The mineret that takes you home

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links

Morocco Week in Review 
June 2, 2018

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

A special piece of America in Tangier, Morocco

May 25

Kudos to Sudarsan Raghavan for his May 13 The World article, “In a tight alley, Tangier’s last link to the Beat Generation feels broken,” in which he tracked down Moroccan writer and artist Mohammed Mrabet, who had known Paul Bowles and other expatriate American literary figures who lived in colorful Tangier in the 1950s and ’60s. My only regret was the article’s brief and vague reference to “a museum on the Rue d’Amerique.” I wish the reporter had told readers more about that unique place, which dates back to about 1821 and is now called the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies. It is not just a public museum but also a lively cultural center and a research facility. And it has a whole wing dedicated to Bowles, the remarkable writer, translator and composer who lived more than …

Love, violence and daily survival: inside Morocco's LGBTIQ community

5/27/2018 (MENAFN - The Conversation)

Omar is a 21-year-old gay Moroccan. He spends his life looking over his shoulder, trying not to draw attention to himself. I interviewed Omar while researching my book, Gender and Violence in the Middle East , and he told me:
Personally, I try to be discreet, avoid getting too much attention when I'm in certain places or with people who could react badly.
Omar's fears are rooted in the fact that homosexuality is a criminal offence in Morocco, as it is in many other African countries. The law combines with a strongly conservative society to create a real sense of danger for members of Morocco's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities.
And, as I point out in my book, the weight of Islam – Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country – adds another dimension, accentuating gay people's feelings of denial, self-loathing and guilt…..

Minister of Education Presents National Education Overhaul

By Morocco World News - May 22, 2018 Rabat

Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi has unveiled his ambitious new national education plan to address infrastructure, pedagogy, and violence in schools. The minister presented his plan, which projects through the 2021-2022 school year, to the Committee on Education, Culture, and Communication in the second chamber of Parliament on May 16. The new education plan largely continues and builds upon the former education minister’s program, which targeted the expansion of school facilities and infrastructure and the early integration of an increasingly Francophone pedagogical approach…………….

Morocco’s Special Needs Students to Benefit from Adapted Baccalaureate Exams

By Ahlam Ben Saga - May 27, 2018 Rabat

The Ministry of Education, Vocational Training, and Higher Education have announced that this year’s baccalaureate final exams will be arranged accordingly for students with hearing problems as well as those with mental conditions such as autism…

15 Types of People During Ramadan

By Zoubida Senoussi May 23, 2018 Rabat

Ramadan … what a wonderful period of the year! If the holy month means fasting from sunrise until sunset, getting close to God, self cleansing and reflection time, it also means being around (or meeting) people who have special habits, and a unique way of dealing with Ramadan. From those who get angry or sleep all day to those who count the minutes, here are 15 types of people you have probably met (or will meet) during the holy month.

The sleeping beauties: Sleeping is their religion. Fasting from sunrise until sunset means sleeping from sunrise until sunset for some people. They do not even care what time it is as long as they wake up before the maghreb adan (at sunset)………………

Too Many Languages? Multilingualism Leads to Conflict in Morocco

By Morocco World News May 24, 2018  By Ousama Bziker Kenitra

Many believe that the language situation in Morocco is more of a conflict than an advantage. Most language conflicts stem from the unbalanced status allocated to each language in a single country.
Language conflicts take place, most of the time, in multilingual countries such as Morocco. Its strategic location at the gateway between Africa, Europe, and the Middle East has caused Morocco to be influenced by multiple waves such as the Arabs, Spaniards, Portuguese, and French. Morocco has a variety of languages spoken within the country. The first group includes Moroccan Arabic and Tamazight (Berber), which are held in low esteem by society. The second group includes French and Standard Arabic, which are the languages of administration and are held in high esteem by Moroccans. This interaction between languages creates a realm for competition, which results in a class struggle, as Grandguillaume puts it (Saib, 2001: 5).

