Archive for the people Category

The Tuaregs: From African Nomads to Smugglers and Mercenaries

Posted in algeria, amazigh, culture, history, mauritania, morocco, people, politics, sahara, tuareg on February 4, 2012 by kenzilisa


ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images Tuaregs on camelback Sept. 25, 2010, during a festival in northern Niger

The Tuaregs, a nomadic tribe in North and West Africa, dominated the caravan trade through the Sahara Desert for thousands of years. Their entire way of life was disrupted, however, by the imposition of borders, natural desertification, urbanization and the rise of maritime trade. In their quest to survive, the Tuaregs have launched several revolts in Mali and Niger, fought as mercenaries in the Libyan civil war and used their expertise to smuggle illicit goods, which brought them into contact with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). It is the development of these skills and links to AQIM that have brought the Tuaregs to Western governments’ attention.  More here: The Tuaregs: From African Nomads to Smugglers and Mercenaries | STRATFOR.

AFP: African Oscar goes to incest movie from Morocco

Posted in amazigh, art, culture, morocco, people, traditions, women on March 6, 2011 by kenzilisa

AFP: African Oscar goes to incest movie from Morocco.

I know that headline is kind of disturbing, but bear with me!  I found this news interesting not just because I follow what is going on in Moroccan culture but also because the film’s subject touches on some of the themes of our book on Moroccan henna.  Specifically the film talks about demon-possession in Morocco.   From the article, “Set in the countryside of the north African nation of Morocco “Pegase”, the debut film of young filmmaker Mouftakir, is a drama of rape of Rihanna, 20, perpetrated by her father in the belief she is “pregnant” with a demon.”  Henna is often used to placate demons but sometimes also to protect a person against demon possession, either by wearing henna to keep the demons away or by making an offering of henna at a saint’s tomb to gain protection from the saint.  I haven’t seen this movie yet but I will see if I can find it somewhere.

“Day of Dignity”protests in Morocco this coming weekend

Posted in amazigh, morocco, people, politics on February 22, 2011 by kenzilisa

This is a story from Afrol News.  They don’t have share or email buttons I had to cut and paste it here. You can see the article with photos at the link.

From Afrol News, 22 February – Human rights groups and the opposition youth movement are preparing new mass protests in Morocco for 26 and 27 February, while denouncing government “lies” that Sunday’s protests had been peaceful.

Already during the Sunday mass protests in Morocco, key groups gathered in front of the Rabat parliament announced that new protests would be held on Saturday and Sunday, 26 and 27 February. This was today confirmed by the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH), calling for massive protests all over the country during the weekend.

The AMDH also strongly challenges the government’s and Moroccan press’ version of Sunday’s protests. The official version is that the protests, which had been allowed, in general went peacefully, with a friendly cooperation from security forces. However, looting criminals during the evening had caused great damage and violence, resulting in 5 persons being killed and 138 injured.

Not so, says the AMDH, which is among the key groups organising the protest movement. Indeed, AMDH President Khadija Riyadi herself was among the injured as she, other human rights activists and a journalist had been attacked by “pro-government thugs” outside a court in Rabat, the capital, in the late afternoon.

According to an AMDH statement in Arabic language, received by afrol News, “repressive forces” were used against the peaceful protesters in central Rabat. Both uniformed and plain-cloth government agents, “armed with batons,” started beating the peaceful protesters, causing severe injuries. Ms Riyadi and several others were hospitalised.

The AMDH strongly condemned “this heinous attack” and human rights violation, urging an “investigation into these violations” and further pro-democracy demonstrations in the coming weekend.

And as the first joy over Morocco’s “Day of Dignity” demonstrations is settling, an increasing number of reports document that government repression in Morocco had followed the same lines as other Arab regimes; only executed in a more elegant and discrete way.

For example, trains between Casablanca – Morocco’s largest city – and nearby Rabat were cancelled during the period protesters could have used them to flock to the capital. Protest organiser Mohammed Elaoudi and many other activists saw their websites and e-mail accounts blocked. Foreign journalists covering the events report being tailed by intelligence agents. “Activists” on state TV declared that the protests were cancelled one day before.

After the protests, the message is the same. While Moroccan media reported widely about the protests, they all refer to the official version. All disturbances are attributed to criminals, looters and drug addicts. Security forces had done nothing wrong.

King Mohammed VI in a televised speech yesterday commented on the protests, insisting he would keep faithful to Morocco’s “unique model of democracy and development,” not bowing into “demagoguery and improvisation” as represented by the protest movement.

For the masses of Moroccans, the messages from government so far are credible. Most people believe the protests were widely peaceful, only disturbed by looting criminals.

However, discontent is rife and Sunday’s protests also in Morocco helped to lift the barrier of fear. Protests like those on Sunday would not have been allowed before the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, and the masses can again be mobilised next weekend. 

But there are also more and more people that have stopped believing in the government version. Organisers like the AMDH are increasingly angered. But, even worse, in the areas witnessing violence on Sunday, discontent may grow into an Egypt-like force as people for the first time in decades dear protesting. Sunday’s deaths and injured may ignite deeper anger.

