Al Akhbar, January 28, 1966: Scandal Over Moroccan Revolutionary Forcibly Disappeared in France
Welcome to my first post translating and analyzing historical news articles! About a year ago, I picked up several newspapers from 1966 at the Azbakeya book market in downtown Cairo. Although these newspapers don't document the most memorable headlines of the day, they bring to light discussion around events and social issues that were quite relevant at the time. I've decided to post translations and analysis of some of the pieces that stood out to me.
For my first post, I'll focus only on the main headline story of state-owned newspaper Al Akhbar from January 28, 1966. First, I'll go into some background, then provide an excerpt translation. I'll end with linguistic notes and a short analysis.
The top headline reads:
De Gaulle Takes Up the Mantle and Announces:
Solving the Ben Barka Mystery = Ending the War in Algeria
I am admittedly not knowledgeable enough about North Africa in this period to understand this headline at first glance. This provided me a welcome chance to learn about events which have very relevant implications today.
Founded in 1952 this is one of the most popular state-owned Egyptian daily newspapers. The articles in this edition are mostly laudatory of then-President Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime.
Independence and the Sand War
At the time of this article's publication, the referenced war in Algeria had ended years before. The left-wing, Arab nationalist Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) liberated the country from French occupation in 1962 after a devastating war. President Charles De Gaulle's withdrawal marked the end of 132 years of brutal French rule in Algeria.
Neighboring Morocco had won independence from France back in 1956, and the monarchy there supported the FLN in their revolution. But just a year after Algeria's independence, Morocco challenged the border between the two states and moved their military into a disputed area, sparking retaliation.
The ensuing conflict, called the 1963 Sand War, suddenly became a flashpoint for the anti-imperialist socialist movement. As Morocco cooperated with lingering French forces to advance its border claims, Algeria's nascent socialist state welcomed troops and machinery from Egypt and Cuba. By the time a negotiated peace treaty was signed four months later, several hundred had been killed in the fighting. The borders were preserved in Algeria's favor.
Mehdi Ben Barka
The man at the center of the controversy described in the article is a Moroccan revolutionary named Mehdi Ben Barka.
Ben Barka was born in 1920 in Morocco and was part of the revolutionary vanguard there in the 1940s and 50s. He helped found the Istiqlal ("Independence") Party, which negotiated the end of the French protectorate in 1956.
Not satisfied with the conservative policies of the Moroccan monarchy after independence, however, he left Istiqlal in 1959 and founded the National Union of Popular Forces (UNFP), which became the main opposition group in Morocco.
Ben Barka was reportedly the inspiration for the hero of the popular 1961 Egyptian novel في بيتنا رجل (There's a Man in Our House), by Ihsan Abdel Quddous. The 1964 film adaptation of the novel starred Omar Sharif, one of the most popular Arab movie stars in history.
The Ben Barka Mystery
The real-life Ben Barka's situation came to a head when Ben Barka supported Algeria in the Sand War in 1963, aligning the UNFP with the global anti-imperialist movement. He was exiled from Morocco for this stance and sought asylum in Algeria, where he formed a foreign branch of the UNFP. But Ben Barka had even greater plans: he soon joined Che Guevara, Malcolm X and other members of the internationalist left to plan the socialist Tricontinental Conference (مؤتمر القارات الثلاث), which would be held in Havana in 1966.
Before he could participate in the conference, though, Ben Barka was suddenly abducted by French police in Paris in October 1965. He was never seen again.
The monumental Tricontinental Conference went on without him just days before this newspaper article was published, hosting representatives from 82 countries, including Vietnam and South Africa. The president of Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella, also attended. But the absence of one of the major organizers became a massive international scandal.
Here are some posters from the era associated with that conference and the organization formed there, the Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (OSPAAAL).
Coming back to the newspaper: at the time this article was published, outrage was growing as theories abounded as to Ben Barka's abduction and death.
