Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (1967) recounts the story of a Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) unit and their struggle for the liberation of Algeria from French colonial rule. Originally written in a French prison by an FLN rebel leader Saadi Yacef, the film highlights the anti-colonial struggles which were spreading throughout the Third World at the time of the film’s making.
The Battle of Algiers was made only four years after Algeria’s independence and three years after the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at the 1961 conference of Belgrade where Third World nations created a united platform to challenge American, European and Soviet neo-colonialism.
It was during this renaissance of the colonized and neo-colonized world that two Argentinian filmmakers, Octavio Getino and Fernando Solanas wrote Toward a Third Cinema. Published in Cuba’s Tricontinental, a journal dedicated to “solidarity between the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America,” the piece spoke of a new filmic language that was emerging out of the liberation movements of the Third World: a Third Cinema.
Getino and Solanas write: “Third Cinema is... the cinema that recognizes in that struggle the most gigantic cultural, scientific, and artistic manifestation of our time, the great possibility of constructing a liberated personality with each people as the starting point-- in a word, the decolonization of culture.”
The name ‘Third Cinema’ was inspired by the notion of the ‘Third World,’ a concept coined in the 1950‘s by Alfred Sauvy as a reference to the French revolution and its ‘Third Estate:’ the marginalized revolutionary masses. The term was proudly adopted by those leading anti-colonial struggles or by those recently liberated from the direct grasp of the imperial powers.
Similarly, Third Cinema is a concept that parallels this post-colonial sense of empowerment, it is a cinema of decolonization-- an art for the oppressed revolutionary masses. As Getino and Solanas write: “A new historical situation and a new man born in the process of the anti-imperialist struggle demanded a new, revolutionary attitude from the filmmakers of the world”.
Pontecorvo’s film materialized during this historic unshackling of the Third World as a collaboration between the Italian revolutionary left and Algerian anti-colonialists. To this degree, The Battle of Algiers qualifies as an example of Third Cinema-- the question this piece evaluates is to what extent does the film fit the concept thematically and aesthetically.
In 2012, after Amina Filali committed suicide, I set out with other young Moroccan filmmakers and activists to make a film about the subject. You can watch the film I refer to here.
In the next two days, the international press will report on the vote that abolished article 475 of the penal code, Morocco’s rape-to-marry law. They will omit important facts, they will misguide you and in some cases they will just lie to you. In Morocco, the propaganda machine will hail this as just more proof that we are a progressive democracy that cares for both genders. This is something international politicians seem to agree with. According to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Nicolas Sarkozy, we are a role model for the rest of the region.
But I beg the rest of the region not to follow us, we are but a very mediocre role model, if one at all. Our laws and our constitution are nothing but papers. The only way they can be models is if you are actually willing to borrow from a document that “mentions the word ‘king’ 60 times and the word ‘people’ once” as Youness Belghazi would say. Our "papers" also still directly discriminate against women: we still allow polygamy and we still allow men to inherit more than women amongst many other types of gender discrimination.
But let’s get away from papers, because on paper we certainly can sometimes look like a gender-conscious-progressive-parliamentary-monarchy. Let’s get into the reality, because a state’s policy towards women is not determined by what it writes but what it does.
Now that article 475 is abolished we can maybe smile that our great efforts to bring this remnant of French code law to an end have succeeded*. But nothing more than a smile, not a cheer, not an applause. This is because this law means almost nothing. While making a film on this subject I discovered through interviews that the vast majority of rape-forced marriages in Morocco are done outside the realm of the law. They come in the form of inter-family arrangements that are designed to “save the honor” of the family. The rape that prompted such marriages is very rarely reported (reporting it would invite more shame and scorn from the authorities themselves as a part of a society still plagued with patriarchy). Hence, these marriages are treated as any normal marriage when they come to be registered.
Amina Filali’s case was an exception to this for two main reasons. First, from interviews conducted for our film, it became clear that the rapist’s family was not willing to marry him off to a ‘tainted’ girl. This prompted Amina’s family to file a lawsuit using article 475 of the penal code to force their daughter to marry him. This diverges greatly from the narrative that was disseminated by the international press which made the family appear like the victim, sometimes even showing pictures of them at protests. In fact, they were the culprits of the forced marriage.
