In the course of the year 2012 I had the pleasure of knowing extraordinary people. I also had the misfortune of losing two of my dear colleagues while still in their prime of life, much to the regret of their relatives, students and colleagues. I’m still overwhelmed by a sense of void and unbelief as I go through old and recent pictures of these two wonderful people. I’m reminded that death is always lurking somewhere not far, and that life is a valuable and a wonderful gift if only we could appreciate the health and peace of mind with which we are often blessed. As years pass, we grow lonelier. Old friends either disappear or become very different people from those we once knew and admired. Later friendships rarely can stand the test of time. We are left with our private lives and concerns, often insulated within our defined spaces of domesticity, totally absorbed in the pursuit of our most cherished goals. But there are moments in which we are brought face to face, without prior arrangement or expectation, with new vistas of life and with people who have acquired their share of wisdom and depth. I wish to say a few words in acknowledgment of these many friends and acquaintances. I want first to send my warm greetings to friends in San Diego State: Eniko and family, Farid, Ghada and Huma; to the landlady Eleanor. The summer I spent in 2011 was the longest period I spent in US, though mostly I remained within the vicinity of the campus. I learnt much more about US than what dozens of books have taught me over the years about American history and culture. Flag Staff, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, what unforgettable places and memories! I feel very guilty not to have the opportunity to resume contact with so many friends at Indiana State. My colleague Majid and I would like to thank all the wonderful staff of the Cunningham Memorial Library for their support and the time they spent with us. My friends at Georgia College: Dwight, Sunita, Fonke and Larbi -born Moroccan again! We look forward to a wonderful conference in June. To David at Macon College, please bring as many students as you can. It’s always fun to sit at Marrakech cafés around midnight to sip Fanta Lemon and watch the students struggle with Arabic syllables. My friends at Kennesaw: Nina lahnina; thanks for being a devoted friend and champion of the Ben M’sik dept. But you must finish AK. We made a bet; you still can catch up with me. I only reached part III. And Tony, I promise to give you a call when I visit GA again. Last November in Marrakech, during the international conference on American Studies and the Arab Spring, I met a host of interesting folks, Brian Edwards, Anouar Majid, Basil Hatim, Christopher Wise, Gerald Loftus, Fouad Moughrabi among many others. My Moroccan colleagues, Abdelkader Sabil and Youssef Amine Elalamy from El Jadida and Kenitra universities were a great asset to the conference. Sawsan, Brahim, and Nourdin– the young generation, the future is yours to grab; just push in, don’t wait for invitations! Finally, to the small circle of colleagues and friends at Ben Msik: It’s great to be part of your dept. Amine, congratulation for the new born. It’s the reward of a year’s hard and productive labor. You pushed ahead until you made the conference a true and full success. Keep up the good work. Said, we, the bandits, still hope you would treat us to a great lunch or dinner as you promised. I won’t expose anybody else, though I’m tempted to. To all I hope this new year will bring peace and happiness.

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