|Posted by halflem on July 22, 2008 at 9:18 AM|
Hal Fleming, the author of The Brides' Fair, a recent novel of diplomatic intrigue and terrorism, spent almost five years (1978-83) in Morocco as Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development(USAID).
It was a time of diplomatic instability on the American front, Hal having had four different US Ambassadors during his tour, but of remarkable social progress by the Moroccans. This was particularly true with regard to the upward mobility of women in what had been a generally restrictive society. Women could be found operating industrial lathes on the factory floor, getting degrees in agronomy, medicine and engineering and even being trained as helicopter pilots for the Moroccan military.
In the 1980s, Islamic fundamentalism had yet to surface as a threat to the society. Yet Morocco, for all its social enlightenment could not generate sufficient employment opportunities. In the author's time unrest among the Berber minority was as worrisome to the authorities as the potential for militancy among the young and unemployed.
Hal traveled extensively in all regions of Morocco, becoming steeped in the diversity of the coastal, mountain and desert cultures.He also with his wife, an archaeologist, traced the vestiges of the Roman, early Arab and Spanish moor eras. Above all, it was the indigenous Berber culture of the Mid and High Atlas mountains which fascinated him and led to his using the Berbers as a backdrop for his novel.
For more see my web site, halflem.com, or read my novel, The Brides' Fair, available from Amazon.com, PublishAmerica.com, and other booksellers