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“Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”

Boston  / Morocco Board News--The stuffy meeting room in the pricy brownstone building of the affluent Back Bay section of Boston was an early reminder of the dog days of August. Despite my intolerance of the heat, I was willing to endure it for a chance to finally meet Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi who was making a brief visit to Boston. Mr. Benchemsi was exactly what I had envisioned him to be; a warm, bright and very well read man with a firm handshake and an apparent interest in people and their ideological propensities.

Benchemsi had just written a piece for Time Magazine probing an alleged power struggle between the two main ideologies that are supposedly calling the shots for the direction of the February 20th movement. The article, in my humble assessment, was more of an indictment of the so called Islamists[1] and their supposedly latent intention to eliminate their current secular bedfellows. Mr. Benchemsi was asserting that these Islamists ought not to be trusted for they are in a pouncing position for a Stalinist style power grab as soon as the revolutionary dust is settled. Making such a claim would require the Stanford scholar the necessary intellectual integrity to leave no stone unturned, and interview enough people who represent both sides of the story in a way that separates bonafide journalistic work from tabloid waffling. Having personally been trained in the muckraking tradition, my Journalism professor insisted on the primordial importance of the rigor and diligence in fact checking, and his favorite thing to say was:” in the event that you interview your mother, ask her about the correct spelling of her name”  
 
I am sorry to say that Mr. Benchemsi’s bias drowned his reason and clouded his judgment making it hard for those who value fair and painstakingly researched journalism to stomach the idea that the Islamists and the seculars are at each others throats. The article was a failed attempt at fomenting strife and instigating discord between two groups whose visions are pretty divergent but are still willing to shelve their differences and engage in a strategic retooling. Opening the article with an unnamed person whose rank and file was completely unchecked or purposely left out asking the crowd to make a prayer on the soul of Bin Laden is exactly the kind of yellow, garishly sensationalist, Glen Beck like journalism that is often practiced by mercenary media to alienate those of us who insist on consuming organic, additive free facts only.
 
Mr. Benchemsi has a first hand knowledge of that bitter vitriolic feeling of being portrayed as the enemy, and the belligerent traitor whose expression of dissent must be bankrolled by those who want harm to inflict Morocco. The economic asphyxiation of Benchemsi’s magazine Nichan should have taught him a thing or two about the state’s unscrupulous dealing with competing ideologies. He was quoted saying that: “they [the Moroccan Government] pretend to like democracy, but they are not willing to bear any cost of it”
 
In an attempt to gauge Mr. Benchemsi’s commitment to Democracy, I asked him if he would be willing to bear any cost of this democracy should the Islamists in Morocco prevail in an open and transparent election. Mr. Benchemsi dropped all decorum and admitted that he would not because, in his view, an Islamist doctrine is in essence akin to a utopian philosophy that can’t possibly bode well with any society looking to advance. Mr. Benchemsi believes that the Islamists’ way of thinking is antithetical to freedom, personal liberties, and all other elevating values. Mr. Benchemsi made no effort to explain the vast popular extensions that these so called Islamist groups boast. I was hoping he would try to decipher for me this irony of who he considers utopians managing to be most successful in getting people to tune in.
 
As it turned out, Mr. Benchemsi was again delivering a stump speech about the beauty of democracy and romanticizing about pluralism. Sadly, democracy is often celebrated when it aligns itself with our whims and wishes. However, when the applications of all electoral and democratic tools do not deliver according to our vision, we then lament the tyranny of the other. I would offer Mr. Benchemsi the same wise and taunting words of friend of mine every time he’s got me beaten in a game of cards: “hey man!! Don’t hate the player, hate the game”
History as it unfolds has a funny way of exposing those who are truly cherish democracy and pluralism and those whose commitment to this game of democracy amount to nothing more than lip service.
 
Only a severely uninformed person would actually believe that an Islamist agenda is actually being represented in the Moroccan political scene. Abdelilah Benkirane fiery media pronouncement are made as calculated positioning tactics to gain favors among activists and youth movements to maintain that iconoclastic sparkle that would keep the party’s relevance as not just another political party merely staging and decorating the political scene. In fact, all political parties in Morocco are known to make similar media splashes to compensate for their severe political impotence induced by a neutering constitution where the role of a politician in Morocco is no more productive than that of a piece of furniture in a government building.
 
I fault the so called Morocco’s Islamists equally as I fault the seculars for what I see as a disingenuous double talk where religious innuendos are evoked to appeal to emotions of the populace on one hand, and by holding a liberal posture, on the other hand, to pander to the western world inflated paranoia. I happen to think that both religious and political reforms are needed in order for Muslim societies to progress and catch up.
 
