Souffles was launched in March 1966, in Rabat, Morocco, ten years after Morocco’s independence and only four years after the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) ended. The moment of the journal’s establishment was rife with post-colonial struggles, transnational solidarities, and relentless endeavors to create a different and new world order. Led by poet Abdellatif Laâbi in collaboration with poets Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine and Mostafa Nissaboury, who had already started Poésie Toute in 1964, this small group of literary figures was joined by artists Mohamed Melehi, Mohammed Chabaâ, and Farid Belkahia from the Casablanca School. Abraham Serfaty, an associate of Eldridge Cleaver and the Black Panthers then based in Algiers who would later become one of Morocco's most well-known political prisoners, joined the editorial board in 1968, marking the political turn in the journal’s trajectory. In a matter of a few years Souffles became a node, a medium and interface in the intellectual, political and artistic production of a nascent Moroccan postcolonial subjectivity. Faced with the traditional language used then, Souffles’ editors strove to renew language as a segue into a larger renewal of literature, thought, and society.
Although postcolonial Morocco had several Arabic cultural journals, Souffles’ publication in 1966 marked a departure from the prevalent literary and intellectual discourses. Before it was officially banned in 1972 and its editors Laâbi and Serfaty arrested respectively 1972 and 1974, the journal turned the linguistic and literary scenes in Morocco upside down. It announced the advent of a new dawn, and its authors were the heralds of a Morocco that fully embraced its post-coloniality to reorder the priorities of a decolonizing world in conversation with like-minded people across the globe. Part of embracing this post-coloniality was replacing the stale and archaic language of culture and literature by a fiery and rebellious aesthetics that imploded language from within. Linguistic guerilla, as it came to be known, tarted language as a site of literary renewal and cultural regeneration, and Souffles played a crucial role in this effort.
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