Al Arab magazine, based in London and distributed throughout the Arab world, recently published a full-page feature on the life and work of UNE Vice President for Global Affairs Anouar Majid, Ph.D.
Titled “I Am the Immigrant Who Lost Tangier,” the article talks about Majid’s early experience in the United States, the first film script he wrote as a film major in New York City in the 1980s, the early fiction he wrote as a graduate student in English, the support of the great writer Grace Paley for his distinctive style of writing, and why writing fiction was crucial in helping him survive in America.
“At that time, fiction writing relieved my pain of homesickness,” Majid reflects. “It gave me the strength, joy, and the sense of getting up in the morning.”
The city of Tangier has always been his inspiration. “Tangier,” Majid adds, “occupies my mind, it dispels my worries. It is a home of openness and broad-mindedness, where different communities from all corners of the globe teach each other great values, such as accepting others and their own thoughts without any feeling of superiority.”
Majid’s novel Si Yussef was prompted by a chance encounter with an old man in a café. “I had heard some nuggets about his life, and that was the starting point of writing.” The book allowed Majid to capture the spirit and mystery of Tangier.
The article also covers Majid’s views of history and world politics, as well as his belief that Spain provides the best model for Morocco to study. “We should follow the steps of Spain,” Majid says. . . Spain has changed politically, socially, and religiously. . . Moreover, it reconciled with its history and assimilated it, though it does not sanctify it. However, it has actively engaged in modernity, which invades every nook and cranny in this world due to globalization.”
The article covers Majid’s academic articles and books and concludes with a discussion of his 2009 book, We Are All Moors, which was published on the 400th anniversary of the expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain.
The article notes: “As a minority, Muslims at that time [16th and 17thcenturies] were exterminated and expelled from Al-Andalus [Muslim Spain] in order to form the Spanish national unity and create a truly unified Spanish Christian kingdom that has its own Castilian language. Of course, this is an attempt to eliminate the other, namely Muslim and Jewish minorities. Interestingly enough, the book tackles the question of history and all contemporary issues such as migration, minorities and genocide. We are all Moors in one way or another. All minorities living in the West are in a symbolic or metaphorical sense the descendants of the Moors.”
The article concludes with Majid’s belief that freedom is his ultimate religion. Read the article.