A New York Times article from January 25 accounts the rapid developments in the case that month, including the discovery that the abduction was probably carried out by the Barbouzes, "a Gaullist counterunderground" that operated as a rogue secret service organization for the French government.
This discovery implicated several people, including Roger Frey, the French Interior Minister, Pierre Lemarchand, a military deputy, and Jean Caille, a member of the French police. These officials had allegedly been informed of the conspiracy well in advance by one of the perpetrators, Georges Figon, and concealed this information from President De Gaulle. Figon, now chief witness and suspect, was found shot to death in his home hours after giving a statement to the press that he was afraid Lemarchand would have him killed to prevent him from testifying. Figon's death was ruled a suicide, but speculations of foul play abounded.
Amid these developments, the French Ambassador to Morocco was recalled and the Moroccan deputy returned to Rabat, while France issued international arrest warrants for Moroccan Interior Minister Mohamed Oufkir and several of his associates. On January 27, as mentioned in the Al Akhbar article, Moroccan King Hassan II appeared with Oufkir and strongly denied any accusations of involvement of any Moroccans in the abduction, placing all of the blame on French officials.
The following day, this edition of Al Akhbar was published.
Arabic Text (translation follows)
ديجول يلتقط القفاز القفاز ويعلن:
حل لغز بن بركة = إنهاء حرب الجزائر
الملك الحسن يرد على يجول بالظهور مرة ثانية مع الجنرال أوفقير ويستنكر اتهام بالقتل
ديجول يشرف بنفسه على التحقيق
رجال بوليس فرنسا علموا بالمؤامرة قبل تنفيذها بشهر كامل
التقط الرئيس ديجول القفاز. قرر أن يواجه التحدي الداخلي من أحزاب المعارضة التي اتهمت حكومته
بالمسئولية عن اختطاف ومصرع بن بركة. اعلن ديجول أنه سيشرف على تطورات التحقيق بنفسه. قال ديجول: ان حل قضية بن بركة يهم مصالح فرنسا الحيوية بمثل ما كان يهمها انهاء حرب الجظائر الذي تولاه بنفسه.
يشير ديجول بهذا التصريح الى انه سيتخذ اجراءات حاسمة ضد قيام سلطات المخابرات والبوليس
الفرنسي بعمليات من وراء ظهر الحكومة بما يقاوم سلطات الدولة، كما حدث عندما قرر ديجول انهاء حرب الجزائر. اذاعت الدوائر المسئولة سيتحدث عن فضيحة قضية بن بركة في مؤتمر صحفي الذي سيعقده في الاسبوع الاول من فبراير، اذا لم تتخذ حكومة المغرب اجراء اجابيا قبل موعد المؤتمر.
الملك يظهر مع أوفقير مرة أخرى
ومن الناحية الاخرى فان صدى هذه الأنباء في المغرب يحمل على الاعتقاد ان الازمة سيزداد تعقيدا. فقد ظهر الملك الحسن في مؤتمر صحفي ومعه الجنرال أوفقير وزير الداخلية المتهم بقتل بن بركة والدليمي مدير الأمن العام المتهم بالاشتراك في الجريمة. هذه هي المرة الثانية التي يظهر فيها الملك ومعه الوزير ومدير الامن بعد ان طلبت فرنسا تسليمهما بتهمة الاشتراك في الجريمة. كان المؤتمر لعدد من رجال الصحافة الامريكية في قصر الضيافة في الرباط.
اعلن الملك في المؤتمر ان العلاقة الوحيدة للمغرب بحادث بن بركة هي ان الضحية مواطن مغربي! .. وقال ان مسئولية الحادث تقع على القوى غير المسئولة والسرية في فرنسا، واوضح ان اتهام فرنسا للمغارة بانهم استخدموا البوليس الفرنسي في تنفيذ الجريمة، يعني القول بان للمغرب نفوذا في فرنسا يفوق نفوذ رئيس الجمهورية الفرنسي .. وقال الملك انه يتوق على كشف حقيقة القضية ولكن الاهواء السياسية تنزل عليها ستارا من الاخفاء لسوء الحظ.