The Islamist, the seculars have managed to get people to tune in and turn out despite indiscriminate state violence. They have put their difference aside and sat at the same table letting their galvanizing issues unite them. They are having a pretty interesting honeymoon. Mr. Benchemsi is putting himself in a compromising position where he is viewed by many as the typical home wrecker.  


[1] I use the term for its wide journalistic use not its loaded ideological connotation
 

P.S. :

Hello everybody. Ahmed Benchemsi here.

Always glad when a public talk or an article of mine triggers debate. I usually don’t intervene in such discussions, but I have to make a little exception here, for the sake of factual accuracy.

Firstly, I thank Mr. Brahimi for his kind comments. I precisely remember the question he asked me in this Boston conference—a question he faithfully reported in the essay above. I have an utterly different memory of my answer, though.

What I recall saying is: I would evidently accept it if Islamists win elections, because that would be inconsistent on my part to claim democracy and not be ready to abide by its rules. And I added: of course, I would keep on fighting their ideology and exposing its core, inherent contradiction with what I believe the philosophical basis of democracy: freedom of thought (religion being one thought among others). And I concluded: another beauty of democracy is that majorities switch—so, as a democratic opponent of the Islamists, I would obviously have an agenda: defeat them at the ballot box when their term is over.

Thanks and keep up the great debate.

Comments (34)  

 
Mohamed Belkhayat
0 #1 Keep it simple but..Mohamed Belkhayat 2011-07-11 22:46
I agree with the basic premise of the article that we should not demonize the other based on our own prejudice. But for the sake of our readers, we need to dig deeper. For example I read some of Yassine's writings, the leader of adl wa ihssane, which basically say that democracy is not islamic! at the same time I believe that the Islamists should be allowed to have an official party, simply because THEY ARE THE OPPOSITION, the rest of the main parties are not really an opposition. However, the current constitution bans political parties that are based on religion! I wish the article delved into these issues as I am not sure this is clear in my mind. Also, of prime importance are the economic projections of both the religious and secular parties. And let us not be dismissive of either as the example of Turkey has proved many wrong. In conclusion, I do agree with the author that the times of making the Islamist the bogeyman are gone.
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mbt
0 #2 Religious Reform?mbt 2011-07-12 01:01
Mr Brahimi I can understand a political reform but how can you have religious reform? I take it you mean Islam, isn't Islam from Allah (SWT) and "Allah (God) Creator of the Heavens and the earth says: The "Deen"(way of life) before Allah (God) is Islam (Submission to the will of God) Quran 3:19

In another verse Allah (God) says: Today I have perfected your "Deen"(way of life), and have completed my favor upon you (mankind) and have chosen for you Islam (Submission to the will of God) as your "Deen"(way of life) Quran 5:3."

So which bit of religion you think need reforming?
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Morcelli
0 #3 Morocco needs more Benchemsis and oppose al adl wal ihsan's Shariaa lawMorcelli 2011-07-12 01:52
Couple of weeks ago, I saw Mr. Benchemsi asking someone for directions, I waited until he was done asking, I went up to him and introduce myself and of course I surprised and perhaps scared the heck out him. Out of nowhere, I showed up introducing myself with salamualaykom, he looked at me flabbergasted and replied wa 3alaykom salam. After small talk, I re-realized that the man is down to earth and probably was happy to see a Moroccan dude somewhere where you don't expect to see one. Few years back, I sent him an email complaining about the online version of Telquel not published on Friday as it is indicated on the site, he replied and promised me that it won't happen again and that the reason is that they were struck by a nasty virus at telquel.

Any way, I forgot to ask him how is le prince rouge si hicham as they work in the same department at Stanford, one is a visiting scholar and the other one is a professor. It makes me feel good to see these guys among those Academic elite. Bref, let me go back to the Mr. Benchemsi's view about al adl wal ihsan. I happen to wholeheartedly agree with his views, Just like the US does not give a podium to communists, Morocco should not give a podium to al adl wal ihsan, the reason in my opinion is very very very simple. Morocco should not be ruled by Shari'a law and shari'a worked 1400 years ago to dismantle al jahiliya at the time when ahl quraish did not have any set of rules, the shariaa law came as a blessing to organize their every day life.

Morocco is poor country overtaken by M6's elites and most poor have no choice but to embrace an Islamic and salafist views if given a right to vote ( Remember Algeria? the Islamists were winning by a landslide). We have seen many examples that no country on earth that embraced shariaa is doing well (iran, taliban, saudi arabia where people cannot even breath). Why repeat others' mistake when we know that it has not work for them?

