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Morocco Week in Review 
April 28 , 2012

Morocco: Artisans At Work
DEREK WORKMAN  Thursday, 26 April 2012

The author took time off to wander the Medina in the city of Fez, Morocco, to watch the artisans at work.
Check the photos here:

Maryland: Paint The Town Moroccan !
H. Samrhouni Sunday, 22 April 2012 Washington / Morocco News Board

On Saturday, May 5, The Academy Art Museum will host its annual Paint the Town fundraiser in Easton, MD. This year’s theme is PAINT THE TOWN MOROCCAN! The event is staged in the form of an adventure to the Kingdom of Morocco. The day begins at the souk with the music of the five key regions of Morocco, a USA / Moroccan flag raising ceremony in-presence of dignitaries.

As part of the Paint the Town Moroccan event, the Museum is hosting a lecture,  Morocco: "America’s Oldest Friend", by Former US Ambassador to Morocco, Ed Gabriel. Mr. Gabriel will share some little known history between the US and Morocco; Morocco recognition of the US, contemporary history of its relations with America, morocco's current efforts at social development and spread of Morocco's fashion, food and décor in the past decade in both europe and America.

The Museum brings a Souk to the town of Easton, with an entire block of downtown reserved for the event. A souk with an authentic Nomad Tent, dramatically staged performances of traditional music,  a fashion show of Moroccan outfits.  Visitors will experience the bargaining process while shopping for goods over a cup of mint tea and Moroccan pastries.

Souks and markets are a major feature in Moroccan life and are among the country’s greatest attractions. Each major city or town in Morocco has a special souk quarter. Villages in the countryside also have local souks which are usually held once a week in an open field or outside the towns’ Kasbah walls.

Large cities like Marrakech and Fes have labyrinths of individual souks. The cities of Marrakech, Fes and Ouarzazate are famous for their souks. Some of the best buys are leather ware, handicrafts, carpets, pottery, jewelry, wood carvings, traditional dresses and various food products, such as olives, olive oil and pastries. Some of the most sought-after items in Moroccan souks and markets are traditional amazigh hand woven carpets, blankets, and rugs.

A Moroccan Exhibition in the Spitaleri Gallery and Atrium Gallery will feature the artwork of contemporary visual artist Hamid Kachmar, as well as Moroccan artwork on loan from The World Bank Art Program and contemporary photography by Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi, on loan from the International Finance Corporation.

Last year’s event, PAINT THE TOWN CUBAN! raised over $93,000 to support the Academy Art Museum’s mission to enhance cultural life by making available to everyone the Museum’s expanding art collection, exhibitions, and broad spectrum of arts programs for dance, painting, music.

The event's organizers hope to familiarize a segment of the state of Maryland's population with Morocco, its Culture and people. A form of Peoples diplomacy.

Peace Corps Volunteer Organizes Career Fair for 400 Moroccan Youth.
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2012

Peace Corps volunteer Kathleen Howell-Burke of Destin, Fla., organized a career fair for over 400 Moroccan students in Southeastern Morocco from March 24 to 25. During the fair, Moroccan professionals and college students from the area led panel discussions and workshops to help inspire Moroccan youth to pursue higher-level education and professional careers.

“It was amazing to see the collaborative effort between the organizers, partners, and professional speakers on this shared vision of investing in Moroccan youth,” said Howell-Burke, a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who has been working as a youth development volunteer since 2010. Howell-Burke is currently a Peace Corps Master's International student at Florida State University’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

Throughout the two-day fair, participants attended morning panel discussions led by guest speakers and were given time to ask questions about professional development opportunities. During the afternoon, Peace Corps volunteers facilitated workshops that covered topics such as resume writing, interviewing skills and educational opportunities available in the United States.

“Following the fair, the participants were very excited and expressed interest in exploring different career fields,” continued Howell-Burke. “They even seemed interested in the possibility of studying in another country and then returning to Morocco to use their skills at home.”

About Peace Corps/Morocco: More than 4,410 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Morocco since the program was established in 1963. Currently, 265 volunteers serve in Morocco. Volunteers work in youth development, English education, environment and health. Volunteers are trained and work in Darisha, French, Tamazight and Tashelheet.

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit for more information.

Morocco launches new strategy to fight AIDS.
By Siham Ali for Magharebia in Rabat – 26/04/12

Improved awareness and screening campaigns aim to reduce the number of AIDS cases in Morocco. Morocco just unveiled a new strategy to cut the AIDS mortality rate by 60% over the next four years. The Moroccan health ministry will focus on public awareness, targeted prevention, and ending the stigma associated with the condition.

"Morocco is waging an exemplary war against AIDS," UNAIDS director Michel Sidibé said in Rabat at an April 3rd conference on the initiative, which also aims to halve the number of new HIV infections by 2016. According to the health ministry, HIV/AIDS was first reported in Morocco in 1986. By the end of 2011, the number of reported cases had reached 6,453, with 4,169 having reached the AIDS stage and with 2,284 infecting asymptomatic HIV carriers. Estimates suggest that 29,000 Moroccans are living with HIV, of which 10,000 require antiviral treatment.

In effort to increase public awareness, Moroccan Education Minister Mohamed El Ouafa argued that schools and colleges should be targeted by the campaign first. The education ministry, the health department and associated partners must work together to reach at risk groups. A social marketing campaign will encourage vulnerable women and young people to use condoms. Also, after the calls of human rights groups, the plan will work to counter stigmatisation of the condition.

National Human Rights Council (CNDH) Chairman Driss Yazami explained that patients with AIDS suffer a range of explicit and implicit discrimination at both the institutional and societal levels. Therefore work needs to be done to help dispel prejudice, to protect the rights the diseased and their families, and to allow them full legal access to care without any discrimination or judgemental attitudes.

With input from the CNDH, the strategy considers the needs of those who suffer HIV discrimination such as 45-year-old Farida, who told Magharebia about her experience. "I was infected by my husband, who died five years ago," Farida explained. "My family has rejected me because of their fear of infection. I had to move far away so that no-one would know I was an AIDS carrier. And, I now live alone."

The new strategy aims to extend AIDS prevention campaigns to at least 60% of those people most likely to become exposed to it with a goal of testing two million people by 2016. Thirty new screening centres are planned through NGO partnerships in addition to a plan to promote screening in 358 health centres and 55 tuberculosis and respiratory disease centres across Morocco.

The health ministry hopes to reach 80% of those considered "high risk", including to those who inject drugs, pregnant women, and those needing antiviral or psychological treatment.

The budget for the programme is estimated at 810 million dirhams over five years, 46% of which will be financed from the state budget, 41% from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, and 13% from other national, UN and partnership sources.

Morocco's action on the issue has been welcomed internationally. "Morocco can serve as a model in this area for Africa, where the victims of the epidemic number millions," said Sidibé, who travelled to Morocco especially for the unveiling of the plan. "They have something to be proud of, in terms of AIDS prevention and patient treatment in Morocco, with people at the centre of officials' concerns," he added.

