for Libyas status in the Middle east and Africa.
JILLALI EL ADNANI: Les rites de pluie et le champ politico-religieux au Maroc du XIXe siècle: quand la pluie tue le Sultan
RÉSUMÉ: Le présent article tente
de revisiter les rapports entre le pouvoir du makhzen et celui de la
tribu mais en sappuyant sur la relation entre ciel et terre et
surtout sur un type de magie qui renvoie à la succession de la
sécheresse, de la pluie et du pouvoir politico-religieux. Cest
dire que les oppositions classiques entre pays makhzen et pays de lanarchie
ou encore entre la plaine et la montagne ne seront pas souvent prises
en compte. La priorité sera donc donnée à cette
alliance entre le sacré et le profane qui a pu souvent venir
en aide à un pouvoir politique en proie à des difficultés
internes auxquelles les textes sacrés ne trouvent pas de remède.
STEPHEN CORY: Language of Power: The use of literary Arabic as political propaganda in Early Modern Morocco
ABSTRACT: Some of the most prolific sources for the
history of the pre-modern Maghreb are the volumes of panegyric literature
produced in the sultans courts and used to under-gird their political
legitimacy. Since this literature tends to be extremely partial, filled
with fantastic and unbelievable assertions and stories, highly complex,
and very stylized, historians have often considered such documents to
be of marginal value in providing historical information.