Arab proverb: "if whatever you have to say is less beautiful than silence, then don't say anything".
In what follows I will be giving the name of the person and her/his comment and my answer if any and the person’s reply to my answer when available.
Feedback on my version of "Tanger 54".
1. MONA THOMAS; author of Tanger 54
Her comment: “I am sadly honored that your version of my book is the main component of your website. We could have been able to unite our strengths and work together towards reestablishing in his work and his rights, this admired and loved artist (loved by me, that’s for sure); beyond my book, I continue, of course with film-makers, editors, journalists and documentary-makers. It’s such a pity, unity means strength.”
2. BERNARD COLLET; writer, art critic, exhibitions' curator
His comment: "I read your "in-depth study" of Tanger 54 which I find to be a real indictment.
Simply two remarks. Can you admit that a novelist can write a fiction? That a novel is not the truth? In fact you write another (novel) yourself thinking that the drawing could be by Gysin.
I saw nothing in Mona Thomas' book that can harm the respect that is due to the artist Ahmed Yacoubi and his work. Do you really think that to say about a man that he has homosexual relationships means that he is "deprived of any moral value". As far as I am concerned, I think that an enlightened intellectual should not write such things."
My answer: Thank you infinitely for your feedback.
I cannot allow myself to answer in the same tone that you used because I have a lot of respect for your famous writer's reputation. Nevertheless Mrs. Thomas did not write a novel or a fiction but rather the result of a research work that she claims to be very fastidious and realistic; I highly suggest you read her book again. To prove to you that I am more "enlightened" that you think, your comment will be published in my website. Once again thank you a thousand times."
His reply: "In no way I wanted to use an unfriendly tone … Just try to tell you that Mona Thomas " proposes a hypothesis ". That it is the incomparable power of literature to allow that a "truth" says itself, that of the writers free of what they write, and sometimes this truth is more true than many essays and argued documentaries, it is my point of view.
You know, one day, in Casablanca, a man asked me for what I wrote. I answered him: fictions, novels … He told me then: “but what you write is not the truth, then it is necessary for you to stop writing at once!” It froze me.
What is of importance to me, it is the freedom to think, to write, to express an opinion, and I respect the freedom which you have to write of what you think of this book, of course, I would want as many readers as possible to express themselves, always.
On the other hand, I completely agree that the painter Yacoubi is not enough recognized and your efforts to remedy to it are praiseworthy, same thing for Brion Gysin, for whom I had the pleasure to be the curator of the exhibition dedicated to him at the gallery Delacroix in Tangier, last April.
Therefore go ahead and write this other hypothesis! I encourage you to do so!
3. HARRY ATKINS; friend of Ahmed Yacoubi
His comment: " It's so wonderful that you have created this web site: Ahmed's work and his history deserve to be much more widely known. As to the latter, as someone who was a dear friend of his, I'm dismayed over the personal reputation that people might attribute to him, should they become familiar with him only through the way he is sometimes portrayed in other people's biographies. It's as if they expect that an illiterate young man, who has been snatched from the streets of Fez by highly sophisticated and unconventional westerners and suddenly thrust into a world of money and privileges should somehow act as a saint, beyond temptation. We expect less of our famous football or basketball players."
N.B.: a special chapter of the web site will be attributed to Harry Atkins who knew the artist well.
4. FARID ZAHI; writer, art critic, museum curator
His comment: "I did appreciate a lot your article on Tanger 54.
The analysis as well as the conclusions to which you arrive seem to me more relevant than those of Mona Thomas.
5. SYHAM WEIGANT: journalist and special reporter at Diptyk Magazine
Her comment: "We are very touched by your interest for our magazine and your encouragements. We looked with a lot of interest at the site which you dedicate to Mr. Ahmed Yacoubi.
Please continue to inform us according to the on-line publishing of articles which you will dedicate to the artist, we shall always read them with interest and can maybe announce your site's creation when it will be a little more sustantial (it seems to me that at the moment only two articles were published?)."
For you to read and for your pleasure, I allowed myself to join to this mail a copy of the article that has already appeared in Diptyk in February of 2012 about the Mona Thomas' book.
Thank you still for your interest and your support.
6. CHARLES WILDBANK: artist
His comment: "Interesting, I love it that you make effort to portray Yacoubi in a more fair light. It does help alot to speak from a Moroccan standpoint. It puts everything in a more accurate cultural perspective that Yacoubi deserves.
..............................My partner M. worked for Yacoubi in NYC and that was how she became acquainted with him. She described his smile as being infectious and his cooking to be wonderfully exotic and poetic in presentation.
...............Again, I enjoyed your critique".
To the left a picture of the old quarters of the city of Fez known as the Medina where Ahmed Yacoubi was born in the El Kadane Neighborhood. To the right, the old part of tangier known as the Casbah.