The mineret that takes you home

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web
Morocco Week in Review 
January 12, 2013

Asugas Amaynu: Happy Amazigh New Year 2963
by larbi Arbaoui Morocco World News Taroudant- Jan 11, 2013

Tomorrow, January 12, coincides with the Amazigh New Year, 2963, known as “Yennayer”. Yennayer is the first day of the agrarian calendar year used since ancient times by Berbers throughout North Africa. Even though this day has not yet been recognized officially in Morocco as a national holiday, most of Moroccans never miss this occasion to celebrate and exchange wishes and prayers during this day, which marks the beginning of a new Amazigh year.

Although Amazigh New Year Event is celebrated by many Moroccans, every January 12, only few people do realize the symbolic and historical implications of this event. Under different names, Yennayer is celebrated by both Arab and Berber speaking communities. The Arab speaking community in old cities referred to this traditional event as “Haguza” or “Am Alfilahi” (the Agrarian year). However, The Amazigh people, more precisely those dwelling in the south east of Morocco, call it “Id Suggas” (the night of the year). “Id Suggas” is a very traditional festivity on the Eve of the Amazigh New Year.

The history of this great event traces back to 950 BC, when the Amazigh nation defeated the pharaoh army and managed to enter Egypt, during the reign of Pharaohs. Under the leadership of “Chachanq” known also as “Cheshung”, the Amazighs were able to establish a new monarchy that ruled from Libya to Egypt. This glorious victory marked the beginning of the Amazigh date.

To celebrate this big event, people all over Morocco prepare various succulent dishes. Some prepare “Irkmen”, wheat with dry fava beans simmered in the form of soup. Others serve “Tagola”, a meal based on corn kernels cooked, and mixed with butter and accompanied with ghee. However, Couscous with seven vegetables remains the luxurious dish to be served on that special night.

There are also many amazing traditions and practices that accompany the food that the Amazigh prepare for this night of festivity. Apart from dancing and singing special songs of love, fertility and prosperity, welcoming a new agrarian year, the Amazigh people, in particular those in the country side, find in this occasion a better chance to socialize, exchange food and seek reconciliation with those with whom they had some misunderstandings.

In different parts of the south-east, people prepare a special dish for the occasion, usually, couscous with many vegetables and pulses. Back to the years of my childhood, I recall how my mother never missed this event. Having no Amazigh calendar at home, I appreciated too much, and wondered how my parents and other neighborhoods got to know the exact time of the Berber New Year.

One of the most symbolic and amazing practice in the south east, I still reminisce with joy and regret for their being less practiced, is explained by Mr. Lahcen Amokrane, an Amazigh activist and blogger, whom MWN interviewed on the occasion of the Amazigh New Year. “The Amazigh people of the south east prepare couscous for the night of Jan 12, every year, as a cultural ritual celebrating “Id Suggas”. Traditionally, they put “Ighs” a seed of dates or “alluz” a piece of almond, as some prefer to do recently, in couscous. The person who finds this seed of dates or piece of almonds is to be entrusted with the keys of “Lakhzin”, a room reserved for storing the family’s food, and that person is believed to be “blessed” throughout the whole year”, he told Morocco World News.

For these happy moments, I, as well as MWN, wish our dear readers a happy new year full of joy and prosperity. In the Amazigh language, I tell you, Assuggas Amaynu, s Tudert Nek A winu!
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

The Amazigh New Year 2963: let’s love and accept each other.
by Rachid Khouya Morocco World News Smara-  Morocco- Jan 12, 2013

If ever you feel unhappy when you watch others laugh or smile, then you should visit a doctor or a psychologist to help you get rid of your selfish complexes. If ever you hate others when they love and fall in love, then you should find someone to help you find out what is wrong with your heart and feelings.

If ever you want all the people to be your copy, to be the way you are, to believe only in what you think is right and wrong, to cut their tongues and speak merely your own language, to pray the way you pray and worship the same God you worship and to be your shadows by day and by night, then please do not get mad with me brother. If I ask you, dear brother or sister, to stop reading and go find a healer to help you heal your inner and psychic sicknesses because there must be something wrong with you.

