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About Martin Rose

Martin Rose has lived abroad for most of the last 30 years, in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Italy, Belgium, Canada and most recently Morocco, where he was the Director of the British Council in Rabat. He now lives in England. In his column, under the title Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door, he contributes on culture, education and language, and on events in the region. His blog is Mercurius Maghrebensis

Articles by Martin Rose

This week's editor

VM

Our guest editor, Valsamis Mitsilegas, director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of London, introduces this week’s theme: Privacy and Surveillance in 2016.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The writer reflects on the role of language, foreign and Arabic, colloquial and classical, in Morocco; and on the appropriation, polarisation, and xenophobia of the Egyptian counter-revolution.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

Daesh's depravity may be as much imitative as original; and the writer considers how the battle over freedom of speech is part of a bigger game, driving a wedge between France and its Muslims.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The motives of many young would-be jihadists are childlike—the appeal of becoming ‘super-heroes’ to fill an existential void. The author meets a comic book writer aiming to lead them in a different direction.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The author considers the wave of gory Isis propaganda and the violent wielding of an old tool with new vectors, a social media Tamburlaine; and remembers the Moroccans who served in the World Wars.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The author asks how small children will survive sukuns - Morocco's spoken tongue; ponders the word "museum"; and closes with a favourite Moroccan parable. 

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The author ponders literacy, the literate 'red blood corpuscles of society', and the way Arabic is taught in the Middle East and North Africa. He explores the shaky relationship between language and expression and closes with a story of an American seduced into 'deprovincialisation' by Arabic.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to be Next Door

In which our author underestimates the good vibrations in British Film Week in Morocco, enjoys a steel band, and rejoices in the grit of a woman called Rabha. In Part Two he returns to the vexed question of language, concluding that the choice is between isolation and opening up.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The difficulties for transnational African students and the situation in Egypt are the subjects for this month's double comment. The author recommends Hugh Robert's essay on Egypt.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The author considers how education may impact on a society's growing propensity to resort to violence. This column responds to criticism of the school system in Morocco with some thoughts of its own about the role of English, the lingua franca of international communication.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

Our columnist warns western commentators quick to advocate caution to Egyptians, that if they are honest noone knows what is taking place in Egypt in these extraordinary days which we are invited to observe - from above. Down below, there is a small problem with driving, and not just in Ethiopia. But we begin with a visit the author made in June to a Cairo about to erupt.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

Self-awareness and cultural pride are very important. But are they to be centrifugal or centripetal? The ideologization of this issue is probably inevitable. Our columnist tackles the Berber question, and the continuing decline in Moroccan newspaper circulation.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

In which the author increases his understanding of the intellectual and educational condition of modern Morocco with the help of leading historian, Maati Monjib; and, returns to his favourite subject of language, this time with a Gordian Knot just waiting to be cut.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

February 17 is the anniversary of the Day of Rage in Benghazi which kicked off the Libyan Revolution in 2011. But behind the rage, our author finds the politics, the hopes, the justified impatience, and his Libyan friend, Salah. Meanwhile, libraries are burning in Timbuktu.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

Bookshops are places where the rhizome of culture breaks ground, connected beneath the earth but apparently separate on the surface.  But in Morocco at least, something dreadful is happening to girls between the age of ten and 20, and leaching away their early literacy.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

Dispassionate analysis of social and political problems is what is needed to build a better society. Thirty Moroccan youth activists seize the chance, in the process moving the author, who meanwhile finds himself drawn into the country’s language wars.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The effects of learning Arabic from two different angles – as a cause of illiteracy in Morocco, and a spurned langue d’immigration in France – prompting reflections on what constitutes a ‘modern foreign language’ in the European mind. 

Islam, Europe, and history: across the frontiers

The traditional stories told by Europe of its own past and its encounters with the Islamic world are driven by a form of proxy politics that denies the reality of cross-fertilisation. But scholars are discovering new currents that open this intimate relationship to fresh interpretation, says Martin Rose.

Translating difference: a debate about multiculturalism

Why “multiculturalism”? Why now? The British Council’s Martin Rose and openDemocracy’s Caspar Melville introduce a debate whose global character and focus on human experience connect it to the world’s conflicting passions.

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