Six Things Students of Arabic Should Know before Starting Their Language Journey

By Morocco World News September 26, 2016 Rabat

As any other language in the world, Arabic also has its own characteristics and features that set it apart from other languages. Sometimes, new students of Arabic find it difficult to distinguish between these features, especially when it comes to spelling and dictation. The following features are what every new learner of Arabic should know before she or he starts his journey of language learning.
Read it here:

What My Sons, and I, Gained from Returning to the Country Where They Were Born

May 24, 2018 | The Washington Post by Jackie Spinner RABAT, Morocco

My younger son was asleep when I pulled the rental car into a gas station just outside of the capital. After the attendant filled the tank, he opened the back door of the car and reached in to adjust my son’s head gently in his car seat before ruffling his brother’s hair. Without a word, he closed the door and turned his attention to the car behind me. It was a moment that would occur again and again during the three months I lived in Morocco last year with my sons, ages 5 and 3 at the time. Strangers embraced my Moroccan-born children, claiming them as their own. I had adopted the boys from an orphanage in Meknes, in the central part of the country, when they were infants. This was their first trip back to the place they were born, and although they are loved in America, although they are now dual citizens traveling on American passports and although they are fully mine, in so many ways, they also belong to Morocco.

Book Review: The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity’s Moral Predicament

By Paola Garcia  May 25, 2018 New York

Professor Wael Hallaq’s The Impossible State is one of the most important, groundbreaking and erudite books on the subject of “modernity and Islam.” It should be read, indeed studied carefully, by every person who is even slightly concerned with the calamitous situation that our global community and planet are undergoing and have been suffering from for centuries. The fact that this disease called modernity is getting exponentially more lethal with the passage of time is hardly a controversial statement. We can readily observe evidence for this claim in the symptoms this illness continues to exhibit, such as the massacre of the Palestinian people, a genocide which large segments of the “human” population, patently devoid of our last shreds of humanity, witness in silence (another symptom). As I have written before here and elsewhere, we are all accountable for this genocide. Cowardice and silence are not an option.  Although The Impossible State does not specifically address the tragic situation of the Palestinians, it does elucidate its cause, which is also the source of the discontent, emptiness and fragmentation most modern subjects experience on a daily basis. Professor Hallaq takes a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose the problems of modernity and, grounded in his unparalleled knowledge of Islamic history in general and the Sharia in particular, produces a unique critique of modernity from outside modernity. ……………….

Morocco Takes the Lead in Fighting Terrorism in North Africa

By Tamba François Koundouno- May 29, 2018 Rabat

On April 24, King Mohammed VI inaugurated the Institute for Specialized Training, an institution expected to strengthen the kingdom’s intelligence and counter-terrorism related operations. The new institute, which will operate under the DGSNDGST security umbrella, has been described as the fruition of the king’s vision for a modernized, citizen-oriented, and responsive security apparatus.
Reporting on the inauguration of the new institute and its significance for Morocco’s bid to remain the regional moderator in terms of peacekeeping, MAP remarked that the institute seeks to equip recruits with the skills to thwart the growing threats to the country’s security and territorial integrity………………

Morocco Determined to Extend Health Coverage by 2020 with WHO Support

By Morocco World News -  May 28, 2018  By Karen Duarte Rabat

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), tweeted last week assuring Morocco that WHO will support Morocco’s ambitious health coverage goal. On April 7, 2018, Morocco’s new Minister of Health Anas Doukkali restated his department’s plan to execute a health insurance system that will cover approximately 90 percent of the Moroccan population by 2021. ……………………

Moroccan Female Rap: Resisting Resistance

By Zineb Rabouj - May 27, 2018 Rabat

The Moroccan musical scene has, by definition, changed throughout the last decades of the twentieth century up to today. Compared to the 1970s, Moroccans have neither the same political awareness, nor the same mode of thinking. I am not criticizing this fact, but rather, saying that the musical scene has definitely moved from the top down. Nass El-Ghiwane, El-Malhoune, El-Ayta, Taktouta El-Jabaliya, and all the other purely Moroccan traditional songs disappeared with the fading of an audience who was able to understand and relate to the content of these songs. While Nass El-Ghiwane and El-Ayta used to tackle purely political issues, El-Malhoune addressed the daily life of women inside harems and love stories that took place in riad gardens and on rooftops……………

Unearthing the natural beauty secrets of Morocco: argan oil to black soap, and every fragrant formula in between.

For centuries, Moroccan women have been turning to natural, home grown ingredients in order to achieve their radiant complexions and glossy strands.
Cultural cleansing: The hammam is a traditional bathing and cleansing ritual that is said to increase circulation, release toxins, and purify the skin. For most Moroccans, the hammam is more than a day at the spa; it’s a vital part of their lifestyle. Though the exact experience may vary from place to place, the hammam is usually divided into three steps.