Reports on Moroccan health care raise concerns in parliament
By Hassan al-Ashraf April 26, 2012 (Alarabiya)

A report submitted by Moroccan Health Minister al-Hussein al-Ouardi to the parliament painted a bleak picture of health care across the country. The report, submitted Monday, included statistics labeled as “alarming” about the geographical distribution of medical care centers, medical coverage in urban and rural areas, and the number of staff working in the medical care sector as well as the care each citizen gets under the current system. According to the report, there is one medical center for every 42,000 citizens, less than one bed (precisely 0.9) for every 1,000, one doctor for every 1,630 patients, and one nurse for every 1,109.

Medical facilities, the report added, are mainly located in big cities which house 52 percent of the hospitals. Around 45 percent of those hospitals are centered in Rabat and Casablanca only. Almost one quarter of Moroccans living in the countryside are at least 10 kilometers away from the nearest clinic or hospital.

For Abdel Kader Tarfai, secretary general of the Health Syndicate, lack of human resources is the real problem facing the medical sector in Morocco. “Several consecutive governments did not lend this problem enough attention and not doing so now is bound to obstruct any attempts at salvaging the medical sector.”

Mustafa al-Shennawi, secretary general of the National Health Union, said the problem of the medical sector is originally political. “A minister who takes over does not start from where previous ministers stop and makes a point of boycotting everything they did. The current government is no different,” he said. According to Shennawi, there is also a budget problem. “The health sector does not get more than five percent of the country’s budget.”

Morocco wheat harvest seen falling to near 3 mln T
By Souhail Karam   MEKNES, Morocco, April 25 | Wed Apr 25, 2012 MEKNES, Morocco, April 25 (Reuters)

Morocco's wheat harvest should stand at around 3 million tonnes this year, including 2 million tonnes of soft wheat, down sharply from a year earlier, the head of the country's agriculture industry group said on Wednesday. This would mean that wheat imports may rise by 50 percent from their level during the ongoing import calendar year, which starts in June and ends in May of the following year. Bread and semolina are the staples for Morocco's 34-million population.

Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhannouch said the cereals harvest should reach 4.8 million tonnes this year, above the most recent forecasts but far below last year's level and the crop budget for 2012, due to bad weather. Akhannouch did not give a breakdown per variety for the harvest.

A year earlier, Morocco produced 8.4 million tonnes of cereals in 2011, including 4.17 million of soft wheat, 1.85 million of durum wheat and 2.34 million of barley.

Ahmed Ouayach, who heads the Moroccan Confederation of Agriculture, told Reuters Akhannouch's forecast means that the wheat harvest would stand at 3 million tonnes, including 2 million tonnes of soft wheat and 2 million tonnes of barley. "The ratio of distribution between the three types of cereals cultivated in Morocco is 40 percent for soft wheat, 40 percent for barley and 20 percent for durum wheat," Ouayach said on the sidelines of an agriculture fair in the northern city of Meknes. "This is a very average harvest," he added.

A senior official, familiar with the local cereals industry, said around half of the country's soft wheat harvest ends up in the "formal distribution chain" while the other half is consumed by growers due to predominant subsistence and rudimentary farming. "For durum wheat, the whole production is consumed by growers," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The latest available import data from state-run grains authority ONICL, shows that Morocco imported 2.44 million tonnes of wheat, including 1.96 million tonnes of soft wheat, in the 10 months to the end-March, 2012.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected Morocco's wheat import needs to exceed 5 million tonnes this year from 3.2 million tonnes for the previous campaign. Barley imports are projected to almost double to 1 million tonnes.

The finance ministry has revised down its economic growth projections for 2012 to between 3 and 4 percent versus the 4.2 percent outlined in the budget due to the impact of bad weather on agriculture and amid financial trouble in the euro zone, Rabat's main business partner.

Agriculture in Morocco, one of the world's biggest cereal importers, relies heavily on rain with the bulk of irrigated areas owned by big landholders. The agriculture ministry estimates that the sector generates 20 percent of the country's Gross Domestis Product and employs 45 percent of the 11-million active population. Some 5.3 million hectares of land are farmed by some 1.4 million Moroccans, the ministry says. (Reporting By Souhail Karam; Editing by David Gregorio)

Get a taste for Morocco with Kasbah Tamadot's cookery lessons and demonstrations.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 Asni near Marrakesh, Morocco

No trip to Morocco can ever be considered complete without experiencing the country’s deservedly famous cuisine, so to make sure guests take some of the best of Morocco home with them, Kasbah Tamadot has introduced cookery lessons and demonstrations.

The cookery lessons are hands-on interactive sessions where our chefs will walk guests step-by-step through how to make some of our more popular dishes. Sessions take place in the afternoon and last approximately three hours. Each budding chef will have their own cooking station where they’ll create a delicious three course meal including salads, soup, tagines and dessert.

The cost per person for the 3 hour cookery lesson is MAD 1,000 and is suitable for smaller groups and families. The cost per person for a 1 hour cooking demonstration is MAD 250.

There are also cooking demonstrations available which are ideal for both small and large groups, and are a great way to get a taste for some of the finer points of Moroccan cuisine. Sessions last approximately one hour and Kasbah Tamadot’s chefs will demonstrate how to make a variety of simple yet delicious dishes, with some great tips and advice on how to develop your own culinary skills that are perfect for family meals and dinner parties. Guests will be able to sample the food as it’s made with recipes available for them to take home.

Bacphobia: Morocccan Students’ Nightmare.
By Rida Mohammed Morocco World News  Settat, Morocco, March 18, 2012

Bacphobia is a term coined to refer to the negative attitudes and feelings of some students before the Baccalaureate national exam. In fact, most students preparing to sit for the Bac exam get overwhelmed by the amount of lessons they have to review and the preparation required for it.  In addition, some students are not thinking of the exam as such, but are rather trying to gather handouts and summaries of the lessons so as to minimize the size of the material that they intend to cheat from. While other students remain really disappointed by the low grades they received on “the regional exam from the previous year.

Though the students are not examined in all the subjects, they always complain that they are overloaded by the lessons of various subjects. They are also afraid of not being able to be fully prepared for all the subjects on the exam because of the lack of time allocated to review for all the material on the test. And yet, there is another category of Bac students who are not afraid of the difficulty of the exam or the overload of lessons, but rather are preoccupied about how they are going to pass the exam. For them, “the Bac is in the bag” since they are “masters” of cheating on tests. They are more interested in developing and inventing new ways and strategies of how to cheat and acquire the Bac certificate with the least effort. Ironically, this type of student deliberately forgets that the teacher was once a student and he/she is fully aware of their ways of cheating.

The third category of Bac students, who I really sympathize with, are those who are afraid of the Bac exam because they received low and discouraging grades on “the regional exam”. In fact, this category has a pessimistic view towards the national Bac exam. More than this, they are going into the test with low confidence due to  their prior performance on the regional exam. To quote the words of one of my students: “We are victims of the regional exam. We didn’t take it as seriously as we should have”.

