Just Wanna Know

Revolutionary Propaganda Organ

Friday, April 28, 2006

Scientology Morocco

Last week’s Le Journal Hebdomadaire featured a cover story about the brief but very tangled chapter of Scientology in the history of Morocco and, appropriately enough, Tangier. No doubt the magazine was motivated by The Ubiquitous One, his naive fiancee, and their newborn daughter named for a shiny little carriage with a fringe on top. After last year’s kookery cementing the fringe status of Scientology, Tom has worked hard this year to rehabilitate its global image. But here’s another kooky story.

It begins in 1968 when L. Ron Hubbard, rejected and under investigation within most territorial boundaries, took to the high seas and launched the "Sea Org" flotilla with 400 followers from the Greek island of Corfu. Because Commodore Hubbard favored a naval uniform that resembled too closely that of the military junta ruling Greece at the time, he was banned from Greek ports.

The flotilla roamed around the Mediterranean for a while, eventually coming to spend most of its time wandering up and down Morocco's Atlantic coast, from Tangier to Agadir.

In June 1971, when the flotilla was docked in Safi, a young American woman on board committed suicide. At the urging of her father, the US diplomatic corps in Morocco investigated and issued threats, but they were stonewalled by Hubbard and local municipal officials, who appeared to be protecting him and who had the young woman's body quickly buried in Safi.

The seeds of Scientology's quick rise and devastating fall in Morocco were sown the following month, when an attempt was made on the life of the Moroccan king at a wedding party in Skhirat. Hubbard claimed that his great invention, the "E-meter," could discern the internal mental attributes of people. This made it very enticing to Moroccan authorities seeking to determine the extent of the conspiracy against the king.

Now, before you begin to judge, remember that at present, millions of ill-informed bureaucrats (like lawyers, police officers, and businesspeople) continue to rely on the "polygraph," a very similar device whose ability to detect lies has been disproved numerous times. But sheriffs and CEOs alike still swear by its voodoo.

Hubbard got close to General Oufkir, the king's right-hand man charged with investigating the coup plot, identifying conspirators, and establishing the loyalty of each member of the armed forces. As Hubbard began supplying E-meters to the Moroccan secret service to aid in accomplishing this task, Scientology set up shop at their "land base": the Operation and Transport Corporation, Ltd., which occupied an office building on the road to the Tangier airport.

The demise of Scientology Morocco came the following year, in August 1972, when a second major attempt was made on the life of the king. As the king was flying back from Europe, two Moroccan F-15 fighter jets opened fire on his plane. The king famously instructed his pilot to radio the fighter pilots and tell them that the king was dead and that the plane should be allowed to land so they could all celebrate. The fighter pilots were deceived. Once the king was safe on the ground a massive reprisal was launched. When General Oufkir was found guilty of leading the attempted coup, he and his followers were ruthlessly hunted down, along with their family members, friends, and acquaintances.

Hubbard and his followers were given 12 hours to get themselves and all they could carry onto the ferry to Lisbon. According to sources, up to 13 Tanjawis associated with the Scientologists might have been tortured and killed in the aftermath. All that remained of the Tangier "land base" was a pile of burned documents and some used furniture.

The story ends by proposing a final conspiracy. It appears that President Nixon and FBI strongman J. Edgar Hoover had been using Scientologists and the E-meter to ferret out Commies. The CIA had planted moles among the Scientologists in Morocco, and it's even rumored that the CIA was secretly backing Oufkir: in the days before the last coup attempt, he traveled back to his hometown of Tetouan and also passed through neighboring Tangier to meet with the Scientologists there.

Why would the US try to depose one of its most solid allies in the Arab world? According to some, President Ford was referring to the Oufkir affair when, in 1975, he confided to New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger that the CIA had recently done some unthinkable things, even the "attempted assassination of allies who had become burdensome."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Freedom and Equality

Usually I shy away from such big words, but here's an interesting discussion from Hannah Arendt. She's arguing that for the ancient Greeks, equality was not inherent in humanity but rather the proper goal of a civilized society, to engineer political equality. (The blanks are words in Greek type, which I can't pronounce let alone reproduce here.)