Normally, we should be happy when we see others smile and celebrate their cultural and religious ceremonies. Watching others laugh, sing and dance should invite us to sing and dance with them and to be joyful for their joys and sad for their sadness. As humans, we must be connected to each other and love for others what we love for ourselves.

Unfortunately, some people are racist though they pretend not to be so. They are not conscious of the pain they are causing to others when they deprive them of their rights to be the way they are. They do not understand that other humans have their inalienable rights the way we have ours and that we should all respect each other without discrimination or segregation.

Some people are so selfish and egoist as they want all people to walk the way they walk, to talk the way they talk, to sing the way they sing, to sleep the way they sleep and even to snore and dream the way they dream. This is abnormal. We are created different and we should learn how to accept our differences within our communities and societies.

We are created different with different physical, cultural, social and racial features. Imagine that all people have the same eyes, mouths and ears’ shape. We would be like pieces of chalk or like piece of sugar.

Our task number one is to learn how to coexist with one another, communicate with them, undertsand them and create strong social and intimate relations with those who are crated to be and to live different than us.

As All the ’Imazighan‘ of the world are celebrating their and our Amazigh New Year, I thought it would be a good idea to think about what unites us as Moroccans, as nations and citizens. I want us to stop our fear and phobia of others.

We are all humans and citizens of the same countries and the same world. We should believe that there is enough room for us all on this world and that we are more concerned with love, peace, security, integration, security, freedom and mutual love and respect.

The word ‘Amazigh’ means to be free and the Amazigh people are the free people. Thus, let’s seize the opportunity of the Amazigh New Year to wish and pray for a free world where all the people are free, equal, sisters and brothers.

Jeunes Caritatifs: Friendship and Good Actions
By Fouzia Toury Morocco World News Casablanca, January 08, 2013

Friendship, youth and doing good actions are basic values of our Facebook group, Jeunes Carritatifs. We used to belong to other associations, but the old and traditional methods as well as the obscure maneuvers make us decide to make our own group. I don’t want to blame anyone, but there are still dark spirits who are so selfish and like to take what is not their own. This is why we have come up with our group J eunes Carritatifs.  

The group’s objectives are to make people happy, encourage help and give support to those who are in need. Our first action started on the occasion of Eid lakebir 2012. We decided to look for poor families and give them the sheep so as to celebrate Eid Lakebir. Our goal was not only to let them have the sacrifice rams, but also to draw smiles on the faces of their children. Our target focused on the ghettoes of the big city of Casablanca. We are really still so chocked to discover how poverty has deeply nested in our community and that there is so much to be done. That was our first step to reach the final line of the mile. May God help us!

We also visited children who unfortunately suffer from cancer on the Al Ashoura occasion at Ibn Ruchd Hospital. They were so happy by the gifts, toys and books we offered them. Hugging those children and making them smile was a big push for us to continue our work and to make a difference in our country.

We also visited the Nassim Nursing Home. This visit was a precious occasion for us to know the sufferings of old people in Casablanca. Their world made us wonder about the shocking change of our cultural values of taking care of the old people. Unfortunately, the modern world, poverty, selfishness and our lust for money make some people throw their own old fellows in these houses, facing their destiny of loneliness, pain and neglect.

Our visit to these people was sparkled by lightening moments of love, tenderness and gratitude. I still remember how Mi Aicha (mother Aisha) whispered to my ears, “Don’t forget us and keep visiting us.” And how Mi Khadouj (mother Khadouj) did not stop dancing and singing with us despite her old age. Some friends of the group were so emotionally touched and shed tears when they realized how a small visit and a smile can change someone’s world.

Those precious moments with those dearest old people made us decide to strengthen our bonds of friendship with them and keep visiting them whenever we have the chance. We additionally have that strong intrinsic drive to go on doing good actions. This is why we have planned to gather clothes for the poor. Our future action in these cold days is to look for a small village in a rural area and offer them clothes, since they really need warmth and care. A member also pointed out that Ouled Zian bus station in Casablanca is a remarkable target of homeless people who really need those cloches.