Second, Amila Filali committed suicide. This wasn’t the first or the last case of suicide in this context since. But it was still an exception because the great majority of girls forced to marry their rapist do not commit suicide. It was the suicide, not the actual marriage, that prompted young Moroccan feminists to react. And it was this reaction that drew the attention of the media, otherwise it would have gone unnoticed as it has for decades.
So with Amina Filali’s case being an exception, and the use of article 475 in general being an exception, we can only conclude that abolishing the law is almost obsolete and will have little to no effect on the lives of women in Morocco. This is but a symbolic victory and it should be treated as such.
What Morocco needs is the abolishment of all the remaining discriminatory laws against women and the implementation of a comprehensive set of proactive laws that protect women from a society that has been denied gender education. Luckily for us, such a comprehensive set of laws has already been suggested by Moroccan feminist groups in 1998: the National Plan of Action (NPA). Amongst other very progressive suggestions, the NPA includes what I think is the most important and needed development in Morocco’s policy towards women: an educational program that teaches both men and women about gender, sexuality and rape. Without such an educational program, even progressive laws will have little effect: women will continue to fear reporting rape, police and other officials will continue to treat it lightly or scorn those who approach them with cases of rape, and Moroccan women will continue to be oppressed.
The fight for women’s rights in Morocco is far from over.
*Unlike what the conservative Western press likes to imply, this law has nothing to do with Moroccan tradition or Islam-- it’s a law introduced by Western colonialists.
"It's good to be home" said internationally acclaimed American director Martin Scorsese upon his return to Morocco, this time as president of the jury of the International Film Festival of Marrakech. And indeed, he was home. More at home than any Moroccan filmmaker and more at home than the majority of 33 million Moroccans.
The irony in this statement slapped me in the face as a self-exiled Moroccan filmmaker. I want to return home to visit family this winter but my fears are too great after having attended the FiSahara International Film Festival in support of Sahrawi self-determination in the refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria.
But I'm less concerned about myself than I am about the millions of Moroccans who are suffering from the regime's corruption, lack of accountability, lack of democracy and lack of human rights. Most Moroccans don't feel at home. That's why most Moroccans look at opportunities abroad: I'm not talking about those who look for political asylum anymore. I'm talking about those who have no economic opportunities, who are feeling so-not-at-home that they are willing to jump into the Mediterranean and cross over to Europe. Many have, and many have died trying.
Scorsese's attendance at the festival, along with the attendance of a plethora of internationally acclaimed filmmakers and actors, is a slap in the face by the international film community to the people of Morocco. The people's money is syphoned off by the state and used for lavish events like the International Film Festival of Marrakech which benefit the image of the Moroccan state, but not the lives of every day Moroccans, nor average Moroccan filmmakers.
While Amazigh villages freeze to death in the Atlas Mountains, while children walk kilometers in the snow to get to school, while some give birth in hospital hallways because there aren't enough beds, while 50% of the population can't read or write...these filmmakers and actors are pampered by the Moroccan regime during their stay: luxurious hotels, fancy dinners, and large sums of money given in exchange for helping promote an autocratic and art-hating regime as one that is democratic and art-loving.
What the festival guests need to realize is that the millions of dollars that are put into the festival could have been used for schools, hospitals, universities, transportation infrastructures, water systems and electricity for remote villages-- or at the very least it, if the regime wants to pretend it supports the arts, towards building public movie theaters, subsidizing Moroccan films and towards emerging filmmaker's funds.
Of course, the regime perceives films to be its enemy-- and for good reason. That is why it created the corrupt Centre Cinematographique Marocain (CCM) which forces filmmakers to obtain shooting permits. This may sound normal, many states ask that filmmakers apply for shooting permits, but that is only if they are shooting in a public space where they will be disturbing the public by closing roads or making excessive noise.
In Morocco, all filmmakers have to obtain shooting permits, even student filmmakers, even one-man crews. But that's not all, filmmakers have to be part of a state-sanctioned production company to even ask for a film permit in the first place! And if they are in a production company, they have to have made half a dozen short films and 2 feature films. But how do you make the pre-required quota of films without a permit? This is an inherent contradiction in filmmaking regulation in Morocco: one has to break the law in order to meet its requirements.