علاقة الملك بالوزير
ونشرت مجلة «الاكبريس» الفرنسية الواسعة الانتشار ان علاقة الملك الحسن بالجنرال اوفقير، مهددة بالزوال ومبنية على الحذر الشديد، على الرغم من ان الملك اتخذ موقف المدافع عن وزيره المؤمن ببراءته من جريمة ابن بركة. وقالت «الاكبريس» ان الامير عبد الله شقيق الملك صرح لبعض المقربين اليه ان الجنرال اوفقير يعد انقلابا خلال هذا العام ضد الملك، بطريقة توحي الى الملك بانه انقلاب من انصار بن بركة وقال الامير ان أوفقير يرى ان يتولى السلطة بواسطة هذا الانقلاب المزعوم وينحى الملك الحسن. وقالت المجلة الفرنسية ان الملك الحسن بان يخفي تحركاته عن الجنرال أوفقير وحث هذا الاسبوع ان دخل وزير الداخلية الى مكتب الملك اثناء املاءه مواعيده لسكريتيره فتوقف الملك عن الكلام بمجرد دخوله. واستمر في املاءه بعد خروجه.
وتؤيد المجلة روايتها برواية اخرى عن طبيب الملك وهو في الوقت نفسه نائب سكرتير الحزب الشيوعي المراكشي. روت «الاكبريس» ان الطبيب قال للملك: «ان مستقبل المغرب مرهون الآن بمن يتولى تصفية الآخر .. الملك أو الجنرال اوفقير» .. فاجابه الملك «انتم يا ماركسيون تؤمنون بالديالكتك اكثر من  اللازم»!
ومع ذلك فان المراقبين السياسيين يؤكدون ان الملك الحسن لن يتراجع عن تأييده المطلق للجنرال اوفقير وزير داخليته. وليس من المحتمل ان يوافق على ان يعه الى قاض مغربي بمهمة التحقيق مع اوفقير وهذا ما تطلبه حكومة فرنسا وما يصر عليه الجنرال ديجول الذي تقول اخر الانباء انه سيكتفي بهذا الاجراء من المغرب لكي لا يوجه ضربة عنيفة الى العلاقات بين فرنسا والمغرب.
ديجول في قمة الغضب
ولكن الدلائل تشير الى ان الجنرال ديجول وصل الى قمة الغضب. وقد بدا ذلك واضحا في اجتماع مجلس الوزراء. فقد اعلن ديجول في الاجتماع انه يشك في ان فيجون الشاههد الاول في القضية قد انتحر. وشكوك ديجول في محلها. فقد اثبت تقرير الطب الشرعي ان الرصاص اطلق على فيجون من مكان بعيد وهذا يقطع بعدم انتحاره. كما اصر ديجول امام وزرائه على ضرورة تعيين رئيس جديد لمركز مكافحة الجاسوسية بعد عزل الرئيس السابق الذي اشترك في لجريمة .. وقال ديجول في اجتماع مجلس الوزراء «لابد من القضاء على الاوغاد والعصابات التي تحاول التدخل في السياسة.» وهو الذي اصر على اضافة فقرتين للبيان الذي اذيع عن جريمة اختطاف بن بركة. وكتب الفقرتين بخط يده. وادان فيهما جهات الامن الفرنسية ادانة صريحة واعلن التزام الدولة المطلق بنتائج التحقيق القضائي ..
اخر من يعلم
وتؤكد الانباء ان ديجول على حق في غضبه. فق اثبت كشف الاحداث ان كبار رجال الدولة المحيطية بالرئيس ديجول اخفوا عنه تفصيلات وتطورات الجريمة اعتمادا على انه كان منشغلا في الانتخابات. وتتجه اصابع الاتهام الى وزير داخلية فرنسا «فراي» الذي كان اول من علم .. وجعل الرئيس ديجول في موقف اخر من يعلم! .. ولذلك فقد اصدره ديجول اوامره هذا الاسبوع بان يطلع اولا باول على تطورات التحقيق في الحادث ونتائجه. وقال: لافائدة .. ساشرف بنفسي على كل شيء. واصبح واضحا في الدوائر القضائية ان اتجاه ديجول هو ان تمضي التحقيقات الى اقصى ما يمكن، وان يقدم كل مذنب الى المحاكمة مهما كان وضعه.