Jeunes Caritatifs group is still a little baby in the experience of doing good actions. Our aims are to strengthen our friendship, to make people smile, to seed trees of hopes and rainbows of dreams that tomorrow is another day in our beloved country, Morocco.
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

Climate change adaptation: Morocco moves from research to action.
By Mohammed Tafraouti - RABAT (Morocco)

Water management is an important issue. Drip irrigation can save more than 45% of irrigation water.

A national seminar about “Promoting Adaptive Communities’ Capacity around Small Dams in Morocco Using the Eco-health Approach” project closed a four year Research Action program. This project was implemented in the south of Morocco areas which are vulnerable to climate change mainly because of water availability. Ait lhaj A., project coordinator said that in mountainous areas, poor communities are more exposed to climate change effects.

To improve communities’ adaptation capacity, many options were implemented, such as small dams. They contribute to rainwater harvesting, replenishment of the water table, flood control and, more importantly, improvement of water availability for rural communities. However, these benefits must be considered in relation to potential health risks.

Recognizing that adaptation must be integrative, practical and implemented locally, the seminar focused on: (i) Exchanging and sharing of knowledge recently developed on the issue of adaptation with different actors and stakeholders (ii) Exploring the ways and challenges to a roadmap on "Adaptation to Climate Change in Practice" for the benefit of vulnerable communities and ecosystems.

The different speakers learned lessons in different areas of Morocco. All of them confirmed that climate change affected all communities’ assets.

Mr. Mimouni showed that at community level the learning process, including the testing of various technical and institutional options, highlights the need to involve local and regional stakeholders to optimize results impact.

Water management is an important issue as it was showed by Mr Wifaya and Pr. Berrada from the Al Akhawain University. In fact, drip irrigation can save more than 45% of irrigation water. On the other hand, agriculture diversification through new cash crop introduction, such as saffron, local product promotion, such as cactus pears fruit processing and thyme marketing improve significantly farm income.

At organizational level women’s cooperative promoted local products and improved income as showed by Dr Bouzoubaa Z. from INRA. Community member’s empowerment, through training, provided more capacity to build partnerships to support implementing and disseminating the options tested.

Mr Akdouh O., NGO president, stressed that the project in Agadir allowed community members to pay special attention to health, water borne diseases, as they are trained and informed about water quality issues.

The participants stressed during a discussion workshop that adaptation should be implemented locally based on scientific results that should easy to access.

The coordination and linkages should be strengthened between research and policy. The integration of climate change perspective and its adaptation in the territorial development planning and implementation are essential. The identification and implementation of funding mechanisms for adaptation at national and local level are also critical issues.

The cherry festival of Sefrou: A UNESCO Heritage.
By Sara El Bekri Morocco World News Sefrou, Morocco, January 11, 2013

The Cherry Festival of Sefrou was recognized as Immaterial Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO on Monday 7, 2013, in Sefrou, 20 miles away from Fez………….
Read more:

A Woman Infected with AIDS threatens to Spread the Virus
By Jamal Saidi Morocco World News Casablanca, January 11, 2013

Fatima is a modest lady whose story has gained popularity in the region of Khenifra, 197 kilometers away from Casablanca, and the villages of Atlas Mountains. In order to escape harsh cold and hunger, she threatened to spread AIDS among dozens of young men.

According to the daily Akhbar Alyawm, Fatima left her home during childhood to work as a maid, only to be raped in the third house where she was hired. Her baby was stolen from her, and she was detained for one year. Ultimately, she resorted to the street where she became a prostitute. In her journey of prostitution, Fatima got infected by Aids, but she continued to engage in sexual contact with men in the hope to cover her daily expenses. She has had sex with 10 people at least per day. Sometimes the figure reached up to 20.

The newspaper cited that dozens of prostitutes live with Aids in the same region, following testimonies given to doctors and activists.

In an article published by British Journal of Psychotherapy in 2007, AIDS revenge is a behavioral manifestation of a grief reaction variably influenced by the individual’s perception of his illness and society’s response to it.