In Moroccan desert, meteorite hunters seek to strike it rich

By Afp Published: 25 May 2018

They roam Morocco's southern desert, braving the searing heat to scour the undulating sands for bounty fallen from the sky. These celestial treasure hunters are searching for meteorites to sell on a burgeoning international market. Equipped with a "very strong" magnet and magnifying glass, retired physical education teacher Mohamed Bouzgarine says that discoveries "can be more valuable than gold". The price "depends on the rock's rarity, its shape and its condition", the 59-year old adds, sporting a dark blue tracksuit, lighter blue scarf and sunglasses. "Rocks coming from Mars are very expensive, sometimes as much as 10,000 dirhams (around $1,000, 900 euros) per gram," he says. Bouzgarine stops in front of a hollow, hoping it could be a crater formed "very long ago" by extraterrestrial matter.

How Sustainable is Morocco’s Cities Without Slums Program?

By Morocco World News May 25, 2018  By Dana Leger Rabat

The Cities Without Slums initiative intends to eradicate slums from 85 cities across Morocco in an effort to end unsanitary housing, social exclusion, and to lessen the chance of homegrown violent extremism in Morocco. Far behind schedule, if and when it reaches completion, will it be enough?

Background, intentions, and progress

King Mohammed VI established the Cities Without Slums program in 2004 in the wake of the 2003 Casablanca terrorist attacks, when 12 suicide bombers from the shantytown of Sidi Moumen, a poor suburb of Casablanca, killed 45 people and injured hundreds more.

Sahara Moroccan Casbah – a taste of exotic Morocco

Gordon Knight  May 25, 2018

STURT St’s Sahara Moroccan Casbah tea house looks tiny at first glance. The front room seats maybe a dozen people. But that’s just the prelude to a place that has grown and grown over the past 20 years. It’s now a Moroccan tea shop and diner, Moroccan goods emporium and, most importantly, a place where owner Ali Arhbal can escape the stresses of daily life. To de-stress, Arhbal has found a most unexpected form of therapy – tiling his cafe with traditional Moroccan tiles. “I’m very happy with the beauty of this place,” he says. “It feels good here.” Arhbal’s shop didn’t begin as a tea house. It opened 20 years ago as a Moroccan shoes and homewares store. When WOMADelaide started and Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival also gathered pace, Arhbal headed to both – bringing his goods, as well as Moroccan food and drums………

Leïla Slimani and me, on the Beauty of Simplicity in Literature

By Tamba François Koundouno  May 28, 2018 Rabat

Sometimes, perhaps, the most compelling stories are those suggested, murmured, mimicked, like the sound of a toddler in early stages of speech: stories that are revealed through an artfully calculated prose. This brings to mind the mantra with which aspiring writers are being tortured: “Show, don’t tell; less is more.” The suggestion, I think I now know, is this: at times, simplicity is more evocative, more sophisticated, and, ultimately, more vibrant than pompous language. I still have qualms about such a posture. I’ve never been truly convinced by this minimalist gospel. To me, a fervent lover of flowery and sinuous prose, literary minimalism sounds like somebody telling me that the best way to speak is to actually ‘not speak’; it feels, as Paul West put it, like “a lion afraid of meat.” The Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma makes the case more brilliantly than I in his magnificent essay in defense of “audacious prose.” …

Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech Wins 2018 ‘AFEX’ for its Architecture

By Zoubida Senoussi -May 26, 2018 Rabat

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech won the AFEX (French Export Architects) award on Thursday, May 24 during a ceremony in Venice, Italy. This award recognizes the best achievements of French agencies in foreign lands. This year, it was granted to the Marrakchi museum, which opened in October 2017 and was designed by Karl Fournier and Oliver Marty, architects from Studio KO.
The building was selected to receive the award over nine other finalists and has historical significance for Morocco. During their first stay in Marrakech, the late designer and Pierre Bergé, a co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, fell in love with Majorelle Garden, which they bought in 1980….

The Last Nomads of Morocco

30 May 2018

Morocco's nomadic tribes are gradually giving up their traditional way of life to offer their children formal education. Many of Morocco's nomadic communities living across the Atlas Mountains, like the Ait Atta tribe, are gradually changing their way of life from roaming herders to part settlers - or what sociologists call "a sedentary lifestyle". But such fundamental change comes challenges, as well as opportunities. Traditionally, nomads do not receive a formal education. However in the past decade, there have been moves to introduce what they call "tent schools" to try and equip their children for the modern world. But for them to attend school, their families have to remain in one place all year. It might also mean that the children ultimately leave their parents' traditional nomadic way of life. "They told us they'd provide education for our children if we settled in a particular place," says nomad Daoud Ariba. Helping with that adjustment are social activists like Ali El Amine. It was his idea to bring the tent schools to the region, with help from international agencies and the Moroccan government……..

