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Morocco Week in Review 
July 3 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Morocco Surpasses Global Average for COVID-19 Vaccine Administration

Morocco leads the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Africa as the kingdom has vaccinated nearly 10 million Moroccans.

Michael Sauers, Juky 1st, 2021 Rabat

Morocco has administered at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 27.4% of its population, exceeding the global average of 23.4%.  According to Our World in Data, countries worldwide have administered a cumulative 3.04 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since global vaccination campaigns began in January 2021.  Morocco leads Africa in its vaccination campaign of at least one dose administered followed by South Africa at 5%, and Kenya at 2%.
Global leaders such as Canada, the UK, and Israel report impressive single-dose vaccination rates. The countries have administered at least one dose to 68%, 66%, and 65% of their populations respectively. 

Morocco is nearing 10 million full-vaccinations as the kingdom has currently fully-vaccinated 9.12 million people.  In addition, Morocco falls into a “grey zone” regarding full-vaccinations as the country falls outside the group of 44 countries that have fully-vaccinated at least half of their populations, but also does not fall into the group of 67 countries that have fully-vaccinated less than 10% of their population. 
“14 countries, most of them in Africa, have yet to reach 1% of their citizens,” stated Fortune in response to Our World in Data’s most recent COVID-19 global vaccination update……

Morocco Warns New Lockdown Restrictions Amid Increasing COVID-19 Cases

On Wednesday, Morocco recorded 774 COVID-19 cases and four deaths.

Safaa Kasraoui, July 1st, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s Ministry of Health urges citizens to continue to comply with all preventive measures to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. “We urge citizens to comply with the restrictive measures, which are important,” Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb said. The minister announced that the country’s authorities will proceed in implementing tight restrictions as a response to the rapidly rising COVID-19 cases. He acknowledged that such restrictions would impact several sectors, yet he believes that further restrictions might be imposed. “Taking into account the evolution of the epidemiological situation over the last two days, we have been able to observe an accelerated increase in cases of contamination compared to the trend observed during the last months,” he said. Just a few weeks have passed when Morocco announced further easing of the lockdown, including the re-opening of public spaces, such as movie theaters, cultural centers, and public swimming pools…

Feature: Yoga gains in popularity in Morocco Morocco

Xinhua 02 Jul 2021, RABAT, July 1 (Xinhua)

"I started practising yoga about 10 years ago, and I learned it on my own. As time goes by, I found more and more Moroccans who were interested in it. In Casablanca, a friend of mine organizes yoga workshops regularly," Yousra El Ansar, a Moroccan yoga enthusiast, told Xinhua. Yoga has grown in popularity among Moroccans in the past several years, with various yoga workshops sprouting up in major cities like Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech. "It started getting popular in Morocco between 2014 and 2015," said Btissam Mssilea, a Moroccan physiotherapist-in-learning and guided meditation instructor. Before then, yoga was no more than a body exercise preferred by people who have access to Asian culture and could pay more to attend workshops abroad, Mssilea said.
Nowadays, an increasing number of yoga studios have been opened in Morocco, accompanied by international yoga events held across the country. EPIC, a global movement celebrating yoga, held a three-day international yoga festival in Marrakech in June 2019, which has now become the biggest yoga event in the North African country…

Health Magazine Documents Spain’s War Crimes in Morocco’s Rif Region

Faced with a mounting pile of reports and studies documenting its war crimes in northern Morocco, Spain is yet to address the legacy of its occupation of the region.

Khouloud Haskouri, June 29th, 2021 Rabat

Gilmore Health News magazine published a detailed article linking the spread of cancer in Morocco's Rif region to the chemical weapons the Spanish army used during the Rif War in the mid-1920s. Author Robert Miller started his report with an overview of the history of the war, enumerating the “several war crimes committed during the armed conflict.” The article listed multiple war crimes the Spanish army committed in northern Morocco, including summary execution of civilians, rape, castration/mutilation of Moroccan prisoners of war, the bombing of children and women, and the use of chemical weapons.  According to the report, the reckless decision to resort to chemical weapons was motivated by Spanish’s military defeat in the Battle of Annual in July 1921. The human toll of the Rif wars was heavy: nearly 30,000 casualties on the Moroccan side, 23,000 on the Spanish side, and close to 10,000 in the french camp…

Samir Zaim-Sassi: Meet American Cinema’s Rising, 8-Year-Old Moroccan Star

Although most of Samir’s roles are specific to characters of the MENA region, his mother insists that the very existence of such roles offers the young actor the opportunity to increase the representation of people Moroccan- or Arab-looking characters.