And so the story of Fatima goes.

The Representation of Women in Moroccan Proverbs. (Part I)
By Meryem Fati Morocco World News Rabat, January 10, 2013

1. ‘ Lamra ghir mra; ma hiya la shams wala gamra’/ ‘The woman is only but a woman. She’s neither a sun nor a moon.’

2. ‘ Lamra bla w’lad b7al alkhima bla w’tad’/ ‘childless woman is like a tent without pillars.’

3. ‘ Low kant m’rat lab 7′biba, 7atta allaf3a t’koun t’biba’/ ‘If the step-mother were affectionate, the snake would be a healer’

4. ‘ Lli ma3andou M’mou laqbar ighammou’/ ‘He, who is motherless, he is as if dead’

Day after day, we witness the emergence of new words or expressions in our society and this for specific purposes. These creations start in small communities and then creep wisely to reach the wide society. Each person has a way of expressing himself/ herself. Some prefer to keep silent and some use language. Others opt for another register that is proverbs.

Proverbs as traditional wisdom are never absent from the Moroccan daily speech. As a member of the Moroccan society, a sharer of its values and an active participant in proverbs’ use, I have been surrounded with proverbs everywhere in my daily life. They are prevalent in daily conversations, at home, school, ceremonies and all the other Moroccan social occasions. Moroccan people use them to solve their daily conflicts and support their arguments.

Proverbs are sociolinguistic phenomena. They are used for specific purposes and to discuss particular issues. Therefore, this article will be more concerned with the study of proverbs in relation to women.

Moroccan Arabic ( darija) is characterized by the use of proverbs and idiomatic expressions. Most of Moroccan people tend to use proverbs in their every day language either to give more meaning to what they are saying or simply to transmit hidden messages. Basically, People use proverbs in different domains and try to adapt them to different situations (education, health, marriage, divorce, ceremonies….). Nevertheless, most of these proverbs are used in relation to gender. Men and women are treated differently in proverbs. Since the language of proverbs is a misleading one, we expect that proverbs which deal with women issues to have specific characteristics. Therefore, we can ask the following questions:

The article’s aim is to attempt to find answers to the questions and related concerns so as to draw a picture of the way the language of proverbs represent Moroccan women.

Language is full of sexist expressions. Therefore, it would be of a great interest to decipher sexist instances from a specific area which would be in our case, proverbs. Proverbs are used by many people in different situations. However, it had been argued by many researchers that the language of proverbs is a mere reflection of sexism. Most of the proverbs come in favor of men and illustrate women as inferior species.

An idiom is acknowledged to be a sequence of words functioning as a single unit whose meaning can not be inferred from the meaning of the parts. In the repertoire of any language, idiomatic expressions constitute a special category of lexical items presenting a fixed structure and a specific behaviour in language use. Proverbs, frozen similes, aphorisms, binomials, sayings, etc., are spontaneous manifestations of colloquial language whose use needs to be mastered in much the same way as individual lexical items.

A proverb is a traditional saying which offers advice or presents a moral in a short and pithy manner (Simpson/Speake 1998[1]). In an attempt to categorize proverbs in three main groups, the above-mentioned authors state that proverbs fall readily into three main categories. Those of the first type take the form of abstract statements expressing general truths. Proverbs of the second type, which include many of the more colourful examples, use specific observations from everyday experience to make a point which is general; for instance, You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink and Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The third type of proverbs comprises sayings from particular areas of traditional wisdom and folklore. In this category are found, for example, the health proverbs after dinner rest a while, after supper walk a mile. In addition, there are traditional country proverbs which relate to husbandry, the seasons, and the weather, such as Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning and When the wind is in the east, this is neither good for man nor beast.”

