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Morocco Week in Review 
April 25, 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

How Anny Gaul Does History


By Contingent Magazine

Editor’s note: This is the fourth entry in a series on how historians—especially contingent historians and those employed outside of tenure-track academia—do the work of history. If you know of someone we should interview, or would like to be interviewed yourself, send an email with the subject line HOW I DO HISTORY to

Anny Gaul (@annygaul on Twitter and Instagram) is a historian of food and gender in the Arabic-speaking world with specializations in Moroccan and Egyptian history. Here’s how she does history.

What is your current position?
I’m a postdoctoral fellow (also called a “postdoc”) at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University. It’s a one-year appointment and I learned I received it about a year ago, in April 2019.

Tell our readers what a typical day of work is like for you. For starters, is there such a thing as a typical day for you?
I definitely don’t have a typical day, much as I’d like to be better about routine and structure. This semester I’m teaching, which tends to dictate the rhythm of my week. About half the days are focused on teaching and the other half on everything else. When I’m not teaching, I try to do either some writing or translating first thing in the morning, since that’s when I work best. I also try to respond to all of yesterday’s emails (I recommend the Yesterbox approach) on any given day to stay on top of the ever-increasing deluge of emails we all receive.

What does a “postdoc” do? Does it involve mostly research or teaching or a mix of both? 

“What does a postdoc do” is something I have been figuring out all year. Not all postdoc positions are created equal, and I’m lucky mine gives me a lot of flexibility. My only firm requirements have been to give one public talk and teach one class. I was allowed to design and teach whatever class I wanted, which has been pretty great. That said, mine is for one year, so in the most practical sense, having the postdoc means that I am paid and supported to be on the academic job market. Frankly, the kind of fellowship I have might be the best possible position to be in while applying for conventional academic jobs.1 I think that for those of us seeking jobs in academia, we should talk about postdocs more directly in these terms. I don’t think it diminishes the value of a postdoc to describe it that way, but it does clarify what a postdoc can offer in relation to other types of positions.

I spent a lot of fall 2019 rewriting a dissertation chapter as a journal article, which is currently in its final stages of revision before publication. I discussed the revised piece in my public talk at the Center for the Humanities in October and very quickly drafted my revisions so that I’d have a current writing sample for job applications and something “under review” for my job market CV.

I’m happy to share that I recently accepted an offer I’m really excited about in the Arabic program at the University of Maryland at College Park. I can’t imagine how I would have navigated the entire process, from application to campus visit, without the postdoc. I say this because as proud as I am of my work, I also acknowledge that I am one of the extremely lucky ones, and because we need to be explicit about the circumstances which render conventional academic jobs more and more unattainable………….

Moroccan Women represent 80% of the medical crew on the front line of the COVID-19

Asma Lamrabet By Staff member- April 20, 2020 Rabat, Morocco (TMT)

In an opinion article written in Arabic, well known Moroccan medical doctor, Islamic feminist, author, and intellectual Asmaae Lamrabet said that 80% of the medical crew fighting the novel coronavirus is composed of women. “Moroccan Women represent 80% of the medical crew on the front line of the COVID-19 battle,” Lamrabet said. Lamrabet outlined that her statement should not be seen “as gender discrimination in this field (health sector), but I say and stress that the burden is greater on women than men, due to the accumulation of responsibilities” Moroccan women have to endure in comparison to Moroccan men………………………..

Islamic Teachings in Fighting the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Badr-edin El Hmidi - April 19, 2020

The novel coronavirus is one of the most dangerous viruses that beset the world. Since it unfolded in China, it has spread over many countries around the world, causing the death of thousands of people and bringing the world economy to a stillstand. COVID-19 has been classified by the World Health Organization as a universal pandemic, because of its exceptionally fast transmission mode.

Every country implemented various preventive measures to contain the novel form of the coronavirus, COVID-19. The Moroccan government is no different in this regard. Under such exceptional circumstances, it took an array of health and social isolation measures, ones suggested by the World Health Organization. During this period, strict measures prohibit gathering in public places, among which religious shrines are of no exception. In the context of the observed quarantine (al-Hajr al-Sihi) in Morocco, this article aims at analyzing this political decision in light of Islamic teachings. This article will also evaluate the above-mentioned decision through the lenses of Islamic history, hearkening back to memory how Muslims in the past resolved similar matters during times of global pandemic. 