Arendt, Hannah. On Revolution. Penguin, 1985 [1963]. Pp. 30-31.

"Freedom as a political phenomenon was coeval with the rise of the Greek city-states. Since Herodotus, it was understood as a form of political organization in which the citizens lived together under conditions of no-rule, without a division between ruler and ruled. [1] This notion of no-rule was expressed by the word isonomy, whose outstanding characteristic among the forms of government, as the ancients had enumerated them, was that the notion of rule (the ‘archy’ from ----- in monarchy and oligarchy, or the ‘cracy’ from ----- in democracy) was entirely absent from it. The polis was supposed to be an isonomy, not a democracy. The word ‘democracy,’ expressing even then majority rule, the rule of the many, was originally coined by those who were opposed to isonomy and who meant to say: What you say is ‘no-rule’ is in fact only another kind of rulership; it is the worst form of government, rule by the demos.[2]

"Hence, equality, which we, following Tocqueville’s insights, frequently see as a danger to freedom, was originally almost identical with it. But this equality within the range of the law, which the word isonomy suggested, was not equality of condition—though this equality, to an extent, was the condition for all political activity in the ancient world, where the political realm itself was open only to those who owned property and slaves—but the equality of those who form a body of peers. Isonomy guaranteed -----, equality, but not because all men were born or created equal, but, on the contrary, because men were by nature (-----) not equal, and needed an artificial institution, the polis, which by virtue of its ----- would make them equal. Equality existed only in this specifically political realm, where men met one another as citizens and not as private persons. The difference between this ancient concept of equality and our notion that men are born or created equal and became unequal by virtue of social and political, that is man-made, institutions can hardly be overemphasized. The equality of the Greek polis, its isonomy, was an attribute of the polis and not of men, who received their equality by virtue of citizenship, not by virtue of birth. Neither equality nor freedom was understood as a quality inherent in human nature, they were both not -----, given by nature and growing out of themselves; they were -----, that is, conventional and artificial, the products of human effort and qualities of the man-made world.

"The Greeks held that no one can be free except among his peers, that therefore neither the tyrant nor the despot nor the master of a household—even though he was fully liberated and was not forced by others—was free. The point of Herodotus’s equation of freedom with no-rule was that the ruler himself was not free; by assuming the rule over others, he had deprived himself of those peers in whose company he could have been free. In other words, he had destroyed the political space itself, with the result that there was no freedom extant any longer, either for himself or for those over whom he ruled. The reason for this insistence on the interconnection of freedom and equality in Greek political thought was that freedom was understood as being manifest in certain, by no means all, human activities, and that these activities could appear and be real only when others saw them, judged them, remembered them. The life of a free man needed the presence of others. Freedom itself needed therefore a place where people could come together—the agora, the market-place, or the polis, the political space proper.

"[1] I am following the famous paragraphs in which Herodotus defines—it seems for the first time—the chief three forms of government, rule by one, rule by the few, rule by the many, and discusses their merits (Book III, 80-2). There the spokesman for Athenian democracy, which, however, is called isonomy, declines the kingdom which is offered him and gives as his reason: ‘I want neither to rule nor to be ruled.’ Whereupon Herodotus states that his house became the only free house in the whole Persian Empire.

"[2] For the meaning of isonomy and its use in political thought, see Victor Ehrenberg, ‘Isonomia,’ in Pauly-Wissowa, Realenzyklopadie des klassischen Altertums, Supplement, vol. VII. Especially telling seems a remark of Thucydides (III, 82, 8), who notes that party leaders in factional strife liked to call themselves by ‘fair-sounding names,’ some preferring to invoke isonomy and some moderate aristocracy, while, as Thucydides implies, the former stood for democracy and the latter for oligarchy. (I owe this reference to the kind interest of Professor David Grene of Chicago University.)"

