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Articles

Algerian Agricultural Experiments in the Sahara

April 01, 2006
Soufi from the River, Soufi from the Sand
by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Who else but we built our domes?
Who but we preened these poems?
To whom else do sand dunes yield
A land aglow with golden jewel?
Come,
See a rare pride.
Come,
See how this sand breathes sand;
How these brown arms
Render harsh earth so supple.
How these brown arms
Lift away trouble.
Come.
See, from sun’s hot rays of El-Souf
light enters any dark crevice.

--- Bubakar Murad
(Translation: Rachida Mohammedi)

At the entrance to a private experimental farm near the city of El-Oued in the Algerian sahara stands a modest statue of an early settler of this oasis: the ‘rammaal’. He is neither a camel trader nor a herdsman, although El-Oued is home to both. Rimal means sand in ‘arabic’, and rammaal is the humble farmer and sand porter whose muscle and plodding determination made El-Oued’s early date palms grow.

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Algeria Open For Business

October 28, 2005

It’s confirmed by the US government. Algeria is back on the map, according to the United States. Less than two weeks after the country’s national referendum on peace and reconciliation (Middle East International 7610), the American embassy in Algiers announced that it was to reopen its consular office after a ten-year gap.

It is no coincidence that the American announcement comes 12 days after President Bouteflika’s success in the referendum with little opposition or significant violence.

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Iraq, International Women's Day, 2003

March 08, 2003

March 8, 2003. International Women's Day!

So what? It's still war mode for Iraqi women as well as their sons and sisters, their fathers, their brothers and babies.

In Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital, it is a glorious spring day. How could a war be looming? How could thousands of tanks be lined up along three borders, ready to mow over us?

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Iraqi Scientists Outside History

September 01, 1996

Archeologist Walid al-Jadir was one of those scientists who somehow connect everything they see and hear to their work. His task was to reveal the ancient history of Iraq. “See those hillocks on the landscape?” he once asked me pointing to the dull, winter farmland we were passing on the way to Sippar, the site of his research. “Every one of those hills could be a tell,” he continued. “Probably under each one lays an ancient city. The entire country of Iraq is a treasure.”

Al-Jadir felt a sense of urgency about uncovering his country’s distant past. He was proud of the role his ancestors—the inhabitants of Mesopotamia—played in human civilization as long as 5,000 years ago.

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Gravesites: Environmental Ruin in Iraq

March 09, 2006
The chain of death created by the Gulf War is a scary thing. I'm not talking about black skies over the blazing oil wells of Kuwait, or charred remains of soldiers on the sand or the incinerated families who had sought protection in a bomb shelter. Those are familiar images of death, recognizable, and however painful, they are finite. With the end of hostilities, they disappear.

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"Scheherazade's Legacy: Arab Women Writing" edited by Susan M. Darraj. Foreword by BN Aziz;

September 07, 2004
Inevitably, a time arrives in a people’s history when a shared awakening occurs. In varying degrees of awareness, driven by the feeling that “It is up to me to tell my people’s story,” we begin. Or, we are compelled simply to tell my own story. James Baldwin, when he emerged as a political voice, concluded, that he could not accept what he once believed --that he was an interloper, that he could have “no other heritage (than the white heritage) which I could possibly hope to use”, and he would simply have to accept his special attitude, his special place in the world scheme. At one time, he had believed that otherwise, “I would have no place in any scheme”. (Autobiographical Notes, p. 7, Notes of A Native Son, 1955.)

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Move Over

January 10, 2000

Move Over is the title of a poem by Mohja Kahf. And for me it is a statement that Western feminists need to hear. It is time for Western feminists to step aside and let women from other parts of the world speak. Why is it that feminists who serve as book editors and conference organizers urge me to talk about my victimization at the hands of my brother, husband, or another Arab man? Why won’t they hear me explain the injustices of Western actions, for example, in the Gulf War? These women, perhaps more than my Arab brother, are an obstacle to my true liberation.

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Demolishing Palestinian Homes--a daily occurance up to the present

April 05, 1996
It's quite a spectacle, a Palestinian home being blown apart. Furniture, dishes and clothes, hastily removed, are deposited helter-skelter in the path or road. Villagers stand by, silent and grim. Heavily armed soldiers are massed to prevent any disruption. And confused, awed children turn sullen.

Americans are not accustomed to seeing Israel's 'demolitions policy' at work. Most recently, this policy has been aimed at the families of suicide bombers. But all Palestinians, from toddlers to the elderly, are familiar with it.

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