It doesn't stop there. Having met these requirements, a filmmaker then has to submit a script that must be approved by a committee at the CCM. This committee can refuse scripts which are critical of the regime, Islam or the occupation of the Western Sahara. They can also force filmmakers to make changes to their scripts. Yes, the CCM is an institution of censorship.
What happens if a filmmaker breaks these laws (and many of us have as an act of civil disobedience)? Officially, there is the risk of high fines, arrest and confiscation of equipment. Unofficially, the chances of working in a Moroccan filmmaking institution become almost null.
But let's pretend that we follow the rules. Where then are our films seen? The answer is almost nowhere. Because of the CCM's laws, Moroccan movie theaters have almost disappeared. Only 30 movie theaters remain in a country the size of California. With a population of 33 million, that makes it about 1 movie theater for 1 million people. Only a small selection of films make it to the screens.
So while Scorsese may feel good to be home and to have his multi-million dollar American productions screened in Marrakech, the rest of us certainly don't feel at home. We ask that Scorsese and the rest of the festival guests, present and future, to stop helping an oppressive regime build a facade while denying the basic rights of its citizens.
With their television and newspapers they say we are part of the "Arab World." They tell me: "You're Arab." They tell my father to tell me: "we're Arab." They tell me "Arabic is the language of heaven."
But I don't feel Arab. I have little in common with a Saudi or an Egyptian. My last name isn't Arab. My physical features aren't Arab. The food my mother cooks isn’t Arab. My language contains Arabic, but there's something else in it that isn't Arabic.
I am Amazigh, and I'm tired of being told that I am something I am not. I am not part of your “Arab World” or your “Arab" Spring, I am simply what I am.
The language, writing, culture and religion of my ancestors has been erased from my identity, almost completely. My father's ancestors are Rifis and my mother's are Soussis. Yet they still want to convince me that somehow, thousands of kilometers away from the Arabian peninsula, I am Arab?
Was my country empty of identity before it became "Arab"? Is it a coincidence that the so-called "first king of Morocco" also happens to be the first Muslim king? Were the kings before that not kings because they weren't Arab or Muslim? Why do Tarik Ibn Ziyad or Ibn Battuta, both Amazighs, have Arab names? Who changed them?
There are many other people like me. Many aren’t even Amazigh; some are Kurdish, or Armenian and others are African. What we all have in common is that we happen to find ourselves trapped in an imaginary world called the "Arab World."
This “Arab World” is just another form of Orientalism created by the same “Arabs” who complain about it when it comes in other forms from the West. They cry to Westerners: “we’re not all the same!” while beating us into conformity: “You’re Arab!” “You’re Muslim!” and if we say: “NO” then they (society) turn over our case to them (the regimes) to oppress us into conformity.
Don’t be complicit in the “Arab World” mentality, erase that term from your diction.
In the process of shooting and editing the latest documentary I directed, 475, I came to realize that what I was seeing and hearing was far different from the information I had ingested from the media earlier last year. I initially set out to make the documentary with preconceived notions on what exactly happened to Amina Filali, these tended to fall along the lines of what I learned from the media.
However, while in Larache, the film crew found itself in a crisis. What we found in Amina Filali's household made us question our preconceived, media-made ideas. The film's premise had completely fallen apart: Amina wasn't forced to marry her rapist, article 475 doesn't say anything about forcing girls to marry their rapist, and finally-- the father of the young girl wasn't who he appeared to be.
Although I would have liked to critique the media's coverage in more depth in the film, there was no space for that and I decided to lightly touch on it in the beginning. I am writing now in order to give a more in-depth critique of the western media's approach to the Amina Filali affair, and the consequences of their orientalist and dishonest journalism. ---
“Marrying your rapist: A new low in women’s rights in Morocco” read a Washington Post headline displaying a photo of the most conservatively dressed women at the protest. The article went on, focusing on Amina’s brutal treatment and at one point drawing a far-fetched parallel:
"Certainly Morocco is not alone in limiting women’s personal freedoms and imposing draconian sentences on those who dare to defy them. In nearby Saudi Arabia, women are still banned from driving automobiles, lest it “spell the end of virginity” And in Iran, a woman who was convicted of adultery two years ago is still slated for execution, although whether she will die by stoning or hanging remains unresolved.’"
