Historische strip in de maak: De Tranen van Iligh

Het idee voor een historisch stripverhaal.

historische strip. de tranen van Illigh 82 Maison d'Iligh 2016

Plans for a Graphic Novel

Het begon allemaal in maart 2016, na een bezoek van Bert Hogervorst aan Maison d’Iligh, een burcht in een afgelegen uithoek van Zuid-Marokko,  maar er was niemand thuis. Een paar dagen later ontmoette ze Aisha Aboudmiaah dochter van de eigenaar van de burcht van Iligh in Agadir. Aisha vertelde Bert over een kist met 1500 oude tot zeer oude documenten in het Arabisch en Hebreeuws plus een bibliotheek van 3000 boeken die in haar voorvaderlijke burcht lagen te verkommeren.

Aisha on the phone/Aisha over de telefoon

Bert Hogervorst visited the stronghold of Iligh on the edge of the Sahara desert in March 2016. Nobody was at home. A few days later in Agadir she met up with Aisha Aboudmiaah the daughter of the owner of Maison d’Iligh. Aisha told Bert about a chest containing 1500 documents in Arabic and Hebrew in addition to a library of 3000 old books. All of which are in grave danger of  falling apart with age and neglect.

historische strip de tranen van Illigh. De synagoge van Ighlio 'N Orglio die helaas tijdens het noodweer van 2015 is ingestort.

De synagoge van Ighlio ‘N Orglio die helaas tijdens het noodweer van 2015 is ingestort.

Bij terugkeer nam Bert contact op met het Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam die in 2009 een belangrijke foto expositie had gehouden over de Joodse gemeenschappen van Zuid Marokko. En ze nam contact op met de directrice van het Musée du Judaisme Marocain in Casablanca: Zhor Rehilhil. Maar zij had toen zoiets van: bestaat die kist wel? In oktober bezochten Bert en ik haar. Het was een interessante informatieve ontmoeting, maar het lukte toen niet haar in contact te brengen met Aisha.

At her return in Amsterdam Bert contacted the Jewish Historical Museum. They had organised in 2009 an important photo exhibit  about Jewish life in Southren Morocco. She also contacted the director of the Musée du Judaisme Marocain in Casablanca: Zhor Rehilhil. But Zhor reacted doubtful: is there proof the chest really exists? In October Bert and I visited her. It was an interesting and informative meeting, but we didn’t succeed then to bring her in contact with Aisha. 

Twee weken later bezochten we Maison d’Iligh. Wederom was ondanks van te voren gemaakte afspraken niemand daar en wederom was er uiteindelijk een ontmoeting met Aisha in Agadir. Bert vroeg naar bewijs van de kist. Aisha beloofde een foto. Het aapje kwam uit het mouwtje: haar vader had het ministerie van culturele zaken in Rabat gevraagd de documenten en boeken te borgen. Dat wilde ze wel, maar onder de voorwaarde dat de boeken en documenten ondergebracht zouden worden in de National Bibliotheek. Dat was een station te ver voor de laatste afstammeling van het illustere huis van Iligh.

historische strip. de tranen van Illigh. De Zaouia van Sidi Ahmed Ou Moussa de stichter van het Huis van Iligh

De Zaouia van Sidi Ahmed Ou Moussa de stichter van het Huis van Iligh

Two weeks later we visited Maison d’Iligh. Although contact was made beforehand again nobody was there and again we finally met up with Aisha in Agadir. Bert asked her for proof of the chest. Aisha promised a photograph. Then the problem was revealed: her father had contacted the ministry for culture in Rabat, but they only want to make the documents and books safe for the future if they can stay in the national library. That was a bit too much to ask of the last descendant of the illustrious House of Iligh.

Moussa Aboudmiaah wants his daughter  to put Maison d’Iligh on the international stage. It is his only hope to safeguard the place, treasures and history from oblivion. But Aisha has a busy job and it is not an easy task to honor the wishes of her father and save Iligh. After looking at the sketches I made in Iligh and the Zaouia she asked me to come back and made a book of drawings of Iligh. Preferably soon. However there are no funds.

