Morocco Hub




'A Boy To Be Sacrificed'

ABDELLAH-TAÏAIt's unusual and wonderful for the words of the writer Abdellah Taia to show up in an English-language publication, as they did in this morning's New York Times. It's also a little nervous-making. To read Taia is, very often, to be heartbroken.

That's the case today. In "A Boy To Be Sacrificed," Taia describes the experience of growing up in early-80s Morocco, captive to an unwitting effeminacy -- "something in the way I moved my hands, my inflections. A way of walking, my carriage. An easy intimacy with women, my mother and my many sisters" -- which set him apart from his community, and made him an outcast even as a child:

By the time I was 10, though no one spoke of it, I knew what happened to boys like me in our impoverished society; they were designated victims, to be used, with everyone’s blessing, as easy sexual objects by frustrated men. And I knew that no one would save me — not even my parents, who surely loved me. For them too, I was shame, filth.

Taia proceeds to describe the night the frightened child he was gave way to the rather Cynical (though seldom "cynical") man he became -- a night when a group of drunk men gathered outside his home, rather like the Sodomites of Genesis, and demanded that Taia be released to them for their pleasure. He was 12 or 13 years old at the time:

I was far, then ... from understanding that the problem wasn’t me. I was simply afraid. Very afraid. And I hoped my big brother, my hero, would rise and answer them. That he would protect me, at least with words. I didn’t want him to fight them — no. All I wanted him to say were these few little words: “Go away! Leave my little brother alone.”

But my brother, the absolute monarch of our family, did nothing.

Taia ultimately made it to Sweden, and then to France, where he studied at the Sorbonne. He lives in France still.


Texting While Muslim

Picture 16Those who toil in competetive industries often discuss their work using hyperbolic language. (Recall Mitt Romney's recent promise to bloody the nose of President Obama, and Newt Gingrich's subsequent promise to not just bloody the First Schnoz, but to knock the President unconscious.)

Well -- if you're a Muslim, hold your tongue. According to the AFP, a Muslim businessman in Canada was recently arrested and briefly imprisoned after authorities intercepted a text message in which he told his sales staff to "blow away" the competition at a New York trade show.

From the AFP:

Moroccan-born Saad Allami, who works as a telecommunications company sales manager, was arrested three days after he sent the message in January 2011 and detained while police searched his home, said the Muslim Council of Montreal.

"The whole time, the officers kept repeating to the plaintiff's wife that her husband was a terrorist," said court filings in a lawsuit filed by Allami, cited by local media. Allami was released after four hours of questioning.

Mr. Allami's colleagues were reportedly detained at the border en route to New York.

Mr. Allami's not taking this treatment lying down. He's not seeking over $100,000 in damages from the Quebec provincial police. His day in the Quebec Superior Court arrives in early March.


News: Lard, David Cicilline, Sunscreen, Malta, Evan Lysacek

Road  Lost creators explain how they did it, what's going on.

Herndon RoadA sad day for lard.

RoadWhat Evan Lysacek wants in a girlfriend.

RoadRoad to Nowhere: David Byrne sues Charlie Crist for $1 million for using song in campaign attack ad.

RoadUK asylum system deeply flawed as seekers of safety are sent back to be tortured: “They acknowledge that they receive no guidance on interviewing gay applicants from countries such as Uganda, Jamaica and Malawi and that determinations are often made on the basis of out of date or inadequate information about an asylum seeker’s country of origin."

RoadGay magazine Mithly goes live online in Morocco.

RoadFOX News edits out applause in Obama West Point commencement speech.

RoadXtina cancels summer tour.

RoadBlog written by closeted young gay hockey player revealed to be written by 40-year-old man: "Mikey, the teenage hockey blogger from Minnesota, seems beyond a reasonable doubt a late-fortysomething man from a Minneapolis suburb who likes travel, food, was married and has sex profiles on two gay hookup sites. His deceit was discovered when he fell in love with Jimmy, a contributor to his blog, and his story started to unravel."

Mullet_weir  RoadJohnny Weir discusses his glamorous pink mullet, which he says was inspired by Sex and the City 2: "“The book is pink, the game is pink, I’ve [even] got [pink] make-up on myself...It’s just for [the premiere]. I’ll change it next week. I’m going baby blue — you heard it here first! I think of myself as a Carrie but everyone thinks they’re a Carrie. I have a lot of Charlotte in me, I’m very uptight in many ways, and I’ve got some Samantha in me too though."

RoadFederal judge in Maine rules against National Organization for Marriage, says NOM should turn over donor information.

RoadLance Bass lunches with his boy posse.

RoadMalta given poor ranking on gay rights.

RoadDavid Blankenhorn of the Institute for American Values denies that any of his anti-gay testimony in support of Proposition 8 had anything to do with George Rekers: "I recently learned that a separate, lawyer-generated document submitted to the court apparently does list an article by Mr. Rekers in connection with my testimony, but that document, on this point, is in error. This matter is particularly important to me, since in my report to the court, as well as in my testimony on the stand, I clearly and emphatically rejected the anti-gay views that Mr. Rekers has apparently expressed."

Marine RoadMarine Walker Burttschell makes 200 mile trek in personal quest against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". "When I let them know that I was on my way to Washington, D.C. (by foot), their mouths would drop and the first thing they would ask is 'why the hell don’t you drive?' I informed them I was doing this to bring attention to the current 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell' policy and to ask Senator Webb, one Marine to another, to support repeal."