Monday, April 17, 2006

Link to Ghana World Cup Site

Keep up with news about Ghana's team in the World Cup by clicking here. I'm also adding it to the list at the right...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Just Wanna Gloat

Tangier's weather this week:

Day Weather High Low Precipitation
Tues Cloudy 71°/52° 10%
Wed Mostly Sunny 71°/52° 10%
Thu Sunny 69°/52° 20%
Fri Partly Cloudy 70°/53° 20%
Sat Sunny 72°/53° 20%
Sun Mostly Sunny 73°/54° 10%
Mon Mostly Sunny 74°/55° 20%


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Immorality of Thinness

Came across this at Savage Minds, and it bears repeating. According to a link oneman provides, being thin is less healthy than being overweight. Losing weight actually increases your chance of death. As a result, the weight debate is purely moral. Take that, Oprah and Dr. Phil!

Now, my skinny reader, don't feel threatened--these conclusions are merely scientific and technical... But, as Oneman continues,

"The thinness of American elites, then, may not be so much a matter of being better able to afford to be healthier, but rather the reverse—being more able to afford being less healthy. Poor health as conspicuous consumption of the self. It will be interesting to see, as our conception of the ideal physical form is challenged by the weight of accumulating research, how and if obesity comes to be regarded as a norm rather than a deviation. In a society where the norm is already at odds with its own conception of normality--well over half of us are clinically overweight--it is hard to imagine that a continued belief in the immorality of fat is sustainable."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Zahma Ya Dunia, Tom Cruise

An advertisement for MBC news (shown, appropriately enough, on the other MBC stations) features a prematurely gray-haired man getting picked up by a garrulous young Egyptian taxi driver whose mustache is too big for his face. There are enough shots from directly overhead as the taxi speeds up deserted streets to identify the ad as spoofing in some way the 2004 Michael Mann thriller Collateral, which starred Tom Cruise as a hitman and Jamie Foxx as his taxi driver-cum-fall guy. (MBC, the Middle East Broadcasting Center, is based in London, I believe, and is one of the biggest Arabic-language channels.)

The joke would be sweet and not worthy of mention were it not for the fact that, as the ad draws to a close, the taxi driver starts singing "Zahma Ya Dunia Zahma," the famous and famously vulgar song by Ahmad Adawiya that is discussed so exhaustively by Walter Armbrust in his book Mass Cultura and Modernism in Egypt.

I recognize that the point of the ad is to show how vulgar the Egyptian taxi driver is (presumably working in the Gulf somewhere, because the streets are so empty and the buildings so shiny), and I guess he's uninformed because of doesn't watch MBC. But why "Zahma Ya Dunia," the quintessential song about a city so crowded you can't hear yourself think, when they're driving through such an empty, uncrowded city?

Zahma ya dunia zahma
zahma wala 'adsh rahma
mulid we sahbuh ghayib

Crowded, the world is crowded
Crowded, and mercy never comes
A Mulid (prophet's festival) without its leader

But since the song is just generally popular around the Middle East, especially after the Gypsy Kings did a version, and is used to sell stuff in Spain, Greece, Israel, maybe it's just a catchy tune...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Late Flooding Thaw

A Late Flooding Thaw is a novel that everyone living in, going to, or coming from Northwest Arkansas should read. In fact, it’s a beautifully rendered Southern novel. The story traces two couples in Delaney, a small town in southern Madison County, as they undergo the everyday events of life in rural Arkansas around the turn of the twentieth century—marriages good and bad, abuse, insanity, faith and apostasy, violence and alcoholism, childbirth and death, and underneath it all, crushing poverty. The novel is powerful, sad and stark and ultimately hopeful.

(A couple of disclaimers: First, I took several literature classes with the author, Gary Guinn, at John Brown University, and around 1995 I heard Dr. Guinn read some very early chapters, little of whose content made it into this book. I have tremendous respect for him and wait eagerly for the story of Virgil Bass. Second, I’m something of an insider to the novel’s world: My maternal grandmother’s people are all from Madison, Benton, Washington, and Carroll counties. In the 1890s my great-great-grandfather, Dean Sutton, had a blacksmith’s shop on the square in Fayetteville. In the 1920s his son Ralph brought his family back from southern California and began working as a heavy equipment operator in Huntsville. His daughter, Katherine, my grandmother, taught in a one-room schoolhouse somewhere in Madison County before marrying a dairy farmer from Kansas in 1945, and they lived on a small farm east of Clifty for the next 44 years. My mom’s family did their schooling in Huntsville, their churching in Eureka Springs, and their shopping in Springdale and Fayetteville.)

