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Morocco Week in Review 
June 9, 2018

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Tangier, Morocco, Steeped in American history

Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel (ret.) May 30, 2018

When I first arrived to Morocco as US Ambassador in 1998, I had already been schooled in the unique history of the US-Morocco relationship. Morocco was the first country to recognize the newly independent United States in 1777. It was also among the first to negotiate a Treaty of Peace & Friendship, the longest unbroken treaty in the history of the US, signed by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Muhammad III in 1786, and ratified by the Continental Congress in 1787. However, I didn’t fully appreciate the US connection to Tangier.  Tangier is not on the usual circuit for travelers to Morocco, which includes Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, the desert, Marrakech, Essaouira, and back.  Even worse, tourists to Spain may decide they want to say they’ve been to Africa and take the short 9 mile trip over the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier for a half day experience.  This is not the way to see Tangier…………………………

The American Legation in Tangier – A Legacy of US-Morocco Friendship

Jean R. AbiNader, Moroccan American Center

I never tire of visiting Tangier and always stop at the American Legation located in the medina. It is the only US National Historic Landmark outside the United States. It is now home to the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM). If you want a quick overview of its very colorful history, click here.

While the Legation has undergone many changes in the last 50 years, perhaps the most important stabilizing force has been its transformation into a US-based NGO that technically leases the property from the US State Department, its landlord. The Legation has many linked roles, which include a community center, exhibition spaces, a museum, a research center, and an education center. It is also the research center in Morocco of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS), part of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC).

The Legation was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on January 8, 1981, and designated a National Historic Landmark on December 17, 1982. It is an architectural pleasure, combining various interpretations of Moorish designs, and acts as a good neighbor to the nearby medina and the greater Tangier region, welcoming thousands of Moroccan and international visitors annually.
With buildings going back as early as the 1820s, the facilities require a great deal of attention both to protect their heritage and provide growing space for the Legation’s growing outreach activities. The State Department, represented by the US Embassy in Rabat and the State Department Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, has been vital to securing the funding for renovations and upgrades.
I recently spoke with John Davison, Director at the Legation about its latest news. He highlighted three events that illustrate the breadth of the activities. The first is the creation of a new temporary exhibition space on the top floor of the Moorish Pavilion, inaugurated in April with “Mon Maroc, My India” by UK photographer (and part-time Tangier resident) Jaimal Odedra. I had the pleasure of seeing the exhibit recently, which displays some of Odedra’s wonderful collection of images from both countries, with an emphasis on people and their daily lives……………

How do the Religions of the World Practice Fasting?

By Morocco World News - June 4, 2018 Rabat

Today, the majority of Muslims around the world are fasting for Ramadan. But do followers of other religions fast on particular holy days?  How do they fast and why do they do it?

Ramadan: An American Perspective

By Morocco World News -  June 2, 2018  By Lameese Madi Rabat

An American Student Highlights His Experience Fasting During the Holy Month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a special time for many Muslims around the world. It is not only a time for fasting, but a time for families to get together and experience the struggles and joys of the holy month. For many non-Muslims, the practice seems strange and difficult, but for some, the challenge is enticing.  …………………

International Migration, From Transit to Integration: A Moroccan Initiative for Community Development

By Nathan Park Global Research, May 31, 2018

International migration from sub-Saharan Africa towards Europe and the United States has significantly increased over the past decade. These migration trends, especially towards Europe, directly influence migration patterns to other North African countries. The specific migration pull and push factors vary depending on each country and individual, but economic reasons remain a primary factor. According to Pew Research Center, in 1990, 40 percent of sub-Saharan African migrants moved for economic reasons, by 2013, this number had increased to 90 percent. In 2015, the UNHCR gathered that over 1 million refugees, displaced people groups, and migrants fled to the EU in order to escape conflict or seek better economic opportunities. This resulted in further militarization of EU borders in attempts to manage what the European Commision called an “unprecedented displacement crisis.” They confirmed that EU’s stricter border control initiatives have lowered the number of irregular migrants (those without legal paperwork) entering and have made “transit countries” more permanent residences for many migrants. The Kingdom of Morocco is one such country.