However, it is worth mentioning that there are some students within this category who do not give up. Indeed, they do their best by working very hard to compensate for the low mark on the regional exam, which constitutes only 25% of the total grade of the Baccalaureate. Most importantly, they try to earn good marks in the continuous assessment from class, which constitutes another 25% of their overall grade so as to balance the low grade of the regional exam. Then, they can work at ease to assure a good grade on the final national exam (which represents 50% of their total grade).

Fear, doubt, lack of confidence, loads of lessons are, among others, some of the ideas haunting the minds of Bac students and creating fearful  hallucinations, before they sit for the national exam. From my modest experience as a teacher and a student, I advise all the Moroccan students to overcome all these negative and pessimistic attitudes, because they are just myths. They have to believe in themselves and in their capabilities and always remind themselves: “yes, I can do it”. In addition, I don’t want to let this opportunity slip through my fingers without warning the cheaters and those who think of themselves as masters in cheating that their game is now over. It is high time for these types of students to work hard and do their best to obtain the Baccalaureate Certificate.

 most students have potential that has to be activated and brought out by helping them to believe in themselves. They need not only to be encouraged by their teachers but also by their parents as well.  Accordingly, the other categories of students who had low grades on the regional exam have only to work hard and never give up. They also have to believe in their capabilities and always remember, “Nothing is Impossible”. Yet, if they do fail, it is still worth realizing that will have ample opportunities to achieve noble goals in life. And if they succeed, they have always to remember that the Baccalaureate exam was once “Bacphobia” for some of them.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Rida Mohammed is a high school English teacher in Settat. He his  a Master’s student at the university of Hassan II Ain Chock in Casablanca, specialized in “The use of ICT in Education” and a member of MATE (Moroccan Association of Teachers of English). He is interested in the field of teaching and the use of ICT in education in addition to other interests such as politics, social life.   © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved

Morocco Clamours for Justice
By Abderrahim El Ouali
CASABLANCA, Apr 22, 2012 (IPS)

A government plan to reform Morocco’s dilapidated justice system, the details of which are still a mystery to the general public, has become the subject of much scepticism, especially from justice professionals around the country. Justice Minister Mustapha Erramid told journalists on Apr. 6, "The national plan on justice reform will be launched this month," but failed to specify what the reforms would entail.

Huge swathes of the population have long called for sweeping reforms of Morocco’s corrupt justice system. Following a wave of protests on Feb. 20, 2011, a group of magistrates that would later become the Club of the Magistrates of Morocco (CMC) created a Facebook page to address judges’ long-standing resentment about the clampdown on freedom of expression. Furthermore, they claimed, the law allowed them no clear structure of professional organisation.

Last August, shortly after the CMC went viral, the police forbade judges from entering the premises on which they were scheduled to hold their association’s founding assembly. Undeterred, the judges simply held their meeting in the street, under the harsh summer sun. On the virtual page and out in the street, the judges made their demands clear: freedom of expression and their own independent association, two requests that the country’s new constitution, approved on Jul. 1, 2011, had already acknowledged.

Still, the gap between rights on paper and rights in practice is very wide.

In a press declaration issued on Feb. 29, the president of the CMC in Casablanca, Abdelaziz El Baâli, said, " (Improving) the material and social situation of the magistrates is a (necessary step) towards reform", referring to the fact that Morocco’s magistrates have not had a salary increase since 1996. Tensions are running high between the executive and judicial branches of the government, with the CMC threatening to "resort to unprecedented protests" and fixing May 15 as the final deadline for the government to answer judges’ demands.

The ‘Assabah’ daily newspaper reported, without clearly citing its sources, that the reform plan contains 13 strategic removals of existing laws, 28 action plans, and 174 measures all aimed at renewing the country’s legal infrastructure and computerising and modernising the judicial administration.

For citizens, these big promises say nothing about the justice system, which, they believe, must first and foremost be purged of corruption. "A corrupt justice (system) cannot contribute anything to the fight against corruption," Mohammed Jallab Elbouamri, a 55-year-old citizen from Casablanca, told IPS.

Various members of the political opposition share this view. Fouzia El Bayed, deputy of the Constitutional Union (UC), which holds 17 of the 379 seats in parliament, told IPS that Morocco’s legal system is blighted by malpractice and the abuse of power, which have eroded citizens’ trust in the rule of law.

Just last month, police arrested a judge in Tangier, 300 kilometres north of Casablanca, for corruption. According to the Justice Minister, the judge in question was caught red-handed receiving a sum of 70,000 dirham (approximately 663 euros) from a citizen. Erramid revealed that the sting operation had been organised under the official direction of the Justice Ministry, following a tip-off from a conscientious citizen.

Simply increasing judges’ salaries, therefore, will not lead the way out of the crisis, El Bayed said, since the sector also suffers from a major shortage in human resources. "We need more than 2,600 new magistrates to be able to handle the (ever-increasing) number of cases. At present, the country has just 3,400 magistrates handling three million cases every year." She stressed that it would also be necessary to do away with "administrative centralism and set up a new penal policy, whose philosophy is based on the realisation of justice."

Anass Saadoun, another member of CMC, has published several articles on justice reform in various local newspapers, where he stresses that Moroccan society must abandon the idea that judges are entitled to a luxurious lifestyle, beyond the reach of their modest incomes. This widespread perception, he says, has laid the groundwork for corruption throughout the legal system.

Though hope in the efficacy of judicial reform still persists among the political class, most ordinary citizens are pessimistic, to say the least. ''We all know that the barons of dirty money manipulate everything in this country. They are corrupt and sabotage all those who resist them," Abderrafie Lwali, a 27-year-old citizen from Asilah, 230 kilometres north of Casablanca, told IPS.

The country will have to act fast in order to withstand winds from the Arab Spring that are still blowing around the kingdom. Thus far the Moroccan government has been able to appease its citizens with satisfactory reforms, thereby warding off more incendiary protests; but the judges’ rancour will not be easily abated. "We are no longer in the era of miracles," acknowledged Elbouamri. Rather, people are counting on the balance of power between the government and its citizens to bring about much-needed change. Like others, he believes reforms are a matter of political will. Currently, the government "has the necessary support to lead (an overhaul) of the justice system." Whether it will use this support for positive change remains to be seen.

Mawazine Festival to feature international stars

The 11th Mawazine World Rhythms Festival opens May 18th in Rabat with a programme of more than 100 concerts, MAP reported on Monday (April 23rd). The 2012 edition will include Mariah Carey, Jimmy Cliff, Cheb Khaled, Jane Birkin, Gloria Gaynor, Amina, Ibrahim Maalouf, Nancy Ajram, and many more stars. رأي/49-كتاب-الرأي/13785-2012-04-22 .html

A life-changing trip to Morocco.
DU student reflects on her values after staying in a hammam
By Morgan Atwood for the Mirror  Friday, April 27, 2012

With just a month left in Spain, I am starting to feel the weight of real life settling back on my shoulders. In the last three months, my excursions have changed what I truly value in this life. Traveling across the world by myself has given me many opportunities to think about my life, how I live each day, and how blessed I am.

