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Interview with Victoria Brittain: ‘Literature is resistance’

One member of the team behind the six-year-old MEMO Palestine Book Awards in London is Victoria Brittain, a journalist and author herself. She is now one of the trustees who choose the judges each year, having been one of them herself for the first three years of the initiative. Victoria Brittain is familiar with many countries in Africa and some in the Middle East, where she lived for many years. She is a lover of words, books and Palestine, so she is eminently suitable for her role with the Awards team. The judges chosen are always independent and decide between themselves who will win what is fast becoming a prestigious honour. The winners in 2016 included Ramzy Baroud, Anaheed Al-Hardan […]

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Elsa Lefort Hamouri: ‘My husband’s arrest is political’

It’s been two months since the French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri was imprisoned in Israel after being arrested at his home in East Jerusalem. Since then he has been placed under administrative detention and imprisoned for a renewable period of six months by order of the Minister of Defence Avigdor Lieberman. Neither he nor his lawyers know the reason – it is classified as “secret”. For the past two months his wife Elsa Lefort Hamouri has been fighting to raise the profile of his case, lobbying French authorities and speaking to the media about her husband’s situation. Like the campaign for the French journalist Lou Bureau, who was arbitrarily detained in Turkey under the accusation that he had been a member […]

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Morocco expands Africa policy, opens Africa-Atlantis business school

Morocco has been building an ambitious Africa policy and is in the process of becoming a key player in economic partnerships with sub-Saharan countries. Morocco has become the main investor in many African regions. It is also a diplomatic hub; King Mohamed VI recently decided to rejoin the African Union. In 2016 Morocco created the Higher Council of African Ulemas in Fez, whose mission is to coordinate between 120 theologians or religious scholars from 31 African countries. Simultaneously, a training institute for African imams has opened in the country. Last, but not least, Morocco has also become an academic hub since many African students now study there. It is within this context that the ESSEC Business School has just opened […]

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Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi filled the Carthage Festival with emotion

The first time that Emel Mathlouthi made her voice heard was during the Arab Spring in January 2011, when she sang Dhalem (Tyrant). “You tyrant, kill me, I will write songs, hurt me, I will tell stories,” sang this daughter of a university professor. Mathlouthi covers Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen songs, and those of revolutionary Egyptian singer Sheikh Imam, who was imprisoned when Nasser and then Sadat were president. She also plays songs by the Lebanese oud player, Marcel Khalife, famous for setting the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish to music. In 2012, she released her first album. She played the title track of Kelmti Horra (Freedom of Speech) during the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, which was […]

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