Marocopedia Unveils Morocco’s 300,000-Year History

By Morocco World News -  May 30, 2018 Rabat

“Some goals can take 300,000 years to achieve…” In its 2026 World Cup bid video, “A brief history of Morocco,” Marocopedia traverses time and space to reveal the key aspects of Morocco’s ancient past and dynamic present, which collectively, make it the ideal 2026 World Cup host country. As one of the final 30 projects of the #Imagine2026 initiative, the Marocopedia team illustrates Morocco’s ties to antiquity and the present in five “chapters”: prehistory and the earliest humans, the Phoenician and Roman period, the Medieval era, the Colonial period, and modern-day Morocco.

Anger boils in Morocco boycott

May. 31, 2018

An online boycott campaign protesting rising food prices in Morocco has prompted the local unit of French dairy giant Danone to cut raw milk purchases and plan layoffs, underscoring the political and economic cost of simmering unrest in the North African monarchy. The campaign, which began last month on Facebook, initially singled out Centrale Danone, mineral water company Oulmes and the country’s leading fuel distributor, Afriquia SMDC. It later expanded to include the country’s fish markets, as anger simmered over the uptick in consumer prices that hit 2.7 percent in April, its highest level since 2013.

Boycott Met With ‘Intense Suppression’: Transparency Maroc

By Safaa Kasraoui May 25, 2018 Rabat

NGO Transparency Maroc has heavily criticized the government’s stance against the ongoing boycott against increases in prices. The organization said that the boycott faced “intense suppression.”
The NGO claims that the boycott was met with harsh remonstrations, like the Hirak Rif protests in the Al Hoceima province, ‘Hirak Al Atach’ (thirst protest) in Zagora, and Jerada’s protests against illegal mining. In a statement published on May 22, Transparency Maroc described the online campaign as an “extension”  of the social movements of the Hirak Rif, Zagora, and Jerada that denounced social disparities across the country


Will a tunnel from Spain to Africa ever be built – and who would use it?

Chris Leadbeater, Travel writer 31 May 2018

It is one of those concepts that has always seemed theoretically possible, so short is the distance between A and B - and yet, equally, like a flight of fantasy from a Jules Verne novel, unrealistic beyond the realms of imagination. It floats between the two extremes - wholly conceivable on the drawing board, and yet, also, the engineering equivalent of a dragon or a unicorn in the simple facts of nuts and bolts. So near, but also, so far.

What is this referring to? To the cluster of cranes on the horizon that has long been mooted, but never attempted - a tunnel that runs underneath the Strait of Gibraltar. As Verne himself put it in his sub-aqua spectacular Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, "it was obvious that the matter had to be settled, and evasions were distasteful to me. So it has proved this week, with fresh murmurings as to how, why and when such a blast from the future could be created. Remarks, initially reported in the Andalusian newspaper Diaro de Cadiz - attributed to the Spanish planning group SECEGSA, and its president Rafael García-Monge Fernández - have suggested that not only is the idea of a "land" link between Spain and Morocco feasible, it is a proposal where wheels are beginning to turn. To the point that the number of drills needed to carve out the thing, and the cost of making them, has already been assessed…

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.    ………………

Tart London: How to make almond butter and argan oil ice cream

Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison bring home Moroccan-inspired almond butter and argan oil ice cream. On our travels in Morocco sourcing bits and bobs for our restaurant, we were lucky enough to be hosted at the Royal Mansour hotel. Incredibly opulent with a maze of pretty, narrow little paths and tranquil courtyards, the Mansour is set within the walls of Marrakech’s old city, a place with a dreamlike quality that suggests you might have travelled a few centuries back in time.  …………….

Mule women : The European Commission puts the blame on Morocco and Spain

The European Commission believes that Morocco and Spain should shoulder their responsibilities regarding «mule women» entering Ceuta and Melilla on a daily basis.
...More :

Why Oualidia, Morocco Should Be on Your Honeymoon Radar This Year

By Dan Koday May 29, 2018

Moroccan charm + the beach = what could be better? When you think of the North African country of Morocco, booming cities like Marrakesh and Fes probably come to mind—along with sights and smells of souks overflowing with treasures—but there’s one often overlooked coastal village that’s ideal for a romantic getaway for two, and that’s Oualidia.
This lagoon-shaped habitat is nestled in between El Jadida and Safi and offers plenty of charm and beauty for newlyweds seeking a unique escape, given its protected natural habitat and Mediterranean weather. It’s also commonly referred to as Morocco’s “oyster capital,” so you can expect to feast on shellfish 24/7 while visiting……….