Over spring break, I traveled across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco. After touring the winding markets of Fez, complete with dead camel heads and splatters of animal blood, we traveled deep into the heart of Morocco. After hours on the bus, sand storms and over an hour of bouncing around in an old jeep 4-by-4, I arrived at the hammams, close to the Algerian-Moroccan border.

Although I enjoy camping and “roughing it” on occasion, I was not expecting quite so rustic accommodations. But “When in Morocco!”

Words cannot describe how beautiful the Sahara desert is at dusk and dawn, but the images that circulate my mind over and over are the faces of the local desert people who took care of my group during our stay. There were a dozen men that cooked all our meals and provided hours of entertainment, ranging from jokes attempted in English to a full musical performance complete with African drums and dancing children.

The wives and sisters were in charge of drawing henna tattoos and taking care of the young ones. At one point, a young baby was handed off from one American to another. To my delight, a one-year-old boy was handed off to me as well. All day long, the Moroccan women took full advantage of the free babysitters.

While this young baby was lucky to have so much attention, some of the other kids had unwanted attention from the dozens of flies surrounding the hammam. While under the giant dining tent, I could not take my eyes off this precious young boy who appeared to be around three years old. As he was trying to join in the dancing, dozens of flies would not let him be. There were flies buzzing all around. They were attempting to land on the corners of his eyes, and he would half-heartedly swat them away. It took all of my strength not to jump out of my seat and scoop up that little Moroccan boy. The parents seemed unfazed, and I realized I should not make a fuss. From that moment on, I wanted to help, but I was powerless.

Experiencing a small taste of the third-world hit me harder than any Thanksgiving Day ever could.

For as long as I can remember, I have been blessed with everything I have ever needed and much more. My time dancing and playing drums with the children filled me with so much joy. There are times when I wish the materialistic objects in my life would disappear. It is much easier to be happy with life’s simple joys. All too often we think that a new iPod, Coach purse or laptop will make us happier. I can say with certainty, it will not. My accessories can never bring me the same joy as I found holding that beautiful Moroccan child.

Momentarily living side-by-side with the locals in the Sahara made me sad for several reasons. I first felt bad because these children knew nothing of my so-called “real world.” A world where all their primary needs could be met with the swipe of a debit card. As I continued to ponder this injustice, I began to rethink who should be pitied. I have everything I could ever ask for and still, true joy is hard to find.

Morocco contemporary art comes to London
By Saad Guerraoui – LONDON First Published: 2012-04-23

UK-based Moroccan Fine Art launches its online gallery that seeks to promote Morocco’s contemporary art worldwide. UK-based Moroccan Fine Art launched its online gallery today in a bid to promote Morocco’s contemporary art in Britain and worldwide, Director Nadia Echiguer told Middle East Online. Moroccan Fine Art, the UK’s first dedicated gallery to Moroccan artists, was Echiguer’s inspiration from her grandfather who once told her that “a home without art is a home without soul.”

The 27-year-old Moroccan, who holds a Master’s degree in Marketing, grew up in a family surrounded by art. Her father is an amateur photographer and her aunt a painter. “Moroccan Fine Art is an online gallery specialised in contemporary Moroccan art with the aim of helping unknown and emerging talented Moroccan artists shoot to fame,” said Echiguer, whose flat is adorned with stunning Moroccan paintings.

Only a few Moroccan artists had been able to exhibit their artworks in the UK market in the past due to various factors, including the language and the focus on other European countries such as France and Spain. Echiguer has already got strong ties with some Moroccan artists. Her husband Adnan Bennani and she worked closely with a London-based international art consultancy company to decorate the Four Seasons Hotel in Marrakech. She commissioned 12 Moroccan artists to make 50 artworks for Hotel in Marrakech.

“The online gallery features paintings of Moroccan artists for viewing but not for sale,” she said.

“An Urban Twist from Morocco”

Echiguer will hold the first exhibition “An Urban Twist from Morocco” of Moroccan contemporary art in Coningsby Gallery in London May 7-12. Paintings and drawings in figurative, abstract and calligraphy genres will be on display amid the absence of their artists. “24 Paintings and drawings of five Moroccan artists will be exhibited in the Gallery and will be on sale,” said Echiguer, adding that all artworks had been shipped from Morocco to the UK.

Shipping artworks was costly, logistically difficult and had to be done according to the European standards because the artists are spread across Morocco. “It was a difficult operation to carry out as we had to collect the artworks from four different cities. Luckily the authorisation from Morocco’s Ministry of Culture to ship the artworks took only three days. I had to do everything legally to be on the safe side,” she noted. She had been working on the project for five months starting from Morocco all the way to the UK.

Moroccan Fine Art will be holding Moroccan arts exhibitions three to four times a year. Echiguer is eyeing museums, art consultants, interior designers and private collectors.

Contemporary art in Morocco

Contemporary art is taking off in Morocco, particularly since the ascendance of King Mohammed VI to the throne in 1999, despite the existence of only two art schools in the country and the quasi-absence of museums. Most of the country’s art galleries such as Galerie Villa Delaporte and Atelier 21 are in Casablanca. The art market in the North African Kingdom is still in its infancy stage and most galleries alternate between modern and contemporary art to keep afloat. Many venues are heavily reliant on funds from international foundations.

“Before, only private and public institutions were buying artworks. The trend has changed in the last ten years as private Moroccan collectors are showing a keen interest in art,” Echiguer said thanks to a booming economy which saw the rise of many wealthy businessmen.

Large projects such as a contemporary art museum for Rabat have been launched in Morocco in order to keep up with this growing market.

The “An Urban Twist from Morocco” exhibition will be an opportunity for the British viewers to browse through Morocco’s diverse and fluid fine art, which will redefine their perceptions about Morocco's art and its people.
Dr. Saad Guerraoui is senior editor at Middle East Online

Morocco: Abused By Maroc Telecom
Monday, 23 April 2012 Scott Abernathy

I bought a new Blackberry Curve mobile phone so i could access the internet as well as making phone-calls. I went to Maroc-Telecom in Agadir, where I asked for 3G Internet usage. I was told I couldn't have 3G that day and had to pay 60 MAD for a small plastic covered pack. "Bring this back tomorrow and you can have 3G." I was told. It didn't make much sense at the time but what does down here; all depending on who you talk to?

I returned the following day, with the small pack - still unopened. I spoke to the same lady who dealt with me the previous day. She didn't seem to recall anything about my visit, opening the sealed pack and installing the sim-card into my Blackberry phone. She stated, in surprise, it wasn't 3G. I needed a new sim-card, she said. She produced one and demanded 80MAD for it. I paid. She inserted the card and said to phone 888 call center, telling them I needed, Blackberry-on-demand, adding they speak English.

I phoned the number (888) and received an assault on my ear-drums. The French language came at me hard and fast with the loudest and most ridiculous music I've ever been subjected to at an equal level of sound. too loud to allow me to understand what was being said and what I might need to do.