Guinn’s novel follows the lives of the Bass brothers, Henry and Walter. Their father, Virgil, an Irish immigrant and former Confederate soldier, arrived in Delaney on an old wagon with his wife nearly ready to give birth. When the local doctor heard her time had come, he went up to the shack to offer his services, even for free, but Virgil, insulted, physically threw him out. The two boys grew up ostracized by the rest of the town. When Virgil disappeared mysteriously, Henry, the oldest, took over the lumber mill that Virgil had swindled out of its owner. His younger brother Walter worked there and kept to himself. As a teenager, Walter had been walking in the woods one day when he saw Emma, a few years younger than he and daughter of a deacon in the local Holiness church, swimming nude in the river. She had stood up and beckoned for him to come join her, but he had run away. But he remembered her for many years.

One night much later, Walter was drinking in the ruins of his mother’s cabin, where the abusive and then senile old woman had just died in a fire. As Walter sat there drunk, he heard the strains of music coming from the church. He walked in and was slain in the spirit and was ministered to by Emma, still consumed by the guilt of her early lust. They married soon after. Henry, meanwhile, hadn’t lifted a finger to stop her when 16-year-old Naomi, the classically educated daughter of a Fayetteville minister, rebelled against her strict, icy father and her sexually abusive uncle, with whose family she had been living in Delaney after her mother’s death. She proposed that Henry marry her, and he agreed.

The story is told through a series of first-person narrative chapters, occasionally interspersed with one by a third-person limited narrator. The various characters often ruminate on and rehash the same events, giving a naturalistic feel to the text, as if Guinn were leading the reader to see how one’s social position and psychological disposition lead one to very idiosyncratic and particular interpretations of key events. The key events surround the troubled and sexless relationship between repressed Naomi and alcoholic Henry, the heartbreaking attempts of Walter and Emma to conceive a healthy baby, and more generally the stymied efforts of the Bass brothers to cross class boundaries and be accepted by prejudiced small town society. Of particular interest are the pitiful and self-absorbed internal monologues of Charity, the “other woman” who loves Walter and, when she does not get to marry him, marries no one else.

At the same time, Guinn’s descriptions are very well developed and tangible, showing great sensitivity to the tastes, smells, and textures of everyday life. In this extended extract, Walter and Emma are drinking coffee one evening not so very long after suffering a crushing loss:

When Walter finished eating, Emma picked up the plates and took them into the kitchen. She returned with a pot of coffee and filled their cups, resting her hand on his shoulder and leaning lightly on him as she poured. He breathed the smell of the bread, of the coffee, and of the long braid of her hair, which she had pulled around to the side and swung now close to his face.

Emma took the coffeepot back to the kitchen, then sat down at the table. Walter cut a slice from the half loaf of bread that lay on the cutting board, handed it to her, then cut a slice for himself. The butter had warmed sitting out in the kitchen, and it spread easily.

“Papa stopped by this morning,” she said.

“Need something?” he said. He didn’t want to talk about her parents, about the fact that her mother couldn’t stop blaming him.

“Just had the urge to see his little girl, I think,” she said. “I was working in the garden, pulling up the corn stalks and stacking them.” She took a bite of bread and chewed slowly. “Those stalks stand out there like skinny old women after harvest, turning brown, stooped, shuffling in the wind.” She smiled. “Always made me think of somebody I know, like Mrs. Ivey.”

She sipped her coffee. “This year it made me think of myself.” She looked across her coffee cup at him. “Funny isn’t it?”

Her eyes were gray beneath the dark eyebrows, and the shadow of the coffee cup just touched her lower lip.

“What I like best,” she said, “is that when the stalks are gone, the pumpkin vines cover the garden, and the pumpkins look like little fat islands.”

She seemed to be lost in her thoughts for a moment, and he took a drink of coffee. “I’ll get to those stalks this weekend,” he said.

“I think I noticed for the first time,” she said, “how the skin is sagging under Papa’s eyes.”

She began to talk a little faster, as if she wanted to say something before she forgot it.