What Tourists Should Expect When Visiting Morocco During Ramadan

By Morocco World News - May 31, 2018 By Karen Duarte Rabat

Ramadan is the month-long Islamic holiday celebrated each year. During this holy month, tourists visiting Morocco will experience unique Moroccan and Islamic traditions and rituals. Although Ramadan presents a few challenges to tourists, it is a beautiful time of the year to reflect on the blessings that life has to offer and to understand the suffering of those who go without basic necessities, such as food and water. ………………….

What does the month of Ramadan mean for those visiting?

New York girl's message in bottle found 3 years later in Morocco

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A bottle tossed by a New York girl three years ago during a family cruise to Bermuda was found by a fisherman in Morocco, Newsday reported. Shiloé Khokhar of West Islip was 6 when she put a message in a bottle and threw it into the Atlantic Ocean from the back of the Norwegian Cruise Line ship that had departed from Boston, the newspaper reported.

Morocco's 'Virtual King' Runs His Country on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

In recent months Mohammed VI has spent only 20 days in his kingdom, not the greatest strategy when your country has finally succumbed to Arab Spring-like protests

Zvi Bar'el Jun 01, 2018

Mohammed VI, the king of Morocco, has more than 3.6 million Facebook followers. The king enjoys sharing photographs and comments showing where he stays and whom he meets. He seems especially to enjoy taking selfies with anything that moves. Here he’s in a Tanzania souvenir shop wearing shorts, sneakers and an ethnic print shirt, there he’s seen with a rock band dressed in designer loose-fitting sharwal pants. But not everyone approves of the way the king spends his time. In the past four months he has spent a total of 20 days in his kingdom, a mere 16 percent of the time he’s supposed to be working. This is a dramatic drop from last year’s 45 percent, still not up to snuff. Granted, he spent part of the time in the hospital in France, where he underwent surgery for an abnormal heart rhythm. But the rest of the time was described by official sources as a “post-surgery recovery period.”

A Successful National R&D Strategy for Morocco

By Morocco World News  -  June 3, 2018 By  Mohamed Belkhayat Washington D.C.

In 2015, I was invited to visit GE global research center near Albany, New York; a center which boasts almost three thousand Ph. D. researchers. As a supplier of one-third of all electric energy generation equipment in the entire world, it was an honor for me to visit this truly amazing company and its research center ……………….

What does young Edison’s chemistry lab have to do with Morocco’s strategy for R&D? The answer is simple; curiosity in young children. Curiosity is like a plant that grows given the right soil and water. Every child is born with an innate curiosity and if not given the proper attention it evaporates with age. No matter how many billions in investments, how many experts you bring from within or from without, and how many research centers you build, if the soil is not ready, if the young generation’s scientific curiosity is not there, a true R&D ecosystem will be very difficult, if not impossible, to exist and to make any significant impact……………

US State Department: Minority Faiths in Morocco Face Societal Pressure

By Morocco World News- May 31, 2018 By Dana Leger Rabat

The US Department of State (DOS) released its International Religious Freedom Report for 2017 on Tuesday. The report found that Morocco has made strides to promote religious tolerance and moderation since 2016, but there are still instances of minority faiths facing societal pressure. The US government estimates that Morocco’s population of 34 million is comprised of more than 99 percent Sunni Muslims, less than 0.1 percent Shia Muslim, and less than 1 percent combined of Christians, Jews, and Bahais. ………………

Morocco Gives 23,151 Birth Certificates to Unregistered Moroccan Children

By Ahlam Ben Saga- June 1, 2018 Rabat

In Thursday’s government council, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani and Minister of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid revealed the number of children unregistered at birth and discussed the national campaign to accelerate birth registration, as well as approving other draft laws. During the meeting, Ramid presented a report on the campaign to grant birth certificates to children whose births were not registered with civil status offices. Granting birth certificates will ensure their full rights as Moroccan citizens, including access to education and healthcare.