I returned to the same Maroc Tel boutique, asking if they could help me. The same lady I previously dealt with phoned 888 on my behalf, again, and said 3G would be available within 24 hours. She apologized for not speaking good English. I apologized for speaking worse French! We both laughed.

I was on the internet for a day... before it disappeared. I returned to the same Maroc-Tel boutique... again. I spoke to another lady - who stated in no uncertain terms I needed to phone the 888 number and was to go away. She didn't speak English and said I should wait to speak to the manager who did. I waited..., and waited... and waited... while the doors were locked to prevent anyone entering while they closed for siesta. I eventually left as an enormous amount of time had passed and there didn't seem to be any interest shown in helping me!!!

It was when I was driving passed the hairdresser's shop where I get my hair trimmed that I saw the guy who cuts it. I stopped and asked if he could help me, explaining what had gone before and what I needed doing for my phone. He phoned, 888, but couldn't get very far. He couldn't understand what was being said either. Another hairdresser tried, but with the same result. They called another local for assistance - a Moroccan who worked next door renting cars to tourists. He spoke pretty good English and already had a mobile phone on the internet. He phoned 888, managing to speak to someone - telling me to expect a phone-call within 48 hours from the 888 Help Desk.

It was the following evening when my Blackberry rang, so to speak, and a guy spoke in French. Having asked to speak in English I was left with someone who didn't speak English very well and understood it even less. Sigh! He rambled on for a while before saying I would be on a 200 MAD contract for 3G, whereupon I wanted to say, No! However, as there was a language barrier between us I said yes, with the intention of getting it sorted-out once I was finally on the www. Phew!

It worked... for about 24 hours... again - before it died. What is it with Maroc-Tel that their system only last for a short period before it gives-up the proverbial ghost!!! It's a rubbish service!

I returned to the same Maroc-Tel boutique. I asked if they could help me. The guy who dealt with me started to write the numbers, 888, before I mentioned I had already tried that avenue plus 3 Moroccans, whereupon we ended up getting nowhere. He got onto his computer, having looked at "the Offre JAWAL" form I was initially given when I signed-up with the telecom's company. He typed away quite merrily before printing an A4 sheet of something, stating the call center would phone me. I waited and waited, carrying my Blackberry with me everywhere - even to the toilet. You wouldn't want to borrow my phone! I never received a call, but instead got a warning on my mobile stating - in RED, sim-card has been rejected.  And in the top right corner of the small screen was an, SOS... also in RED.

I returned to the Maroc-Tel boutique, and today... as I write this lengthy tale of woe, only to be told my sim-card was finished and I needed a new one. I mentioned it was new and I hadn't had the use of it. He stated in no uncertain terms it was not him but Maroc-Telecom's rules!
My sim-card had been rejected before it had been used. There was at least a thousand MAD's of recharge on it. I had done nothing wrong - except choose to use Maroc-Tel for a 3G Internet connection.

My experience of Maroc-Tel customer support has been a disgrace. I'm left without any Internet connection, out of pocket to a hefty sum, and left feeling angry with the way the company operates.

My advice, from personal experience: AVOID MAROC-TELECOM !!!!

Young Moroccans Keep Arab-Spring Spirit Alive
By Juhie Bhatia WeNews managing editor Wednesday, April 25, 2012 RABAT, Morocco (WOMENSENEWS

The youth-led Feb. 20 Movement in Morocco has simmered down to a core group that includes many female activists. They're keeping an eye on constitutional reforms enacted last year that some say didn't go far enough. "We want real, radical change," says one. Zineb Belmkaddem hadn't ever given much serious thought to political activism. She didn't believe she could really change things.

Then came the uprisings in nearby Tunisia. "I was in awe and shocked that young Arab people can actually do something to change the political scene," said 27-year-old Belmkaddem in a cafe here earlier this month, wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses and a white hijab. "It was impressive. Then it happened again in Egypt and my shocked increased. It was the first time I decided it was worth getting involved."

The wave of protests sweeping the region soon hit Morocco, and Belmkaddem responded to a YouTube video's call out for Moroccans to join pro-democracy protests on Feb. 20 last year. Thousands of others from across the country also participated to demand reforms, including checks on the monarch's power, dignity, social justice, democracy and freedom.

She became part of the core of what's become known as the February 20 Movement, a mostly youth-based pro-democracy group. While the movement has lost steam since last year, members say it still has presence and potential. "The February 20 Movement, plus the general protest mood in the region, is making people feel they can speak for their rights," said Belmkaddem, a single mother who works as an international coordinator for a Netherlands-based research company and also writes for the Moroccan activist website Mamfakinch. "It's enabling women and people in general to speak for their rights."

A few hours after talking with Women's eNews, Belmkaddem headed to a conference in Bouznika, just outside of Rabat, to meet with contemporaries from nine countries, including Tunisia, Egypt, Spain and Syria. The three-day "Meeting of Young People for Democracy in Mediterranean Countries" was organized by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights and ACSUR-Las Segovias, based in Spain.

Updating Attitudes

As young women such as Belmkaddem take a leading role in sustaining the country's pro-democracy ranks, they may be helping to shift the society's conservative gender attitudes, said Naima Elgallaf, a human rights lawyer in Rabat. "In Morocco, women out in the streets was a big deal. In conservative societies in general when there's a presence of women, and women with strong beliefs, it surely has a big impact on society."

Elgallaf has been providing free counsel to protestors charged or arrested since the first Feb. 20 protest kicked off regular demonstrations and rallies nationwide.

While the protests were understated compared to neighboring countries, King Mohammed VI responded quickly with a new constitution that increases the powers of the parliament and judiciary and strengthens the rights of women and minorities. It was approved by 98 percent of those who voted in July. He also moved parliamentary elections nearly one year ahead of schedule. Morocco's moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) won the most seats in the Nov. 25 elections.

The new constitution placated enough demonstrators to muffle the movement, said Brahim Elansari, a research assistant at Human Rights Watch in Rabat. "When the king first announced the new reforms for the new constitution people said this is good, the king is responding. But later when the draft came out, many didn't believe it was what they wanted, while others liked it but said we need to push so that it's implemented in a good way."

Twenty-one year old Kamilia Raouyane is another young woman who has been active in the February 20 Movement since it first came together on Facebook and Twitter. Like many in the movement's core, she remains unsatisfied with the king's reforms. "We want real, radical change: a civil state, a democratic regime, a real popular constitution. We want good education and a good system of justice. Stop arresting people for their ideas and have equality between the sexes in all fields," said Raouyane, her rounded face highlighted with darkly-outlined eyes.

Constitutional Reforms for Women

While the movement didn't focus on women's rights, gender equality was part of the political mix. In response, article 19 of the reformed constitution makes men and women equal citizens under the law and recognizes that women--in addition to having equal civil and political rights already laid out in the old constitution--have equal economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.

