underrated Casablanca

Marrakesh is packed with tourists from around the world.

The streets are filled with touts and conmen trying to separate them from their money. A Canadian I met had his phone stolen from a cargo pants pocket in the street, even though it was worthless to the pickpocket. It was locked.

Very few visitors go to Casablanca except on business. I don’t know why. It’s a very interesting city with no touts anywhere.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The highlight is massive Hassan II Mosque built out over the ocean. It’s one of the 5 largest in the world. (capacity 105,000 worshippers with room for at least another 100,000 outside)

I’ve loved visiting huge Mosques since Istanbul 1994.

In Morocco non-Muslims are not allowed inside, actually. But Hassan II is one of the two that does allow it. I joined an English language tour.

 

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2.7 million Americans have served in Iraq, Afghanistan

Have American tax payers got their money’s worth?

In early October the Afghan war will be 17 years old. What’s been gained by the West intervening?

Would Afghanistan be better off now if they’d been left alone to solve their own problems?

The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.

War Without End

Pfc. Richard Dewater was killed in an ambush.

change for the better in Saudi Arabia

I’ve been to Riyadh three times. They are leaders in the Muslim world. Many students study there before returning to their home nations.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has started reforming the Kingdom.

Token changes: women driving, introducing music and cinema, and cracking down on corruption.

In a land of extremists, I hope he can stay alive long enough to move the nation to moderate Islam.

He’s certainly cooperated with (played?) the Toddler President.

Norah O’Donnell: Are women equal to men?

Mohammed bin Salman: Absolutely. We are all human beings and there is no difference.

Norah O’Donnell: You have said you are, “Taking Saudi Arabia back to what we were, a moderate Islam.” What does that mean? …

He has curbed the powers of the country’s so-called “religious police,” who until recently were able to arrest women for not covering up. …

60 Minutes 

He has critics. One guy wants him to change more, faster.

Others say he’s been too brutal. A strongman dictator.

Snow by Orhan Pamuk (2002)

Snow (TurkishKar) is a novel by Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. Published in Turkish in 2002, it was translated into English by Maureen Freelyand published in 2004.

The story encapsulates many of the political and cultural tensions of modern Turkey and successfully combines humor, social commentary, mysticism, and a deep sympathy with its characters. …

Sounded perfect for me.

But I didn’t finish. Though well written, it was too slow.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) is the United States‘ official memorial to the Holocaust.

Adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the USHMM provides for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history. It is dedicated to helping leaders and citizens of the world confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy. …

Since its dedication on April 22, 1993, the Museum has had nearly 40 million visitors, including more than 10 million school children, 99 heads of state, and more than 3,500 foreign officials from over 211 countries. …

On entry you are given a booklet ID card of a Jew killed in the holocaust.

I got Thomas Elek executed by Nazi firing squad on Feb 21, 1944 at the age of 20.

It’s a sobering experience to focus on just one individual of the millions murdered.

My visited reminded me of a prominent, intelligent, influential, articulate Jewish American who’s stridently right wing. Strongly anti-Muslim. Against immigration.

When I pointed out that his statements were exactly what many have said about the Jews over the past few hundred years … he told me his Islamophobia was completely different.

Tell that to these American neo-Nazis.

Chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

German Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

House of Spies (Gabriel Allon #17)

We expected in this book that Gabriel Allon would stay home, now the Chief of Israeli security and father of twins.

Not so much.

… Daniel Silva’s runaway bestseller The Black Widow was one of 2016’s biggest novels. Now, in House of Spies, Gabriel Allon is back and out for revenge—determined to hunt down the world’s most dangerous terrorist, a shadowy ISIS mastermind known only as Saladin.

Four months after the deadliest attack on the American homeland since 9/11, terrorists leave a trail of carnage through London’s glittering West End. The attack is a brilliant feat of planning and secrecy, but with one loose thread: the French-Moroccan street criminal and ISIS operative who supplied the combat assault rifles. …

Amazon

Click PLAY or watch a TV interview with the author on YouTube.

A TV series in in the works produced by MGM.