Saudi Arabia is not ‘nearby’ but is five to six countries to the east and is as far away from Morocco as the state of Maine is from Portugal, or Paris from Moscow. Iran on the other hand, is a country with a different religion, a different language, and a different culture. In addition, Iran is a Theocracy while Saudi Arabia is a Wahabi fundamentalist monarchy with a history and culture of its own. Moroccans can barely even understand Saudi Arabic.
Lumping Morocco with these two very different countries, whose women’s rights violations are incomparable to those in Morocco, speaks to the orientalist rhetoric of this Washington Post article which places Morocco in the middle of what this article portrays as a a homogenous block of barbarous Muslim countries who abuse their women.
BBC, CNN and the Huffington post joined the Washington Post, focusing more on what they claimed was a law that allowed rapists to avoid prison, on the details of the beatings she received and on statements made by her family showing their intentions to save their honor.
These articles tend to hint that the phenomenon of marrying a victim to her rapist as one that is exclusive to ‘the Middle East.’ According to the Huffington Post, “in many parts of the Middle East, there is a tradition whereby a rapist can escape prosecution if he marries his victim, thereby restoring her honor.” The Huffington Post, in an attempt to reinforce the image of a region that consists of a monolithic block of people and subtly point its finger at Islam, seems to be oblivious to the fact that Morocco is actually not considered a part of the Middle East.
These articles seemed to have also forgotten that such laws exist in many other countries in the world that do not fall in the MENA region. Ironically, they also seem to have forgotten that article 475 was imported from France, when Morocco was subjected to French Napoleonic code law during their colonization of our country.
In their coverage of the affair, the media seemed to have skipped past many facts and occurrences which would probably have lessened their sensationalist appeal to a western audience who has come to expect barbaric behavior from Muslims and the plethora of ethnicities which they ignorantly view as being all "Arab". Loubna Hanna-Skalli, Moroccan feminist and professor at American University, commented on the media’s coverage in an article published in Jadaliyya:
The simplistic coverage of Amina’s case by some international media outlets has resurrected the same old neo-orientalist script: “here goes again Islam, subjugating its own women; and, here is another case where the helpless victims need our rescue...The word “patriarchy” was never brought up...It has rarely, if ever, been used by the international media that has given great visibility to this case. Patriarchy has been both overlooked and undermined as a force shaping laws and attitudes towards this rape case. The erasure was simply disturbing...Islam has been equated as a matter of course to one article of the penal code (475). In the process, this has erased the entire history of both patriarchal monopoly over religious texts (irrespective of religions) and an entire history of Muslim women’s struggles to exercise their right to ijtihad (critically reflect on and reformulate religious texts) and reclaim their rights under Muslim law. The equation of one religion (Islam) to the misogynistic 475 article of the penal code is as naïve as the condemnation of another religion (Christianity) for approving of the molestation of its children by some Catholic priests. ” (Loubna Skalli, Jadaliyya)
In addition, the majority of headlines which claimed Amina was forced to marry were simply not true. According to state officials, her parents and the family of the alleged rapist, Amina had chosen to marry her rapist. Of course further examination will reveal that although she was not forced, her social conditioning as a young village girl in conservative rural Morocco led her to accept the marriage through the paradigm of patriarchy and not Islam nor tradition.
Although some articles clarified that article 475 does not actually force rape victims to their rapists, many articles claimed that it did-- as if Moroccan civil society would not have reacted to a law that explicitly says: ‘in case of rape, a girl must marry her rapist!’
What the western media's coverage was missing was the fact that the law did not actually state that victims must marry their rapists, but that it was an interpretation of the law that allowed the Amina Filali tragedy to occur, and that this interpretation was only prominent in rural Morocco. The media failed to report that it was rare for this law to be applied in a way that forced victims to marry their rapists and that most cases of rape ended in forced marriage outside of the legal realm as a result of patriarchy.
The mainstream media’s focus on the legal aspect of the issue and not it’s source (patriarchy) explains civil society’s (their petitions' and protests') inherently flawed focus on article 475 as a law and hence facilitated the Moroccan government’s dismissal of protests by simply replying that the law does not include such a clause (which is true).
We can then conclude that the media’s orientalist rhetoric and irresponsible journalism is indirectly responsible for aiding the Islamist government in their avoidance of taking any meaningful action against the widespread presence of sexual violence in Morocco, leading to a situation where the law came to be abolished but the root of the problem still remains and rape culture continues to exist.