However, like many articles in the constitution, No. 19 has a qualifier clause that leaves things open to interpretation. The slippery wording recognizes coexistence with the kingdom's laws and a constitution that elsewhere establishes Islam as the state religion.

Some in the movement, Raouyane said, also wanted to enshrine other women's rights, such as equality in inheritance. Currently women inherit half as much as men based on interpretations of the Quran.

Raouyane, Belmkaddem and others in the group's core continue to protest and push for such changes, despite some threats and opposition. Raouyane said at the start of the movement she received calls at 3 a.m. from someone calling her a whore and threatening sexual violence. Elgallaf said she received threatening messages via Facebook and a picture of her was posted online with the caption "Lawyer of Gays." Others in the movement, men and women, were said to have been called homosexuals and atheists, terms that were used as slurs. "My grandma, every time I meet her, she says don't protest, you will go to jail, they will beat you," said Raouyane, an intern at the Moroccan Association of Human Rights. "But I'm not afraid. I really believe in it. If I don't do this, no one will do this for me."

Keeping the Spirit Alive

Layla Belmahi said new activists such as herself are also keeping the movement's spirit alive. Last year when she was 16, she said, she didn't care about what was happening in Morocco. The February 20 Movement protests sparked her interest and joining Twitter introduced her to a world of politically active Moroccans. "You don't hear as much about the movement as before, but I wouldn't say it's dead because it helped many people change their minds," said Belmahi with a big smile, her fingernails covered in chipped blue nail polish. "I became an activist thanks to it in a certain way, so it's alive through me and other activists."

Belmahi, who is finishing high school, went on to co-found Woman Choufouch last summer, a group fighting sexual harassment, adapted from the SlutWalk concept. The group helped organize a protest in Rabat last month following the death of 16-year-old Amina Filali, who killed herself after being forced to marry the man who raped her. Several hundred people demonstrated to demand changes in the sexual violence laws.

While the movement's members are still working and trying to maintain pressure on the government, Mustapha El Guemri, an activist who helped lead a session on gender equality at the meeting of activists in Bouznika, said they're currently in a moment of waiting. "Nothing has changed but the Moroccan people want to give a chance to the new reforms and government. The people are waiting," he said. "But I have a belief that in six or eight months or a year, they will be convinced that things have remained the same and nothing has changed, especially at the economic and social level, and they will find that the February 20 Movement is still here and working and we will embrace them."

Juhie Bhatia reported from Morocco on a fellowship from the International Reporting Project (IRP), an independent journalism program based in Washington, D.C. She is the managing editor of Women's eNews.

Walking tall in the Rif Mountains.
Amy van Vuuren 23 April, 2012

Amy van Vuuren goes on a soul-nurturing solo hike in northwestern Morocco

I'm four weeks into my "escape-life-escape-death" trip around Morocco when I realise I'm missing my own company. Solo travel tends not to be so if you say yes to things like sidewalk mint tea or a free bed at someone's mother's house. With only a few days left, I need some private time.

The last town I visit is perfect. Chefchaouen's blue-rinsed medina walls are calming and beautiful, with washes from robin's egg to deep ocean. A self-proclaimed capital of wool, water and hashish, this northwestern town is hugged by the brilliant Rif mountains, casting a permanent shade of tranquillity over quietly proud locals.

There are few things as soul-nurturing as solo hiking, so I wake up on the first day of the year with a plan - to go and stay alone. I head north around Jebel El Kelaa, passing lambs and Youssef and parties of Rif Berber women dressed brightly, all with traditional red and white-striped cloths tied around their waists. They greet me animatedly, expressing surprise that I am alone - I nod when they hold up a single finger. The older women suggest I tuck my scarf around my chilly ears before they beckon me to follow them, but I shake my head, smiling away any lack of understanding.

I carry on for hours, with the company of shepherd boys wheeling tyres down a road and Berber men tilling their fields, chanting motivation (Aisha!) to their donkeys. I am offered shouts of Ola! and Akchour? - a nearby pot-producing village.

I keep setting end points for myself only to reach these and see a little more of the vista that is rolling hills breaking into a green valley; it's all too much to consider turning back.

As I round a corner to gaze upon the heart of the blossoming valley, I am summoned persistently by a matriarch on a particularly prime piece of land, basking in the low afternoon sun. I am beckoned to sit; containers of olives are opened, gestures are made for me to help myself to a large vegetable tagine, fresh bread and sweet mint tea. I eat as she speaks, her eyes so penetrating and intelligent that I think this is the first time I've ever seen eyes. Her words are ethereal and whipped in space; so completely other to the Berber I've heard. I try to understand but fail absolutely, managing only to communicate between mouthfuls that yes, I am alone, "solo".

I am devastated that I understand nothing of what she has to say, but then again, I'm not either. I am laughed at for taking a photograph of their donkeys.

Steep, rusted grey cliff faces and a 70-year-old woman with an entire dead tree on her back keep me going, even though I am now unsure of whether or not to turn back in light of the approaching cool evening.

A man not older than 21 walks towards me in red wellingtons. Before I can salute, he purposefully puts down the two large bags he's carrying and sticks out his hand to shake mine. His face has the kindness of someone who's never been hurt and, as we stumble through any language that isn't our first, I feel a sincere friendship that can really only occur through haphazard, misunderstood meetings on mountain roads. I ask advice, he sighs with confusion, speaks, slaps his leg, pauses with helplessness, offers me food. As I tear off a piece of bread, he explains that his family lives over yonder mountains. We end our conversation with another handshake and a grin I may not ever forget.

I go against his advice (probably) and carry on down the road that is at once snaking far down into the valley. I am torn. I need to see what's down there, but the threat of cold is quite real. I stop. I stand. I think. I go. I stop. I stand. I go back. I stop. I decide that the answer will come to me.

I wait a minute before a construction truck - the only vehicle I have seen the entire six hours of walking - rumbles around the bend. Waving the droopy, ruddy-faced driver down, I ask which way is best to get back to Chefchaouen. He gestures for me to get in. I jog around and climb up to sit next to another passenger, Ridouan, who smokes a cigarette, incurious. I can't pronounce the driver's name. I offer mine but it seems of no consequence. We manoeuvre the large truck around narrow, tight corners listening to jangly tunes - one in particular, over and over - off the broken mp3 player. Our mutual understanding, again, falls far too short, and as a team, we would have failed. Any sort of team, it wouldn't matter. But we make good spectators. Ridouan points out bunnies in neighbouring fields. I point out mountains and birds. The driver points out ladies in the bush. I am offered coffee, water, cigarettes, a jacket, and when I compliment his driving, the driver very sincerely offers me the wheel.

We rumble right up onto cliff faces, passing a group of Spaniards abseiling down the rock, until we reach a café where the truck is replenished with building material. I sit sipping my coffee, surveying birds of prey circling a peak; Ridouan sits with a large group of male friends at another table. The driver drags a chair next to me - I am inwardly pleased - and, with a smile and an espresso, slaps down his cigarettes, rolling paper and a hunk of hash the size of a grown man's thumb.

