Desert Prisons of Africa
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Desert Prisons of Africa
The exploration of infamous desert prisons in Africa.
Curated by Elijah Qahhaar
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King Hassan II

King Hassan II | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

This is King Hassan II of Morocco. He was the one to create this desert prison Tazmamart for the torture of his political opponents and those who have attempted assainating him.

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Tazmamart Prison

Tazmamart Prison | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

Tazmamart Prison the prison where This Blinding Absence of Light took place.

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Hell Hole - Zimbabwe

June 2009 Overcrowding, disease and prisoners starving to death - the shocking revelations of secret filming in Zimbabwe's prisons over the past 3 months. Th...
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

This was a documentary on a Hell Hole Zimbabwe prison that was literally a hell hole. The inmates were jailed for petty crimes such as stealing, and would be given a short sentence. Yet this didn't mean they were getting off easily. " He's half-way through serving 18 months for robbery but seems unlikely to get out alive," (Journeyman Pictures) the journalist stated. This sentence of only 18 months is a death sentence because of the horrible conditions in this prison. No nutritious food and no real exercise can kill a healthy man. These inmates had a very slim chance of surviving this hellhole. This shows very disturbing content showing the inside of a desert prison in Zimbabwe. This closely relates to the Moroccan prison Tazmamart because of the horrible conditions and the clear change in body structure because of the horrible living conditions.

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Elijah Qahhaar's comment, December 13, 2012 11:02 AM
(2:21) shows a boy who is in prison putting on a "shirt" that barely even covers his body.
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Political Resources on the Net - Map of Africa

Political Resources on the Net - Map of Africa | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
Map of Africa
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

A larger view of Africa in a whole.

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From Palace to Prison | People | BBC World Service

From Palace to Prison | People | BBC World Service | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

This was a very interesting testimonial of Malika Oufkir who was a princess in the palace until the kings plane was almost shot down. The coup d'etat failed, and her father was executed. For the betrayal, Hassan II had the mans wife and six children banished to a series of desert prisons. Malika Oufkir was one of those six children. She at the age of five was banished into these desert prisons and was held captive for fifteen years untill she finally escaped and told the world about this horror. She wrote a book on the treatment she was given and says, "Living in silence for 20 years, you lose your dignity. You need to talk, you need to be a witness. I wanted Hassan II to know exactly what he did," (Oufkir). She would not let him win by being silent about the horrors that happened to her and her family. She wanted to speak out against him and make him pay for his crimes.

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Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood Fatima Mernissi, Ruth V. Ward

Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood

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Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

If i were to read another book it would be Dreams of Tresspass:Tales of a Harem Girlhood because it seems to be interesting and would show how some muslim girls have to live because of their beliefs. Also this book shows the female side of a very stereotyped religion. Not everything we hear and see on the news is true.

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Muhammad VI

Muhammad VI | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
Sidi Muhammad, the oldest son of King Hassan II, was born in Rabat on 21 August 1963. In 1985 he obtained a bachelor of arts degree in law from Muhammad V University, followed in 1987 by a master of arts degree in political science. In 1993 he earned a doctor in law degree from the Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis. Upon his father's death, on 23 July 1999, Sidi Muhammad ascended to the throne under the name Muhammad VI. He became the eighteenth king of the Alawite dynasty bearing the title of Amir al-Mu’minin ("commander of the faithful"), befitting a monarch who claims descent from the Prophet.
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

This article on Muhammad Vi, the eldest son of King Hassan II, is very interesting because it shows how King Hassan II left Muhammad Vi with a large array of problems. Muhammad Vi tried his best to control his country so that there wouldnt be any chaos. He broke a taboo by speaking about these prison colonies located in the desert and had them publically recognized. Hes been the first King to ever tell the public about their secret prisons that conduct horrible torturing and force the inmates to live in inhumane living conditions. This speech that the king gave was a very controversial one that caused many problems for this underground prison. "He soon released several thousand prisoners and reduced the prison terms of another 38,000, many of the latter affiliated with the Islamist Jama‘at al-Adl wa al-Ihsan" (Laskier). He had no choice but to free the prisoners in these horrible conditions and lower the sentances of others. He did his best to maintain order but struggled in the following years of his reign.