Hence, patriarchy, the one thing that facilitated the series of crimes against Amina Filali, was not addressed. It was patriarchal mentality that pushed Amina to choose to marry her rapist, it was patriarchy that allowed the judge to interpret the law in such a heinous way, it was patriarchy that allowed Prime Minister Benkirane to dismiss the fact that there was a rape, it was patriarchy that permitted the minister of Justice to assume that rape can not happen in a consensual relationship.
Playing in Lake Azegza, Middle Atlas, in my childhood.
Driving down the road from Khenifra towards Midelt, one would encounter a mixed landscape: towering and beautiful cedars for a four or five kilometer stretch and then barren desert wasteland worthy of the steppes of Mongolia for another hundred kilometers.
Another drive on the coastal road between El-Jadida and Safi, reveals a mixed scene between beautiful beaches and cliffs-- and ugly refineries and factories lining the rural coastline. Or again, between the tiny Surfing village of Taghazoute and Agadir where pristine beaches are destroyed by dust-kicking golf course projects and Saudi Palaces built on prime coastline locations. And while the Saudis build their palaces in Agadir, the Emiratis go game-hunting in helicopters for our beautiful and rare cheetahs a little farther south.
So who's behind this misuse of Morocco's natural beauty and environment? In all of this political upheaval and demand for political reform, I don't think I have heard one word about the environment. Yet the deteriorating environment is the most visible sign of bad governance in our country.
Having talked to some locals from the Middle Atlas and J'bala region near Ouazzane I have come to understand how well-known the Makhzen is for parcelling up land and selling it for record low prices to certain businessmen close to the Royal court. I even got one family name of one of these elite businessmen, El-... Oh, wait-- saying it would cause me a little bit of trouble so I will have to self-censor myself on this one.
Moment of silence for the commonality of self-censorship in Morocco.
Getting back to what I was saying: these businessmen profiteer off the forests of Morocco, stripping entire mountains or even regions of their forest cover at a rate of 30,000 hectares a year. What's more troubling isn't the existence of these (de)forestry monopolies but rather their effect on the natural beauty and touristic value of our country, or worse, on local populations.
"If I were to go in there and cut down one tree to buy food for my children, I would go to jail, but the Makhzen allows businessmen to cut down hectares at a time."
This statement by a Khenifra region local captures what I'm trying to get at: the local inhabitants, so poor Aljazeera made a documentary on them, do not have full access to their very own millenia-old natural resources. So not only are they losing the forests they have lived in for so long, but they can't even profit from them!
Who else is losing? Ironically, the emblem of our nation: the Atlas Lion-- well on its way to extinction. Various other species that used to make our biodiversity so vivid are also in danger, amongst them barbary apes, lynxes, leopards-- these are at least the cute fluffy ones people seem to care about so much, but believe me there are tons of others you don't even hear about!
What is the Minister of Forestry and Waterways doing? Or the local governors of regions where environmental safeguarding is crucial? Neither of them are doing anything. They're not concerned with credibility or re-election amongst the people, the people don't vote for them! What seems to be more important to them, is the profit they make from allowing the unregulated exploitation of our natural resources.
What is it that guarantees that the new constitution will protect us from corruption and hence, from this deterioration of our nation's natural beauty? Nothing, the new constitution will only be a clear continuation of this destruction. And how dare you call me a traitor or unpatriotic for wanting to protect my country's beauty and emblem?
As I continue to watch the uprising in Morocco unfold, I have come to notice four essential elements which make an uprising successful that are missing, while others are being lost. Each one of these elements is intermeshed with the other.
1. Attitudes and Aesthetic Failure
Since the uprising started on February 20th, every weekend seems to bring a slight shift in attitudes. The source of these shifts is a combination of actions taken by the state and the reactions by the people. Recently, the state upped it's efforts to block the people from protesting by utilizing violence. Consequently, the people themselves have begun to take a different, less coherent and sometimes more belligerent approach. This change in attitudes is perceptible: the aesthetic appeal of the protests has been significantly compromised. We no longer see the poetry circles and freeze flash mobs, we no longer see a significant number of women, we barely even see any banners or flags! A protest without something to visually designate it's message is a failed protest. The aesthetic appeal of a protest is what makes it attractive to the media. The revolution in Egypt, for example, provided the cameras of the world with spectacular images of diversity in the crowd, creative banners and innumerable flags. It had an appeal. Our movement needs that. Another part of the aesthetic which our movement lacks has to do with the arts. Our movement lacks a complimentary artistic movement. Without art, the movement is colorless and boring, and this makes it weak.
