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Morocco Week in Review 
November 14 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Morocco Only Arab, African Nation to Assist US Election Monitoring

A representative from Morocco’s government took part in an international mission to monitor US voting standards.

By  Jasper Hamann  - Nov 6, 2020 Rabat Morocco participated in an observation mission together with European countries to monitor the US election. American electoral centers are continuing to count votes as presidential candidate Joe Biden appears on the cusp of claiming victory. In the midst of an election cycle fraught with distrust and accusations of fraud, Morocco helped ensure voting standards were upheld……………………….
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History : When American intellectuals chose Tangier as an exile

During the mid-50s, Tangier has hosted a number of artists, poets and intellectuals. Influenced by Paul Bowles, an American writer, members of the Beat Generation, came to the Northern city to get inspired, finish their projects and live the Moroccan dream. Morocco has been one of the best destinations for Rock stars in the 60s and 70s. They came to get inspired, enjoy the sunlight and live the Moroccan dream. However, the Kingdom’s reputation has managed to tempt other artists and literary figures. Today, Yabiladi is recalling the visits of the Beat Generation best-known writers to the Kingdom.

Members of the literary movement remembered for influencing the American culture and politics in the post-World War II era, fell in love with Morocco and most precisely Tangier. In the mid-forties and fifties, Paul Bowles, Peter Orlovesky, Irwin Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs stayed in the Northern city, writing, translating and enjoying what Tangier had to offer.

Paul Bowles' love affair with Tangier
The city of Tangier was most known to Americans by Paul Frederic Bowles, an American expatriate composer, writer and translator.  He visited Tangier for the first time in 1931 where he was hooked on the spot. In 1947, Bowles settled down in the coastal city with his wife Jane where he produced numerous musical scores, novels, short stories, travel pieces and dozens of translations of stories by Moroccan storytellers………………….

Morocco: A case for building a stronger education system in the post Covid-19 era


Building a stronger Human Capital could accelerate Morocco’s economic growth, job creation trajectory and competitiveness gains. In 2018, Human Capital was estimated to contribute 41 percent to the country’s wealth per capita, a level substantially lower than in countries with a similar level of development. The updated World Bank Human Capital Index (HCI) gives countries an opportunity to take stock of where progress has been made in accumulating human capital. And although the index does not capture the immediate effects of COVID-19 on human capital, there is little doubt that the impact of the disease will be felt on sectors key to it, such as education.

Using the index as a baseline, countries like Morocco will be able to track the consequences of the pandemic on their Human Capital development and use this information to undertake appropriate measures to protect and invest in students during the span of the pandemic and beyond. Findings from the HCI 2020 show that globally countries have increased their human capital scores by an average of 5% over the past decade. Data from 2010 show an even more significant increase of 6% for Morocco, driven mostly by improvements in education (see Figure). As a major contributor to human capital, learning outcome is one of the best predictors of sustainable growth and poverty reduction. While this is encouraging, important challenges persist related to the quality of education, equity, and overall management of the sector…………...
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The spookiest places in Morocco … four frightening urban legends

In Morocco, many are the people who believe in these urban legends. Some of them swear by them and others have family tales to share to spread these gloomy stories. Discover four of Morocco’s spookiest places and figures. By night refrain from uttering their names and even if you have to, just make sure that you are not mocking their supernatural abilities and their dark history. As children, we have all been advised to follow these instructions, while attentively listening to uncanny and mysterious tales about the angry deceased lady who would appear at anytime before anyone and the jinn sultan who lays near Morocco’s top summit. Now and as grownups, some of us are eager to know about these scary, bone-chilling figures and buildings that we never dared to explore. Some of these existed and others are just abandoned structures that made headlines in the past, but they certainly are Morocco’s spookiest tales.

Shamharush, the Jinn sultan
He lived a long and prosperous life, before choosing Morocco for his eternal rest. The legend says that Sidi Shamharush the Flyer, or Tayar as many locals like to call him, lived for twelve centuries. Yes, he is a jinn, but a jinn like no other. In fact, he is one of the seven sultans of jinns and he lays right next to the Kingdom’s highest peak, the Toubkal Mount.
His shrine is located near Aroumd, a small Berber village in the Ait Mizane Valley of the High Atlas Mountains. Venerated by the inhabitants of the region, accounts surrounding the Sultan of Jinns reveal that, centuries ago, they «set up a shrine for him at the base of Toubkal», as they believed he «causes rivers to flow, traverse their areas, fertilize their land, and enables their cattle to quench their thirst», Moroccan scholar Mohamed Maarouf said in his book «Jinn Eviction as a Discourse of Power: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Modern Moroccan Magical Beliefs and Practices», (BRILL, 2007)…………….
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#FreeToBe: Changing the Narrative on Gender-Based Violence in Morocco

Changing how we talk about survivors of gender-based violence can help solve the problem.