Many of you will say that it is not democratic to marginalize the islamists, I say the US who is more democratic than any other country did the same thing to communists.
You don't want to destroy Morocco in the name of Democracy and have al adl wal ihsan imposing burqas. Sorry!
No one expected the Mullahs in Iran could suffocate their own people. Look what they are doing now.
The others thing which is pretty dangerous is that the islamists think that they have a DIVINE right to rule as they wish to bring societies to god's will, the way they see god would want them to behave. That's pretty dangerous my friends.
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Brahimi
0 #4 Religious ReformBrahimi 2011-07-12 02:41
Religious reform is one of two things
1- Just another way of saying that religion, in a Country where Islam is declared as the official religion of the land, has to be given some degree of latitude in informing public policy; especially in Morocco where Islam is actually one of the three main sacrosanct.
2- Reforming the strict constructionist tendency in some thinkers who wrongly count themselves on the camp of Islam, and where opposing thoughts are quickly disparaged and dismissed as blasphemy
I never said that the Religion needs a little tweaking… uh oh no that’s not what I said nor is it what I implied
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mbt
0 #5 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”mbt 2011-07-12 03:43
Morcelli, you are wrong when you say Morocco should not have a sharia law. Show me one country in the world (muslim or kafir country) has directlly or indirectly not based its laws on sharia. If you join a club you have to abide by its rules, that I give you as an example, you don't have to be a Moroccan but if you are a Muslim, to say sharia does not matter is not being a muslim. Those who do not follow God's will, will know God's will, will prevail.

It is not that the sharia is bad, contrary, it is the bad people doing a bad job of running a country and ruining it. They will be taken care of by not human beings but the will of Allah. We have many recent examples where the leaders are history now.
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Azamraoui
0 #6 talking about my self !Azamraoui 2011-07-12 03:49
first of all i would like to say MY Opinion as citizen of morocco , i dont want to be Muslim i dont want be christian or any kind of slavery either , just i want to have chance to be educated as all and have medicine when im sick and have respect between my society , well i dont want to give 300 $ to get operation when im dying to the DR so he will change my appointment ! i dont want to go school and study fake history and quran i would like to practice some things to make my mind create .... i dont want to give 5000$ to have some job as everywhere now !!! last things when im going to vot i dont want responsible to take papers and put it in envelope and tell me thanks for coming is ok i will do it for you ?? i dont need red or green T-SHIRT , and list is so so long , think about it !
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man en blanc
0 #7 al adl wal ihsan is NOT a party.man en blanc 2011-07-12 04:02
More like a sect or cult. Political parties are formed around ideologies, with real-time and earth-bound ideas or solutions. Political parties are designed to evolve and adapt to the changing times. At least in theory. The holly books offer great SPIRITUAL guidance, and that's all. I cringe everytime I hear someone saying all the world woes would disappear if we only would consult the Koran or the Bible.

Mr Ibrahimi's rhetorical query to Mr Benchemsi : Would it be acceptable to the progressives "should the Islamists in Morocco prevail in an open and transparent election." WOW! Talk about a loaded question with a bullet in each chamber.
My answer? I would just flip-flop once again and say : Thank God M6 retained the title of Ameer-al-Momine en.
Let's see if the elites are willing to give up their 1956 Mouton-Rothschi ld!
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observer
0 #8 fact or fiction?observer 2011-07-12 04:58
Your article brought back or more precisely resurrected some old and dear memories from deep down the vault: a hobby I once shared with my chums from home sweet home.

Hobby/methodology: watch first, dissect second.

Oh, this also reminds of our local Dar Shabbiba Wa-rriyyada, which routinely held lectures on philosophy, poetry readings sessions, and many plays/theatrica l plays.

The dissections that follow represented an integral element of the whole show, whatever it is. I remember the meeting/confere nce room packed with people and temperature in the 100+ degrees.

Now, how does any of this relate?

Much I would argue, but I’ll focus on one issue this time: none of us appear to have been present with you during the event you described and therefore have no other information, except your report of what happened and your impression of Mr. Benchamsi and your INTERPRETATON of what you heard.

With that in mind, there is no way for us to know how much of what happened got lost in TRANSIT & how much of that got lost in the translation.

If you ask me, people are NOT suited to carry information. That is, because, as the saying goes “Zayyada min rass la-7amak” but few realize that CANNOT be helped (we are people).

Now, my friend, your article is an interpretation/ fiction of an encounter with a lot of you in it. That is not enough or the kind of data I like to have before talking about someone in the THIRD.

As I said: watch first (missing), dissect second (cannot be based on hearsay only).