How do we bring these elements into the movement?
1. Women must be encouraged to join.
2. Carry a banner or a flag.
3. Create an art piece; sing, dance, write, film or paint for the movement.
4. Hold an independent film screening.
5. Hold an art show.
2. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's)
Where are the NGO's? I'm not talking about the branches that are outside of Morocco, fighting viciously to bring change; I am talking about the branches within Morocco who fail to support the movement and call attention to the issues it deals with. Where are Amnesty International or Transparency Morocco? From their websites, it seems as if they would rather deal with human rights abuses that occur in China or less taboo issues like women's rights in Morocco. They are not willing to take advantage of the momentum of the uprisings to establish their visions. Of course, the reasons for this are clear: the element of fear prevails even within the sectors of our society that are most concerned with it. But the element of fear has been broken, so what's the point of being silent?
How do we bring this element into the movement?
1. March on the headquarters of local NGO's to call for more action on their part.
2. Create your own branch and be more active. Visit http://amnesty.org to learn more about how you can start a local Amnesty International chapter.
3. Write to an NGO leader.
3. Mainstream Media
The uprising in Morocco is very effectively covered by social media, their is no doubt of that. However, when it comes to mainstream media, the coverage is weak. International media will only respond if the uprising becomes more spectacular. Moroccan media, on the other hand, is controlled by the state-- whether it's through indirect (censorship, corruption and laws) or direct control. Needless to say, this means that mainstream media will either refuse to cover the protests or will bend the information to the state's advantage. Without the necessary and proper media coverage, the uprising will find difficulty garnering massive support from the population. So, where's the media?
How do we bring this element into the movement?
1. March on the headquarters of media outlets.
2. March on the headquarters of the National Society of Radio and Television Broadcasting.
3. Journalists, write for us and create a journalists' movement. Non-journalists, appeal to journalists.
4. Employees of TV and radio stations, newspapers and magazines: hold a strike or a sit-in.
4. The Nature of the Movement
Our nation is plagued by a large misconception: that political change comes from large gatherings of individuals. Yet, crowds and large protests alone are not enough. They are certainly central to attracting attention of political institutions and the media, but they fail to catalyze interactions within smaller units of society: neighborhoods, mosques, farming communities, factories or offices. Without these micro-societal interactions, the growth of the movement is impeded. It just can not grow. Just look at a video of a crowd and you will understand. They are all the same type of people: young men. You see no unions walking together holding their banner, you see no "Moroccan Mothers for Democracy," you see no "Moroccan Filmmakers for Human Rights." The crowd is uniform and monotonous. How can a movement that calls for democracy expect credibility if the demographic diversity of our country is not represented?
How do we bring this element into the movement?
1. Hold after mosque community meetings.
2. Create neighborhood committees.
3. Mothers, organize a mothers' movement. Non-mothers, appeal to mothers.
4. Unionists, create a unionists' movement. Non-unionists, appeal to unionists.
5. Farmers, create a farmers' movement. Non-farmers, appeal to farmers.
6. Teachers, ignore the state-issues textbooks, teach our children the truth.
...the list goes on.
As we have recently witnessed, two Arab regimes have been toppled by democratic popular movements since the beginning of this year. Both the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples have managed to lead a successful revolution against the dictators which ruled their countries. Whether this will cause a domino effect similar to the one which lead to the fall of the Communism in eastern Europe is difficult to predict. However, I am confident that these revolutions will result in an awakening throughout the Arab world. Governments will hopefully reform and the populace will become more aware of their rights. It is the duty of developed countries to cut both diplomatic and financial support to Arab police states. The war on terrorism is fought less effectively by supporting dictators than by supporting the people themselves. Supporting the people means supporting democracy, and democracy allows for a lively civil society which provides young Arabs with opportunities and a future. It is the lack of hope, desperation and an intangible future that makes it so easy for radical Islamist clerics to convince young Arab men to join terrorist networks.