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Morocco Week in Review 
December 19 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Western Sahara: Implications of Trump’s Recognition of Moroccan Sovereignty

The presidential proclamation will undoubtedly have a significant political and legal impact.

By Samir Bennis - Samir Bennis is a political analyst. Dec 17, 2020

In an article I published in September, I argued that Morocco was not ready to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel. Recent developments proved me wrong. 
Leaving my personal views aside, and as far as the Western Sahara conflict is concerned, I believe the United States’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty, if it holds, will have a significant impact on the UN political process and Morocco’s position.  Whether Trump’s decision will stand after Biden’s inauguration is impossible to definitively predict. But if President-elect Joe Biden maintains the new policy, it will have significant implications. It may even push other countries to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, deepening Algeria and Polisario’s diplomatic isolation………………..
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Morocco to Become First Arab Nation to Teach Jewish History, Culture in Schools

By Israel Hayom – December 14, 2020 by Dan Lavie / Israel Hayom

Trailblazing change, Morocco on Sunday announced that its schools will soon begin teaching Jewish history and culture as part of the official curriculum—a first in the region and in the North African country, where Islam is the state religion. It follows King Mohammed VI of Morocco’s decision to normalize relations with the Jewish state in yet another historic peace deal brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration and announced last week. The move has had “the impact of a tsunami,” Serge Berdugo, secretary-general of the Casablanca-based Council of Jewish Communities of Morocco, told the French news agency AFP.
The decision concerning the curriculum was reportedly made discretely, even before Rabat and Jerusalem formerly normalized relations. According to AFP, the decision was made as part of an ongoing revamp of the educational curriculum in Morocco, which began in 2014. The move aims to “highlight Morocco’s diverse identity,” according to Fouad Chafiqi, head of academic programs at Rabat’s Education Ministry.
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Morocco: 57% of Women Aged 15-74 Are Victims of Violence - Official


In Morocco, 57% of the women aged between 15 and 74 say they have suffered at least one act of violence in the space of a year, said on Wednesday, President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), Ahmed Reda Chami.Speaking at the opening of a round-table, held remotely under the theme "Together to make the elimination of violence against girls and women a national priority", Chami noted that according to figures from the Office of the High Commissioner for Planning (HCP), 57% of the female population has suffered at least one act of violence in the twelve months preceding the HCP survey in 2019, i.e. more than 7.6 million women out of 13.4 million females aged between 15 and 74. Deploring these "alarming" figures, the Moroccan official stressed that "a country cannot claim any development if half of its living force is excluded or suffers violence in any form." Violence against women is a flagrant violation of human rights, he said, highlighting the irreversible psychological effects of such acts as well as their economic, social and environmental costs…
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Couscous Joins UNESCO List of World Intangible Heritage

By  Yahia Hatim  - Dec 17, 2020

The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the dish of couscous to its Intangible Heritage List. “The knowledge, know-how, and practices pertaining to the production and consumption of couscous: An example of international cooperation,” UNESCO wrote on Twitter…………
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Five Benefits of Drinking Moroccan Mint Tea

Moroccan mint tea has survived the test of time not only because of its delicious taste and intoxicating aroma, but also because of its many benefits for the body and the mind.

By Wissal Dardar -  Dec 13, 2020

People around the world know the Moroccan tradition of honoring the guest, so expect any host to serve you tea as a welcoming gesture in teacups and an engraved teapot (berrad).

See also: Lifestyle: 8 Habits and Customs Every Moroccan Understands

Throughout history, Moroccans consumed mint tea daily, not only because of its unique flavor but also for its rich health benefits that range from soothing indigestion and regulating sleep schedules to maintaining good oral health. Historians might differ as to the introduction of Gunpowder Tea. Some say the Phoenicians introduced it around the 12th century, and others argue it was the British as recently as the 18th century. Moroccans not only quickly fell in love with the tea but also adapted it to their own cuisine culture. They essentially added mint and other aromatic herbs such as sage, wormwood, lemon, verbena, and wild thyme. Moroccan mint tea also might differ from one region to another. You might find it bitter and concentrated in one area and sweet with many herbs in another…………
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Where to Eat in Morocco: Seven Best Restaurants in Casablanca

Casablanca has a variety of unique restaurants that offer their guests an authentic experience with delicious Moroccan and global delicacies.

