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Fatema Mernissi

Noureddine Saoudi

Noureddine Saoudi was born in the heart of the Casablanca Medina (old city center) in 1951. His father was a bus driver having migrated from Demnat (High Atlas) and his mother was a carpet weaver. In 1974, at age 23, he was arrested and sent to jail for 10 years (released in 1984) for his political opinions and his active involvement in the creation of the High School Students Trade-Union (Syndicat des Lyceens) in 1972.

Whence his interest in the history of trade-unionism in Morocco and his decision to undertake in the prison the translation from French into Arabic of the Jewish Moroccan historian Albert Ayache, a pioneer in trade unionism in North Africa. Like Noureddine Saudi, Albert Ayache who was born in 1905 (he died in 1999) was arrested by the French colonial administration who drove him from Morocco in 1953 and forced him into a long exile.

Noureddine started by a translation of G. Ayache's "Le Maroc", an introduction to the colonization of the country by the French (Dar al Khatabi, Casa, 1985). And as soon as he was released from prison, he continued translating into Arabic Albert Ayache's monumental work on the trade-unions: "L'Histoire du mouvement syndical au Maroc" (L'Harmatan, Paris). The Arabic title is Al-Haraka an-Naqabiya bi-l-Maghrib (Manchourat Amal, Casablanca, 1988).

Today, Noureddine Saoudi is married and the father of two children. He works as a journalist for the monthly news analysis magazine "L'Essentiel" besides teaching courses and translating of works he deems important for human rights.

He is the coordinator of the Synergie Civque writing workshop on "Never without my Son: Mothers, Wives and Sisters of Political Prisoners" where many authors contribute by interviewing family members of ex-political prisoners. Noureddine contributes to the book with an interview of his own mother which begins with this sentence: "My mother Zineb Kadmir led a quite banal life until I was arrested in 1974. That event set her life on another altogether unexpected track ."

Fatema Mernissi, June 2003

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Noureddine Saoudi

Related Links:

Atelier d'ecriture
(Synergie Civique):
Never without my son

Sole nero
Gli anni di piombo in Marocco
Mesogea, 2004