Ahmed Benchemsi

Journalist, Publisher, Editor + media entrepreneur; Currently, Advocacy and Communications Director
Human Rights Watch’S Middle East And North Africa Division
     
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Location: Brooklyn, New York
Nationality: Moroccan Arabic
Biography: Ahmed Benchemsi is the Advocacy and Communications Director for Human Rights Watch’s the Middle East and North Africa division. Ahmed is also a career journalist. The founder, publisher and editor of Morocco’s best-selling weeklies... read on
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Time Magazine: Morocco's Revolutionaries: The Crazy Kids Have Grown Up
ahmed benchemsi
Jun 19, 2011
"What if we offered a prayer for the soul of bin Laden?" The question was tossed into the meeting of the February 20 Movement like a hand grenade. But the young men and women gathered in the Moroccan Labor Union building in Rabat didn't duck for cover. Instead, they angrily challenged the questioner, a bearded, middle-aged man representing the Islamist prisoners who have joined from behind the bars with the secular youth movement calling for greater freedoms. "Are you out of your mind?" asked one young man. "Just because we defend you people against torture, it doesn't mean we support terrorism. Don't you impose your creepy agenda on us."

The bearded man beat a hasty retreat. "No problem, let's just do a regular prayer," he said. "We're all Muslims, aren't we?"

The meeting had been held to discuss plans for protest outside the infamous Temara detention center, located in a cork-oak forest near Rabat, where terrorism suspects have been tortured, according to Amnesty International. The Islamist may have thought he could set the agenda: after all, his kind had for decades been the only antimonarchy group of any consequence. But as he discovered, change has come to Morocco.

 Morocco's Revolutionaries: The Crazy Kids Have Grown Up
Morocco's Revolutionaries: The Crazy Kids Have Grown Up

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