Thanks
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Deere
0 #9 To mbt sharia vs democracyDeere 2011-07-12 06:10
I am not sure where you get your facts about your claims. So show us an example of a country directly or indirectly who adopted the the law of islam and did well for itself and it's people? you must think that shaira is superior and once established it would bring eveyone whether they like it or not to submit to the will of allah, and can you define what the will of allah is? If God the creator created man free to chose between right and wrong why would he force man to obey him? it doesn't make sense because if you have a son would you rather earn his respect and love or force him to respect you and love you? Man have a free will and will always have a free will no matter what any religion teaches.
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M.brahimi
0 #10 You mean Russian Roulette ???M.brahimi 2011-07-12 08:58
@man en blanc
Thank you for actually reading the article to the end and thank you for putting your finger on the only point I was trying to make. You even managed to nicely wiggle your way out of the question that question and dodge "the bullet" as you righfully put it
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Morcelli
0 #11 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Morcelli 2011-07-12 09:19
when you think about al adl wal ihsan, think that this man with his Nike shoes can easily take your freedom and place you in a burqa in the name of allah
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haras
0 #12 Si Brahimiharas 2011-07-12 11:11
I think you are on the right path there, Benchemsi is among the hard line eradicators in Morocco, for him there should be no place for Islamists in Moroccan politics, not even the PJD. But in all fairness, he is not the exception.

The ugliest part if you ask me, is that he is making Moroccan dictatorship his "fonds de commerce" (like many others), yet he becomes amnesiac when it comes to the biggest blow to human rights during the reign of M6: the incarceration and torture of Salafia Jihadia in the aftermath of May 16, maybe because he was providing the moral support to those actions. He even pushed the ridicule to the point where he was criticizing M6 for sacking of Laanigri, the main instigator of all this dark episode.

Since you mention the "no stone left unturned" attitude, are you sure that "Nishan" was "economically asphyxiated"? I remember reading an article by Rachid Nini where he shows that there is no basis for such an accusation. In fact, Nishan paid the high price for the ban on Arabic newspaper (unlike telquel for example) to advertise alcohols, if you add to that the magazine never caught up with the readers (those who would read dialectal moroccan might prefer kikh kikh) and couldn't attract publicists, the bankruptcy was unavoidable. Like every thing that doesn't work, blame it on the king...

The same goes for many others by the way, and as an example I would mention the case of Mr Jamaii who was storming the government left and right, and playing the Moroccan Robin Hood, when he never declared his employees to the CNSS (they only knew about it when he went bankrupted after 12 years).

In Morocco, the slogan "no to mixing affairs and politics" (no disagreement there) applies sometimes even more to those chanting it...
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Ahmed Benchemsi
0 #13 Factual correctionAhmed Benchemsi 2011-07-12 11:26
Hello everybody. Ahmed Benchemsi here.

Always glad when a public talk or an article of mine triggers debate. I usually don’t intervene in such discussions, but I have to make a little exception here, for the sake of factual accuracy.

Firstly, I thank Mr. Brahimi for his kind comments. I precisely remember the question he asked me in this Boston conference—a question he faithfully reported in the essay above. I have an utterly different memory of my answer, though.

What I recall saying is: I would evidently accept it if Islamists win elections, because that would be inconsistent on my part to claim democracy and not be ready to abide by its rules. And I added: of course, I would keep on fighting their ideology and exposing its core, inherent contradiction with what I believe the philosophical basis of democracy: freedom of thought (religion being one thought among others). And I concluded: another beauty of democracy is that majorities switch—so, as a democratic opponent of the Islamists, I would obviously have an agenda: defeat them at the ballot box when their term is over.

Thanks and keep up the great debate.
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man en blanc
0 #14 Love the sin and the sinner!man en blanc 2011-07-12 12:04
Why doesn't anyone come out and say it? Politically-spe aking, We, Moroccans are absolutely clueless about tomorrow. Never mind next week! We are wading through unchartered waters here! The genie is out of the bottle and now we are walking through minefields!
Okay. No more clichés.
I like Mr. Benchemsi. He WAS TELQUEL, and its martyred sister NICHAN after all! No small achievement if you ask me. I will not question his integrity, in fact I even think he earned his way through the ever shifting sands of "the flavor of the month" academic Illuminati. And why not? His task is done, and Stanford University is an Ivy league school located in one of the most scenic panoramas this side of IFRAN!

Morocco is going through some dramatic changes Right now, and sadly, Our system of governance was never designed to deal with this rapidly changing (screwed-up-Ara b)world. The end-zone never looked so far, but we can't punt right now. We need to call a time-out!
Sorry. More clichés, but we may not have a football season this year.

Then again , we are blessed! Strange way of expressing it since so many Moslems are being butchered by their Moslem "governments". Of course the bearded ones will come out with the standard : "We might condemn the massacres if we had proof that the victims prayed fives times a day…bla…bla.."
Yeah right! They never condemn anything! Except alcohol in Morocco!