There are numerous verses, prophetic sayings, and historical stories that emphasize on preventive health measures like cleaning hands, eating healthy and Halal food, and staying away from dirty substances as this approach goes hand in hand with one of the fundamental objectives of Shari’a, the protection of the human body. 

Preventive Measures Based on Qur’anic Verses
The Qur’an is the first source that Muslim scholars rely on to derive rules of jurisprudence when it comes to solving any problem that a Muslim may face in his/her daily life. So, what does the Qur’an say about pandemics like the coronavirus? Following an Islamic conductive approach, when there is a complicated issue like that of this novel virus, it is a must for Muslim scholars to infer from the Qur’an verses the rules which are applicable to a similar juncture. …………………

Morocco Could Lose $13.85 Billion in Tourism Revenue Due to COVID-19

Tourism is the second-largest contributor to Morocco’s economy, accounting for 11% of GDP.

By Yahia Hatim - Apr 22, 2020 Rabat

If Morocco does not urgently mobilize a plan to save its tourism sector, the country will lose over MAD 138 billion ($13.85 billion) between 2020 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 crisis, revealed a study by the National Tourism Confederation (CNT). In a report issued today, April 22, the confederation suggested a recovery plan for Moroccan tourism that would require a MAD 1.7 billion ($170.6 million) investment. Morocco’s tourism industry has completely suspended all activity since mid-March, when the country decided to close all international air, land, and maritime routes…………

How COVID-19 Can Boost Telemedicine in Morocco

A few weeks ago, doctors called telemedicine the “medicine of the future,” but the COVID-19 crisis has brought it in from the margins.

By Glenn Hatcher, an American living in Rabat, is the president and CEO of REMEDE SARL, which delivers digital solutions in healthcare. Apr 19, 2020

A few months ago, someone with COVID-19 sneezed in China, and now, you cannot take the train to Marrakech, attend a football match, get a haircut, or visit your friends across town. This is the downside of living in a connected world. Because of relatively inexpensive air travel, health problems in one part of the world become problems in Morocco, too. As governments responded to the coronavirus, new ways of work, education, and medicine came to the forefront. The COVID-19 pandemic stretched the world in ways no one even thought possible and in ways totally unanticipated. It has caused companies to send employees home to work from their dining tables and has sent students to watch television and use websites like Facebook and Zoom for their lessons………………..

Can the COVID-19 Crisis Actualize a Paperless Morocco?

Morocco’s transition into a digital era has faced several challenges, but the COVID-19 crisis has proven that the process can accelerate if all actors join efforts.

By Yahia Hatim  -  Apr 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the world, changing work habits, and reprioritizing industries. In Morocco, the coronavirus crisis could be a long-awaited chance for the country to make a leap from the paper age to a digital era. Several institutions, such as ministries, universities, utilities, and other administrations, launched digital platforms to ensure the continuity of their services amid the national lockdown, implemented on March 20 to restrict the movement of citizens. The new digital services are not only protecting citizens from COVID-19 but also making their lives much easier. Procedures that usually took long hours, if not days, to be accomplished can now be done with a few clicks, without having to move from the comfort of one’s home or to stand in long queues………..

Morocco’s Masaktach Movement Warns of Domestic Violence During Lockdown

The #Masaktach movement, the Moroccan version of #MeToo, serves as a platform for sexual assault and rape victims to break their silence.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Apr 19, 2020 Rabat

The Moroccan #MeToo movement, the Masaktach (I will not be silent) collective, reassured women in Morocco that it will continue to publish testimonies amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. The movement recently issued a press release underlining that the latest studies from around the world shown an alarming increase of violence against women governments impose confinement measures. The Masaktach collective announced the launch of a campaign to post the testimonies of Moroccan women experiencing violence during the lockdown through the hashtag #3yalat_El7ajr_Si77i (Women of lockdown)…………….