By Jasper Hamann -  Nov 12, 2020 Rabat

How people speak about gender-based violence (GBV) impacts how society deals with such important issues in Morocco and across the world. That is the message of the Oslo Women’s Rights Initiative’s (OWRI) new #FreeToBe campaign. The Norwegian organization, which brings together individuals and groups concerned with women’s rights, aims to change the narrative. OWRI is addressing a key element in the continuing struggle for women’s rights. The initiative focuses on countries where gender-based violence and women’s rights violations are most prevalent. By creating space for activists to speak out on government policies and strategies, the initiative hopes to change how we speak about gender-based violence.

In order to assess the Moroccan context, Morocco World News spoke to Stephanie Willman Bordat, founding partner at Rabat-based international non-profit organization Mobilising for Rights Associates (MRA). She explained how changing the narrative on gender-based violence is particularly important in Morocco’s context.
Changing the narrative
The OWRI’s #FreeToBe campaign calls 2020 a historic year for gender equality, with much work still ahead. The campaign aims to “flip the script” on how people talk about — and thus approach — gender-based violence…….
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Legal Officers: Fatiha, Child Marriage Still Challenges in Morocco

Fatiha marriage remains high at the national level, representing 13% of marriages in rural areas against 6.6% in urban areas, data from a national study shows.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Nov 3, 2020 Rabat

Civil society and government actors expressed concerns regarding the persistence of child marriage in Morocco. The President of the Court of First Instance of Social Affairs in the city of Casablanca, Mahmoud Rachid, told Morocco’s state media that marriage of minors in the city saw a notable decline in the first nine months of 2020. He attributed the decline to greater awareness within society from intense awareness-raising campaigns against child marriage.
Morocco’s Family Code stipulates that the legal minimum age of marriage is 18, but the court may grant exceptions for girls or boys as young as 15 with familial consent and judicial review. Rachid said that by the end of September, Morocco had registered 273 requests for the marriage of a minor, of which it had accepted only 51 and rejected 149. He added that the judiciary was still examining the other requests.

The judge cited statistics about the number of requests Casablanca’s Court of First Instance of Social Affairs received, saying the files amounted to 709 requests in 2019. Of the total requests in 2019, Morocco approved 252 and rejected the remainder. Explaining the court’s procedure in rejecting or approving a request, he said that the judge considers the “supreme interest” of young girls to prioritize their interests and fully preserve their rights. Rachid added that the court gives great importance to these requests and their “authorization is subject to rigorous conditions.” These conditions include the interest of the minor, the social and financial situation of the person seeking to marry a minor, and their age compatibility with the bride.

‘Disappointing’ figures and their drivers
President of the Moroccan Association for the Education of Youth in the region of Casablanca-Settat, Hafid Jaa, said his association is disappointed over the evolution of child marriage at the regional level. “Certain parties justify this phenomenon in particular by limited means available to families or by the need to guarantee the minor girl her future through marriage.” Marriage to girls is often notable in rural areas, where a lack of resources persists.
School dropouts among minors are also high in remote areas for reasons such as poverty and a lack of education institutions……………………………
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Drought threatens crops in Morocco

By Maravi Post Reporter   /   Monday, 02 Nov 2020

On plains overlooking Agadir, in southwestern Morocco, water has become so rare that it is diverted from the agricultural land to households. The region has been struggling with terrible droughts for the past three years and the local dam has run almost dry. “A lot of farmers stopped their activities after the water was cut off by the dam,” said Ahmed Driouch, a Moroccan farmer. “All the crops had dried up, the beans, the clementines, all of them dried up.”………….
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Law 19-12: A Guide to Legally Employing Domestic Workers in Morocco