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This Blinding Absence of Light

This Blinding Absence of Light | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
By Tahar Ben Jelloun
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

This Blinding Absence of Light was a great story of survival. A resistance fighter from Morocco in a group of armed militants charge the compound of King Hassan II attempting to shoot everyone in sight. This unnamed soldier was captured by the king and forced into what they called a "desert hellhole". It was a prison located in the middle of the desert that was completely unsanitary and human rights no longer existed. They were forced into cells that were 6 feet by 3 feet giving them no room to move around and only a hole in the floor to go to the bathroom. This was his story of how he survived through this horrible experience.

 The two main aspects of this book would be rights violations and the importance of funerals and prayer. In this book there were countless rights violations once the soldiers were captured and placed in these prisons. Their right to see was taken from them by being forced into a prison of darkness and as he finally is freed from his blindfold this is what he says, "Alas, when they took off my blindfold, everywhere i looked was black. i thought i had gone blind. We were in a dungeon designed to be in eternal darkness." They had no more freedom of speech or right to be individuals. They were no longer people. Also Funerals were a huge part of this book. Because of the horrible living conditions people dies every week. The funerals were always important. The guards would even be nice when someone died. The guards would allow a nice funeral and a proper burial as they recited the Koran. "He gave out a loud cry; then his voice and breath was forever stilled. The Ustad spoke the first sura of the Koran. Sang it, rather. It was beautiful." 

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Geography - Merriam-Webster's Atlas

Geography - Merriam-Webster's Atlas | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

Morocco the home of the horrible desert prison Tazmamart. Tazmamart is located in Er-Rachidia on the Eastern side of Morocco.

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In Morocco, a Rights Movement, at the King's Pace - New York Times

Morocco has moved further along the road to reform, but the system of law continues to rest on the whim of the king.
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

  In this very powerful article by Neil Macfarquhar he explains how Ahmed Marzouki, twenty-three at the time, was locked away in solitary confinement inside Tazmamart, a desert fortress specifically created for the fifty-eight Military officers captured during the coup d'etat that was  meant to wipe out King Hassan II. The military officers failed during this  attack and were summoned to serve a "five year prison sentence" which ended up being a life sentence in most situations. Neil explained the horrible conditions of this prison and how horribly the prisoners were treated. given no light in their cells and no room to move around in. They were in a very claustrophobic space and confined in their six-by-three foot cell for twenty-four hours a day. Mr. Macfarquhar really showed the world how horrible the conditions were in these Moroccan prisons and shed some light on how inhumane the Moroccan system of punishment was.

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Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

This is a website on human rights violations and injustices. This specific topic is on the injustices of human rights in Morocco. It talks about a wide array of violations including; Morocco: Abuse of Child Domestic Workers, Morocco: Contested Confessions Used to Imprison Protesters, A year of progress in eliminating violence against women, and No Action on Police Beating of Rights Workers. These are all clear topics of human rights violations and were being brought to everyone's attention by the Human Rights Watch website.

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Tazmamart, The Memorial

Tazmamart, The Memorial | Desert Prisons of Africa | Scoop.it
I recall, as a teenager, when the utterance of the word “Tazmamart” prison evoked emotions and feelings of mystery, misery, and ultimate cruelty.  My imagination proved useless in its attempts at simulating events of what could havetaken place in ...
Elijah Qahhaar's insight:

This website talks about the news in Morocco. Specifically this page talks about the closing of Tazmamart and its release of its prisoners. Tazmamart was a sinful word in morocco. “Change the subject was the most common expression used as a reaction to having heard that “sinful” word uttered," (Laoudi). He makes it seem like whenever this word is uttered everyone would turn away and cringe as if the word was a knife stabbing into the person. He says, "When the utterance of the word “Tazmamart” prison evoked emotions and feelings of mystery, misery, and ultimate cruelty," (Laoudi). This prison seemed to have such an effect on people that it will never be forgotten. Even decades later people still refuse to utter Tazmamart.

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