وتردد الدوائر المختلفة في باريس ان «ليروا» نائب رئيس مكتب مكافحة الجاسوسية في فرنسا كان يعلم بتدابير جريمة اختطاف بن بركة قبل وقوعها بشهر كامل! .. وانه قد ابلغ بذلك من «لوبيز» موظف المطار الذي يشتغل عميلا في مكتبه. كما تردد ان «ليروا» نائب رئيس مكافحة الجاسوسية عقد اجتماعا  مع «رينيه جاكييه» وهو المسئول عن كل المكاتب السرية التابعة لمكافحة الجاسوسية.
De Gaulle Takes Up the Mantle and Declares:
Solving the Ben Barka Mystery = Ending the War in Algeria
De Gaulle Oversees the Investigation Himself
French Police Had Knowledge of Conspiracy Entire Month Before it Was Carried Out
President De Gaulle has taken up the mantle. He has decided to face the internal challenge from opposition parties who have accused his government of being responsible for the disappearance and death of Ben Barka. De Gaulle announced that he would supervise the developments of the investigation himself. He said that solving the Ben Barka affair was as important to France's vital interests as ending the war in Algeria, a task which he took on personally, had been.
In his statement, De Gaulle indicated that he would take strict measures against operations conducted by intelligence authorities and French police behind the government's back and in resistance to state authorities, as occurred previously when he decided to end the war in Algeria. The relevant bodies reported that De Gaulle will discuss the scandal of the Ben Barka case at a press conference to be held in the first week of February if the Moroccan government does not take positive measures before that date.
The King Appears With Oufkir Again
This news echoed in Morocco, where it is believed the crisis will grow more complex. King Hassan appeared at a press conference with General Oufkir, the Interior Minister accused of killing Ben Barka, and Dlimi, the Public Security Director accused of participation in the crime. This is the second time the King has appeared with the Minister and the Security Director since France demanded their extradition on the accusation of participation in the crime. The Press Conference was held for several members of the American press at the Rabat royal residence.
The King announced at the conference that Morocco's only connection to the Ben Barka incident was that the victim was a Moroccan citizen. Responsibility for the incident lies with irresponsible and secretive forces in France, he said. He clarified that France's accusation that the Moroccans used French police to carry out the crime would imply that Morocco had more influence in France than the French President. The King said that he yearned for the discovery of the truth of the case, which was unfortunately being covered up due to political whims.
The King's Relationship With Oufkir
The widely-circulated French magazine L'Express has reported that the King's relationship with General Oufkir is in danger and based in extreme caution, despite the fact that the King has taken a defensive position regarding his minister, believing him innocent of the Ben Barka crime. According to L'Express, Prince Abdallah, the King's brother, told those close to him that General Oufkir was planning a coup against the King this year by implying to the King that it was a coup by Ben Barka's supporters. The Prince said that Oufkir wants to take power by means of this alleged coup and dismiss King Hassan. According to the French magazine, King Hassan seems to be hiding his movements from General Oufkir. Earlier this week, the Interior Minister entered the King's office as he was holding meetings with his secretariat, and the King stopped speaking just because Oufkir had entered. The King continued the meeting after Oufkir left.
The magazine supports its account with another account about the King's doctor, who is also Deputy Secretary of the Marrakesh Communist Party. L'Express writes that the doctor told the King: "Morocco's future now depends on who eliminates the other: you, the King, or General Oufkir." The King replied: "You Marxists believe in dialectics too much" .
