Sam Metz at The Quarterly Conversation:
Less than a decade after gaining independence, Morocco, once again, found itself in the throes of turbulence. For many, “self”-rule—the return of the historical monarchy—hadn’t ameliorated the day-to-day indignities of the French colonial era, and by 1965 politics looked like it was reaching a breaking point. Protests were spreading quickly across the kingdom. Mehdi Ben Barka, the Moroccan Left’s most notable mouthpiece, had “disappeared” in Paris, and the student movement, active in universities throughout the kingdom, was ballooning in size, with high school students interpreting a newly implemented law that limited access to secondary school as a rallying cry.
In response, the newly minted King Hassan II cracked down violently on anti-monarchy demonstrators. “Allow me to tell you,” he once went on television and told his public, “there is no greater danger to the state than the so-called intellectual; it would have been better for you to be illiterate.”
Enter Souffles, a Moroccan magazine of culture and politics. Hassan II’s aforementioned broadcast had mapped a how-to of sorts—in this instance, how to best pose a threat to the monarchy—and, heeding the call, a group of young poets and artists decided to start a magazine.