RoadPaul Lynde does the weather.

RoadDoes sunscreen cause more cancer than it prevents?

RoadDavid Cicilline called frontrunner in Rhode Island Congressional race.

RoadToronto queer icon Will Munro dies of brain cancer: "He was an artist, a DJ, a promoter, a bar owner, an activist and youth worker, but his impact on the city is much bigger than the sum of those parts."

RoadWatch: Dustin Lance Black speaks at Madame Tussaud's on Harvey Milk Day.

RoadChinese lesbian attempts suicide to escape husband: "Homosexual activists are citing a lesbian's failed suicide attempt in Anhui Province as a tragic example of the emotional pain suffered by lesbians when they are forced to marry men. For months, Qinqin (not her real name) had considered telling her husband that she was in love with another woman. But her parents had arranged Qinqin's marriage, and she could not bear to tell them the truth. Instead, she tried to kill herself by swallowing pesticides on May 14 in Hanshan county, Anhui Province."


Documentary Exposes Mormon Financial Contributions to Prop 8

Mormon

8: The Mormon Proposition is a new documentary about the involvement of the Church of Latter Day Saints' involvement in the passage of Proposition 8 in California. It's written, and directed by Reed Cowan, produced by Cowan, Chris Volz, and Steven Greenstreet, executive produced by Bruce Bastian, and narrated by Dustin Lance Black.

The trailer dropped yesterday. Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Documentary Exposes Mormon Financial Contributions to Prop 8" »


News: Prop 8, Hubble, Ruben Diaz, Abdellah Taia, White Knot

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New York State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. takes credit for poor marriage equality polling numbers, predicts bill won't come to floor by end of session.

Pattinsonshirtless

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Vampire takes his chances in the sunlight.

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Let's Pets Get Physical!

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Guy Ritchie working on film adaptation of Guys & Dolls? "The director, best known for his London-based crime films, is said to have roped in movie hardman Jason Statham to show off his vocal talents in a reworking of the classic musical, which originally starred Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra."

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Kathy Griffin, Lance Bass and other celebs take to the streets of L.A. to protest Prop 8 decision.

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Drew Barrymore speaks at Prop 8 protest.

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AIDS prevention campaign: sexual promiscuity written in the pubes.

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Hubble Telescope healthy, solid after repair: "We've got a whole new telescope. We've got four new instruments. Two of them dead, now alive. These are truly the best of times. Not the worst of times."

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Phyllis Lyon recalls her life with the late Del Martin as Prop 8 is upheld.

Taia

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Gay Moroccan author Abdellah Taia tells all: "Taia has defied Moroccan society's don't-ask, don't-tell attitude toward homosexuality — and prison sentences that are still on the books in the North African kingdom — to write five autobiographical novels about growing up poor and gay in the northern coastal city of Sale. The novels, peppered with sexually explicit passages, have catapulted him to fame in his native country and made him the de-facto poster child of its budding gay rights movement."

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Make Me a Supermodel fix: Jonathan Waud.

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Right whales return to former whaling ground.

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Chris Brown: "I ain't a monster."

Whiteknot

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Levi's joins White Knot movement for marriage equality: "Our design team was seeking something that would resonate beyond just fashion but also fit with our white product theme."

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Hero of the day: Duckman.

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Grand Theft Auto IV creators to release new title - The Ballad of Gay Tony.

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San Francisco's thin blue gay line.

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Paul Oakenfold says titles of new Madonna singles are "I'm Sorry", "Broken", and "Celebrate".

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8: The Mormon Proposition. An interview with director Reed Cowan: "Truthfully, this film started out as an exposé on the problems of gay teen homelessness in Utah's 'Zion' and an examination about WHY otherwise loving parents would kick their kids out on to the streets just because their kids are gay.  But as the weeks and months unfolded in our project, I began seeing that history demanded our project be larger in scope.  Slowly, but with great force, our focus shifted to what I believe is the 'touchstone' of Mormon ideology regarding homosexuality...and that is exclusively Mormon efforts to get PROP 8 on the ballot in California and see its passage.  It's the case against Mormons and what I believe has been a decades long work to damage gay people and their causes.


Gays Affected by Moroccan Govt Crackdown Over Moral Values

Agence France-Presse reports that Morocco has begun a state crackdown on feminists, gays, and those practicing Shiite Islam in order to sustain the state's control over moral values in the run-up to elections set to take place this summer:

Morocco "The government's initiative extends to the moral sphere with the interior ministry declaring in a statement Saturday that it was determined to confront, 'with vigour and in the framework of existing legislation all activities, writings and books seeking to attack the moral and religious values' of Moroccan society. Government sources say this is a counter-attack against articles in the press calling for greater tolerance of homosexuality in Morocco. The government regards homosexuality as contrary to social values and Islam, and Islamists, in particular the Justice and Development Party (PJD), have condemned the campaign and called for firm action. Newspapers report that about 20 gays were recently arrested in the centre of the country. A French feminist organisation was earlier this year refused permission to open a branch in Morocco. Fouzia Assouli, a women's rights campaigner, said the new emphasis on moral values was linked to local elections due to take place in June and the government's determination not to give Islamists an issue around which to rally."

Last week I posted that a furor had erupted over a seminar on sexuality that was scheduled to take place. Authorities blamed British and Spanish activists for assisting locals in organizing the event.


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