Point of Agreement
Despite this, political observers stress that King Hassan will not back down from his complete support for General Oufkir, his Interior Minister. It is also unlikely that he will agree to appoint a Moroccan judge to investigate Oufkir as requested by the French government and insisted upon by General De Gaulle. It is reported at the end of the article that De Gaulle would be satisfied by this measure from Morocco so as not to face a major blow to French-Moroccan relations.
De Gaulle Enraged
Evidence suggests, however, that General De Gaulle has become enraged, which seemed clear in a ministers' meeting. De Gaulle announced in the meeting that he doubts that Figon, the first witness in the case, had committed suicide . De Gaulle's doubts are justified: the autopsy report established that the bullets were fired on Figon from a distance, meaning he did not commit suicide. De Gaulle also insisted to his ministers that a counterintelligence chief must be appointed after the impeachment of the previous chief, who participated in the crime. "The scoundrels and gangs trying to interfere in politics must be brought to justice," De Gaulle said in the ministers' meeting.
He also insisted on adding two paragraphs to the announcement that was distributed about the crime of Ben Barka's disappearance. He wrote the paragraphs in his own handwriting, explicitly condemning the French intelligence agencies and announcing the state's absolute commitment to the results of the legal investigation.
The Last to Know
News reports suggest De Gaulle is right to be angry. Investigation of the events has established that officials surrounding President De Gaulle concealed the details and developments of the crime from him, believing him preoccupied with the elections. Fingers have been pointed at the French Minister of the Interior, Frey, who was the first to know - and made sure the president was the last to find out . De Gaulle therefore gave orders this week that he would keep abreast of the developments in the investigation into the incident and its results. "It's no use... I will oversee everything myself," he said. It became clear in judicial circles that De Gaulle intended to proceed with investigations to the greatest extent possible and bring any perpetrator to trial, no matter their position.
Various circles in Paris are repeating that Leroy, deputy director of the French counterintelligence agency in France, knew of the steps taken in the crime of Ben Barka's disappearance before it began by an entire month . Leroy informed Loubise [?], the airport employee who works as an agent for his office. Circles are also repeating that Leroy, deputy director of counterintelligence, met with Rene Jaquiet, who is responsible for all secret counterintelligence agencies .
[The rest of the article, which is too long to include here, describes more of the machinations of French security officials to conceal their conspiracy from higher authorities, and the mistakes they made that opened them up to investigation after the abduction.]
 Dialectics , more specifically dialectical materialism, is a central philosophy of Marxism.
 Georges-August Figon, a French secret agent, claimed to have seen Ben Barka tortured by Oufkir. He was found shot dead in Paris on January 17, 1966, eleven days before this article was published and before he could testify in the second trial in the case. His death was ruled a suicide.
 Roger Frey was Ministry of the Interior from 1961 to 1967 and was responsible for the 1961 Paris massacre of Algerians in which around 200 peaceful demonstrators were killed and thrown in the Seine river.
 "Leroy" here seems to refer to Colonel Marcel Leroy, alias Leroy-Finville, then Chief of Special Operations for the French External Documentation and Counter-Espionage Service (SDECE). Very little information about him is available online, but it seems he was suspended over the Ben Barka scandal on January 20, 1966, just days before this article was written. The SDECE was famous for assassinating political dissidents in Algeria. It would soon be dismantled by De Gaulle because its members were believed directly responsible for Ben Barka's abduction.
 I could not find any information about Loubise [?] online, and a contemporary New York Times article mentions only an official named Paul, not Rene, Jaquiet.
As for the language of the article, the most important thing to note is that the whole text is cited as being an AP wire article reported from Paris. This would mean it was originally published in English, and what I've produced is a back-translation.
Given this, I tried my best to find the original English article, but it seems nowhere to be found in the AP archives or the archives of any other newspaper that may have ran international wire reports. Many publications simply have not digitized editions going back to 1966, while others have barely organized their scanned documents by date, much less made them searchable by key words.
I even went down a rabbit hole of trying to find French reporting on the event, but my rudimentary knowledge of that language didn't get me far!
