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Morocco Week in Review 
August 2, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Modernizing Morocco’s Cafe Culture: The Changing Face of a Social Space

The cafe has been a common part of Moroccans’ everyday socialization for a long time, but the relationship young people, especially young women, have with cafes is not the same as their parents.

Sonya is a junior at the University of Wisconsin - Madison studying Journalism and Middle Eastern Studies and hopes her work at MWN will be an opportunity to learn about the region first-hand. Jul 27, 2019 Rabat

A man wakes up and has a leisurely breakfast – he’s retired and does not need to rush out the door for work. Eventually, he says goodbye to his wife and children, leaves his home, and strolls down the street. He weaves through the rows of tables and chairs, facing the street not each other, that cover the sidewalks out of each cafe he passes until he arrives at his usual place. He greets the waiter and the other regulars, sits down and orders a cafe noir.  After a few hours, he might stop home for lunch, only to return to the cafe in the afternoon. “I understood it’s basically part of every man’s routine – the man of the house routine,” Anas, a 23-year-old PhD student, said of his impression of cafes growing up. “You would notice when you go to these kinds of [traditional] cafes that they only have those kinds of archetypes.”

Landslide in Morocco’s El Haouz Region Kills 24

Authorities have so far recovered the bodies of 18 of the victims, including women and children.

Jul 25, 2019 Rabat

 On the night of Wednesday July 24, in the region of El Haouz (a province in the region of Marrakesh-Safi), a vehicle transporting several people flipped on national road n° 7. A section of a mountain located between the municipalities of Ijoukak and Asni collapsed on top of  the vehicle which was traveling to Taliouine (212 kilometers south of Marrakech). According to local sources, the passengers were from Casablanca and were heading to Taliouine to celebrate Eid El Adha with their families.

In a press release, the Ministry of the Interior reported that the landslide was due to heavy rainfall in the area a few days before the accident.
More than 6 hours after the accident, the emergency services are still active. Rescue teams are still on-site trying to extract victims’ bodies and find possible survivors. Ali Tani, a councilor in the rural commune of Tizi N’Test (135 kilometers south-west of Marrakech), explains that Civil Protection officers have so far uncovered 18 bodies. The authorities have opened an investigation into the incident under the supervision of the Prosecutor’s Office. The 18 bodies were taken to the morgue of Marrakech hospital……

US Authorizes Import of Fresh Raspberries From Morocco

On July 16, Moroccan and US business officials and experts met to discuss means to further develop trade relations between Morocco and the US with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Jul 26, 2019 Rabat

The US Administration shared a memo to inform its citizens of the government’s decision to authorize the import of fresh raspberries from Morocco.
In a statement, the US government said that based on “the findings of a pest risk analysis, which we made available to the public for review and comment, we have determined that the application for one or more designated phytosanitary measures will be sufficient to mitigate the risks of introduction of disseminating plant pests or noxious weeds via the importation of raspberries from Morocco.” Prior to the authorization, the US government also published a justification statement to support the importation of raspberry fruit. The supporting statement said that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed to amend the regulations concerning the importation of fruits and vegetables to allow the importation of fresh raspberry fruit from Morocco into the continental United States.”…………….
More here:

Morocco Stories: Part 2


Traveling in Morocco as a woman was definitely interesting; it was probably for the best that I was in a group and not by myself, given that I was obviously an outsider.

In Part 1 of this post series, I explained why I was in Morocco in the first place (yay professional development) and talked a bit about the religion. This post is dedicated to my observations about gender, and the next post to power and politics.

When I teach (American) students about feminism and gender in the Middle East, we always have to talk about the veil or hijab. I usually show this excellent TED talk by Samina Ali about the meaning of the word hijab in the context of the Quran, and I assign an essay by anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod called “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?” (there’s a snippet of her talking about the main premise of her essay here). I try to guide my students into a framework that balances cultural relativism – evaluating a culture on its own terms – and a basic human rights moral stance.
So, upon traveling to Morocco I was aware that I bring with me a very Western feminist lens. The evolution of feminism here has been framed in a very different way than in other parts of the world, with a focus on voting and property and education rights in the first wave of feminism, up through a focus on reproductive rights and justice in the second and third waves, as well as a dedication to ending sexual harassment and violence, closing the gender pay gap, and all that good stuff (not to mention becoming more intersectional in how we pay attention to who’s made most vulnerable by overlapping power structures such as white supremacy, ableism, and so on)…………
Continuous here:

Morocco Stories: Part 3


Morocco has a very intense colonial history, and its specter lingers in both obvious and subtle ways, such as at border crossings. I also learned more about the struggle for indigenous rights, which had not previously been on my radar.

What happens when you send a bunch of professors to Morocco and Spain? We pay attention to the minutiae of daily life as well as the larger workings of power. We asked questions about politics and the government, the dominant languages, the educational system, and more. And we got some hands-on experiences with borders that were…interesting.