Dina Toum-Benchekroun, June 27th, 20201 Miami

At merely 8 years old, Moroccan American actor Samir Zaim-Sassi is dominating the film industry with his unique and natural acting skills. The young actor from Connecticut works out of New York City and Los Angeles and has been playing different roles in the entertainment industry for three years.  It all started in 2019 in a waiting room for an audition his older brother had attended. Samir was there solely to wait while his brother auditioned, but the then 5-year-old actor caught the eye of a casting agent and was asked to audition for a part in a film. Samir uncannily thrived in this unexpected audition––launching the start of his acting career in America……

Delacroix Exhibition In Mohammed VI Museum to Begin On July 7

French Painter, Delacroix, is brought back to Morocco, over 200 years after his monumental contributions to the Moroccan culture and life through his paintings.

Khouloud Haskaoui, July 1st, 2021 Rabat

The Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat is hosting an exhibition of the infamous “Voyage Through Morocco” by French orientalist painter, Eugene Delacroix. The exhibition is set to start from July 7 until October 7, 2021. An exhibit of this nature has never been held in Africa before, and is being organized by the Louvre Museum and the Eugene Delacroix National Museum in partnership with the Mohammed VI Museum. Initially scheduled for 2020, the event was repeatedly postponed due to the pandemic. "We are pleased today, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Foundation, to officially announce that this magnificent exhibition will open its doors on July 7," announced Mehdi Qotbi, president of the National Foundation of Museums of Morocco.

The exhibition will feature 100 works of Delacroix, spanning a variety of mediums such as ceramics, textiles, oil canvas, and more. The displayed pieces are gathered from the Eugene Delacroix National Museum , along with some pieces borrowed from the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée Jacques-Chirac, the Musée des Arts de Bordeaux, and more museums throughout France.  A Hungarian museum will also contribute to the exhibition by loaning its Eugene Delacroix paintings to the Mohammed VI Museum. The exhibition will be curated by Claire Bessede from the French perspective, Director of the Museum Eugene Delacroix, and by Abdelaziz El Idrissi on the Moroccan perspective. The  Mohammed VI Museum will host a simultaneous exhibition featuring Western artists influenced by Eugene Delacroix’s discovery of Morocco as "a monumental event" for them……………

World Bank: Reforms Could Lead to Further Growth in Morocco

The bank is satisfied with Morocco’s approach to mitigate the socio-economic crisis.

Safaa Kasraoui June 30th, 2021 Rabat

The World Bank appears to be satisfied with the reforms Morocco introduced to ensure more economic growth and post-COVID-19 recovery. On June 29, the bank issued a report recalling Morocco’s measures to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis. The bank emphasized that Morocco has taken advantage of the  COVID-19 crisis by utilizing  the opportunity to launch an “ambitious program of transformation reforms.” Among the reform’s pillars, is the country’s decision to create the Strategic Investment Fund also known as the Mohammed VI Fund dedicated to supporting the private sector. The fund, which is worth $4.85 billion, seeks to prioritize productive economic activities, including major infrastructure projects. The fund also seeks to support companies with equity capitals to boost job creation potential. The reforms also include Morocco’s decision to renew its development model. The plan calls for large-scale programs that aim to curb social disparities and promote sustainable development across the country.

For the World Bank, Morocco’s suggested reforms could lead to a “stronger and more equitable growth path” if they are “successfully implemented.” The bank said the reform could increase the growth potential of the Moroccan economy in many ways, including raising the contributions of “living standards and accelerate the growth of aggregate output.” The World Bank report further said that recovery from the economic crisis will be gradual and will likely be “uneven.”
The bank said that Morocco’s real GDP number will not go to its pre-pandemic level until 2022, suggesting that the “cumulative output loss caused by the crisis will be large.” The projection of the bank suggests that Morocco’s real GDP growth is set to increase to 4.6% in 2021. The growth will be attributed to a “stronger” performance in the agricultural sector……

Morocco Digitizes Mental Health Care With New ‘Psyenligne’ Service

Michael Sauers, June 29th, 2021 Rabat

The first Moroccan-owned online mental health care provider Psyenligne offers both online consultations and in-person appointments. launches as Morocco’s first, 100% Moroccan online mental health care service provider. The online health care service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and “optimizes both online and on-site appointments,” according to the company’s website.  Not to be confused with the Belgian-funded Allomonpsy, Psyenligne celebrates its Moroccan roots. 
Read also: Launch of Morocco's First Online Mental Health Resource "Allomonpsy"
“This platform is the result of hard work by Moroccan entrepreneurs, IT developers with the support and advice of some clinical psychologists who are members of Moroccan psychology associations,” states the company in an online press release. Psyenligne intends to streamline the mental healthcare system in Morocco by offering online consultations and expediting the scheduling process for in-person visits. ……

Medical Student Saad Uakkas Becomes First Moroccan to Win Diana Award

Saad Uakkas , currently in his last year of medical studies, brought to life several humanitarian initiatives, including a medical caravan that provided health services to 25,000 people in rural communities.