Proverbs are a sociolinguistic archetype that is used rhetorically to encapsulate different kinds of social attitudes into a limited number of stylized utterances. They are used spontaneously in relation to an immediate context. In sociolinguistic terms, proverbs represent a social use of metaphors which generally seen as ambiguous by their very nature, even when not applied to a social situation. Proverbs are mostly used to bring conversations to a halt because they present a concluding observation. The complexity of proverbs’ use can be matched only by the complexity of social, cultural and cognitive structures involved in the act of uttering and understanding proverbs themselves. Proverbs hold the paradoxical quality of using the concrete to express the abstract. Proverbs can be considered as a socializing tool. They often function as an indirect way of making people come together under one unified community.

Some women are oppressed throughout the world. Even in parts of the world where race and gender differences in educational and other social achievements are said to have nearly disappeared, gender equity has not yet been attained. There are complex social, political, and legal bases for the exploitation, denigration and exclusion of women in a society. In a gendered culture the religious, legal, political, educational and material institutions both create and reinforce expectations about how men and women should behave. Expectations about how men and women should behave in their society are the most fundamental distinctions made between people rooted in patriarchy.

Without understanding this complexity, it is difficult to address the real needs of women. Women have been victims of gender ideology. Gender ideology is a systematic set of cultural beliefs through which a society constructs and wields its gender relations and practices. Gender ideology contains legends, narratives and myths about what it means to be a man or a woman and suggests how each should behave in the society. A society’s gender ideology is grounded largely in religious and social principles, which are then used as grounds to justify differences.

All in all, ‘ hatta mash ma h’rab man dar l’arse’/ ‘No cat has ever fled from a house where a wedding party is held’. one may wonder the relation between this proverb and the treated subject. In fact, it simply implies that the writer of this article will not stop here since the second part of this article will provide a detailed analysis of some Moroccan proverbs that deal with women. Stay tuned.

Meryem Fati is currently a doctoral student at the Faculty of Education, Mohammed V- souissi- Rabat, Morocco. She is working on cross- cultural communication. She was a Fulbright scholar and affiliate at Kansas University. She is a language and communication instructor at Mohamed V university- Agdal- Rabat, Morocco. She participated in Moroccan and international conferences and she served as a co- translator of Khadija: the First Muslim and the Wife of the Prophet Muhammad By Resit Haylamaz..

[1]John Simpson, Jennifer Speake, 1982, A Dictionary of Proverbs, Oxford University Press, New York
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

Morocco moves forward with regionalization: Southern Provinces to offer model for sustainable development.
RABAT (Morocco)

Morocco is moving forward in implementing its regionalization plan in the southern provinces through the establishment of a regional economic system conducive to growth, wealth generating and employment creation.

The broad outline of this development plan for the Moroccan southern provinces was disclosed on Wednesday by the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Chakib Benmoussa, in a presentation before the King of Morocco Mohammed VI.

This outline for the Southern provinces development plan is the first phase in the process of elaborating a new economic and social development pilot project for the southern provinces and a first step leading to implementing a project that will stand as a model for realizing the regionalization process nationwide as provided for by the Constitution.

Benmoussa noted that the major challenge of this priority project lies in ensuring the emergence of a system that promotes an economic, social, cultural and environmental development benefiting in the first place the local communities concerned.

The importance of this pilot project also lies in the fact that it will involve in its implementation not only the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (French acronym CESE) but also the local populations of these provinces, through their representative bodies, and the various components of the social fabric.

The CESE had been mandated to sketch out the development plan for the Moroccan southern provinces by King Mohammed VI last November on the occasion of the celebration of the anniversary of the Green March, a 1975 peaceful march that led to the liberation of Western Sahara from Spanish dominion and recovery of the territory by Morocco.

The King had then insisted on the need to consolidate the achievements accomplished and give new momentum to the reform process initiated at various levels, and renewed the country's commitment to implement advanced regionalization, starting with the southern provinces, as this regionalization will give the local populations opportunity to participate in the management of their local affairs and contribute to the promotion of an integrated and sustainable human development. King Mohammed VI had also urged the CESE to develop a rigorous and integrated regional development model that is likely to promote a regional economic system which generates growth, wealth and employment and focuses on youth.