By Jihad Dardar Dec 13, 2020

Morocco’s cuisine is one of the main attractions of many tourists, and Casablanca has various restaurants that anyone traveling to the big city should visit to experience some of the best authentic and diverse Moroccan gastronomy. Casablanca is Morocco’s economic capital and the largest city in the Maghreb region with a population of nearly four million. The economic hub is Morocco’s main Atlantic port and has the largest financial centers in Africa. It also possesses a rich history that is evident in its multi-culturalism, mixed Moorish and modern architecture, and of course, exquisite food. Morocco’s cuisine is characterized by its rich and diverse flavors that merge Amazigh, Andalusian, and Mediterranean cuisine as well as European, Arab, and sub-Saharan influences……………
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In Photos: Snow-Covered Ifrane, Morocco’s Beautiful Winter Wonderland

Ifrane locals are enjoying the snow and many other Moroccans are heading straight to the Michlifen resort for a retreat.

By Jihad Dardar -  Dec 12, 2020

Among the most beautiful cities in Morocco is Ifrane with its stunning snow-coated forests and gardens in winter. Many Moroccans and tourists from around the world would choose to spend their holidays in the enchanting medinas of Marrakech, Fes, and Meknes, but many others head to Ifrane to enjoy its captivating nature. Ifrane is a beautiful, historic city that invites visitors from around the world to experience Morocco’s diverse culture, unique architecture, and white winters.  Located 1,650 meters above sea level, in the Middle Atlas Mountains, Ifrane city is often called the Switzerland of Morocco.
The resort city has been experiencing snowfall for weeks, but the northern Moroccan city recently got a fresh blanket of snow last week. …………..
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Public Toilets in Morocco: Sale Marina Introduces ‘Intelligent’ Toilets

The company plans to bring the project to other major Moroccan cities, including Casablanca, Marrakech, Agadir, and Tangier.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Dec 13, 2020 Rabat

Responding to calls for better public toilets in Morocco, the Moroccan-Belgian company Access Pub has equipped the marina in Sale, Rabat’s twin city, with “intelligent” public toilets.  The 100% Moroccan-made toilets, called “Beluga,” seek to meet the primary needs of citizens using an “original and innovative approach,” said Access Pub General Manager Adnan Mouktabil. The phygital urban signage company set up the toilets in collaboration with local authorities. The modern public toilets are the first in Morocco with free high-quality sanitary products, automatic sinks, and an intelligent automation system………………..
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Travel to Morocco: Five Beautiful Must-Visit Moroccan Waterfalls

Along with historic cities and ancient Kasbahs, Morocco offers a gorgeous array of natural attractions including beaches, mountains, and waterfalls.

By Jihad Dardar -  Dec 12, 2020

Besides the bustling medinas and historic sites, beautiful Moroccan waterfalls should definitely be on your must-visit list when you travel to Morocco. 
Visiting waterfalls will give you the opportunity to learn more about Morocco’s nature and geography as well as meet different Moroccans that live in the region that have unique traditions and customs. Morocco is one of the best places to go when you want to experience a different world, learn about history, and explore different landscapes from the Sahara desert, wild beaches, beautiful waterfalls, and majestic mountains. Morocco’s natural and cultural diversity offers various activities to indulge in throughout the year, from water activities, camping, and hiking, along with various musical and art festivals. 
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Morocco Hopeful COVID-19 Vaccine Will Accelerate Economic Recovery

Morocco aims to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 and significantly improve employment and economic productivity.

By Morgan Hekking holds a BA in International Relations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Dec 16, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, is hopeful the COVID-19 vaccine will help accelerate the country’s economic recovery. Morocco is poised to launch a 12-week vaccination campaign to protect frontline workers and at-risk populations from COVID-19. The campaign will first use the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine and aims to cover at least 80% of the Moroccan population to achieve herd immunity. Bank Al-Maghrib, in its quarterly report, said that although the outlook for Morocco’s economic development in 2021 and 2022 remains uncertain, the vaccination campaign and the Mohammed VI Investment Fund should support the country’s recovery. King Mohammed VI called on the Moroccan government to establish the investment fund in his 2020 Throne Day speech on July 29. He said the fund should encourage investment in Morocco and help revive the national economy. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Morocco recorded a net loss of 581,000 jobs during the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The unemployment rate worsened from 9.4% in 2019 to 12.7% in 2020. Reducing the country’s unemployment rate in 2021 is a critical component of Morocco’s economic recovery. …………………………
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FREEDGE: Moroccan Students Invent Nonelectric Fridge

By Yahia Hatim - Dec 15, 2020

A group of Moroccan students from the Mohammadia School of Engineers (EMI) in Rabat has invented a refrigerating system, called “FREEDGE,” that only needs water and sunlight to operate. The invention seeks to provide an alternative to fridges in rural areas where access to electricity is scarce. FREEDGE is a refrigerating system that does not need electricity. It is based on the principle of evaporative cooling. The phenomenon occurs when thermal energy in the air converts liquid water into vapor, leading to cooler temperatures………………
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World Arabic Language Day: Preservation a Concern for UNESCO