Yassin Adnan takes us inside Morocco in the age of the internet

April 18, 2020

Hot Maroc is the first novel by Moroccan journalist, poet and short story writer Yassin Adnan. It immerses the reader in today’s Morocco, between the real world and the internet fantasy. Hot Maroc is a cynical satire about the eternal human and social comedy, and has been selected for the prestigious International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

In Adnan’s novel, the city of Marrakech, where the author was born, is as important as the fleshy characters of his book. However, the city is not the Marrakech of oriental clichés. For Adnan, it is also an inspiring city for writers, even though he admits that the literature about Marrakech has sometimes limited the city to the same clichés: a tourist destination from the Jemaa el-Fna square across to the Medina. It is actually a denser and more complex city; a multiple city.

“I am showing a city that is not only socially plural, but also architecturally plural,” he tells me. “Through my characters, I describe the underprivileged neighbourhoods that surround the city, a belt of poverty made up of people from the rural areas. I also talk about the new neighbourhoods which are characteristic of the petite and middle-class bourgeoisie. Buildings are growing rapidly and young couples are moving in.” Thus, Marrakech offers a perfect setting for this satirical comedy.

It is in the yellow and imperial city that the main protagonist of the novel lives: the humble Rahal Laâouina. He has low self-esteem and views himself as the eternal victim of circumstances and of others. Rahal knows that he is a coward and deep down he is resentful of this, so he takes harsh revenge on bullies during his semi-awake dreams. The digital revolution will offer him the possibility of becoming a potential Iago: a manipulator, a great organiser and a small disorganiser of the lives of others. Under different pseudonyms, he then distils a venom of perfidy through the comments he spreads on social media. Even better, thanks to his job at a cyber café, he will influence the lives of his clients thanks to the access he keeps to their email and social media accounts. Rahal Laâouina ends up being noticed by obscure internal security services, precisely because of his talent for shaping public opinion through denunciation and sweet perfidy. He will then end up being paid to exercise his talents on demand. His name suits him perfectly. It almost means the “great traveller”. He navigates the worldwide web. His surname literally means “little eye”, a word that also means “snitch”, Adnan explains………………..

Can the COVID-19 Crisis Actualize a Paperless Morocco?

Morocco’s transition into a digital era has faced several challenges, but the COVID-19 crisis has proven that the process can accelerate if all actors join efforts.

By Yahia Hatim - Apr 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the world, changing work habits, and reprioritizing industries. In Morocco, the coronavirus crisis could be a long-awaited chance for the country to make a leap from the paper age to a digital era. Several institutions, such as ministries, universities, utilities, and other administrations, launched digital platforms to ensure the continuity of their services amid the national lockdown, implemented on March 20 to restrict the movement of citizens. The new digital services are not only protecting citizens from COVID-19 but also making their lives much easier. Procedures that usually took long hours, if not days, to be accomplished can now be done with a few clicks, without having to move from the comfort of one’s home or to stand in long queues……………………

Young Moroccans Lead the Way Against COVID-19 at Home and Abroad

During a time of unprecedented uncertainty, Morocco’s youth are stepping up with efforts to assist those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Karima Rhanem is a Moroccan multi-award winner with more than 18 years’ experience in Public Policy, strategic and digital communication, and diplomacy Apr 16, 2020 Rabat

As the COVID-19 pandemic presents the world with unprecedented challenges, young Moroccans at home and abroad demonstrate continued leadership and solidarity to support their fellow Moroccans as well as foreign nationals. Many of them are on the frontlines of the crisis, promoting health and safety in their roles as health workers, researchers, social activists and volunteers, innovators and entrepreneurs, teachers, security forces, and communications and crisis management specialists.

Laudable youth initiatives in Morocco
Following the Moroccan government’s declaration of a state of health emergency, effective March 20, young Moroccan entrepreneurs and innovators initiated various contributions to the crisis response. These include making artificial ventilation machines, automatic thermometers, and automatic gates for sanitary disinfection and sterilization.  Some enterprises have even shifted their activities to accommodate the urgent needs that have emerged during the spreading outbreak, using their own materials or factories to produce protective clothing and masks, as well as to manufacture drones used for air disinfection, virus detection, and awareness-raising.

While the world’s largest countries still struggle to obtain this equipment, Morocco preemptively turned to local manufacturers, ranging from small start-ups to medium- and large-sized enterprises. Morocco has encouraged local production to satisfy the national market in a time when international cooperation and solidarity is more and more difficult, given the economic impact and human losses that countries have endured due to the coronavirus pandemic. There are many other examples of youth initiatives to help the poor or families affected by the health emergency measures. Some young people have begun distributing food packages and sanitation kits to the needy and ensuring free delivery services to struggling families. They have also contributed with awareness-raising campaigns, emphasizing the importance of following health and safety instructions and complying with the state of health emergency regulations………………….

