Episode 32 with Ali Al Tuma
Thousands of Moroccans fought on the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War, but few know what the experience was like for these men beyond propagandistic stereotypes. Ali Al Tuma, one of the last researchers to be able to interview Moroccan veterans, discusses what he learned about why they joined and what their experiences were. We also consider the Spanish perceptions of these Moroccan soldiers on both sides of the conflict and the accusations of atrocities leveled against them.
Ali Al Tuma received his doctorate at Leiden University in 2016. In 2018 he published his thesis on the Moroccan soldiers in the Spanish Army, titled: Guns, Culture and Moors. Racial Perceptions, Cultural Impact and the Moroccan Participation in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). He also co-edited with Dr. Eric Storm a volume on Asian and African soldiers fighting in Europe titled: Colonial Soldiers in Europe, 1914-1945. ‘Aliens in Uniform’ in Wartime Societies (2016). Between 2017-2019 he worked at the United Nations University in Tokyo, researching military and justice aspects of the war in Iraq against the Islamic State organization. In addition to historical publications, he has written fictional works including an award-winning historical play: Yusuk Melik Ispanya (Yusuf King of Spain) (Sharjah, UAE, 2015) about the adventures of a reluctant Moroccan soldier during the Spanish Civil War. He is currently a researcher at the Center for History at Sciences Po-Paris working for the European Research Council Project “Slave Voices” (headed by Prof. M’hamed Oualdi).
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- Tuma, Ali Al. Guns, Culture and Moors. Racial Perceptions, Cultural Impact and the Moroccan Participation in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.
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