“Then I found myself talking about Joshua,” she said, “telling Papa how we prayed so long to have him, and how helpless he was and how I couldn’t do anything, couldn’t pray him through, and how now it seemed like something more than Joshua was gone.”

Outside the window, darkness had swallowed everything. The lane, the fence, the shed, the field. She would have to talk about Joshua, and as always, he would rise up between them, and every other possibility would be smothered in the wringing of hands and the tears.

“Papa said the strangest thing. He said that old wagon, the hearse, rolls down through town and out to Patrick cemetery pretty often. Always carrying somebody, always leaving somebody behind. And problem is, we see how full that cemetery is of people we know, people not ready, not finished living. Worst of all how many stones stand over infant babies.”

Her eyes watered. In the first months after Joshua’s death, he had held her, shushed her, patted on her after he put out the lamp, as she cried herself to sleep.

“Then Papa said that it took him a long time, but he finally learned that the biggest part of faith is taking the world on its own terms. I wasn’t sure what he meant. Taking the world on its own terms. And then he said, ‘Emmy, sooner or later you got the embrace the dying.’”

She picked at the bread on her plate. “Embrace the dying. Now that’s a new one. He told me to look at those autumn leaves, all that dying, falling back to earth, burning in the sun like fire from the Holy Ghost. He said it was the Good Lord’s way of saying, ‘Look at this dying here, it’s a thing of beauty.’”

She picked up her cup and started to take a drink, but stopped and said, “I’m going to need more coffee to finish this bread. How about you?”

Walter wanted to tell her that for once her father was right and not to talk any more about Joshua. He said “Sure.”

She brought the coffeepot, and before she poured his coffee, she stopped and looked out the window into the dark and said, “Almost the last thing Papa said before he left was ‘Emmy, you know what’s hurting you most, don’t you? It’s never being able to touch Joshua again. That’s what’s hurting you.’ Then he said ‘But Emmy, you got a lot of living still to do. You can’t quit touching now.’”

She leaned over and poured his coffee. “After Papa left,” she said, “I kneaded the bread dough, and while it rose, I sat out on the front porch cutting up the Jonathans for a pie, thinking about what Papa said.”

Walter made himself breathe slowly. The smell of her, the coffee, the bread. She poured her own coffee, set the pot on the table, and sat down.

She sipped the coffee. “And I kept thinking about those corn stalks,” she said, “drying out, rattling in the wind.” The corners of her mouth started up and she looked away.

They ate the bread slowly, as if they were just killing time.

“Those starlings are pests, you know,” she said. “I put scraps out on the feeder, and the starlings chase off the cardinals and chickadees. Only thing meaner is a blue jay, I think.”

He said, “I heard a couple of owls calling while I was out washing up.”

They drank the coffee between bites of bread. When he finished his bread and swallowed the last of his coffee, she looked up at him, part of her bread in her hand. Her gaze dropped to her plate and her breath rose and fell and he could see a smile lift the corners of her mouth again, just as it had when they sat on the front porch of the Sinclair house before they were married. When she said Yes. She put the bread back down on her plate and stood up. He stood, stepped around to the side of the table, cupped his hand around the top of the lantern globe and blew out the flame, then held out his hand to her.

She took it as she came up to him, and he pulled her to him and kissed her before she turned and led the way to the bedroom. As they walked through the dark living room, she pulled the clasp from the braid of her hair and let it fall loose around her shoulders. Their footfalls were quiet, but the floorboards creaked just in front of the bedroom door, first as Emma crossed them and then again with Walter.

Gary Guinn (2005) A Late Flooding Thaw. Siloam Springs, AR: Moon Lake Press. Pp. 164-167.

The novel is available at the John Brown University Bookstore on the JBU campus and online at Amazon.com

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Reign of that Truncheon Thing

A British man was pulled off a plane and questioned by police after the driver of the taxi taking him to the airport took offence at his taste in music. Particularly "dangerous" were the Clash and Led Zeppelin...

(Thanks to Andrew for this one.)