By Yahia Hatim- Nov 4, 2020

Morocco’s Law 19-12, regulating the work of domestic workers, went into effect in October 2018. The legal text provides domestic workers with the right to have an employment contract. It also requires employers to register the workers with the National Social Security Fund (CNSS). However, two years after Law 19-12 went into effect, the number of domestic workers who benefit from the legal text’s advantages remains very limited. Minister of Labor Mohamed Amekraz announced that, as of August 2020, approximately 2,574 domestic workers have a contract with their employers and 2,228 are registered with CNSS. While there is no accurate census of domestic workers in Morocco, estimates of their number are much higher than the figures the minister presented. Thousands of domestic workers across the country are still working informally and do not benefit from basic labor rights, such as paid leaves or medical insurance
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Arab Reading Challenge: Taroudant’s Sara Daif to Represent Morocco

Morocco won the 2018 Arab Reading Challenge with the participation of Mariam Amjoun.

By Taha Mebtoul -  Nov 4, 2020 Rabat

Moroccan student Sara Daif, from the southwestern province of Taroudant, is set to represent Morocco in the 2020 Arab Reading Challenge after winning at the national level. Sara Daif will participate in the final qualifiers of the Arab reading competition. The student is in her first year at Ibn Soulaiman Erroudani high school in Taroudant. The initial competition in Morocco took place online between October 22 and 27 due to the spread of COVID-19, with the participation of over 1,600,000 students across Morocco, according to a press release from the Minister of Education, Saaid Amzazi.

Each participant in the Moroccan qualifiers had to read 50 books and summarize them. The Taroudant student will participate in the 5th Arab Reading Challenge, which recorded an increase of 47% in the number of participants despite the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19, according to the organizers. The competition normally takes place in the UAE but will be organized online this year under the supervision of a jury due to the COVID-19 pandemic .
Last year saw the qualification of Moroccan student Fatima-Zahra Akhiar in the final of the competition………………………..
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Morocco to Distribute Tablets to Students in Remote Areas

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, activists and citizens have shared concerns regarding students in remote areas, who faced hurdles in accessing education even before the emergence of the pandemic.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Nov 2, 2020 Rabat

Morocco, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Embassy of Norway in Rabat, launched a campaign to distribute tablets to students in Morocco’s remote areas. UNDP representative Edward Christow and the Ambassador of Norway in Morocco Merethe Nergaard chaired the launch ceremony along with Morocco’s Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi. The campaign will deliver 696 tablets to students, enabling them “to keep up with their classes remotely due to the exceptional situation that our country is experiencing due to the spread of COVID-19,” the Ministry of Education said.
The ministry added that it selected the students to receive tablets using specific criteria, taking into account gender equality………………..
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Ajnabia Odysseus: Paleontologists Unearth New Dinosaur Fossil in Morocco

Experts believe the dinosaur species traveled hundreds of kilometers across oceans to reach Africa.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Nov 9, 2020 Rabat

An international team of paleontologists discovered in Morocco a fossil of a previously-unknown dinosaur named Ajnabia odysseus, a member of the duckbill dinosaur family. CNN reported last week that the new fossil might belong to a species who once traveled hundreds miles across oceans to reach Africa.
The dinosaur dates back to the end of the Cretacious era, about 66 million years ago. The discovery shows that the species was smaller than other duckbill dinosaurs, whose length could reach up to 15 meters. The fossils found in Morocco show measurements comparable to a pony, with a size of three meters.
CNN reported that the experts were surprised to find the fossils in Morocco, wondering how such species could reach Africa. The continent was a far-to-reach island, “completely isolated by deep sea during the Late Cretaceous.”

The duckbill family emerged in North America and spread to other continents, including South America, Asia, and Europe. Senior lecturer at the Milner Center for Evolution at the University of Bath Nicholas Longrich expressed astonishment at the new discovery, saying that it was “completely out of place.” It was “like finding a kangaroo in Scotland, Africa was completely istated by water — so how did they get there?” the researcher, who is leading the study, said…
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Post-Covid-19 : The World Bank calls for a «more solid» Moroccan educational system

The World Bank recommended that Morocco «preserve education spending to limit the transmission of poverty from one generation to the other». To do this, it suggests «drawing lessons from the  coronavirus crisis to accelerate reforms" «Building a stronger Human Capital could accelerate Morocco’s economic growth, job creation trajectory and competitiveness gains», the World Bank said Tuesday in a new article on the educational system during the Covid-19 crisis.
In its article entitled «Morocco : For an efficient education system at the end of the Covid-19», the institution recalls that the latest estimates of the human capital index show an average increase of 5% in performance between 2010 and 2020 globally. Data from 2010 show an even more significant increase of 6% for Morocco, driven mostly by «improvements in education», it reported. The institution evokes an «encouraging progress», even while there would remain major challenges in terms of the quality of education, equity, and overall management of the sector.