Yet, We in Morocco have a front seat view to the nightmarish scenarios unfolding in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria!
So. Islamists : Don't trash your shaving kits yet!

I am beginning to believe!




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Chtaini
0 #15 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Chtaini 2011-07-12 13:15
Chtaini said

Brother Brahimi:

Since you and I as we say as brothers “have buried la “hache” de guerre”, allow me to congratulate you on your last article. If I understand it right, it deals with 3 players in the Moroccan political scene as you were trying to tell us: The Islamists, the secular and the “unscrupulous state”. While the person you have “interviewed” Mr. Benchemsi responded to your question in what seemed to me to be the best way he knows how. You have found out some bias in his responses. You concluded your article by stating two of the players in this Moroccan political scene: the Islamists and the seculars have put their differences aside and are teaming up despite the “indiscriminate violence” from the third player the State. Mr. Benchemsi is then viewed by you as someone who is “putting himself in a compromising position where he is viewed by many as the typical home wrecker”. With all respect for your way of thinking and presenting issues and Mr. Benchemsi’s thinking, my question is if Mr. Benchemsi is viewed by many as you said as the “typical home wrecker”. How do you view yourself? Do you think that you are a neutral interviewer? By the way Mr. Benchemsi can defend himself. I am sure that many readers in Morocco and elsewhere would want to know what your position is on all these issues you presented in your excellent article? Which one of the 3 players do you support? I know that you do not support the third player: the Sate. This leaves the other two players the Islamists and the secular. Which one of these two do you support or do you support both of them if they solve their differences and confront jointly the third one : the State.
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M.brahimi
0 #16 Democracy with Al Ald Wal Ihsane caveat M.brahimi 2011-07-12 22:10
@Morcelli,
Have you been hanging out with Chtaini... Just kidding!!!
On a serious note, I am struggling to understand why do you keep on going to Al Ald Wal Ihsane. If anything, Al Adl wal Ihsane, should be left out of this discussion mainly because this is a group is not an organized legally recognized political party (read man en blanc comment below)
Having said that, let assume, just for kicks, that Al adl wal Ihsane was in fact a political party. Are you saying that they should be excluded because of the ideas they espouse to?? Are you seriously calling fro their marginalization only because you happen not to see eye to eye with them? This is a slippery slope my friend. You know, there was a time when women were denied the right to suffrage because they were not men. I bet you anything when women were taking to the streets protesting and demanding to be included in the process, there were some Nay Sayers who were saying:” letting women vote?? That’s ridiculous… what next? Letting our dinning tables vote?”
Mr. Morcelli, I have one friendly and non patronizing advice to you; Watch comedian George Carlin. The wisdom I got from him was far too superior to that I got from any book.
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Aziz El Alami
0 #17 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Aziz El Alami 2011-07-12 23:24
Mr. Brahimi – I did not read Mr. Benchemsi’s Time Magazine article, so I will refrain from commenting on that part and I will accept your interpretation of what was said.

You did mention that you were in favor of religious reforms and then later on you backtracked and said no tweaking was necessary!!! Which is it??? Tweaking and reforming mean pretty much the same thing… I agree with your first statement that we need to reform our Religion. We all know (but don’t admit) that the Quran contains a number of vague, inconsistent or conflicting verses… But that’s a topic for another day.

It would be a cold day in hell before the “Islamists” win any major support in Morocco – Their agenda is flawed and outdated! That’s my answer to your rhetorical question.

Observer – I think you are (Ould Adderb)… I grew up in the (Battemat) right next door to (Dar Shabbiba) :-)))

man en blanc – I have some 1956 vintage if you are interested!
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Morokkan
0 #18 Left..right...N o centerMorokkan 2011-07-13 00:17
The Islamist and the leftist aren't a party...and if you are listening they don't want to be one... they don't want to enter the field of play.... nonetheless quick a field goal.
Now, Mr Ibrahimi i would like to hear about the missing center (The so approved political parties)... are they on time out? should we draft a new center? we are on lockout for 2011...what to do?
we have plenty of contributors that may want to tackle this issue...please do...i would love to read an article that would touch this subject.
Thanks!
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Morcelli
0 #19 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Morcelli 2011-07-13 01:17
@M.brahimi,
Yes, i did say marginalize al adl wal ihsan. How? You make them irrelevant to the masses? how do you do that? you embrace a real democracy not a sham constitution.

If the masses have a choice between a the maybe 70 virgins and real justice/democra cy, it is more likely than not, the masses will go for the tangible justice/democra cy not a promise that only men will benefit from.

Btw, when the dudes get the 70 virgins, what's in it for the dudette?