Despite drastic measures, Covid-19 exposes educational inequalities in Morocco

April 15, 2020

Globally, online schooling is getting its moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Morocco, though, struggles to keep up. With an eye on the future, emergency remote education has quickly replaced normal classroom-based learning. Meanwhile, as crises usually do, the situation ruthlessly exposes enduring fragilities, not least the digital divide which mirrors far greater divides in terms of the Kingdom’s social classes and geographical realities.
Indeed, international and national reports demonstrate Morocco’s poor education performance. Despite ambitious reforms to facilitate access to education and improve facilities and quality, drop-out rates soar, and a great gap between goals and practices on the ground persists. The numbers in education in rural areas are low, and educational performance seems to deteriorate, while private education reinforces the existing social differences. With the government devoting 25 per cent of its 2019 budget to education, a governance problem must exist, not least waves of protests and strikes led by “contractual teachers”, who work almost exclusively in rural areas, which pinpoint job insecurity and inequality.
As the pandemic situation in Morocco started to unfold in March, the government struggled to curb a potential outbreak and to cascade information about Covid-19’s sinister impact on public life. To avoid uncontainable contamination in classrooms, schools and universities were and remain closed, while teachers, the Ministry of Education and parents have rushed to fill the void……………………

Seven digital libraries you can visit from your couch

By Sam Romano, CNN April 19, 2020

Check this out: You can still celebrate National Library Week, which begins Sunday, at home. Here are seven digital libraries with specialized collections you can visit to honor the contributions of our nation's libraries and library workers.

Digital Public Library of America: The DPLA is an online collection of over 36 million free digital materials from libraries, archives and museums. Its digital exhibitions and primary sources cover everything from the 1918 influenza pandemic to the golden age of comic books.

Nautical Archaeology Digital Library: If you're fascinated by shipwrecks, theNautical Archaeology Digital Library has you covered. The library, a collaboration of Texas A&M University and ShipLAB, contains searchable shipwreck databases and ancient ship models.

CIA's FOIA Electronic Reading Room: Looking for digital data to make you feel like a secret agent? Look no further than the Central Intelligence Agency's Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room. The online collection houses items from FOIA and CIA release programs, including more than 50 years of CIA information on UFOs and a collection dedicated to the oldest classified documents in the US.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library provides open access to biodiversity literature. The archives are home to curated collections with books from Charles Darwin's personal collection to field diaries from explorations of Antarctica. New York Public Library

The New York Public Library's online collection contains nearly 890,000 digitized items. Its archives and manuscripts cover books, prints, photographs and more unique collections, like a massive database of over 17,000 historical restaurant menus.

The Getty Publications Virtual Library hosts an impressive collection of art books, with more than 300 publications that can be read and downloaded for free, including some that are out of print.

National Library of Medicine: The History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine contains a vast collection of digital materials related to health and disease. Through its online resources, patrons can view the earliest anatomical drawings, read about the history of forensic medicine and explore an exhibition dedicated to the accomplishments of women physicians.
CNN's Hayley Wilson contributed to this report.

Netflix Offers Free Educational Content on Youtube

“We hope this will, in a small way, help teachers around the world.”

By Taha Mebtoul - Apr 20, 2020 Rabat

American video streaming platform Netflix has made some educational content available on its Youtube channel for free, following requests from teachers as coronavirus school closures continue.“For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms,” said Netflix in an April 17 statement on its website.“However, this isn’t possible with schools closed. So at their request, we have made a selection of our documentary features and series available on the Netflix US YouTube channel,” the streaming platform added…………………..