Moussa Aboudmiaah wil nu dat zijn dochter Maison d’Iligh op de internationale kaart zet in de hoop het voor totaal verval te behoeden. Maar Aisha heeft een drukke baan en het is geen eenvoudige taak het erfgoed te redden. Na het zien van de tekeningen die ik van de burcht en de nabijgelegen Zaouia gemaakt had, vroeg Aisha of ik terug wilde komen om een historische strip  over Iligh te maken. Het liefst zo snel mogelijk. Maar er is natuurlijk geen geld.

historische strip de tranen van Illigh. De typische architectuur van Iligh die aan gebouwen in Mali doet denken

De typische architectuur van Iligh die aan gebouwen in Mali doet denken

In het vliegtuig terug naar Nederland besloten Bert en ik dat een boekje bestaande uit tekeningen niet genoeg was. Bert was al in de geschiedenis van het zeventiende-eeuwse koninkrijk aan de rand van de Sahara gedoken en de heilige Soefi die het gesticht had en had de connectie ontdekt met Michiel de Ruyter en de Sefardische gemeenschap in Nederland. Een besluit was snel gemaakt om van de geschiedenis van Maison d’Iligh inderdaad een historische strip te maken.  Dat is het nieuwe project voor 2017/2018.

historische strip de tranen van Illigh Aisha Aboudmiaah in Agadir

Aisha Aboudmiaah in Agadir

In the plane going back to The Netherlands Bert and I decided that a booklet with drawings of Iligh wouldn’t do. Bert had already researched a bit the history of the small kingdom at the edge of the Sahara  that dates back to the seventeenth century and its Sufi saint founder. She had also discovered the interesting connection Michiel de Ruyter had with the place and a tentative link to the Sephardic community in Holland. It wasn’t difficult to come to the conclusion that only a graphic novel about Iligh and its history would do. 

Reisplannen/Planning a trip to Iligh 2017

Gesprek met/contact with Aisha Aboumdiaa

Reisplannen/travel itinerary Iligh 2017

Route naar/itinerary to Iligh and the Zaouia

Travels to Iligh

114 Writing the Graphic Travelogue

Friday August 9th, 2019 10:52 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

It is a bit as the dilemma about the chicken or the egg: which came first. I made the story Destination Iligh out of sketches without text. Now that Bert is back in Amsterdam for a while, it is all about text. She liked the story, but the outline for the text doesn't quite follow the ramblings of the sketches. It also has to do with the material and the sources. There is little sketch material about some subjects where there is an abundance of text sources. How to balance sketches and text, that is the question. Nothing comes easily. In the sketch: the first meeting between Bert and me and the Imam and Fatima Aboudmiaa. Love for Egyptian Movies and Soaps was the common denominator that opened the door for friendship.

113 Sketches galore

Monday August 5th, 2019 08:45 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

The original Graphic Travelogue called 'Destination Iligh' was only 4 pages. It was supposed to go into a 'Cahier' Bert was making about Iligh with contributions of different experts. Bert and I were going to do 'something' together. She was doing the text, me the drawings. The 'something' had come to nothing yet. We both were busy with other things. i had given it some thought though and when I needed to 'play' as part of recovery I thought this was a good place to start. It turned out, I had given it already so much thought that it didn't take much time to fill up 4 pages with sketches. Each page of basic A4 size was forming one chapter. There were 4 distinct chapters: View of Iligh from 4 sides, The court, Imam and the Museum and Foreign (in particular Dutch) Interest in Iligh. That done I was eager to continue. Bert was away on the Orkneys. The text had to wait. I decided to add 4 more pages. Highlighting the itinerary to Iligh and Michiel de Ruyter's expeditions to Iligh. That made 8 pages. I discovered that keeping the strickt regime of one page one chapter, I could endlesly extent the story line of the Graphic Travelogue adding pages on ways to travel, slaves, the environs of Iligh, the family Aboudmiaa and flora and fauna. This sketch depicts the wondrous landscape on the mountains between the Rout N ! and Iligh.