As for making the analogy between women voting and al adl wal ihsan's, that will not fly my friend, I already made analogy between communists and Radical islamists, why insert women here when you know that is like comparing "watermelons and peaches".

As for George Carlin, god bless his soul was one of my favorite along Richard Pryor, I watched many of his comedies but stopped bringing those dvd's as he used the F word more than I want my kids to see me enjoying his blunt in your face attitude.

As for Chtaini, You simply cannot deny the guy's love for his country and his king.
I challenge you or anyone here to find me ONE person in this planet who tries his best to make MAP look like a great new organization. There is only one chtaini and one chtaini only :-). I also think that Chtaini no matter how we disagree with his views, he does have a good heart and he loves all Moroccans including man en blanc and aziz al alami.













:D
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Morcelli
0 #20 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Morcelli 2011-07-13 01:50
Sorry I forgot to mention why I keep using al adl wal ihsan as an example. Many say well, it's merely a group, it is not legal, or not allowed to be legal, it is not a party, that is true, but who has more followers the PJD who is very legal or al adl wal ihsan?
If free elections are held today, there is no doubt on any analyst's mind that the al adl wal ihsan will win any election it chooses to participate in.

The PJD who has a lot less followers abstained from entering all elections the time before last so they won't get banned as was the case of FIS in Algeria. They decided to take some and give some, al adl wal ihsane don't play those games and that is why they have more followers. They want an islamic state governed by sharia law. For me and many like me shariaa is no no because shariaa can be interpreted based on the mood of the mullah/Imam. If he's in bad mood or catch his daughter flirting with someone, he'll make every woman wear a burqa. He just need to convince his imam buddies. It sounds funny but it is not. It s a serious business, let say we let the radicals run the country because they won the elections, what will happen to the majority who are Muslims in Morocco but do not practice? Do I have to answer this question?




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Brahimi
0 #21 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Brahimi 2011-07-13 03:09
Mr. Chtaini,
Good try brother... Try again.
I am beyond your tight, one dimensional definitions of what a free thinking being is or is not. So, any of assumptions about who I am strictly yours. Last time, I was asked that question I remember seeing four bare walls, a dim light, and two clean shaven white men. Never mind what I think. I am a virtual being. Please treat me that way.
Lastly, I was not interviewing Benchemsi; I attended a talk he was
giving in Boston and we had this friendly exchange.
Thank you
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Brahimi
0 #22 Let's blame it on the heatBrahimi 2011-07-13 03:21
Mr. ALami,
One of my biggest and worst pet peeve is some one starting their argument with: " we all know..." the fact is that we do NOT all know. The burden is on your back to make believers out of us.
A friend asked me if, God forbid, I was inflicted by sickness, would I
ever consider giving Mekki Skhirat a shot? If my quest was to find a
competent doctor, then my answer would be "NO" mainly because Mekki lacks the credentials of a doctor. If, however, I was seeking a quack. I
would probably consul with Mekki given that he has proven to be one of
the best quacks out there.
Excuse my ramblings here as I am trying to invite you to write an
article about "the discrepancies in the Quran" but please back it up
with some credentials. Demonstrate that you are indeed an authority in
the field and someone whose opinion should matter. I never try to
diagnose my mother knee pain simply because I have never invested any of
myself in the field of medicine. Why all the vaunting about the Quran. But that's of course a topic for another thread.
@ Benchemsi,
Funny how we have two different records of the encounter.” I would
evidently accept it if Islamists win elections, because that would be
inconsistent on my part to claim democracy and not be ready to abide by
its rules" This was actually the answer I was hoping you would give me. I have so much respect for you and had you given me that answer I would have had you in a head lock and given you the biggest smooch ever.
"So, as a democratic opponent of the Islamists, I would obviously have
an agenda: defeat them at the ballot box when their term is over"
I respect anyone with this attitude. You, unfortunately, could not think
of such a great answer on the spot. Had you been quick on your feet and
gave that answer, this article would have taken a different poetic tone.
I too have a beef with the so called Islamists in Morocco, but I debate them on the intelectual merit of whatever they have to posit NOT because they happen to think differently. I try to expose the gap between their discourse and delivery and I challenge them to present an alternative to this mediocre times. I am ready to dismiss anyone... and I mean ANYONE!!!!
@Morcelli,
It is actually 72 virgins, that’s the number I signed up for. I will indulge no more than that in these jokes whose intent is not exactly void of malice when Pamela Geller and her ilk dish them out.
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Observer
0 #23 “Third-person theory” alive and kickingObserver 2011-07-13 04:50
I noticed a sizable amount of undigested waste matter regurgitated or rather spewed, by some, over matters of religion.