Following the king's speech, the CESE had set up an ad hoc and multidisciplinary committee to draw the new economic and social development plan for the southern provinces, in cooperation with the local populations. The plan is scheduled to be finalized in October 2013.

Morocco's southern provinces, which are witnessing remarkable economic development, can become "one of the most dynamic and most interesting models of development not only in Morocco but in the whole region." The southern provinces are growing and a comprehensive development program can target long-term investments from a wide range of companies that are transforming this area.

Private companies play a central role in the strengthening of many of the traditional and modern sectors. Due to the Spanish occupation that lasted until 1975, the southern provinces did not enjoy the same level of development as the northern regions of the kingdom.

The importance of the decentralization policy, which is an approach adopted at the national level, has particular significance in the southern provinces with regard to their geographical distance from the cities of Rabat and Casablanca.

In 2006, the southern provinces were among the top-ranking Moroccan regions in the Human Development Index of UNDP and in 2007, Laayoune was declared a slum-free city.

The Moroccan government has set ambitious targets to maximize investment in the southern provinces in different sectors. Cultural characteristics of the south represent an economic advantage for its economic future and serve as catalyst for growth in all sectors.

In the months ahead, the Moroccan Environmental, Economic and Social Council will follow through on its commitments and come up with a comprehensive and promising development plan that will give new impetus to the Moroccan southern provinces and turn them into a model of development in the region.

Morocco Literacy Project Reaches Milestone
By Imrane Binoual, 8 January 2013 Casablanca

More than 6 million Moroccans have benefited from literacy programmes over the last decade, according to figures unveiled last month. "Some 735,000 people benefited from literacy programmes from 2011 to 2012. This is a record for the past ten years," Illiteracy Eradication Directorate (DLCA) head El Habib Nadir said at a Marrakech press conference on December 16th.

Morocco won honourable mention at the 2012 UNESCO Confucius Prize for its efforts, especially projects aimed at helping women become more independent through literacy.

These outcomes are also the fruit of support from technical and financial partners, which includes financial aid from the European Union. The EU has been a donor since 2008 while UNESCO has provided technical assistance through its office in Rabat as part of the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE).

Nadir said that the efforts made in this field include the mechanisms created to build the capacities of the parties involved in the programme. This involves training between 10,000 and 14,000 teachers every year. The training is provided on the basis of a prescribed list of literacy trainer skills. In addition, NGOs are being trained in various aspects of literacy project management, such as mobilising beneficiaries and programme design, monitoring and evaluation.

With regard to governance, DLCA is carrying out external monitoring of partner associations, which provide literacy training, especially in rural areas. This branch of the Ministry of National Education evaluated 90% of these NGOs and conducted 3,000 monitoring visits through external research departments, Nadir said.

The agency is also focusing on businesses by persuading the private sector to provide company-based literacy training. This is being done in order to promote literacy as a pathway to integration. Over the past two years, 50,000 people have benefited from these efforts.

Commenting on DLCA's work, PhD candidate Ichrak Tawafi said that the record they reached marks a real achievement in Morocco's campaign against illiteracy. "It reflects the considerable advances made in combating this problem. However, despite the huge progress that has been made, the DLCA is committed to a lengthy process which is far from complete," she said. "It must make further efforts, including multi-dimensional programmes, and it needs to be more creative and even more dynamic to increase the number of beneficiaries," Tawafi said.

She added that the DLCA is helping to achieve individual and above all collective successes, as it represents a desire for change and perhaps even a pathway to independence for many illiterate people who are generating no added value, either for themselves or for society as a whole.