Without the English edition, I'm forced to consider this text in its Arabic form. The three main obstacles I encountered were transliteration, media register, and "compensation in place".
Clearly, the article includes a great number of names, most of which are in French, not Arabic. The original translator transliterated these names phonetically into the Arabic alphabet. I had the unwelcome task of finding the correct spelling of these long-dead individuals' names; as is clear from Translator's Note 5, I wasn't always successful.
ديجول = De Gaulle, spelled as one word in Arabic and using the Egyptian pronunciation of ج as G. Today's standard transliteration is ديغول which uses غ to represent G, in accordance with international standard Arabic. But as an exclusively Egyptian newspaper, their version is unsurprising.
رينيه جاكييه = Rene Jacquiet, who I could not certainly identify. His name, however, is a good example of the use of يه to represent -é and -et in French.
لوبيز = Loubise? Because I'm not a French linguist and am unfamiliar with French names, this was simply a guess. The article does not refer to this mystery person by anything other than his last name.
The incident in question is extremely complex and involved dozens of people: witnesses, perpetrators, hitmen, politicians, military officials, etc. While much has been written about the Ben Barka mystery, many of these details are only available in French books and documentaries. This highlights the difficulty of translating a highly contextualized article about international affairs: the research sometimes simply requires more than one language.
I was surprised to see this article cited as an AP wire piece, because it uses syntactical features that are common in media Arabic but not in English. Whether media Arabic and media English have diverged since 1966, or the translator took significant liberties to match the register to an Arabic publication, is unclear.
One difficult element is the journalistic practice of paraphrasing what certain people said without qualifying their statements. In Arabic, this may not imply agreement, but in English, a phrase like "according to him" is needed to avoid the implication of bias.
!اعلن الملك في المؤتمر أن العلاقة الوحيدة للمغرب بحادث بن بركة هي أن الضحية مواطن مغربي
Literally: The King announced that the only relationship of Morocco to the Ben Barka incident was that the victim was a Moroccan citizen!
أوضح أن اتهام فرنسا للمغاربة بأنهم استخدموا البوليس الفرنسي في تنفيذ الجريمة، يعني القول بأن للمغرب نفوذا في فرنسا يفوق نفوذ رئيس الجمهورية الفرنسي
Literally: He clarified that France's accusations of the Moroccans that they used the French police to carry out the crime, means saying that Morocco has influence in France that exceeds the influence of the French president.
In both of these examples, a modern English-language newspaper would likely qualify these statements. "Announced", for instance, is usually used when the author agrees with the validity of the statement. I omitted the exclamation point as that type of punctuation is essentially unacceptable in media English.
Moreover, the second statement by the Moroccan king is sarcastic, but the Arabic author/translator made little effort to indicate modality, for example by using "would mean saying". Another way the author could have avoided the implication of bias would be by simply quoting the king and letting the reader make of the statement what they will.
وتؤكد الأنباء أن ديجول على حق في غضبه
Literally: Reports confirm that De Gaulle is right in his anger.
This was perhaps the most difficult one to translate, because the Arabic clearly indicates that it has been confirmed that someone's emotion was right, clearly a statement of opinion. I could not, however, imagine the original English article including such biased language. Therefore, I changed it to "suggest", as I imagine that this was a translator misunderstanding the original or taking liberties based on personal biases.
Compensation in Place
Arabic word and phrase order is sometimes inappropriate and awkward when translated directly into English. I had particular trouble with several sentences in this text. The following is just one example.
قال ديجول: أن حل قضية بن بركة يهم مصالح فرنسا الحيوية بمثل ما كان يهمها إنها حرب الجزائر الذي تولاه بنفسه
Literally: De Gaulle said: that solving the Ben Barka case is important to France's vital interests in the same way as ending the war in Algeria, which he oversaw, was important to them.
To clarify, the phrase "which he oversaw" modifies the entire phrase "ending the war in Algeria". The phrase "important to them" means "important to France's vital interests".