A pandemic that undermines progress in education. Indeed, «even prior to the crisis, Morocco was struggling to stay on track to meet the 2030 targets for inclusive, equitable, quality education and lifelong learning», the same source added. «In 2019, 66% of 10-year-olds in Morocco were not able to read and comprehend a simple text, a score 2.5 percentage points lower than the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) regional average and 10.7 percentage points lower than the lower-middle-income country average»…
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Aziz Binebine's "Tazmamart: Eighteen years in Morocco’s secret prison"

We were robbed of our health, our youth and our innocence

Spring 2020 finally saw the publication of Aziz Binebine's Tazmamart memoir in English, translated by Lulu Norman. While it has now been nearly 30 years since the prisoners left their underground cells, Tazmamart remains synonymous both with hidden military prisons and with the terrors of Morocco’s Years of Lead. Marcia Lynx Qualey read the book. While Aziz Binebine’s memoir is neither the first nor the most eloquent of the testimonies ot come out of Morocco's notorious Tazmamart prison, it fills an important place in literature and in history. In the literary landscape, the book is important because Tahar Ben Jelloun’s multi-award-winning, bestselling novel Cette aveuglante absence de lumiere (That Blinding Absence of Light) was based in large part on an interview with Binebine, which Binebine disavowed in an open letter.This, then, is Binebine’s chance to tell his own story. In part, it’s because the majority of Tazmamart testimonies come from the prisoners who were in Block 1, while Binebine was housed in the much more deadly Block 2.

The first coup
The story of Tazmamart begins two years before the first inmates’ imprisonment, on 9 July 1971. That’s when Aziz Binebine and others at the Ahermoumou training school received orders to prepare for live firing exercises the following day. On 10 July, some officers apparently thought they were being driven to the drill grounds at Benslimane, while others knew they were headed toward the palace of King Hassan II, where – they were told – the king’s life was in danger. All agree on one thing: they didn’t know they were about to participate in an attempted coup. Binebine’s narrative tells us little that’s new about the coup. The shooting had started before he and his cadets left their vehicles. Binebine writes of how he wandered around the palace, "desperate and disoriented." When he realises he has taken part in a failed coup, he runs to the palace parking lot, where he finds a Fiat 600 with the keys in the ignition. He first drives to an uncle’s house, then later turns himself in…………………………
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Film review: "Kilikis, the town of owls"

The power of reflected suffering

Directed by Azalarabe Alaoui, the Moroccan film "Kilikis, the town of owls", though not a documentary, is based on the notorious Tazmamarat prison, where political opponents were incarcerated during the reign of the late King Hassan II. Time to face up to the past?

By Ismail Azzam

That night was like no other for one isolated village in a remote part of Morocco. The soldiersʹ voices got louder, alongside the sound of their army boots as they hit the ground in time with each other. A human chain of blindfolded people moving towards a building comprised of dimly-lit cells. Weary sighs hidden in the darkness, save for a few traditional lamps, nothing seen. Then comes the sound of the adhan to announce the dawn and the opening scenes of the film "Kilikis, the town of owls", directed by Azalarabe Alaoui.

The military prison is the focus of events in this cinematic work. The story revolves around soldiers guarding people portrayed as "enemies of the homeland and religion", but the truth is not so simple. One day the conscience of one of the guards is awakened after he becomes fed up with his own cowardice. He attempts to do something brave once in his life, even though it may lead to his death. But the price he pays for his act of rebellion is high, not just for him but also for those who refused to toe the official line.

The film ends without the audience knowing the fate of either those who rebelled or those who toed the line, like the words of the Chilean poet Neruda: "They can cut all the flowers, but they canʹt stop the spring". It comes immediately after the morning light has broken into the dingy cells, following a night in which the guard had a breakdown because a female dog he was raising died and because a critically important file somehow got out of the prison. The latter gives the viewer new hope, having been soaked in grief and pain for more than an hour and a half.