Read the full story here. Excerpt:

"I played Procol Harum's 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' first, which the taxi man liked," Mann explained. "I figured he liked the classics, so I put on Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song'. Then, since I was going to London, I played The Clash ('London Calling') and finished up with 'Nowhere Man' by The Beatles. He didn't like Led Zeppelin or The Clash, but I don't think there was any need to tell the police."

Here are the lyrics to the song:

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared - and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard,you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the reign of that truncheon thing

The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
Cause London is burning and I live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go at it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out - and draw another breath
London calling - and I don't wanna shout
But while we were talking I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no high
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes

The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river

Now get this
London calling, yes, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
And after all this, won't you give me a smile?
London Calling

I never felt so much alike, like-a, like-a...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Berber is a Language of Spain

Meliliyya and Sebta (Mililla and Ceuta) are two small enclaves in northern Moroccan that Spain never returned after 1956, when it gave up the rest of its Moroccan territories. Technically, Spain is the northernmost country in Africa.

OK, so if you wanna accept that Melilia and Sebta really are part of Spain...

And if their inhabitants--45 percent of whom are Muslims--of are really Spanish citizens...

Then, since a significant number speak Berber as their mother tongue, why shouldn't Berber be an official language of Spain, like Catalan or Basque?

Here's the story, translated, from Le Journal Hebdomadaire:

The Amazigh language is almost official

Discussion over the change of status of the Spanish leaders of Ceuta and Melilla has brought its own batch of surprises. The Basque and Catalan nationalist parties have introduced a recommendation that would give these enclaves two official languages: Spanish, obviously, and... Rifian, the "dialect" spoken in northern Morocco. This recommendation has attracted even the very influential Pedro Zerolo, in charge of social movements within the PSOE [a Spanish political party]. But the request was not met with approval by the Spanish parliament, following a coalition between the popular party and the party in power. The Amazigh language thus missed a beautiful chance for world recognition. This would have been for the first time Berber had been adopted as an official language.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Marbella Better Not!

(Marbella is pronounced marbeyya)

As we were busing through this town in southern Spain along the Costa del Sol, I could only think of southern California or the West Austin hill country or any other beautiful, hilly, dry place with luxury condos along the tops of the hills, gleaming new boutiques and fire stations, and gigantic billboards that featured agents with huge smiles declaring themselves king of all residential and commercial real estate.

The signs were in English, a testament to the high cost of living and the low quality of health care back in the UK (as well as the bloody weather), which is driving British retirees south in droves.

The stampede has driven housing costs along this stretch up 10- and 20-fold over the past ten years. It's now so expensive in Marbeyya that middle-class retirees from the cold northern lands of Europe are setting their sights on Morocco, and specifically the north and the coasts (which don't have the harsh summers of the interior). Indeed, one real estate agent I spoke with is predicting that prices are going to skyrocket in Tangier over the next 10 years. (Hype alert!)

That scenario is actually related to one of the planks in the platform of the PJD, the Muslim-affiliated political party that's a frontrunner to win the 2007 parliamentary elections in Morocco. They want to encourage elder-tourism and retirement communities, rather than the current "(almost) anything goes" tourism of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll that (opponents allege) the current government supports.

I don't see how huge numbers of elderly retirees will come here to live without a really top notch health care system in place (which I understand Spain has). But in its search for a panacea to Morocco's problems, the PJD would do well to remember that there are other ways evil can infest the heart of economic development. As those watching the news in Europe now know, Marbella's mighty have fallen, with the mayor and most of the city council under arrest by the Spanish government for corruption.

Their sin? Land speculation.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Gacha Empega and El Hillal

There is a great CD that I've been listening to, but it's unavailable, I guess, because I've been looking for it online and can't find it anywhere. The CD records a 2000 collaboration between Gacha Empega (a group from Marseille) and El Hillal (from southern Algeria)--it sounds like Nass Marrakech pumped up with some dancehall and a dose of heavy raga, with some strong dhikr thrown in. There are also some exquisite solo male songs, I believe in Spanish, but sung in the Andalusian style. They sing one Gnawa song (Abdel Qadir) or at least parts of it.

I'll keep looking. The cover is white with a cartoon drawing of a guy sitting on a camel. The guy's wearing dark glasses and there are two palm trees in the background.