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28: Awaleh

Abdourahman A. Waberi Indiana University Press ePub



I, TOO, HAVE RETURNED from far away and from many dangers. I have traveled the length and breadth of the screes, deserts of sand, ergs and regs, the sides of bald mountains, and the dunes round as a dromedary's hump. I have slaked my thirst with the sap of the tamarins and aloes that grow in the beds of the wadis. A mere scrap would satisfy my hunger. Hidden in the silence of the desert, I moved like a chameleon with the slowness of a glacier. I had in my blood the required economy of breath, the uneasiness of the sentinel, and the gaze that abolishes the horizon. My companions and I—the famous Desert Scorpions that a discreet, jovial Italian friend, Hugo Pratt, had put on a saddle in his picture books, so I've been told—instinctively knew how to detect the pulsations of the earth's crust, sound the very guts of the desert, decode the book of the sands, and sense the coming of a storm. Free ourselves of whatever hampers the step, weighs down the walk, and dampens the forward thrust. The most gifted of us had the power to put the deepest song of the earth into words, wary of the small change of everyday words, a song that wells up from its belly, song of the slow crossing, a song unfolding to infinity. An opening onto the familiar world visited, lived in, questioned a thousand times. Since the beginning of time, we—that is, me and all my colleagues working in Guistir, the region of the three borders (Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia) that saw me born—haven't needed official documents to accompany that melody, to catch it at its birth, at the time when the cold desert night is separated from the reseda-yellow light of dawn. No member of our army of border guards, called ANG,1 has an authentic birth certificate; we were all “born circa…” Because nomadic time is not regulated by any calendar or encumbered by any archive, it does not sign the official papers demanded by the goatees of the Third Republic. Everybody was “born circa” in my time, and only the intrusion of the French colonial administration could impose such a delicate intention on us. For our own good, of course. And we accepted it without trying to bargain. That is our strength, our pride, for we were careful not to reveal our raw, intimate thoughts to the Occupier, and as soon as things turned sour, at a sign or the snap of a finger we would take off: the whiteness, the white-hot iron bar of the sun of insubordination, was ours—the only horizon within our reach. Do not trust appearances, those old men who drag their bones to the shade of the palm tree, the ones you meet by the roadside—they keep up an exhausting pace as soon as they set their body into motion. With their nose to the wind, one foot in front of another, in the thickness of the dunes or the rough surface of the ergs—once they have set off, no one can stop them. And all those seasons with their terrifying faces, we would spend them in the nomadic backcountry. From khamsin to monsoon, we came and went between the coast and the hinterland, with some exceptional periods, like the English blockade under Churchill, which plunged the Territory, governed by the Vichy regime with an iron hand, into the depths of hunger and thirst. During that blockade, the people of this country tasted bitter roots and cat bouillon: the memory of that time is still tattooed on them to this day.

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Chapter Twenty-two. Klein’s Account of Vieta’s Reinterpretation of the Diophantine Procedure and the Consequent Establishment of Algebra as the General Analytical Art

Burt C. Hopkins Indiana University Press ePub

What is at stake for Klein in Vieta’s “analytical art” is the birth of both “the modern concept ofnumber,’ as it underlies symbolic calculi” (183/176), and the expanded—in contrast to ancient Greek science—scope of the generality of mathematical science itself. Klein writes that the former “heralds a general conceptual transformation which extends over the whole of modern science” (183/175), while the latter lends the “treatment” (πραγματεα; 187/179) at issue in the ancient Greek mathematical idea of a “ ‘general treatment’ [καθλου πραγματεα]” “a completely new sense” “within the system of ‘science.’ ” The generality of this new sense will concern both the method and the object of science in what will come to be known as ‘universal mathematics’ (mathesis universalis). This transformation of the basic concept and scope initially of mathematics and then of “the system of knowledge in general” (193/184) “concerns first and foremost the concept of ριθμς itself” (183/175). As a result of “its transfer into a new conceptual dimension” (194/185), namely, into that in which both “the concept of ‘number’ ” and “that which it means” (183/176) are “symbolic in nature,” a transfer that “becomes visible” (194/185) “for the first time in Vieta’s ‘general analytic,’ ” there follows “a thoroughgoing modification of the means and aims of science.” Klein maintains that what this modification involves is “best characterized by a phrase . . . in which Vieta expresses the ultimate problem, the problem proper, of his ‘analytical art’: ‘Analytical art appropriates to itself by right the proud problem of problems, which is: TO LEAVE NO PROBLEM UNSOLVED’.”

