Jeremy Harding

Jeremy Harding is a contributing editor at the LRB. His books include Border Vigils: Keeping Migrants Out of the Rich World and Mother Country, a memoir.

In Tazmamart​ it paid to forget family and friends. Aziz BineBine dismissed the past by an act of will. ‘I had no personal memories and no future,’ he writes. ‘I was here and here only.’ Expunging all trace of his father was easy: Mohamed BineBine had been King Hassan’s court jester. He is also the subject of a novel, Le Fou du roi (2017), by BineBine’s brother Mahi. When the king was out of sorts, BineBine Sr, a prodigious memoriser of the Arabic canon, came to the rescue with an apposite line of verse or a witticism of his own. He never once asked the king to pardon his son. But BineBine and his comrades in Tazmamart also had mothers, brothers, sisters, fiancées; many had wives and children. Those who pined for their families, BineBine suggests, put their own mental and physical health at risk. He had already become devout during his earlier incarceration in Kenitra: faith, he discovered, was a defence against the profanities of Tazmamart.

From The Blog
27 October 2021

Last week the Israeli defence minister, Benny Gantz, signed an executive order designating six Palestinian NGOs as ‘terrorist’ organisations. One was Defence for Children International – Palestine, whose offices had been raided in July. Others included the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Workers’ Committees. The most distinguished ‘terrorist’ organisation under Gantz’s executive order is Al-Haq, a human rights NGO founded in the late 1970s, which focuses on legal issues in the Occupied Territories. Al-Haq’s primary purpose is to defend the rights of Palestinians under occupation.

Short Cuts: Nautical Dramas

Jeremy Harding, 15 July 2021

One​ of the most seductive items for sale on the website of Arthur Beale, yacht chandler, is a ‘chart work pack’ for just under thirty quid. It includes an elegant course plotter, two Staedtler pencils, a Staedtler eraser and a pair of brass dividers that looks like a primitive device for lancing an abscess. The pack is shown with its contents spread out on a nautical map titled...

Charlie’s War

Jeremy Harding, 4 February 2021

In an email to staff shortly before his murder, Samuel Paty explained that his class was meant to confront students with the following question: should cartoons of the Prophet not be published in order to avoid violence, or should they be published to keep ‘freedom’ alive? But neither of these questions is the right one. Better to set aside the matter of violence for a moment and ask simply: is contempt a fair weapon for the fourth estate – even a satirical paper – to wield against a minority? Charlie Hebdo couldn’t perform this abstraction, but a careful civics class might have done so. Now reintroduce the reality of murderous jihadist acts and ask whether Charlie’s war against bigotry and violence was a precision-target offensive, as it imagined, or just the indiscriminate carpet-bombing of Muslim sensibilities. In either case, was the effect to diminish jihadist violence or to increase it? Did Charlie’s obstinacy distinguish the enemy from the vast majority of French Muslims, or did it subject their republican loyalty to new kinds of stress?

From The Blog
6 January 2021

The late Pierre Cardin bought the château in 2001 and the arts school was acquired the following year by the Savannah College of Art and Design. That’s when the process of ruin in Lacoste underwent a curious reversal: the dilapidated castle was rapidly refurbished while the village beneath – population in the low hundreds – became a lifestyle showcase, like Cardin's high-end prêt-à-porter, as he began buying up property. Some of it was empty, but several residents were prêt-à-partir: his offers were too good to refuse.

Bloody-Minded

Basil Davidson, 9 September 1993

‘In olden times, which is when God was deciding what blessings he would give to the countries he was creating, after a long while he finally got to Angola and he asked Gabriel his angel to...

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