I would pay a lot of money to see what English sentence was translated to produce that! Rearranging the phrases got me to my compromise of a translation: "He said that solving the Ben Barka affair was as important to France's vital interests as ending the war in Algeria, a task which he took on personally, had been."
From the hours of research I did to understand this article, my greatest realization was this: contemporary readers of media articles understand much more than even some historians do half a century later. Throughout the article, over 20 individuals' names were mentioned, many in French. Many of them are impossible to even identify via the English- and Arabic-language internet in 2020.
Would Egyptian readers in 1966 have understood these people's positions and levels of involvement, because of the magnitude of the scandal at the time? Given that this was an AP article, could even American readers have been expected to piece together this complex story from regular media consumption? Or did newspapers in 1966 simply present many more details than their readers could even be expected to understand? These questions enter the fields of media studies and history more than language or translation.
The wording of the article suggests that the author believes De Gaulle's statement of ignorance as to the conspiracy. The wording regarding Moroccan officials is less clear; the author seems to think that Oufkir was possibly involved and the king is protecting him out of fear of a coup. The talk of palace intrigue does not reflect well on Morocco.
Are these biases a reflection of the original AP author, or did the Egyptian translator manipulate the phrasing to more closely align with a certain position, either of the Egyptian public or Nasser's government? This could be much more easily answered with access to the English original.
There is practically no discussion here of who Ben Barka himself was, his revolutionary activity, his involvement in the Sand War and the Tricontinental Congress, or why he was in France in the first place. Perhaps the readers were so familiar with Ben Barka in the midst of the scandal that this was unnecessary. Or the translation could be edited to exclude AP language that depicted Ben Barka as some kind of terrorist.
In the decades following the publication of this article, tireless investigation has gone into solving the Ben Barka mystery, but no one was ever convicted of the crime of his abduction. His body was also never recovered. By now, there are reports of the involvement of not only rogue French paramilitary gangs and Moroccan generals but also the Israeli Mossad and possibly American agents.
Gruesome details are recounted by some purported witnesses: torturing Ben Barka to death, dismembering his body, burying it in the French countryside encased in concrete or transporting it to Morocco to be dissolved in acid. There is no way to prove the validity of these contradictory reports, but it is clear the conspiracy was more extensive than was known in 1966.
A modern comparison to this incident would obviously be Jamal Khashoggi, tortured to death and his body destroyed due to his political opinions. But parallels are apparent as well in forced disappearances by many authoritarian regimes who have adopted the tactics of former colonizers.
Still too is there something to be said about the willingness of even the most democratic countries, ostensibly governed by enlightened rule of law, to use the most brutal of tactics to suppress political dissent. Since the beginning of the worldwide protests sparked by George Floyd's death in May, American police have been using facial recognition technology and social media posts to identify and arrest protest leaders.
Other American examples abound: Leonard Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement imprisoned in 1977 for his revolutionary views, remains one of the longest-serving political prisoners in the world, his health deteriorating as his requests for clemency are repeatedly denied. Most egregious is the continued torture and incarceration of demonstrably innocent international political dissidents at Guantanamo Bay, perhaps the closest modern comparant to Ben Barka.
I hope this post has been of value, and I welcome any and all feedback on my translation and analysis. Future translations posted here will likely include more Egypt-centric and culturally focused articles, and even interesting or funny advertisements. Thank you for reading!
7/13/2020 03:02:25 pm
This a great idea Cara! I really like the background information (so I don't have to research it myself haha), the image slider, and the analysis. I can't really do a point-by-point analysis of the translation, but one thing I will say is that I would watch out for choppy sentences and nominalization (I'm guilty of these things too). Thank you for writing this beautifully detailed post; I learned a lot from it!
7/13/2020 10:50:15 pm
Thanks, Jennifer! I may have spent more time on the historical background here than on the translation itself... I appreciate the feedback! :)
7/14/2020 10:15:56 am
No worries, your post is truly wonderful. I just know I sometimes do it and I want to save you from my mistakes haha.
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