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4 - Forgive Me, Friend: Mohammed and Ibrahim

Afterword by Kevin Dwyer Edited by Davi Indiana University Press ePub


In Morocco I tend—like many American anthropologists—to seek rapport with a smile. Retailers in Fes refer to American tourists by the code word miska—chewing gum—meaning they are all teeth and lips. (British tourists, in contrast, are ad-dam al-barid, which means cold blood.) Yet a Moroccan acquaintance of mine characterized Americans as tragically sad friends. The United States is so enormous, he said, and everyone so mobile, that “you Americans are always ready to drop a friend.” He's right, in my experience. The friendly first steps of rapport are, if not the opposite of friendship, a firm defense against it. Defense against the long-term obligations and demands of friendship may be why so many American ethnographers have focused on these themes in Moroccan social life. Perhaps this shadow of contractual obligation is why my dearest friend, Mohammed, assures me in his inimitable English: “Ibrahim, I have no interest in you.”

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Part II Emergence and History of the Conflict to 1948

Mark Tessler Indiana University Press ePub

BY THE END of the nineteenth century, Zionists and Arabs had come into contact, and the results included instances of both cooperation and conflict. On the one hand, Jews were visible as they passed in increasing numbers through Beirut and other Arab cities on their way to the Holy Land, and inside Palestine the small but growing Zionist presence could hardly escape the notice of the indigenous Arab population. Indeed, many Jewish settlers took the initiative in establishing relations with Palestinian Arabs, making themselves known not only to the peasants who lived near their new communities but also to local merchants and landowners. On the other hand, on a political level, Zionist and Arab leaders took cognizance of one another, pondered the matter of the relationship between their respective movements, and in some cases established a dialogue. There were early warnings, especially from some Arabs, that Zionism and Arab nationalism were incompatible in Palestine. Moreover, the intensity of Arab complaints about Zionism increased as World War I approached. At the same time, there was also a belief in the potential for cooperation. Contacts were initiated by Arab organizations and Zionist representatives alike. They were based on a recognition that Jews and Arabs had similar aspirations and reflected a hope that the two peoples might therefore fashion an alliance of mutual benefit. There were even instances in which the symmetry of Jewish and Arab history was acknowledged.

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6. Trashy Women: Karmen Gei, l’Oiseau Rebelle

Kenneth W. Harrow Indiana University Press ePub

From the California Newsreel blurb about Joseph Gaye Ramaka’s film:

Karmen Gei is an adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen. Joseph Gaï Ramaka writes, “Carmen is a myth but what does Carmen represent today? Where do Carmen’s love and freedom stand at the onset of the 21st Century? Therein lies my film’s intent, a black Carmen, plunged in the magical and chaotic urbanity of an African city.” Here Karmen transgresses every convention. Like every Carmen, Karmen Gei is about the conflict between infinite desire for freedom and the laws, conventions and human limitations that constrain the desire. (http://newsreel.org/nav/title.asp?tc=CN0134)

The first thing one notices about this version of Carmen is that the music is original, largely consisting of jazz tracks and Wolof music, nothing like that of Bizet. But the plot is closer to that of the opera, and some of its best-known lyrics do follow those of the opera, including the well-known habanera. Our Karmen first appears in prison where she dances for the inmates and especially the female warden, Angelique. Angelique cannot resist Karmen’s charms, and after a sexually charged rendezvous between the two, Karmen leaves the prison. There the plot loosely follows that of the Bizet version. She seduces the army corporal charged with imprisoning her, enlists him in her gang, and carries out drug deals and break-ins. He is turned away from his former life as officer headed for social success to that of an outlaw, lost to the wiles of Karmen. What ensues is a series of episodes in which Karmen establishes her independence from all men, asserting her adherence to the famous habanera line “love is a bird that cannot be tamed.” In the end, in defiance of the threat of death, she remains true to her ideal of freedom and is killed by the jealous corporal Lamine.

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