A new role for Morocco in North Africa?
The Daily Star January 11, 2013 By Benjamin P. Nickels

The Arab Spring’s echoes in sub-Saharan Africa are more complex than initially imagined. For example, much has been made of how Libya’s crisis has led to Mali’s crisis, but rather less has been said about how the transitions in North Africa may set the stage for new forms of security cooperation in the Sahel. Such possibilities are quietly taking shape now, even as the world struggles to find a multilateral response to developments in northern Mali. A prime example is the January 2013 meeting of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) in N’djamena, Chad, where Morocco will likely continue its steps to take command of the body. CEN-SAD was set adrift by the Arab Spring, which unmoored the African Peace and Security Architecture and shook the African Union by removing its key supporter, Moammar Gadhafi. The least known of the AU’s eight regional economic communities, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States proffered lofty and increasingly improbable visions of economic union and political and cultural exchange for an ever-growing swath of the continent; it mushroomed from six to 28 members over 13 years through Libyan largesse. By late 2011, however, the organization looked likely to fade along with the death of Libya’s dictator……………………

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

Surfers ride high on Morocco’s winter waves
Friday, 11 January 2013  By AFP   Taghazout

Fleeing the gloom of northern Europe in search of warm winter waves, surfers are flocking to a fishing village on Morocco’s Atlantic coast now selling itself as a top surf destination.

It may be a world away from Australia’s Gold Coast, or Hawaii’s Waimea Bay.
But with enough wind, the ocean breakers at Taghazout swell to four or five meters (13 to 16 feet) and are usually at least 300 meters long, making it the Maghreb country's best surf spot, according to Moroccan pro Boukel Simo…..
Read more:

Hiking and hospitality: Walking in the spectacular scenery of Morocco's Atlas Mountains.
9 Jan 2013

Get your heart pumping by hiking in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains... then sit back and enjoy the best of Berber hospitality.

The best way to feel on top of the world is to go there... and Morocco’s Atlas Mountains certainly make you feel among the gods.

Standing on the balcony of the Kasbah du Toubkal lodge, looking up at a huge sky of twinkling stars, it seems incredible that just a few hours ago I was in London.

The Kasbah seems like another world... something out of another century.

We had arrived after dark, having hired a driver in Marrakech for the four-hour trek to the village of Imlil.

We completed our journey on foot up the mountainside, our bags carried on the back of a donkey.

The minute we pushed open the large wooden door, we realised what a special place the Kasbah is. The famous North African Berber hospitality kicked into action straight away, as we were served mint tea and dates dipped in milk...........

More here:

Muslim Heritage: A Forgotten Contribution to Human Civilization (Part 1)
By Youssef El Kaidi Morocco World News Fez, January 12, 2013

Many people rush into a simplistic definition of civilization understanding it as the overall way of life! Civilization, however, is a complex concept that incorporates history, culture and the processes of human development. It’s, as Braudel defines it “a cultural area; a collection of cultural characteristics and phenomena.”[1]

Wallerstein holds that civilization is “a particular concentration of worldview, customs, structures, and culture (both material culture and high culture) which forms some kind of historical whole and which coexists (if not always simultaneously) with other varieties of this phenomenon.”[2]

Another interesting definition provided by Dawson states that civilization is “a particular original process of cultural creativity which is the work of a particular people.”[3] The erudite 14 th century Arab historiographer and historian Abderrahman Ibn Khaldoun (1332- 1406) defines civilization in the following passage by saying that:

Human social organization is something necessary. The philosophers expressed this fact by saying “Man is political by nature.” That is, he cannot do without the social organization for which the philosophers use the technical term “town” ( polis). This is what civilization means.[4]

Read more:

The Impact of Cultural Attitude on L2 Learning
By Abdelouahed Oulgout Morocco World News Tinjdad, Morocco, January 10, 2013

I want to argue that attitude towards culture affects L2 learning negatively or positively. When you have a negative attitude towards L2 culture and people, you by far lose the motivation to learn it and master its spontaneous and affective features. In contrast, those who are culturally assimilated are likely to acquire not only the foreign language, but also the social, cultural, and communicative conventions of that language. Yet the catastrophic aftermaths of such success on the learner’s cultural identity are hard to avoid………….