Probing the wound of Tazmamarat
On 31 July 2018, the film won the Best Director Award at the Oran International Arab Film Festival, the first showing of this work outside Morocco since it was screened at the Moroccan National Film Festival in Tangier………………..
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Morocco: A Flawed Parent-Child Relationship and a lot of Taboos

By Younes Benbrik -  October 12, 2020

It is traditionally and historically expected from Moroccan children to obey their parents and show respect to them no matter what, especially among conservative families and communities. Unfortunately, this respect and obedience usually exaggeratedly turn into a form of reverence to a point of drawing a barrier between the two parts, one that averts efficacious instructive, educative communication. 

Raising kids requires incessant listening, negotiating, guiding, explaining, convincing, observing, monitoring, mentoring, among others. A large number of Moroccan parents, however, mistakenly draw red lines between them and their kids with respect to particular topics such as relationships, love, sex, religion, and other taboos. The kids, therefore, grow up ignoring several crucial facts mandatory for their personality growth and for life as a whole or they find out about them from other sources -in an altered way sometimes- namely, from friends, websites, personal experiences, etc. 

Massive numbers of children and teenagers in particular encounter countless situations in which they find themselves not knowing how to deal with them such as sexual desires and needs, as when they feel attracted to someone or when someone is attracted to them, or when they question God, religion, injustice, certain seemingly weird religious rituals, and the like.  There happen to be cases in which all that a kid needs is merely a single tip, as when a young little girl (from a conservative family) is having her periods for the first time. It is inadmissible to learn that in such situations many girls in Morocco find no one to tell them what to do.   …………………………
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Salima Hadimi’s Atelier Yto: Recovering Ancient Moroccan Beauty Secrets

After a life-changing dive into ancestral traditions, one woman decided to open the UK up to the tantalizing world of natural Moroccan beauty.

By Morgan Hekking -  Morgan Hekking holds a BA in International Relations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Nov 1, 2020 Rabat

Moroccan entrepreneur Salima Hadimi is bringing Morocco’s natural beauty secrets to the UK with her brand Atelier Yto.  “At Atelier Yto, we are using the aromatherapy of oils made of ingredients sourced locally from the Atlas Mountains, to introduce in each and every bottle, a memory and a different facet of Moroccan and North African culture,” Hadimi explained to Morocco World News.  “Our main activity is experimenting with ancestral formulations to create the perfect minimal and multi-tasking solutions using only wholesome and organic ingredients.” Hadimi chose the name Atelier Yto to assert her brand as “a workshop for holistic beauty.” She wanted something that could represent the authenticity of the Amazigh people, whom she aspires to honor with her products. 
With her collection of natural hair and body oils, the Moroccan entrepreneur seeks to channel her Atlas ancestry in her ambition of reimagining modern beauty regimes…………….
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Morocco’s Hajar Mousannif Nominated for Acclaimed ‘Women Tech’ Award

The AI researcher has already received numerous international awards for her academic achievements.

By  Tamba François Koundouno  - Nov 8, 2020 Rabat

Hajar Mousannif, a Moroccan artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and professor at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, has been nominated for the “Women Tech Global Awards.” Organized by the Women Tech Network, the much-prized accolade is one of the most prestigious recognitions for women in the field of advanced technology. In a statement, Women Tech Network announced that Mousannif is in contention for the “Global AI Inclusion Award” category. Categories include, among others, “WomenTech Ambassador,” WomenTech Community Award,” and “WomenTech Speaker of the Year.”  For organizers, the driving idea of the awards is to acknowledge and promote women’s contribution to an overwhelmingly male field……………………..
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Very Old-fashioned and Harmful Moroccan Traditional Practices

By Younes Benbrik -  September 14, 2020

Who hasn’t heard of the world-renowned Moroccan culture? The Moroccan hospitality, the one, and only Moroccan sensational, mind-blowing mint tea, the exceptionally scrumptious tajine, the majestically elegant couscous, the Moroccan distinct and splendid architecture, the extravagant ancient monuments, the glorious Moroccan wedding ceremonies with flamboyant and sumptuous Moroccan traditional clothes, the worldly acknowledged Moroccan tolerance are all universally distinguished constituents of this miscellaneous very deep-rooted culture that make up the Moroccan identity and embody aspects of its existence. 
Moroccan people feel great pride in their culture and adhere and cling to its traditions and are sluggishly reluctant to relinquish them, even when some of the customs no longer fit or become obsolete, or even when they bring about more trouble than good.  The Moroccan culture comprises some practices that Moroccans themselves reckon ought to be set aside. Here are a few Moroccan habits that engender considerable harm. 
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Morocco and the Moroccan Culture in 9th Grade Level English Textbook