112 Starting a Graphic Travelogue

Monday August 5th, 2019 08:03 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

As I will be recovering from surgery for some months and as I need daily care, I'm stuck in Amsterdam and won't get around much, let alone go anywhere soon. This state of affairs I've been anticipating for some years now. That is why I was doing so much traveling and so much sketching. In 1993 we (a group women of which I was one) organized a week long conference on 'a gay old day' (een vrolijke oude dag). One of the organizers worked a lot with the 'Intranet'. At the time it was a cyber network of universities. The World Wide Web wasn't really up and working yet. But we sensed it wasn't far away either. We asked Marleen Stikker who was setting up an email network provider (dds) for the city of Amsterdam to give a talk about the future importance of computer networks when being old and possibly infirm. Well, it all became reality. Being infirm and older for me means I can play. I have hundreds of sketches, I have Photoshop, my own font and I have the time. I'm playing now with the sketches I have made in the last 6 years in Southern Morocco and in Iligh in particular. Of course the graphic story about Iligh is still 'in progress' if not exactly 'having come to a grinding halt'. Doesn't matter: I have now the time to compose a 'Graphic Travelogue'. This sketch of 'Goats in an Argan Tree' is composed of two different drawings.

111 Jeanine Pascon

Sunday August 4th, 2019 02:50 PM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

A number of years ago I received computer files of a number of old snap shots taken when Paul Pascon, Paolo De Mas and the others were doing research in Iligh. One of the pictures was taken during the wedding of Hamdi Aboudmiaa. Dominique Verdugo who at the time was making a map of the White or Women's Castle had written in Hamdi's name into two little rooms. One of the people in the snap shot is Jeanine Pascon, the wife of Paul. Apparently she had come to Iligh for the wedding. She is looking straight at the camera, while her husband is being nice to young Hamdi. I'm glad I could make a good drawing of the photo. Shortly after this picture was taken Jeanine's life took a dramatic turn. First her two sons disappeared during a camping trip. They were never found: probably kidnapped and murdered. In 1985 her husband was killed in a road accident when the landrover in which he was traveling turned over when caught on a sand dune. Paul and his closest associate were sitting in the back and were killed. The other occupants of the car survived.

110 Gevaarlijke kusten

Saturday August 3rd, 2019 05:22 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

It was dangerous sailing down the Moroccan coast. Not only was there the threat of pirates' ships, but also of the local currents and Atlantic storms. There are 17th and 18th century illustrations of ships that run aground on the rocks and sandbanks that litter the coast. While the ship's crew tries to safe their lives in the surf, the local populations has gathered on the shore to take them prisoners. Nowadays one can enjoy a meal of freshly caught fish on the beach of Tifnit while the fishermen are fishing off the rocks that protect the beach from the onslaught of the Atlantic.

109 Back in the Muzeeum in Vlissingen

Thursday August 1st, 2019 06:57 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

After much ado and thanks to the interference of Bert I finally got word that I could come and sketch the model of Michiel de Ruyters ship the Salamander in the Muzeeum in Vlissingen. The Salamander was the ship on which De Ruyter made his profitable voyages to Morocco. The model was taken out of storage and placed on the table in a meeting room. Bert and I were welcomed by Pol Verbeeck one of the curators of the museum. He explained that several models of the ship had been made over the years. They were all made by retired ship builders from the nearby wharfs who modeled the Salamander after descriptions given by De Ruyter in his Diary. The model in the Muzeeum wasn't older than 60 years. While I was sketching Bert had a conversation with Verbeeck about a young man from Eindhoven who had written a book about the 10 years that De Ruyter sailed on the Salamander. Verbeeck did rather scathing about the scientific content of the book. Apparently there was a lot of speculation but he had extensively written about Iligh. Bert's curiosity was peaked. During the lunch break we went to the local bookshop only to find that the book was not only sold out but also out of print. Later Bert had mail contact with the writer, but when she found out he hadn't even visited Iligh, she lost interest.

108 17de eeuwse handelsbetrekkingen

Wednesday July 31st, 2019 07:34 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

When Michiel de Ruyter went to Iligh in the 17th Century he traded in hats. What the lord of Iligh really wanted of course were weapons and lots of it. But the Staten Generaal, the parliament of the Dutch Republic had ordered that there would be no weapons sold to the Sultan of Morocco for fear he would turn them on the Dutch. But Ali Aboudmiaa presented himself as an independent ruler who had nothing to do with the Sultan. That was the arrogance that would cost his offspring and Iligh dearly later on. For De Ruyter Aboudmiaa's word was enough. The hats provided excellent cover for the more profitable canons and muskets. On the other hand hats and other head coverings like helmets only showed the importance of the wearer if decked out with exotic oistrich feathers and that was something Ali Aboudmiaa had plenty of.