Please take your time to be properly schooled in these matters -- there really is not any need or urgency to cry out the first thought that comes to mind, and in the process make an out of yourself.

Time + friction do wonders: Too much of Fox News and rubbing shoulders with Mr. Chitan and his bosom bodies (here) from DST Academy and affiliates will make a nice sculpture (in their image) of your mind.

Aziz: your “Ould Addarb” name calling has a wonderful sound, smell and taste to it – thank you.

Benchemsi: thank you for informing the record. With that I hope the separation between “fact and fiction or interpretation” is bit cleared.

Brahimi: I hope you now appreciate my cautionary note about fact vs. fiction or interpretation.

Watch out for the “social distance corollary or third-person theory.” There are not many exceptions to the rule – you stop questioning (thinking critically), you become one of them without even knowing it, as is clearly evidenced here.

I hope not all is lost in the translation.
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Chtaini
0 #24 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Chtaini 2011-07-13 04:50
Chtaini said

@Brahimi

In all sincerity and Allah is my witness, I hope that these two white guys did not torture you. I am going from now on to consider you as you ask me to a "virtual" but in the real world I consider you as a brother. I promise you that when I am in the East Coast that I will pass by to see you, we will have lunch or diner and I will also see Si Aziz El-Alami in New York and taste some of his 1956 vintage over a good lunch. I am going to start looking for Morcelli who lives in Stanford about an hour away from where I live as he said and discuss Moroccan Gastronomy over a good Italian lunch and of course with what he considers a good California Cepage. I will try to locate Man en Blanc to meet so that we can tell each other some jokes over a good Zinfandel and LOL together. We may disagree but I always felt that may the best win and 98.5% of the Moroccans won; there is no denial on that. The Moroccan people should be congratulated. It would please them if you all leave polotics aside for a moment and congratulate them. It would not hurt. It will make you better people.
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Aziz El Alami
0 #25 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Aziz El Alami 2011-07-13 05:39
Mr. Brahimi – I am certainly not an authority on this subject neither am I here to make a believer out of you...What I will do though is (at a later time and most likely under an alias name – out of fear of being e-stoned :-)), provide with enough material that not only shows the inconsistencies I mentioned – but I will take it a step further and show you how the Koran is a work of a number of men with their own agendas and not some divine revelation. You can then draw your own conclusion. But we all agree we are deviating a bit from the original thread of your article.

Mr. Chtaini – Lunch is on me… Let me know next time you are in this part of the world.
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Morcelli
0 #26 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Morcelli 2011-07-13 06:14
My friend Aziz El Alami,
Here are couple to get you started and i am ready to be e-stoned.
Why does the kuran makes it easier on rich people not to fast Ramadan if they feed 60 poor creatures a day? Basically if you are broke like me, you have no chance hun? is this fair?
Also is it ok for the Kuran to provide men the luxury of sleeping/marryi ng 4 women, knowing that these women will be miserable when sharing some Muslim dude with a long beard?
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Chtaini
0 #27 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Chtaini 2011-07-13 06:31
Observer is someone who is neutral about a subject matter and expresses himself without insult or accusation or partie pris especially when he gives the appearance of knowing the difference between facts and fiction and interpretation while applying critical thinking. It is not that there is a lost translation, what is lost is the inability to observe what you preach. You cynically and sarcastically make fun of a name you know nothing about. You accuse those who disagree with your view as DST Academy graduates. There is pride in protecting the country against those who want to cause it harm. As to the unjustifiable description of being influence by Fox News, I never watch Fox News because when Murdoch and his allies just started lobbying the Reagan Administration, they had an Office in the National Press Building where the MAP office was and I learned from my other colleagues in journalism in the Press building and as a member of the National Press Club then what Fox News was going to be about and it was not my cup of tea and is not my cup now and will never be. To do justice to the word observer and to borrow it a pseudonym, you should be neutral in your observations. Unfortunately you are not so what you say means nothing. I am saying all this with the utmost respect. I promised myself to be civil in my reactions even if others hit bellow the belt. It is hard for me, because I was not raised to take it lying down, but civil debate oblige
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M.brahimi
0 #28 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”M.brahimi 2011-07-13 08:26
@Aziz El Alami,
A little e-stoning ain't going to hurt you, it may just make you finger tips itch more and send you scurrying to the keyboard.
@ Chtaini,
If you and I ever meet, I would have to frisk you just to rule out the possibility of you wearing a wire. If I do find you to be wired, I would then have to deliver on my promise and beat you like a red headed step son. LOL
Seriously though, if any of you happen to be in Bean town, please do give me a heads up for some good old Moroccan hospitality
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Hamza Benamar
0 #29 Why insult pieces of furniture?Hamza Benamar 2011-07-13 18:23
I like pieces of furniture. They have a depreciation lifetime that mirrors their utility. You can write them off when useless. You can always refer back to their Net Book Value to check where they stand in your books. A Politician is to a Cash Flow Statement what Cancer is to a Human Cell.