Gay men in Morocco fear backlash after trans influencer told followers to download Grindr and find gay neighbors and relatives

Gay Moroccans say Naoufal Moussa's Instagram video has led to people being assaulted or kicked out of their homes

By John Riley on April 20, 2020 @JohnAndresRiley

A transgender woman and social media influencer told her followers to download gay dating apps to see which men in their communities are gay.
Naoufal Moussa, also known as Sofia Talouni, is a Turkey-based beauty influencer whose nightly Instagram Live series was watched by more than 100,000 people. Moussa made the suggestion during a broadcast last week. Speaking in Moroccan Arabic in the video, she suggested that her followers download gay dating apps like Grindr, PlanetRomeo, and Hornet and create fake profiles pretending to be bottoms so they could see which people near them identify as gay. “These apps will show you the ‘gay’ people who are near you,” Moussa said. “100 meters, 200 meters, or even one meter, just next to you in the living room. Since everyone is together at home, it could show you your husband in your bedroom, it could show you your son who might be in the bathroom. It could show you your neighbor from next door. It could show you your cousin, your uncle. Everyone.”
She also said she “felt bad for those faggots,” but didn’t care……………….

Sofia Taloni explains why she outed the LGBT community in Morocco

By Staff member - April 23, 2020 Rabat, Morocco (TMT)

Sofia Taloni has finally spoken following the controversy she triggered after outing the LGBT community in Morocco and putting various of its members’ lives at risk. In an interview given to Moroccan songwriter Faiçail Azizi in Moroccan Darija, Taloni lifted the lid on her rationale behind encouraging her followers to download gay dating apps to identify them. “In all honesty, I did not want to out them, but they started this war. The Moroccan gay community shared my profile on many Facebook groups and were encouraging people to report me so that my account gets deactivated,” she said. “They wanted to get me killed, sharing my account with religious radical groups and telling them ‘Hey you guys, this guy is destroying our Islamic values and our society values as Moroccans’,” she added………………………..

How Daar-na takes a culturally sensitive approach to psychosis

Immigrants have higher rates of psychosis. A Dutch care facility believes culture should be part of treatment.

by Loes Witschge 2 Feb 2019 Utrecht, Netherlands

When he was 20 years old, Tofik Boughrini became what he called "a bit disconnected from reality". He said for the two years prior he didn't take good care of himself, sleeping in the day and staying up at night. He was a heavy cannabis user. It evened out his moods and calmed him down.
Then his first psychotic episode began. "Looking back, what stands out is the incoherent talking and a strong sense that the world is not right," he told Al Jazeera in his native Utrecht, the Netherlands. "I felt I could do something about that - there was a bit of megalomania." In the years that followed, Boughrini was admitted into a psychiatric hospital five times as he alternated between recovery and slipping back into psychosis. Until finally he had enough.

Now 31, Boughrini uses his own experience with psychosis to help others. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental illness also known as manic depression, characterised by extreme shifts in moods. Psychosis, a condition with symptoms including delusions, hallucinations and incoherent thoughts, can happen during manic or depressive phases. Boughrini works as an "experience expert", coaching people with psychotic disorders at assisted living facilities, including Daar-na, the only assisted living facility in the Netherlands specifically for Muslim men. All eight men currently living in Daar-na have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a chronic psychotic disorder.
Most of the men were living with their parents before coming here. They're here voluntarily, though most of them do have a court order to follow treatment. ………..

Five Tips for Successfully Navigating a Train Journey in Morocco

Inter-city travel in a foreign country can be intimidating, but these helpful hints will smooth your journey so you can enjoy the ride.

By Alizia Gonzalez - Apr 20, 2020

Your dream came true: You are finally in the land of couscous! The scent of sweet Moroccan pastries looms across the air. “If only I could stop and grab aous honey-drenched chebakia,” you think to yourself, before remembering that you have a train to catch. Your laugh thunders into the city sky. Observing fast-talking and slow-walking city slickers with pointed slippers, you feel like you are living in an “Arabian Nights” tale that you dreamed of as a teen, but streets filled with cars and taxis braiding their positions across driving lanes bring you back to reality. Tired, stressed, and carrying burdensome luggage, you refocus to peer into the revolving doors of a distant building. People with suitcases move to and from the entries. Dazed from all the commotion, you spot taxis lining the sidewalk and travelers shuffling about with purpose. It must be a train station. Eureka!
The humdrum day-to-day foot-work of getting around town is inviting, but you are on a mission. You have been struggling for the last few weeks with your few words in the Moroccan dialect (Darija) and the broken French that you have not used since Mr. Monroe’s class in high school………..

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