When we leave, the truck rumbles back the way we came. Bummer. I deal with it as soon as that lovely tune plays over the intermittent speakers for the eighth time. Like a lullaby. We drive the roads I walked, stopping to swap some stories with a farmer. We divert and dump the building material while a group of men look on - one young, squint beauty of a boy in particular stares me down. I am again foiled, and we turn around and head back down the narrow, bumpy roads for the second time; past my lunch spot, past the cliffs, past the café. It's about now that the driver tells me he isn't going to Chef at all but to Tetouan. There might be mention that if I marry him this could all change - and I am intrigued - but I accept a drop-off at a main-road junction. He seems none too perplexed. I have just enough time to pee behind a café wall before catching a grand taxi (an old Mercedes that only leaves when packed with seven people) to Chefchaouen.

I return to my backpackers just as the sun is well and truly setting, through child-shrieking streets smelling of chocolate and cinnamon, bliss and winter pinching my cheeks and a swell of humanity that surpasses any fatigue I may feel.

The last of the sunlight lights the hues of blue rinses and I am happy; washed in Morothko.
© Amy van Vuuren.

Service project in remote Morocco is transformative for MSU students
April 27, 2012 -- By Carol Schmidt, MSU News Service

Samantha Hinckley and Christie Blaskovich walk children to school in the remote village of Zawiya Ahansal in Morocco's Atlas Mountains. The two MSU French students were part of a team led by MSU French professor Ada Giusti that helped teach basic computer skill to people in the village during MSU's spring break.

While spring break means an escape to fun and sun for many college students, it will forever conjure memories of service for four Montana State University students who spent this year's spring break in the remote Atlas Mountains of Morocco helping a tiny Berber community connect with the outside world.

Led by Ada Giusti, MSU French professor, the students spent a week conducting computer training, primarily in French, to the people of the remote village of Zawiya Ahansal. The area is so remote that it only received electricity a year ago and the people of the community, many who make their living serving adventure tourists to the Atlas Mountains, wanted to learn how to use donated computers.

Tessa Mosdal of Roundup, Bronwyn Rolph of Seattle, Christie Blaskovich of Butte and Samantha Hinckley of Bozeman taught basic computer use and maintenance. Helena LaFave, also of Butte, didn't travel with the group but helped develop handbooks, written in French and English, to teach Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as basic computer skills. French is commonly spoken in Morocco, although Arabic and Berber are the official languages.

"Originally the students expected to train staff and board members of two local nongovernmental organizations --Atlas Cultural Foundation and Association Amezray," Giusti said. "However, the training was so popular that participants also included employees of the local town council, the sheikh of Zawiya Ahansal, the imam from the village of Aguddim, and university students from Beni Mellal."

The trip and the work was a partnership between MSU and Cloe Medina Erickson, an MSU graduate and founder of the Atlas Cultural Foundation. Erickson, who lives part of the year in Livingston, started the organization to help rural Moroccans, especially women and children who live in small Berber communities in the Atlas Mountains, improve their quality of life through locally determined development projects.

Giusti, who has incorporated service learning into her advanced French grammar curriculum since 1996, said her connection with Erickson began in fall 2011, when her students translated the Atlas Cultural Foundation's website. Last November, Giusti's planned service learning project in Mali was canceled for political and safety reasons. She looked for another experience involving French and contacted Erickson. For the last several years, Erickson has helped sponsor a summer study abroad program through the MSU School of Architecture and the MSU Office of International Programs to bring students to the area to help the community as it renovates ancient Berber granaries into sustainable community buildings.

"Cloe told us that the community had computers that were donated, but that the people could use training in how to use them," said Giusti, who found funding for the trip from the MSU Undergraduate Scholars Program.

The students who participated said the experience, including living in a local Berber home, was transformative.

"When you can speak the same language as someone else, I feel like your time spent with them becomes much more personal," said Rolph, a senior majoring in civil engineering and French. "Since French was not the primary language of us or the people we worked with, but we could both speak it fairly well, it was almost like we could identify with each other better. We both had chosen to abandon our comfort zones to communicate with each other, and in doing so it was almost like a silent understanding despite all the ways that we were different, we could see our more meaningful commonalities."

Some of those commonalities include that while Morocco is on the other side of the world, in many ways the landscape in the Atlas Mountains and the people's friendliness reminded the students of Montana.

"The Berbers of the High Atlas Mountains have a very similar relationship to their environment as we, Montanans, do," said Blaskovich, a senior graduating with degrees in French and Chemistry. "They are all in love with the mountains and their mountain climate. Yet, there is a very large difference socially. Zaouia-Ahansal is the second poorest region in Morocco and the inhabitants rely heavily on mountain tourism and subsistence farming."

Mosdal, who was not in Giusti's French class but is a part of MSU's award-winning Engineers Without Borders project and came to Morocco from the EWB project in Kenya, said the friendliness of the Berber people transcended language. The students were also aided by translators in the village.

"It was astonishing how much could be communicated without words," said Mosdal, who is a senior majoring in civil engineering. "I was surprised by the extreme hospitality of the Moroccan people. They accepted us with open arms and made us feel more than welcome. Those in the village gave us more of their time and resources than we expected or imagined."

Mosdal said a highlight of the trip was when the group stopped in Casablanca, visiting the family of two Moroccan students who attend MSU.

"The Zaazaa family treated us like we were also family, instead of just classmates of their children," she said. "I have traveled to quite a few places across the world and Morocco is one of the most breathtaking countries I have visited, but Morocco is more than just beauty. The people were arguably the most caring and generous I have encountered in the world."

The MSU contingent, all female, decided to adopt modest dress and head coverings in respect for the village's devout Islam faith. The students said they believe the decision helped them earn quick respect of the people in the village. Hinckley, who is majoring in both French and fine art (painting and printmaking), said she came to view the headscarf as a "beautiful symbol of camaraderie between women."

"Perhaps the biggest thing I took home from Morocco was a sense of empowerment as a woman," she said.

"Being part of an all-female team traveling to such a different part of the world makes me feel proud to represent what women can accomplish. Truly experiencing a new society is at times confusing, but with an open mind it is exciting and humbling to better understand the differences as well as the underlying similarities in the human way of life."

Giusti said the experience was so positive that she is talking to Erickson about opportunities to return. She also plans to offer a seminar on Moroccan culture and literature next spring. In that course students will have the opportunity to design and implement service-learning projects identified by Moroccan villagers.

"I think that service-learning projects are extremely valuable to the communities that have identified a specific need because they receive services that they could not otherwise afford," she said, emphasizing that the projects must be chosen by the community or organization.

In addition to providing an opportunity to help students learn about intercultural teamwork and to live and work with people from different cultures and different economic backgrounds, service learning classes help students take knowledge they have learned in the classroom and apply it to real life projects, she said.