Why do I start with Balance Sheets and Cash Flow Statements? Follow the money trail and you will figure out that all this naive blabla about the virtues of democracy stops where interests lie, mainly the interests of those holding the treasury of a country. The Moroccan system currently works exactly exactly, let me repeat, exactly as it is intended to work: The intrinsic wealth of a nation is served up to a few nations with a local administration that requires at most 1% of the local population in a middle-manageme nt position; the downside of demography and law of big numbers is that over time more than 1% of the population will deem itself capable and worthy of that middle management function. They are called the educated upper middle class. In the meantime, 90% of the DNA roaming the land, blue collar?, is primarily looking for food and shelter. One would have to TRY hard to keep 50% of a country illiterate. Right?

Wall Street guys is not in Rabat. It is a 3-hr flight north from Rabat. The shareholders speak the language of Verlaine.
Executive Management, on paper, happens to be in Rabat.
The dividends are wired out to an IBAN account like clockwork.
The upper middle class is holding on to a miserable salary compared with the outflow of dividends.
The 90% are holding on to Goodwill, that line item that is an accounting detail, an intangible that can't survive on its own but through the petty generosity of the shareholders and Wall Street Analysts.

The system works exactly as designed, to serve a minority set of shareholders.
It feels good to beat up on executive management.

I would like to read about plans to turn the 90% into shareholders, shareholders that could be islamists, hedonists, atheists, or just your regular schizophrenic brother/cousin/ uncle who fasts one month a year to ready his liver for Johnny Walker the other 11.
I argue that an executive management change for the sake of change that works under the constraint of wiring out dividends to the same IBAN account is 'useless'.

Now, back to our furniture. Afwan ya kourssi!
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Noureddine Boutahar
0 #30 Well saidNoureddine Boutahar 2011-07-13 19:44
Si Brahmi,
I read Benshemsi's article as I do most articles of Moroccans abroad because it's my way of keeping in touch with English as I am a high school teacher of English here in Morocco (I did spend some time in Boston as well as in Kent State). I did not agree with most of Benshemsi's views and the ways he presented them and your article echoes my reservations. Thank you
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M.brahimi
0 #31 My chairM.brahimi 2011-07-13 23:09
Si Hamza,
I don't know what's in the Hong Kong water, but I think you got it. I too have a chair in my living room that my kids wouldn't dare sitting on. Kinda like Archie Bunker from "All in The Family TV show" that was in reruns in early 80s. I loved that show
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Chtaini
0 #32 COMMENT_TITLE_R E “Hey Man!! Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game…”Chtaini 2011-07-14 00:08
Chtaini said

Observer is someone who is neutral about a situatiom he is observing and expresses himself without insult or accusation or partie pris especially when he gives the appearance of knowing the difference between facts and fiction and interpretation while applying critical thinking. It is not that there is a loss translation, what is lost is the ability to observe what one preaches. To do justice to the word observer and to borrow it as a pseudonym is a very heavy responsability, one should be neutral in his observations. As soon as one takes sides, one blows his cover by showing his bias.
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Observer
0 #33 At the risk of creating new "Blind Spots"Observer 2011-07-14 00:20
Hamza,

I loved your comment and especially the chair analogy with one caveat:

Be they an awkward picture placed on the wall, or a new chair inconveniently placed in the middle of the room, IN TIME they all become pieces of furniture, integral part of the physical and mental environments we live in.

Once the habit takes root (i.e., new object elevated to the status of a piece of furniture) it becomes/forms another blind spot in our radar screen.

That is, they become almost unnoticeable – in this context, I think of this as a vulnerability in the make up of our minds (something to watch out for and guard against).

That is the risk we take whenever we allow parasites to become part of the norm.

Here is an experiment worth examining: take a ugly chair and place it in the middle of your living room. Allow this to continue for two to three weeks, and you'll see first hand how adaptive our brain is. In time, the chair will stop to "exist", courtesy of the brain's ability to dynamically filter out ...
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mbt
0 #34 Ignorance and Arrogancembt 2011-07-16 20:17
Deere I thought I would explain in details how many countries have Sharia law directly or indirectly, as an example, the welfare system of ANY country is based on a Sharia law, consensus and indeed census are and so is the oath you take in your country means that the person taking it believes in God. But I have noticed many of the commentators at MB are either atheists or have forgotten their religion and exhibit ignorance and arrogance.
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