The Encyclopedia Britannica has a good brief history of Morocco here, but in short, it had an indigenous population called the Berbers (they self-identify as the Amazigh) prior to the Arab invasion of the 7th century. Various dynasties fought and ruled and expanded, with some of them taking over Spain and then being kicked out during the Reconquista. France imposed colonial rule in 1912, which ended in 1956, and Morocco is currently the only constitutional monarchy in North Africa.

Before this trip, I was woefully ignorant about the Berber/Amazigh indigenous rights movement. I’ve since found some useful sources with which to educate myself, such as this Algeria-specific page on the World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples site, this (also-Algeria-focused) story on the indigenous-rights website Intercontintental Cry, this English-language background page on an otherwise mostly French and Arabic site called Amazigh World, and this Washington Institute post on the Amazigh Cultural Renaissance…………
Continuous here:

Jewish Community of Fez, Oujda and Sefrou Celebrate Throne Day

In light of Morocco’s efforts to reinforce religious tolerance, the Jewish community of Fez, Oujda, and Sefrou celebrated Throne Day, expressing commitment to support Morocco’s national causes.

Kawtar Ennaji is a journalist and translator at Morocco World News, MA holder from King Fahd School of Translation. Jul 26, 2019 Rabat

The Jewish community of Fez, Oujda and Sefrou organized, on July 25 at the Maimonide Center in Fez, a ceremony to celebrate Throne day.  During the ceremony, the president of the Jewish community, Armand Guigui, expressed his warmest congratulations to the King. Guigui also reiterated the unwavering commitment of the Jewish community to the Alaouite Throne and its constant mobilization in support of the King’s rule. He further expressed the Jewish community’s commitment to defend Morocco’s national causes, particularly those relating to territorial integrity.
On July 25, The UN adopted Morocco’s resolution on counter-terrorism and interfaith dialogue. ……………….
Continous here :

Post-Passover Feast: How Moroccan Jews Celebrate ‘Mimouna’

Menorahs and matzo greeted guests as they entered the Moroccan Jewish Museum in Casablanca, the only museum solely devoted to Judaism in the Arab world, to celebrate the end of Passover.

Anton interned with Morocco World News as a news correspondent and staff photographer from March to May 2019. May 4, 2019 Casablanca

A Jewish Moroccan opera singer weaved in between songs in three different languages as dozens of guests walked past ancient menorahs and freshly baked matzo. For more than two decades, the Moroccan Jewish Museum in Casablanca has been hosting a post-Passover mimouna celebration. This year’s event fell on Sunday, April 28. “The mimouna celebration brings together the Moroccan Jewish community, but is also a bridge between Moroccan Muslims and Moroccan Jews,” Zhor Rehihil, the museum’s current and founding curator, told Morocco World News. “It’s a reminder that before everything else we are Moroccans.”…………
Read more here:

US Report: Morocco Emerges as Hub for Foreign Investment

The report shows that the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has encouraged business activities between the two countries since the deal came into effect in 2006.

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Jul 26, 2019 Rabat

The US Department of State has issued its 2019 Investment Climate Statements, which generally showcased a positive stance on Morocco’s business. In its overview, the report extolled Morocco’s geographic location and its strategy for attracting international investors.
The executive summary of the report reads that Morocco “enjoys  political stability, robust infrastructure, and a strategic location, which have contributed to its emergence as a regional manufacturing and export base for international companies.”…………….
More here:

Jihad Bnimoussa: Providing Emotional Education to Morocco’s Youth.

Jihad Bnimoussa’s “Inspiration Corporation” Brings Mental Health Support to Morocco’s Young People.

Sonya is a junior at the University of Wisconsin - Madison studying Journalism and Middle Eastern Studies and hopes her work at MWN will be an opportunity to learn about the region first-hand. Jul 21, 2019 Rabat

 Jihad Bnimoussa, CEO of InspireCorp, a non-profit organization which aims to build psychological resilience and social and emotional skills amongst Morocco’s young people, welcomed me into her office, and apologized if she seemed tired.  Between recent travels – like participating in a UN ECOSOC Youth Forum in NYC and a Stanford Amends Fellowship in Tunis – along with keeping up with the daily grind of a new company, she was feeling a bit worn down. If she hadn’t mentioned her exhaustion, I wouldn’t have noticed as she didn’t show it in the slightest.  She spoke enthusiastically about her work at InspireCorp and the current mental health services in the MENA region.  At just 25 years old, she conducted herself in a way that made her seem much older, and while someone with as much knowledge as she has could perhaps be condescending, Bnimoussa was the opposite.