By Staff member -  September 6, 2020

One of the salient characteristics of the Moroccan textbook of English as a school subject is that it takes the Moroccan culture into account and gives it primacy. At the very moment the learner of basic elements in the English language is supposed to be introduced to Anglophone cultures such as the British and the American, our local Moroccan culture claims a major place as a target culture too. At the time the learner is supposed to learn about other « imported cultures » and grasp some of their basic features, he is also trained on how to build self-confidence and speak of one’s own culture and represent it. Therefore, given the modern situation in which the world has become a small village and globalization is threatening many cultures, I try in this paper, as a teacher that has more than ten years of experience in the domain of ELT to be practical and look for and expose Moroccan cultural aspects found in the Moroccan 9th year (9éme) textbook Manual entitled « FOCUS » and see to what extent the Moroccan culture is well represented in it, and whether its content is able to equip the Moroccan learner with the right cultural and linguistic material necessary to present one’s own culture and identity…………..
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Enough With Street Harassment Against Women

By Younes Benbrik - nJuly 5, 2020 Rabat, Morocco (TMT)

Street sexual harassment against women is an international issue existing in all countries with different rates. It has been defined as a form of undesired conduct of a sexual nature forced on women in a public place, let it be verbal, non-verbal, or physical. This type of harassment is directed at them because of their gender. Statistics show that high proportions of women across the world endure frequent street harassment, feel that they cannot walk comfortably alone in public spaces. A considerable number have to find alternate routes to their destinations, feel the need of being constantly alert when traversing local streets, some have even reported that they have had to switch careers to avoid frequenting an area or place plagued by harassment.  
Street harassment across the world. In the USA, activist group Stop Street Harassment surveyed 2,000 Americans in 2014. It found out that 65% of women reported having been victims of street harassment in their lives. …………………
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Morocco Establishes 15 New ‘Communal’ Schools in Atlas Mountains

By Yahia Hatim -  Nov 2, 2020

Morocco has inaugurated 15 new “communal” schools in rural areas for the 2020-2021 school year, Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi announced.
Communal schools are institutions located in remote regions across Morocco, notably in the Atlas Mountains. They are typically built in a spot that allows children from several rural villages to access them. They also usually provide all levels of education, from primary to secondary. Some of the schools provide accommodations, as well, for teachers and students who live far away.

Amzazi announced the opening of 15 schools this year during his visit to one of the institutions in Anfgou, central Morocco, on October 31. After inspecting the school’s facilities, the minister qualified the establishment as “exemplary” and said it will offer motivating schooling conditions and create a climate conducive for students’ success…………….
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Moroccan Television: 10 Nostalgic TV Shows to Binge-Watch

Despite the many years that have passed since they aired, many Moroccans still remember and discuss to this day the beloved Moroccan television shows that entire generations watched as children.

By Jihad Dardar -  Oct 31, 2020

Just as some iconic Moroccan films have stolen Moroccans’ hearts, there are many shows that enjoyed success on national television and now hold a special nostalgic place in the hearts of Moroccans. The rise of modern technology has allowed people around the world to explore more film and television than their country has to offer. It also paved the way for binge-watching and the opportunity to enjoy your old favorite shows whenever and wherever you want.
Whether it is a sitcom, drama, or horror, Moroccan cinema was able to deliver entertainment to the country’s consumers. Despite the low budget of many of these shows, the producers, actors, and storylines have made a significant impact on Moroccans. Another indicator of these shows’ success is how they still come up in conversation and how Moroccans of all ages and regions remember them. The shows are also a great resource for non-Moroccans who want to learn more of the Darija dialect and about Moroccan culture, etiquette, and norms.
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Five Thriller Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

Thrillers grip readers with their suspenseful stories that leave them on the edge of their seats.