US Report on Religious Freedoms in Morocco ‘Does Not Match Reality’: El Khalfi

By Safaa Kasraoui - June 1, 2018 Rabat

Morocco’s Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi has criticized the US State Department’s 2017 International Religious Freedom Report on Morocco, emphasizing that it not based on precise scientific data. El Khalfi said, in a press briefing after Thursday’s weekly cabinet meeting, that the report is not “matching reality” and has “value judgments and is exaggerated,” stressing that Morocco is a country of “religious freedom.” The report noted that despite efforts to promote religious tolerance in the country, religious minorities experience social pressures in Morocco……………….

El Othmani and Amzazi Visit Morocco’s Baccalaureate Exam Centers

By Ahlam Ben Saga - June 5, 2018

Last year, 325,191 Moroccan students took baccalaureate exams, according to a statement released by the ministry. This year, the number of baccalaureate candidates increased to 440,000 students……………….

My grandfather wrote a Moroccan travelogue in 1920. Almost a century later, I set out to re-create his trip.

by Sylvie Bigar June 1

It was October 1920 in Paris and my grandfather, a young Swiss engineer named Louis Schwob, couldn’t contain his excitement. After just a few months on the job, his boss was sending him on a fact-finding mission to build a dam on the Oum er Rbia, one of Morocco’s largest rivers. “I was a kid again, ready to embark on a fabulous and scientific Jules Verne adventure,” he wrote under the pen name Louis Dautheuil. Technology, travel and poetry would remain Schwob’s lifelong passions. Some of his poems appeared in technical journals and local newspapers but after his death, my mother compiled his writings into a book she published as “The Engineer’s Repose.” In the text she used as an introduction, he urged writers to recognize the beauty hiding behind the power of water and even behind the industrial process itself. “Take your lute, O poet,” he wrote in the 1950s, “leave the literary chapels and smoky taverns behind, seek the higher elevations where energy emerges, and the valleys where it blooms.”……….

Smartphone Use and Dependency among Moroccan University Students

By Morocco World News - May 31, 2018 Rabat

The convergence of communication and computing in smartphones has influenced many aspects of students’ social life. A new research paper from Moulay Ismail University in Meknes has studied the behaviors related to smartphone use. Smartphones are entrenched in students’ daily activities, but their exhaustive use may have problematic repercussions. The study, conducted by Dr. Mohammed Larouz, professor of applied linguistics at the School of Arts and Humanities in Moulay Ismail University of Meknes, and Mohamed Mliless, PhD candidate at the same university, explored problematic use, addiction, and dependency predictors among 254 Moroccan students from the Department of English Studies and 250 students from the National High School of Art and Business (ENSAM) in Meknes…………….

‘One World’: Morocco’s RedOne Releases Clip for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

By Zoubida Senoussi -  June 2, 2018 Rabat

“One World” is already a hit. Released yesterday, RedOne’s song for the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia has already been viewed more than 1.3 million times on Youtube, trending #31 on the platform. Moroccan fans of RedOne will be thrilled to know that Morocco occupies a prominent place in this colorful clip shot in both Agadir and Moscow, which is dedicated to the long-awaited World Cup. The clip features Nadir Khayat, Adelina and Now United. The Moroccan producer has indeed kept its promises to promote Agadir, which is known as the “first national” seaside resort……………….