Interview with Amos Kipeen:

"Tell Us About Conservation Today in the Maasai Mara"

by Mohcine El-alji
Mohcine El-alji talks with Amos Kipeen about community-led wildlife conservation in the Maasai Mara and how Amos became inspired to choose this path in life. Mohcine is a member of the OliveSeed team in Morocco, a university student, and an environmental advocate. Amos is a lifelong naturalist and community activist in Talek, Kenya; program manager for Basecamp Foundation Kenya; and board member of both Friends of Maasai Mara and OliveSeed Foundation.

Morocco's king urges cabinet reshuffle, wants govt plan to tackle social inequalities.


King Mohammed VI of Morocco on Tuesday announced the launch later this year of a committee charged with elaborating a new development model to tackle social inequalities, while also urging a government reshuffle. The committee will serve as an advisory body to make suggestions to improve reforms in fields such as education, health, agriculture, investment and taxation, said the monarch in a speech marking twenty years of his rule
More here:

For Two Decades, Morocco Has Been an Important Ally of the US

By Ahmed CharaiTuesday, 30 July 2019

In 1999, King Mohammed VI took the throne after his father's death, and pledged to renew the monarchy on the basis of steady political and social reforms toward inclusive governance, egalitarianism and the rule of law. He initiated an equity and reconciliation commission to both acknowledge the prior suffering of elements of the Moroccan population at the hands of the security services and begin to compensate the families for their losses.
This dramatic measure — still the only initiative of its kind in the Arab world — won acknowledgment from Amnesty International and other rights groups as an important step forward. The king has worked through the country's Islamic institutions and civil society to improve the human, civil, and political rights of women. And even as the Moroccan security sector took hardnosed measures against jihadists in the kingdom, the monarchy has also taken pains to address what it sees as the roots of radicalism — including poverty, marginalization, and ideological indoctrination — through anti-corruption measures, economic development and Islamic education reform……………
Read Newsmax: For Two Decades, Morocco Has Been an Important Ally of the US |

Donald Trump: US and Morocco Still Have a Lot to Accomplish Together

US President Donald Trump wants to strengthen cooperation with Morocco in the fight against extremism and to promote tolerance and religious understanding.

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News.  Jul 29, 2019 Rabat

On the eve of the Throne Day, King Mohammed VI received congratulatory messages from several leaders, including US President Donald Trump.
In his cable, the US President said that he is confident that the US and Morocco will reinforce their diplomatic ties in order to achieve in common areas in the interests of both countries. “I am confident that we will build on our free trade agreement [FTA], our strong security partnership and our diverse cultural and educational ties to ensure a safer and more prosperous future for our two peoples,” said the president.

Morocco’s Amazing Forward Transition in Just Two Decades

The progress made by Morocco in just two decades is pretty impressive. The change is both tangible and visible in all regions of the North African Kingdom, although challenges still lie ahead. Foreign travelers and Moroccan expatriates are astonished upon arrival in the country by the modern infrastructures, new generation of airports, ports, motorways, railway stations…not to speak of the political and social reforms meant to speed up the socioeconomic development of the North African country……………..
More here:

Chinese Cultural Understanding Through the Lens of Children’s Books.

A book donation and signing event, with well-known Chinese writer Yang Peng, was held in Rabat to introduce Chinese culture to Moroccan children

By -Jul 30, 2019 By Binwei Yu Rabat

A book donation and book signing event for Chinese writer Yang Peng’s children’s book was held at Les Etoiles Bookstore in Rabat on July 20.
The event was opened with a speech from Yang Peng about his view on children’s imagination and reading habits. He stressed the importance of imagination for children and said the way to preserve and develop the imagination is to read more. 

Yang Peng’s intriguing account was followed by a speech by the brains behind the event, his 15-year-old daughter Yang Yuchen. Her coherent and moving speech revealed her personal and sentimental interpretation of the meanings of her father’s books, as well as her passion for reading.
“A good book is a paradise because, in a book, there is no limitation to one’s imagination. It takes you to a wonderland where you can break free from the bondage of reality and look at things from a different perspective,” said Yang Yuchen as her eyes sparkling….

More Reasons to Visit Tetouan: A Taste Tour on a Budget.

The best part of Morocco is its diversity not only in culture, but also in culinary delights. While giant dishes seem to be the choice for many, snacks are also an option if you want to keep your budget in check . 

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Jul 28, 2019 Rabat 

Every region in Morocco boasts unique and extraordinary traditions in terms of culture, culinary rituals, and diversity. Today, we are dropping anchor in Tetouan, northern Morocco or the “white pigeon,” as region is known by tourists. Tetouan contains several charming cities, including Martil, Fnideq, and M’diq all of which are magnets for travelers. If visiting the region, don’t hesitate to take a moment to try some of the well-known snacks and specialities that you can enjoy even  on a budget. Here is a selection  of the most delicious food and snacks on budget, it may even give you a reason to travel to northern Morocco, if you needed another one

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