Safaa Karaoui, June 29th, 2021 Rabat

Moroccan medical student Saad Uakkas is among the youth that received the 2021 Diana Award on Monday. Uakkas is the first Moroccan in history to win the award since its creation. Diana Award winners are recognized for their efforts to improve the lives of others. In recognition of their activism or humanitarian work, the Award is the most prestigious accolade that can be awarded to a young person aged 9 to 25. “This year’s Diana Award recipients represent some of the most inspirational young people from across the UK and around the world,” the official website of the award said…………..

Morocco's Educational Reforms Starting to Pay Off

Muhammad Nour is the latest beneficiary of free governmental support to ensure and equitable access to education.

Toms Dumpis. June 27th, 2021 Rabat

An autistic young man, Muhammad Nour, received his baccalaureate degree in physics with high grades, reflecting Morocco's recent efforts to secure education for some of society's most vulnerable. Moroccan advocate for disabled persons and elected representative of Morocco's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Soumia Amrani, shared the news on Facebook.  Amrani also noted that Said Amzazi, Morocco's Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, "made a promise and fulfilled it," referring to Morocco's latest efforts to make education more inclusive.
Nuor's distinguished grades and his graduation are "evidence that the right to upbringing and inclusive education together are required to transcend individuals to turn into a pride for the nation," said Amrani on Facebook…………

Island profile: Bouchra Drame and the road from Morocco to Shelter Island

By Charity Robey

Bouchra Drame grew up in Northern Morocco in a family of five, in a large house with her aunts, uncles and their families. Everyone cooked together, but her mother — the oldest of her siblings — was the chef of the house. “Everything was made from scratch, the preserved lemons, rolling semolina flour to make the couscous,” Bouchra said. “When I was 10, my mother had me sit on the floor to learn, so she could watch me.” Last summer, Bouchra began expressing the love of food and cooking she learned as a child in pop-up Moroccan and Caribbean dinners at the Dering Harbor Inn. On Friday, July 3, the latest of her dinners will be served buffet-style, and will feature two distinctive Moroccan techniques, méchoui, a kind of slow grilling, and tajine, a method of cooking in an earthenware pot.

The story of how Bouchra Drame came to Shelter Island from Morocco is a tale of care and love. She was working as a nurse in Casablanca, taking care of a woman from Mali who was seriously ill. Impressed with the tender care Bouchra showed, the woman’s daughter asked Bouchra if she was married. Bouchra’s patient added, “I have a son who is not married.”  Her son was Moussa Drame, a tennis pro who lived in Mali, 2,000 miles away. When he called his mother, she insisted that Bouchra take the phone. It was the first time Bouchra would speak with her future husband and the conversation took place in French, since Bouchra didn’t speak the Bambara, the language of Mali. “He said he wanted to thank me for taking such good care of his mother,” said Bouchra. “She was in pain, but she had such a beautiful smile, and she never complained.”  Moussa and Bouchra stayed in touch by phone, even after his mother left the care facility.  Her future sister-in-law Bafanta’s parting words were, “Please stay in touch. I want you to marry my brother.” ……

Moroccan Court Convicts Woman for ‘Publicly Insulting Islam’

The young woman was arrested after returning from France last week. Insulting Islam is illegal under Moroccan penal codes and offenders face prison time up to $21,000 in fines.

Shaquile Goff, June 30th, 2021 Denver

A Moroccan judge has sentenced a 23-year-old Moroccan-Italian woman who “insulted Islam” to three and a half years in prison and the payment of a fine of nearly $6,000, according to an official announcement by the Ministry of Justice. The unnamed woman was arrested at Casablanca airport immediately after returning from Marseille, France, where she was studying law. The arrest was linked to a 2019 Facebook post in which the woman rewrote quranic verses in a parodic praise of the consumption of alcohol. According to statements from the woman’s father, who requested both he and his daughter remain anonymous, his daughter “did not know” she was the target of an arrest warrant for her Facebook posts. The man also defended his daughter by expressing that she “is not fluent in Arabic” and was unaware of the nature of the content she shared on social media. ……

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