Morocco’s D.I.Y. Dance Crews

Break dancing has been a crucial outlet for young people throughout the country, where government funding for the arts is limited.

Photographs by Yassine Alaoui Ismaili   / Text by Aida Alami   /  Produced by Eve Lyons MARRAKESH, Morocco

Under the yellow domed ceiling of the Theater Royal of Marrakesh, a small crowd cheered and watched in awe as champion break dancers from around the world battled, with head slides, freezes and kicks, in a competition streamed globally online. “Make some noise!” the host of the event screamed into a microphone. “Show enthusiasm. People don’t know anything about Morocco.”
The spectators grew louder. They were especially excited about the performance of Fouad Ambelj, a 24-year-old Moroccan prodigy who dances as Lil Zoo and who has become a worldwide sensation…………

My Moroccan Adventure: Stereotypes and Travel Stories from Spanish-Filipino Tourist

By Morocco World News May 26, 2018 By Abdul Hafiz Ali Sutacio Rabat

My name is Hafiz. I am a travel journalist and blogger from Malaga, Spain, but originally from the Philippines. Some facts about me: I was born with Filipino parents and my mother’s side is Hispanic. I spoke Spanish, Chavacano, and Filipino while growing up.The Philippines was a Spanish colony for 300 years and was a province of Mexico. Most of our last names are Spanish—De la Cruz, Santiago, Francisco, urghhh, you name it.

Social protest in Morocco: Does Mohammed VI have a plan?

#InsideMorocco Reda Zaireg Tuesday 29 May 2018

Confronted with a growing social protest movement for several months, King Mohammed VI has a card to play to ease tensions: the release of the Hirak detainees. For several weeks now, a growing boycott movement has been rallying Moroccans against the companies who are charging high prices for some of their products: Centrale laitiere (dairy products), Sidi Ali (mineral water), owned by Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun, former president of the Moroccan employers' association, as well as Afriquia (fuel stations), which belongs to Aziz Akhannouch, a Moroccan billionaire close to the king, who is also president of the Rassemblement national des indépendants (RNI), a political party that controls key government departments.

State vs society

The campaign organisers say the boycott was justified by the high selling prices of milk, mineral water and fuel. Soon the campaign turned into a social movement against the rising costs of living. Online protesters have taken to Twitter and Facebook, creating pages to raise awareness of the "exorbitant" prices of the three companies. The Moroccan government, as part of a lukewarm response, first downplayed the impact of the boycott, then vilified the movement, before eventually resigning itself to taking it seriously, which helped increase the boycott's impact and transform it into a duel of society against the state. The narrative embraced by boycott organisers also helped define its goals: lower product prices, improve living standards, and denounce inequality and the growing social divide………….

Moroccan Journalist Souad Mekhennet Wins 2018 Ludwig Börne Prize

By Morocco World News  May 28, 2018 Rabat

Journalist Souad Mekhennet, a German national of Moroccan origin, has received the 2018 Ludwig Börne Prize, one of the most esteemed literary prizes in German-speaking countries. The Washington Post national security reporter becomes the first Arab and Muslim to win the award since its launch 25 years ago………….

Morocco’s First Pet-therapy Coming to Rabat Children Hospital

By Ahlam Ben Saga May 24, 2018 Rabat

Cats, dogs, rabbits and other furry animals can soon accompany patients on their journey toward recovery, beginning June 28 in Souissi Children’s Hospital, Rabat. Perhaps one of the most-anticipated and needed additions to Morocco’s health system is animal-assisted therapy, due to the many benefits it gives to the patient’s emotional and psychological well-being. The first of its kind in the country will be dedicated to children battling illness in Rabat’s Children Hospital, thanks to an initiative by the Friends of the Children’s Hospital in Rabat Association (AAHER) and the High Institute of Audiovisual Works and Cinemas…………..

In Marrakech, Van Cleef & Arpels Celebrate 50 Years of Its Iconic Alhambra Design

May 25, 2018 by Hamish Bowles

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