The nucleus of discontent and unrest remains the northern Rif region and the central Atlas mountains; both historically disadvantaged regions dominated by the Berber minority.

Especially in the Rif region, which includes the port city of Al-Hoceima where 5 persons were killed during the Sunday riots, resistance against the capital has deep roots. Indeed, the great political discussion in the Rif right now is whether the government or the King himself is responsible for the problems in Morocco.

In forums, politically conscious Rif residents are discussing the way forward and whether to keep revolting until the King steps down. A person calling himself “Khattabi” in a Rif discussion forum urges people not to believe in the King’s “false promises.” Rather, he says, “we now have a golden opportunity to confront the government; an opportunity that may not present itself again.”

The future of Morocco’s protest – whether they can become peaceful or violent – will probably be decided in the Rif region and around Marrakech, the unofficial Berber capital, next weekend.

By staff writers

© afrol News

Moor Moroccan Master Henna Workshop in NYC, October 16, 2010

Posted in algeria, amazigh, art, classes, critique, culture, design, henna, history, moor, the book, morocco, people, sahara, tattoos, traditions, women, workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by kenzilisa

Nic and I (aka Kenzi) are teaching a Moroccan henna master class in NYC for the all the Northeast henna artists.

Saturday, October 16, 2010
Noon – 5 pm
Alwan for the Arts, New York City

We’ll be covering Moroccan henna traditions and designs in an in-depth 5-hour master class with live demos and hands-on coaching. This is a rare opportunity to not only learn from two of the premiere experts in Moroccan henna but also a chance to hang with us after (afterparty location to be announced).

The lecture/demo part of the workshop will be about 3-3.5 hours long. Everyone will get handouts of the information presented and we plan to dazzle you with a slideshow of awesome henna photos. There will be a Q&A period afterwards and a lot of hangout time to henna each other and practice what you have learned. Nic and I will be there, walking around and helping out as you practice. We will have henna and applicators, but you can bring your own henna and applicator to play with.

Cost for the workshop will be $60 for early registration (before October 1, 2010), $75 thereafter.  You pay for your spot online here.

See you in NYC!!

Moroccan women banned from Saudi Arabia

Posted in culture, morocco, people, travel, women on August 30, 2010 by kenzilisa

Saudi Arabia is denying visas to Moroccan women based on the fear/stereotype that they will remain in the country to live as prostitutes.  Oy!!!

Moor Workshop in Seattle was a blast!!

Posted in amazigh, art, classes, culture, design, henna, history, jewish, moor, the book, morocco, people, traditions, women, workshop on August 24, 2010 by kenzilisa

The very first Moor Moroccan Henna Master Class is behind us and left us with a happy glow.  Nic and I travelled to Seattle for this workshop which was held on August 21st as part of the Artful Henna exhibit organized by Kree and Jeanie.

Because of my work schedule I had to fly in on Saturday, do the workshop on Sunday and fly out right away.  It was a whirlwind trip but packed full of great people and great experiences.  The workshop was held at the Art Not Terminal Gallery in the same room as the Artful Henna show.  To be surrounded by these great henna-inspired works by some of my favorite artists was very inspiring.  We had a great turnout of 15 people…enough to make it worthwhile but not so many that it became impersonal.  We started the workshop with my presentation of the history of henna in Morocco, covering various aspects of Moroccan culture and how henna is used in Morocco.  After a break Nic talked about the foundations of Moroccan henna designs with detailed explanations of the various structures and elements.  Questions and comments from the participants brought the  class to a higher level; thanks for that because it definitely added value to the class for everyone and gave us a better idea of what people want to know.  Nic did some live henna on me so that everyone could see how to get started creating an awesome henna design. 

After the class we hung out and chatted a bit.  Some people had other commitments but the rest of us went to a local dive for food and drinks, and some henna.  My tablemates were so sweet and paid for my dinner; I hope I paid them back with the henna designs I did on them.  I’ll post some photos here later.

Thanks to everyone who helped and/or participated.  The first Moor workshop was a success because of your presence.  I hope that we get the opportunity to do this workshop in other parts of the country and the world.  I can’t wait to see what comes out of this experience; I hope that we all start to see more Moroccan henna designs posted on HennaTribe, and that more of our henna clients request Moroccan designs.

If you want to post photos or a review of the class feel free to do it in the comments.  Feel free to link to photo albums in Facebook, Flickr etc. 

If  you are in the Northeast US and would be interested in attending a Moor workshop, please post in the comments or email us.  We are looking to organize a workshop in NYC in October.

More from the Moroccan Tashelheet Wedding (via Life in Marrakesh)

Posted in amazigh, culture, design, henna, morocco, people, traditions, weddings on July 12, 2010 by kenzilisa

More henna…all I did was ask for it. Yay, thanks!! Awesome report, awesome photos.

More from the Moroccan Tashelheet Wedding Where were we?  Oh yes, we were following a joyful musical Berber wedding procession down a dusty dirt road. Kenzilisa over at asked if I had any pictures of henna.  As you may know, in Morocco women decorate their hands with henna for special occasions.  In this little procession, all the hands were clapping… There were lots of smiling faces… Here comes the rosewater… Now we are in the front yard of the bride … Read More

via Life in Marrakesh