"Students have said over and over again that service-learning projects have changed their lives and made them feel privileged to study at MSU where such opportunities are offered to them," Giusti said.
Ada Giusti (406) 994-6442,
MSU News Montana State University P.O. Box 172220 Bozeman, MT 59717-2220 Tel: (406) 994-4571

Morocco to Build Cars in Zero Carbon Factory
Susan Kraemer April 27th, 2012

The CEO of Renault–Nissan alliance Carlos Ghosn and Moroccan King Mohammed VI inaugerated French automaker’s one-billion-euro plant in Tangier which is set to boost Morocco’s automobile industry.The plant will build several new ‘low cost’ vehicles with an annual capacity that could reach ups 400,000 units.

Morocco has only one car plant in Casablanca and seeks to develop its car industry further with Renault Group which will be exempt from both corporate and export taxes for five years. The 300-hectare plant, which is located 30 kilometres from the new Tanger Med port and only few kilometres away from the Spanish coast, will reach a production capacity of up to 170,000 vehicles per year at first. This capacity is then set to rise to 340,000 units in 2013 or 400,000 units if the plant operates in weekends.

The plant will start assembling two new models. The first is the Lodgy family car which will be sold in Europe under the Dacia name starting in June and a utility vehicle that will be launched towards the end of this year.

Morocco’s Caisse de Depots et de Gestion (CDG) took over after Renault’s Japanese partner Nissan pulled out from the joint project in February 2009 due to the global financial meltdown. The mega project is expected to generate 6000 direct jobs and some 30000 indirect jobs in the northern region of Morocco.

Other major groups such as Ford, Indian and Chinese manufacturers are currently prospecting the Moroccan market.

Neighbouring Algeria wants to emulate Morocco by holding talks with the French automobile giant to set up a factory in the north African country.

Environmentally friendly

The Tangier plant emits zero carbon and zero industrial liquid discharges thanks to joint efforts of Morocco, Renault and Veolia Environnement. These staggering results are achieved through the latest innovative manufacturing processes, the use of renewable energy and the optimization of the water cycle, according to Renault’s website.

CO2 emissions from the Tangier plant are cut by 98%, a figure that represents 135,000 fewer tons of CO2 every year, by optimizing energy consumption and using renewable energies. The few remaining tons of CO2are offset either by buying carbon credits or by generating renewable energy on site.

The plant does not discharge any industrial liquids and cuts its water consumption for manufacturing processes by 70% in comparison with a plant with equivalent output capacity.

The House That Has No Owner. 
By Mourad AnouarMorocco World News Oklahoma City, April 27, 2012

In my own boyhood world I decided to fantasize about everything that I was not fortunate enough to have.  When I was a kid there was quite a bit that my parents could not afford to buy for me, which made me the type of a kid who shied away from being around others. I hated, for example, the fact that some of my neighborhood kids were able to ride their bikes to school. I remember how they would cruise around our house and stop in the middle of the road and looked at me in a demeaning way. Usually sitting at the doorstep, I would stare at them defiantly, but in my little heart there was a raging fire of envy and resentment that haunted me for years. At that early age, I had to ponder the inequality and injustice between the rich and poor that my thinking could absorb. Many times I lamented my mom’s heavy responsibilities, and I never understood how she managed to hold her head high with an infectious smile even though she was debt-ridden. She was struggling with adversity with hopes her sons and one daughter would do better in life…..

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Teaching Is a Calling: Redefining the Role of Literature.
By khadija Safi Eddine  Morocco World News  Casablanca, April 26, 2012

For me teaching is a calling. Teaching is often seen to be the noblest of all professions, the profession through which we mold individuals to become valuable community members and citizens.  I agree.  I see teaching as a call of duty that one performs to try to make things better in this world. My vision of education is that it should help the students develop a rational commitment to freedom of expression as a value of life, autonomy of mind, autonomy of action, and care, respect for, and tolerance towards others. As educators, we need to be models of individual and social excellence……

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Why Do Jobless Post-Graduates Object to Competitive Exams?
By Haddouchan Youssef Morocco World News Errachidia, Morocco, April 28, 2012

It is indubitable that writing on different issues is of great importance in life at large, so long as it is based on objectivity. Writing is, however, a very big responsibility in that it contributes to the formation of “truths.” Any person who is obsessed with writing is, thus, required to be cautious as to what he or she writes. However, Mr Bihmidine has perhaps forgotten these norms. In his recent article, Morocco: Unemployed Graduates Call for a Condition-free Recruitment, the gentleman has accused MA and PhD holders as being incompetent simply because they reject taking exams to land a job. It is in this regard that this article tries to explain why post-graduates call for direct integration in the public sector……

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Women: The Shadow that Runs away if you Follow it and Follows you if you Run away.
By Omar Bihmidine Morocco World News Sidi Ifni, Morocco, April 28, 2012

I am not a misogynist. Writers, poets, psychologists and many others have already described women and girls as shadows that run away the moment we men follow them and then follow us the minute we run away. This, at the end of the day, is human nature over which we have no control. Needless to say, there are very few exceptions that prove the rule. What has really motivated me to put pen to paper over this is incessantly hearing complaints from an close friend of mine who has fallen passionately in love with his cousin, a gorgeous girl that always runs away whenever my friend is in sight…………..

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Moroccan cuisine: Harira Soupe recipe
By layla Dahamou Morocco Wold News Taroudant, April 27, 2012

Moroccan soup or Harira used to be among the regular and necessary food served in breakfast for most of Moroccans. In the south-east regions of Morocco, it is usually served with dates and in some Moroccan cities it is served with Chebakia, very sweet and honeyed cookies.  Nowadays, Moroccan families prepare Harira occasionally, and more often for dinner. However, during the holy month of Ramadan, Harira is an indispensable meal along with other delicious food to be served for breaking the fast. Harira is the typical meal that gives Ramadan a Moroccan touch and identity.

Ingredients:  for 5 persons.

A quarter kilo of meat, chopped into small cubes. (optional)
100 grams lentils.
200 grams dry chickpeas soaked before night.
100 g dry fava beans.
2tbs minced celery.
1tbs minced parsley.
1tbs minced coriander.
1 chopped onion.
4 grated tomatoes.
40 grams vermicelli.
100 grams of white flour mixed in a blender with a cup of water.
A quarter cup of oil.
1 tsp of butter.
2 tbs  of tomatoes paste or canned tomatoes.
½ tsp black pepper.
1 tsp ginger.
½ tsp cinnamon.
½ tsp of salt and of course salt to taste.
½ tsp turmeric or saffron.

Method of preparation:

In a pot of about six liters size (preferably a pressure cooker), put oil, meat and onions.
Place the pot on the stove over a low fire, and stir gently till meat and onions are slightly fried.
Add all the ingredients — except flour and vermicelli– then add nearly four liters of water, and close the pressure cooker for an hour.
Let the pot over very low heat, adding gently flour that is previously mixed in a blender, and stir well then add vermicelli.
Leave the pot (uncovered) over the fire for another half an hour over low heat with constant stirring.

Serve in small bowls, preferably with some dates.

These postings are provided without permission of the copyright owner for purposes of criticism, comment, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and it may not be distributed further without permission of the identified copyright owner.  The poster does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the message, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

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