By Jihad Dardar -  Nov 1, 2020

Thriller books can be some of the best to read when looking for a suspenseful story and an exciting turn of event that makes you not want to put the book down. Getting engrossed in a good psychological thriller can be one of the best ways to spend your downtime. Reading is an activity that people can enjoy starting at a young age. The activity has countless benefits, including strengthening brain function. As your reading ability grows, so does the network circuit and signals in your brain. Reading also improves vocabulary, empathy, can lower stress levels, help reduce symptoms of depression, and more. Whether you are a fan of philosophy, comedy, or mystery, there is a myriad of well-known novels for you, which can be overwhelming and confusing when choosing the book you want to read first. If you are a fan of thriller and mystery, these five books are bound to send a chill down your spine with mysterious and exciting stories that will get your heart pumping with suspense…………………
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Dar Al Faraj, the Marrakech bimaristan and the oldest known hospital in Morocco

During the 12th century, Almohad caliph Yacoub Al Mansour ordered the construction of one of the oldest hospitals in Morocco. Dar Al Faraj was a health complex and architectural jewel according to historians.


Centuries ago, Morocco was making its first steps towards the creation of a health system. During the 12th century, the country started developing one of its earliest health facilities. History manuscripts and accounts suggest that the Kingdom’s interest in medicine was prominent during the Almohad Caliphate.
While previous dynasties witnessed practicing doctors, who used to visit the Palace and sick people at home, the Almohads excelled in establishing the right facilities for these professionals. During its reign over Morocco, the caliphate, which ruled over the Iberian peninsula also, built the country’s first bimaristans : a Persian word for medieval times hospitals. The first of these facility’s was the Marrakech Bimaristan, introduced by Almohad ruler Yacoub El Mansour, recalls «Les hôpitaux de Marrakech : depuis le moyen âge jusqu'à l’ère contemporain». The inhabitants of Marrakech called the bimaristan Dar Al Fajar, which meant the house of appeasement.

The Marrakech Bimaristan
Manuscripts indicate that the bimaristan was located between the Koutoubia mosque and the Al Mansour mosque. The exact date of its construction remains a mystery but historians believe that it was built during the reign of Caliph Al Mansour, which extended between 1184 and 1199. Moroccan historian Abd al-Wahid al-Marrakushi, who lived during the Almohad period, described the bimaristan as an «architectural jewel». According to him, Dar Al Faraj, had «four basins, one of which was in white marble» and had running water, flowers and plants planted following the orders of the Caliph. The facility was well supplied by the Sultan. It included hot and cold water, baths, kitchens, laundry rooms and rooms for men and women. The hospital was not just a building for the sick, but a well-decorated facility, with a rather artistic side as well……….
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The oldest known doctor of medicine degree was awarded to a Moroccan in Fez

The oldest known doctor of medicine degree was granted in Fez to Moroccan student Abdellah Ben Saleh Al Koutami. The latter studied at the Univesity of al-Qarawiyyin and was the disciple of prestigious Muslim scientists, including Al Baytar and Annabati. Morocco’s first university had granted one of its students the oldest known and documented Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree delivered in the world. Known as the oldest existing and continually operating higher educational institution in the world, the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez gave the certificate to Abdellah Ben Saleh Al Koutami in 1207.
Titled Ijazah (certificate), the degree allowed Al Koutami to practice human and veterinary medicine, becoming the oldest known university student to receive such license.

A study published in February by the Journal of Medical and Surgical research (Vol. VI) argues that the al-Qarawiyyin Ijaza is the «First Available and Documented MD Certificate Delivered in the World». Compiled by Dr Younes Cherradi, the study reveals that the certificate included «an introduction to the great value of medicine and medical sciences in Islam». It also referred to Islam’s medical sciences «progress from cupping therapy (hijama) to all the research and works authored by scientists in all aspects of medicines, plant, and herbal sciences», before attributing some of the criteria to Al Koutami.

The desciple of Al Baytar and Annabati
The Ijaza acknowledged that Doctor Abdellah Ibn Saleh Al Koutami requested said license from the «qualified authorities» in the city of Fez. The degree attested that Al Koutami had the needed expertise and knowledge to practice medicine, veterinary and pharmacy and described him as an «honest man with good reputation and no history of criminality or disloyalty»…
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Amazigh Movement Loses Emblematic Activist and Lawyer Ahmed Adghirni

By Yahia Hatim -  Oct 20, 2020

On Monday, October 19, Morocco’s Amazigh movement lost one of its most emblematic figures: Ahmed Adghirni. The Moroccan writer, lawyer, politician, and activist died at the age of 73 after a six-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. A strong defender of the Amazigh people’s struggle for official recognition in North Africa and beyond, Adghirni left a remarkable legacy behind him. After Adghirni’s death, Amazigh activists in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and France, among other countries, mourned the Moroccan activist’s passing on social media and recollected his numerous contributions to the Amazigh cause…………………