Sofia: Classist analysis of marriage institution in modern Morocco

Film scooped Best Screenplay award in Un Certain Regard competition. The first sequence of Meryem Benm’Barek’s Cannes debut can easily trick viewers into anticipating a mundane family-oriented story in modern Morocco, but as the events unfold, the film exhibits a classist analysis of marriage in contemporary society. Benm’Barek’s complex, yet smooth, film won the award for best screenplay in the Un Certain Regard competition. Sofia tells the story of a young Moroccan young woman, Sofia (Maha Alemi), who is in denial about being pregnant and gives birth to a baby out of wedlock. She makes up a lie about who the father is in order to avoid cover up for a rich family friend. She accuses a young man, Omar (Khafif Hamza), from a poor family of being the father. Sofia starts off as a social thriller before becoming a sociological study. The point from the film is less to know who the father of the child is than to show the pressure imposed by a society that cannot accept a child being born out of wedlock. As a result, the family drama takes precedence, and the power play between the characters emerges…………………..

The Seductions Of Sephardic Morocco.

By Hilary Danailova May 29, 2018
Why do French winds get such poetic names? In Provence, it’s the “mistral” that sweeps across Provence in winter, flattening fields of lavender with its bitter gusts. Along the west coast of Morocco, it’s the “alizé,” a trade wind blowing off the Atlantic. Sheltered from the surf by offshore islands, the port of Essaouira is nonetheless a notoriously breezy spot, attracting windsurfers and kite-flyers but relatively few sunbathers. Alizé notwithstanding, Essaouira seduces. The harbor town south of Casablanca, known as Mogador during the era of Portuguese dominance, has been variously home to Roman conquerors, Iberian explorers, French urban planners — and a prosperous Sephardic merchant community whose Jewish legacy remains one of Africa’s most tangible…………

The glorious food of Morocco

By Daniel Neman St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Morocco travelogues of the 1940s and 1950s were inevitably titled “Morocco: Land of Mystery” or “The Riddle of Morocco.” But surely you can learn all you need to know about any country just by cooking and eating its food. Much Moroccan food is cooked slowly, methodically — even thoughtfully. The flavors have a long time to build and meld and blend together until they become a singular taste; you can no longer distinguish the individual ingredients. There is an art to making many of the classic Moroccan dishes, almost a ritual. Couscous — the tiny pasta that acts like a grain — is perhaps the defining dish of the country, where it is eaten every day. It is prepared with much effort in a special pot called a couscoussier and is steamed three times before serving…………..

Morocco to Set up National Crime Observatory

Morocco will set up shortly a national observatory on crime. The new body will be entrusted with sketching out policies, producing crime-related data and international reports on this subject-matter, says Moroccan minister of Justice Mohamed Aujjar. The observatory will help to shed light on the country’s penal policy and the system of criminal justice. It will also provide accurate and latest data on crimes’ locations, the culprits and the victims profiles, in addition to the scientific processing of crimes. Morocco has amended its code of criminal procedure and the penal code as part of the country’s endeavor to reform the justice system with a view to protect human rights.

In the Middle East, It's Cool to 'Sing Moroccan'

Alison Lake Contributor  Jun 5, 2018,

After winning second place on “Arab Super Star,” Lebanon’s version of “American Idol” in 2007, a young Moroccan singer spent the next few years in the U.S., performing popular Arabic songs in nightclubs and restaurants in D.C. and New York before returning home to build his career.
Now more than a decade later, Saad Lamjarred, 33, is one of the most popular vocalists in North Africa. He also commands a strong fan base in the Middle East by mixing Moroccan dialect with a version of classical Arabic that’s rarely used by popular singers, but is easily understandable across the Arab world………….

A Rendezvous with Dates in Ramadan: Their Benefits and Significance

By Ahlam Ben Saga -  June 2, 2018 Rabat

Ramadan is that time of the year when all 1.8 billion Muslims can enter the realms of spirituality and introspection, sympathize with the poor, develop patience, and get rid of bad habits. While it is all that and more, Ramadan is also the best time for dates. Dates…those naturally sweet, underrated fruits that finally get their time in the spotlight during Ramadan! During the holy month, the ftour table is simply not complete without dates, even if just for show. Although they contain an abundance of health benefits, sometimes their potentials are unknown even to people who eat them at every ftour because of their religious significance………….