By Taha Mebtoul - Dec 17, 2020 Rabat

UNESCO observes on December 18 of every year World Arabic Language Day, honoring a language that more than 290 million people speak daily around the world. UNESCO established the international day in 2010 and has celebrated it since 2012. December 18 coincides with the United Nations General Assembly’s decision in 1973 to adopt Arabic as the organization’s sixth official language. The UN adopted Arabic on the basis of a proposal Morocco and Saudi Arabia submitted the same year. World Arabic Language Day commemorates the role Arabic played in promoting the dissemination of the sciences and philosophies of ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans, and in giving birth to the European Renaissance……………………….
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‘Intergroup for Western Sahara’: Misrepresentations and Post-Truths About the Conflict

By Lahcen Haddad  - Lahcen Haddad is a Strategic Studies Expert Dec 16, 2020

I was shocked when I have read the letter sent to the attention of European Parliament Members by the Intergroup for Western Sahara. The letter is not only full of misrepresentations but deliberately ignores so many historical facts and realities surrounding the Western Sahara conflict. Contrary to what the Intergroup letter said, the repeated violations of the ceasefire were, over the years, wantonly carried out by the Polisario Front, 

The Security Council has for years incited the Polisario to respect the ceasefire and not engage in any activities that may change the status quo on the ground as stipulated in the 1991 Ceasefire Agreement…………….
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Morocco's thirst revolution and the luxury of watermelons

When residents of Zagora in southern Morocco protested in 2017, demanding the right to safe drinking water, the authorities arrested twenty-three of them in what became known as the "thirst revolution". The residents of Zagora and its environs, however, continue to suffer from a water shortage. By Ilhalm Al-Talbi
"I spend hours in front of this small well, for a few litres of water. It’s barely enough for me to drink ... I no longer think of washing myself. That is something my children and I can only dream about." That's how Aisha, a 45-year-old housewife, describes the impact of the water crisis on her life.
The scarcity of water haunts the inhabitants of Zagora, which is in Morocco's southeast on the border with Algeria. Aicha, who lives in "the parched district" of Zagora, adds: "We stand at the wells and wait for long hours, especially in summer. Our suffering is multiplied when we don’t find water for drinking or even cleaning. It has even led to our children getting ill."
Owing to the drought and the desertification, most of the town's menfolk have moved away from Zagora in order to seek jobs in the cities. The women and children are left behind to deal with the shortage of water. Fatima, a 60-year-old woman who also lives in the parched district says: "Our men left home to find a living, and it’s us women who have to cope with the rise in temperature and the thirst. All we think about is water. It is everything to us….it is a struggle we face every day."…………
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The buds of the Arab Spring

Ten years after the start of the Arabellion in North Africa and the Middle East, many view the movement as a failure. But rather than being over, it has now entered a more mature phase with new forms of protest.

An assessment by Claudia Mende
It was the beat of a butterfly’s wing that set a tsunami in motion. On 17 December 2010, street vendor Mohammed Bouaziz set himself on fire in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid. The self-immolation of a 26-year-old man claiming years of harassment at the hands of the police and local authorities led to mass protests across the region. Initially in Tunisia, later in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and almost every other country in the region, thousands of people joined anti-regime demonstrations. The dam holding back decades of frustration at authoritarian paternalism, corruption and mismanagement had finally been breached. Jordanian national Rawan Baybars was 22 years old at the time. She was completing her marketing degree and followed the protests on Al Jazeera. She watched as people expressed their anger at authoritarian rule and demanded freedom, bread and dignity. Baybars, who now works for the Red Cross in Amman, watched on her television screen as dictatorships were toppled and regimes imploded: on 14 January 2011 in Tunisia, just one month later in Cairo, then in Yemen and Libya………….
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Islamic clerics and statesmen in an unholy alliance

U.S. political scientist Ahmet T. Kuru from the University of San Diego traces historical developments in the region and seeks the causes behind today's problems. Kuru received the American Political Science Association Award for his book in 2020. Musa Bagrac read it for

Scientists of all stripes can attest that the Islamic world is mired today in a deep crisis. Violence, authoritarianism and socio-economic underdevelopment are particularly conspicuous problems. As far as the causes are concerned, however, researchers are anything but unanimous. Some contend that the religion of Islam glorifies violence, is inhuman and incapable of civilisation, viewing it as backward. Others think the region's plight dates back to Western colonisation, which exploited the political, economic and social resources of the Muslim world to such an extent that it has yet to recover. In his book Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment, Ahmet T. Kuru, an American professor of political science with Turkish roots, comes to a different conclusion as to why the Islamic world, after a stunning medieval golden age, is today woefully behind the rest of the world when it comes to democracy, economic progress, social justice, education and human rights…………..
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