Spain Approves €5 Million Loan for Morocco to Build Desalination Plants

Morocco has turned to desalination for years as a promising means to meet freshwater needs.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Nov 4, 2020 Rabat

The Spanish government approved on Tuesday a loan of €5 million for Morocco to build two seawater desalination plants—in Assa-Zag in the Guelmim-Oued Noun region and in Moulay Brahim in the Marrakech-Safi region. The Council of Ministers approved the loan, which Spain will grant to Morocco’s National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) through the Spanish Fund for the Internationalization of Enterprises (FIEM). The project is in line with the development of a priority sector — water — for the Spanish economy’s internalization strategy………………………
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UK’s Finance Monthly: Najat Benchiba ‘SME Services Woman of the Year’

The Moroccan-British business woman shined in the field of services for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

By Taha Mebtoul -  Nov 4, 2020 Rabat

British magazine Finance Monthly in its international “Women in Finance Awards 2020 Winners Edition” named British-Moroccan Najat Benchiba-Savenius Woman of the Year in the SME Business Services category. As COO and head of investments for a royal family office, Benchiba-Savenius manages “numerous companies and businesses across jurisdictions,” according to the magazine. The businesswoman is the founder of Gazelle Advisory Group, a firm in London that provides ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNW) and Arab royals with advice on managing and preserving their wealth. The British-Moroccan entrepreneur outperformed businesswomen from other parts of Europe and Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas…………………..
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Diaspo: Sami Fadel, determination in the face of adversity.

When Moroccan Sami Fadel first immigrated to the United States, he had one dream. He wanted to realize his childhood dream of studying in college and working for the company that he once wanted to apply to for an internship in Morocco. Young Moroccan Mohamed Fadel Sami Essolh immigrated to the United States in 2005, after a successful attempt at the Green Card lottery. Born in Guelmim in 1984, he had always dreamed of becoming an engineer and chose to pursue studies in industrial electricity.   For that sake, he chose to study in Agadir, where he graduated high school. «I was planning to pursue studies in France later, but I was late to get a visa, and my dream of becoming an engineer seemed lost», he told Yabiladi.

Sami said that at the time, he felt that «everything was dark, seeing [his] dream shattered before his eyes». «I went for the Higher School for Technical Education in Mohammedia, and I studied there for two years, which were full of disappointment».«At the end of the year I went to the Casablanca office of Procter and Gamble, American multinational consumer goods corporation. I wanted to get an internship there, but the security guard prevented me from entering and asked me for a copy of my CV. They did not contact me afterwards, and fate eventually decided that I would get to work at the company’s headquarters in the United States»……………………….
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Diaspo: Mahjoub Bayassine, digital technology for socio-economic reintegration

Having experienced ups and downs during his youth, while holding on to his studies to secure a stable job later, Mahjoub Bayassine was better able to help other young people in need from becoming marginalized. His Digital France School was so successful that the same concept found its way to Morocco. Learning was his way out of poverty and marginalization : Meet Mahjoub Bayassine the founder of the Digital France School. The institution trains young people from poorer backgrounds in coding, programming and new technologies, in order to help them find a job, while also restoring their dignity. Bayassine was not always a tech geek: as a child, he experienced the traditional way of life of Sahrawi nomadic populations, moving in search of water. Born to parents from the Aït Yassine tribe, in the region of Guelmim-Oued Noun, he remembers his early years with his family, who eventually settled down in Agadir, as a happy time.

School as a safety net
Originally a camel driver, his father would later convert into a butcher. He opened a shop which quickly gathered a lot of loyal customers and built up a local brand. As business was growing steady, the household’s financial situation was improving and the father would then buy an apartment. Yet the small business owner would quickly fall to cancer, leaving Mahjoub, his mother and siblings destitute overnight. Faced with a dire financial situation, the grieving family leaves the apartment to move into their late father’s shop. «We lived in this small shop, which was very difficult, especially since we had no privacy», Mahjoub Bayassine recalled. But in the face of life's hardships, the mother retained her pride and dignity, transmitting these values to her children and doing everything she could to convince them to commit to their studies. «School was a safety net to me, and it all comes down to my mother, to whom I pay tribute; she fought for a better future for her children. She had never been to school, but she made sure every day that we had learned something new, when coming home from class»…………………
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