Morocco
Echoes of Occupy in Western Sahara

Echoes of Occupy in Western Sahara

Even with millions of dollars of aid at its disposal, it seems unlikely that Morocco will be able to put off the issue of Western Sahara’s right to sovereignty indefinitely. The Gdeim Izik case has drawn the scrutiny and condemnation of the international press, and already the sentenced prisoners have planned a hunger strike to protest their trial and the torture many of them received while detained.

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Morocco’s Short-Sighted Politics

Morocco’s Short-Sighted Politics

April of this year marked the 21st anniversary since the UN Security Council accepted responsibility for trying to resolve the Western Sahara conflict through a referendum on self-determination. The referendum has never taken place, nor is it likely to ever happen. Nor, for that matter, is it likely that the conflict will be resolved through the mutually acceptable political solution that the Council has been asking for since April 2004.

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Arab Islamists Are Here to Stay

Arab Islamists Are Here to Stay

The hysteria of the West about the Arab awakening turning into an Arab Islamist nightmare is reaching full-blown proportions. The United States and Israel, self-appointed referees of democracy in the region despite their long-running support for the Middle East’s most corrupt and authoritarian regimes, are crying foul.

The incitement? A series of victories by Islamist parties in Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. Yet, given the history of Western support for governments that simultaneously quashed secular opposition movements and persecuted Islamists, the popularity of moderate Islamist parties should come as little surprise—nor should it be cause for concern.

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Blood Sport

In the Mayan game of pitz, the first team sport in human history, two sets of players squared off in a ball court that could stretch as long as a football field. The object of the game was to use hips and elbows to keep the ball in the air and, if possible, get it through a hoop set high on a stone wall. The ball was roughly the size and heft of a human head. Indeed, given the sheer number of decapitations in the Popol Vuh, the sacred Mayan text that prominently features the game, scholars have not ruled out the possibility that the teams sometimes played with the heads of sacrificial victims. It’s also probable that, at the conclusion of the game, one team or the other fell en masse beneath the priests’ daggers.

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