The Internet: A blessing or a curse!
By Youssef El Kaidi Morocco World News Fez, January 10, 2013

Evidently speaking, the Internet is one of the greatest inventions of all time. Thanks to the Internet the world has become a small village – an electronic village- that is interconnected and interlinked in a very complex way. The traditional space and time boundaries that used to confine people and limit their horizons have dissipated giving way to an open world where there is a massive uncontrolled flux of ideas, images, news, capital, and cultures. Today I can talk to a friend in Finland, conduct a live video-chat with my cousin in Canada and send documents to any place on the globe and they get delivered on the spot!...............

read more here:

Marrakech: Mopeds In the Alleys
DEREK WORKMAN   01/08/13 Mmarrakech / Morocco Board News

As much as I love the Marrakech Old City "Medina", walking around it has been getting worse these last few years. It’s not so much the crowds, that’s part and parcel of a busy shopping area, and the occasional donkey traffic-jam is just everyday life in action – it’s the only way you can get heavy things through the narrow streets, just as the hand-carts serve a very important role in keeping the shops and riads stocked up.

The main problem now is the amount of moped and motor scooters that race far too quickly through what has, for over a thousand years been no more than a pedestrian area – long before we even thought of pedestrianization.

The traders at the Derb Dabachi, one of the main entrances to the souk, have got fed up of the noise, pollution, danger and stress of the mopeds and scooters that cause havoc in the area and have hung signs forbidding anyone to enter riding a bike or moped – and it’s working! The signs invite riders to become pedestrians and walk alongside their transport until they leave the area. Let’s hope other traders take the idea up and the Medina can once again become a ‘motor-free zone’.

When I read about this, it brought to mind an article I’d written on the same theme last year.

The Fulbright FLTAs in USA: Unity in Diversity.
By Youssef El Kaissy Morocco World News Chicago, January 12, 2012

The Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship (FLTA) is one of the greatest programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the International institute of Education IIE. Each year fulbrighters from all over the world come to the U.S. to teach their native languages and serve as cultural ambassadors of their countries. One of the best values of this program is that it brings people from different parts of the globe, with different cultures, ethnic and religious backgrounds and unites them in summer orientations, mid-year conferences, Facebook groups, along with other networks beyond the program.

Before arriving to the U.S. institutions in August to being the academic year, the selected FLTAs undergo pre-departure orientations at U.S. Embassies or Commissions in their home countries, where they get to know their home country fellows participating in the program. Here the first step of cultural and social ties starts nationally. In mid-July, the fulbrighters who are going to teach the same language in the U.S. Universities have the chance to meet in another regional orientation.

For Instance, we, as Arab FLTAs had a great orientation week in Istanbul Turkey. There, we met other colleagues from other Arab countries participating in the FLTA 9-month program. As in each orientation and meeting, there is always an opportunity for cultural dialogue and mutual exchange. We got to know each other and form a network that will make our mission of teaching and studying in America an easy and rewarding one for the coming academic year.

One month later, FLTAs from all over the world, meet at another summer orientation in the U.S. prior to arriving at their host institutions. This orientation mainly focuses on learning tips about the education system, policies, cultural traits and other essential elements that the Fulbright visiting scholars should know in advance. Moreover, fulbrighters at the summer orientation form an international camaraderie. They meet people from different cultures, practice new languages, share teaching practices in teaching different languages and more importantly create a social network for personal interaction and professional collaboration during the future experience.

For further enrichment and cultural exchange of the program, the Fulbright mid-year conference is held at the end of the first semester in Washington D.C. for 4 days. This is one of the greatest events of the experience. The FLTAs gather with their program officers, U.S. department of State representatives and other program Alumni. As a matter of fact, the Fulbright scholars share their first semester experiences in different states and Universities through presentations, workshops and informal chats. Cultural events during the conference include poster sessions, talent show and picture slide shows. Fulbrighters serve as cultural ambassadors of their home countries which is the main mission of the FLTA scholarship.

I would like to conclude this article by stating that the Fulbright FLTA program is one of the golden opportunities for young language teachers all over the world. Coming to USA through the FLTA experience changed my life personally and professionally. I got to know people from all backgrounds, share my culture and represent my country with much enthusiasm, learn from great language teaching professionals, teach and study in American universities and morst importantly form a good social network with people that will endure for a lifetime. ##########################################################

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.

Return to Friends of Morocco Home Page

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links