Rain, Rain, Come Again: Morocco 2017 Growth Surges on Downpours

By Souhail Karam  June‎ ‎04‎, ‎2018‎ ‎

Morocco’s economic growth surged to 4.1 percent last year, as heavy rains boosted output in the labor-intensive agricultural sector, the state planning agency said in a preliminary report…………

Morocco: Oasis on the front line of climate change

Al Jazeera's virtual reality documentary illustrates impacts of climate change on M'hamid oasis in Morocco's southeast.

by Viktorija Mickute

Walking through dry fields of the oasis of M'hamid El Ghizlane, Halim Sbai feels a sense of injustice. A few decades ago, Sbai's homeplace, located in the southeast of Morocco, was lush and full of life.
Now, the M'hamid oasis is arid and has an empty feel to it. The fragile ecosystem finds itself vanishing. Palm trees are sparse and, on the outskirts of the oasis, only treetops stick out of the sand dunes as the Sahara expands. "We don't create causes of climate change. We just experience the effects," said Sbai with that very sense of injustice reflected in his tone.

Into the Blue: Why is this Moroccan town so beautifully blue?

Chefchaouen is Morocco's Blue Pearl, writes Pól Ó Conghaile. But how did it get that way?

Pól Ó Conghaile  June 3 2018

As a child, I remember reading The Great Blueness, Arnold Lobel's book that sees a wizard bring colour to a grey world. Before achieving the right mix, he makes some brilliant mistakes. One of them is to colour everything blue. Walking the labyrinthine lanes of Chefchaouen in northern Morocco, I wonder: did Lobel pay a visit? Radiating from the kasbah, the town's streets are marvellously, trippily, beautifully blue. Cascading down its mountain perch, the rinse washes over mosques, cafés, houses and shops like an Instagram filter…….

Rabat exhibition celebrates three decades of worldwide travel by Ibn Battuta

Saad Guerraoui

The exhibition at Bank Al-Maghrib Museum sheds light on Morocco's historical and strategic ties.

Sunday 03/06/2018 RABAT

An exhibition celebrating Morocco’s most famous mediaeval traveller Ibn Battuta and his 14th-century ventures to the East and West Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, Andalusia and sub-Saharan Africa opened in Rabat and will remain on display until December. The exhibition at Bank Al-Maghrib Museum pays tribute to Ibn Battuta’s travels and sheds light on the historical and strategic ties that Morocco enjoyed with several African countries during the 1300s…..

Morocco Emerges as a Model for Protecting Women

By Alice Morrison

Picture an Islamic nation and women’s rights are probably not the first thing that springs to mind — but Morocco could be challenging that stereotype, armed with recent legislation aimed at protecting women and a growing civil society movement. “Thank God!” was the reaction of Bassima Hakkaoui, the country’s minister of family affairs, women and solidarity, when the law that criminalizes “acts considered forms of harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill treatment” of women was finally ratified on Valentine’s Day this year. The law passed by a vote of 112 for, 55 against and one abstention. It had been many years in the making, with a push for it beginning 10 years ago and this proposal first drafted in 2013. The law has its shortcomings, many local women’s groups argue. But others point out that even with limitations, it marks recognition of a deep-seated problem that was earlier ignored in public. Also, the law isn’t the only one aimed at addressing the exploitation of women. A new law enforcing the rights of domestic workers (largely women) has just come into force. And though implementing these laws remains a challenge, Morocco now boasts a growing civil society movement bringing — and demanding — change…………….

Moroccan-spiced pumpkin and goat’s cheese pizza

Pumpkin’s natural sweetness — boosted by baking and spiced up with Morocco’s fragrant ras-el-hanout blend — has a wonderful affinity with fresh goat’s cheese. Serve it embellished with handfuls of gutsy wild rocket and crunchy, crimson, jewel-like pomegranate seeds for a sensational pizza. (SERVES 2)

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