107 Destination Iligh

Monday July 29th, 2019 10:55 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

A lot has happened in the past year in regards to the continuing story of Iligh, but nothing found its way to the blog. At the moment I'm recovering from major surgery. I'm not making sketches yet, but I did feel like 'playing' with drawings I made for, in and around Iligh. A small booklet in the making: 'Bestemming Iligh', Destination Iligh. Here the cover illustration.

106 The Harem and Seraglio

Wednesday July 25th, 2018 10:56 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

According to Fatima Mernissi the Moroccan Muslim feminist there are two distinct kinds of Harems: the Harem where the wives and concubines of one man lived and the Harem were the extended family of a patriarch lived. In ‘Dreams of Trespass, tales from a Harem childhood’ Mernissi as a young girl constantly tries to define the concept of Harem. One definition was: a safe space for women where everything was kept out that was ‘Haram’ or bad. Another definition was that women who according to male perception were cause of all disorder (Fitna) had to be kept hidden away from the world. The most famous, politically savvy and enduring Harem, the one that inspired horny western painters in the nineteenth century like Ingres and Delacroix, was the Harem of the Ottoman Sultans in Istanbul the Seraglio in the Topkapi Palace. It is said that the Ottomans were for a century or more looking from the other side of the Bosporus jealously at the fabulous city of Constantinople with its visible domes and invisible royal ‘Seraglio’. The women of the Christian Byzantine ‘Seraglio’ were not allowed out at all and if they for some reason had to go out they had to be heavily veiled and accompanied by armed eunuchs. Western writers criticize the 12th century Byzantine biographer Anna Comnena as being terrible vague on locations, dates and battles. They obviously didn’t take into account the fact that she wouldn’t have had the necessary knowledge locked up as she was in the Seraglio of the palace. When Constantinople finally fell into the hands of the Ottomans in 1453 they introduced into their culture two things: Domes and ‘Seraglio’. Read all about it in: The Imperial Harem: women and sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire by Leslie P Pierce. However Harems were already introduced into the Muslim world during the Abbasid Califate (8th to 13th century). The drawing is of the White or Women’s Stronghold, the building that housed the Harem of Iligh.

105 Women and the public space

Wednesday July 25th, 2018 08:55 AM
noreply@blogger.com (Peti Buchel)

I grew up in the fifties and was an adolescent in the sixties. My idea was that the world was standard ‘normal’ and that I was crazy. Because how was it otherwise possible that my reality did not correspond with how it should be? As a girl/woman I was supposed to have the same access to the ‘world’ as my male counterparts, but in reality that was not true. Public space was one example. Women filled the public space at will but in reality men dictated how women experienced their sojourn there. Men set the rules and behaved accordingly: self-serving. If women didn’t like how men behaved and complained about it, men were quick to tell them it was their fault. While walking her dog my mother was sexually assaulted by a boy of about thirteen. She went to the police. The police laughed at her and said she must have fantasized the incident. She was in the menopause for sure and would have ‘liked’ the attentions of a youth. As I wrote before it was a relief when in the sixties I started to travel in Muslim countries. There the dividing line between male and female space was clear. I didn’t mind to be condemned a perennial trespasser as a western woman in Muslim lands. It was better than unknowingly crossing boundaries that weren’t supposed to be there in the first place. It was only after I had read ‘The Feminine Mystique’ by Betty Friedan in my twenties that I realized that it was not me who was crazy it was the world I had to live in. Fatima Mernissi one of the most important Muslim feminists has made the definition of the boundaries set for women, the ‘Hudud’, and its hysterical enforcement by men the subject of her studies. In ‘Dreams of Trespass, tales of a Harem childhood’ she describes the source of her fascination: growing up in the strict confines of an urban Harem in Morocco.

Tekenend door Marokko

Marokko| Morocco

© Peti Buchel