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Morocco Week in Review 
September 5, 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Ending Denial: Anti-Black Racism in Morocco

By (RPCV/Morocco) Stephen King, Associate Professor @ Georgetown Univ. Aug. 28th, 2020

Morocco is a diverse country that has yet to come to terms with its own black population and the impact of centuries of the trans-Sahara slave trade. Diversity, the history of slavery in Morocco, and the racism that is generally inherent in post-slave societies are not openly discussed and often denied by non-Blacks. This paper examines the efforts of black Moroccans to tell the stories of racial discrimination against them as a first step in an attempt to raise awareness, pierce the taboos and end the denial surrounding anti-black racism in Morocco.

Enough! It’s time to end the denial, pierce the taboos, raise consciousness about the problem, and confront and criminalize anti-Black racism and discrimination in Morocco. That is the message young black Moroccan activists are conveying as they organize and commiserate with fellow black Moroccans on social networks: like “Black Moroccans” and “The Mazeej project” on Instagram and Facebook. Racism exists everywhere in the world but varies according to the context. In the Moroccan context, anti-black racism is pronounced, widespread, and largely denied by non-Blacks despite Morocco’s participation in the trans-Saharan slave trade for 13 centuries, and the socio-economic marginalization of the country’s Black minority until the present day.

At the most basic level of daily life, local activists combatting anti-Black racism in Morocco point out that contempt towards Black Arabs and Black Berbers in Morocco (and towards Black people in general) is casually and prominently manifested in the words “white” or non-Black Moroccans—without reflection— commonly use to refer to Morocco’s minority Black population: Al-Abd  (Slave, pl. Al-Abeed), Al-Khadem (Servant, pl. Al-Khadam), Al-Hartani (Freed black slave) and Al-Azzi (roughly, somewhere in between Negro and Nigger), Al-Kahlouch (Blackie). Wena Kahlouch?(And me, am I a Blackie?) said when white Moroccans jest about being asked to do something unpleasant. The animalization of Black people in Morocco is not infrequent (This form of racial mockery seems mostly targeted at migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa): Black people in Morocco can be called qird (monkey), khanzir (pig), akil lahmi albashar (cannibal), and hayawan (animal). They may be greeted by the sounds monkeys supposedly make: guera; guera. The heritage of black Moroccans is frequently denied and accossted with the veiled attack of the phrase: M’Nenty (Where are you from?) said by their fellow citizens, as if “true Moroccans” are all white…..
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Successful Arabic language curriculum reform in Morocco

By Fathi El-Ashry, Ph.D. August 12, 2020  

Creating an “enjoyable and worthwhile” process to transform Arabic language learning

In his book “Stratosphere,” noted educator Michael Fullan asserts: “Change really isn’t as hard as we thought if we capture people’s interest and give them enjoyable, worthwhile experiences.” That’s what we sought to do in Morocco, where the USAID Reading for Success-National Program for Reading (NPR) is working with the Ministry of Education to transform the country’s primary school Arabic curriculum.

On Aug. 7, the Ministry officially released of the first complete draft of its primary education program curriculum for grades 1-6, including the Arabic language curriculum. This new curriculum is the result of six years of relentless preparation, development, implementation and revision that had widespread participation of educators, including ministry technical experts in language and pedagogy, academic inspectors, teacher educators and teachers.
After decades of working to expand access to schooling, educators were calling for a transformational reform of curriculum to increase the quality of education………………
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Morocco, US Sign Agreement on Diplomatic Privileges, Immunities

During the signing ceremony, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted the common interests of Morocco and the US.

By Yahia Hatim -  Sep 1, 2020 Rabat

Morocco and the US signed today a bilateral agreement on the consolidation of diplomatic privileges and immunities. The agreement aims to ensure an efficient functioning of diplomatic representations in Morocco and the US. US Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer and the Director of Protocol at the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anas Khales, signed the agreement during a videoconference ceremony…………
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Ashura in Morocco: A Celebration With Unique Cultural Traditions

Moroccans observe the holiday with several traditions and practices specific to Morocco.

By Jihad Dardar -  Aug 30, 2020

Muslims all across the world celebrate the holiday of Ashura in different ways, and Morocco is no different with its various practices and rituals. In addition to observing the holy day with spiritual practices, such as fasting, giving to charity, and visiting the cemetery to pray for the departed, Moroccans embrace the day with other traditional and cultural rituals that date back centuries.

In Morocco, Ashura is a day when neighbors and families come together to share traditional food, and where children receive toys, money, and indulge in all kinds of cheerful activities. It is also a day of many celebratory carnivals and festivals across the country. The holy day’s celebrations differ from one region to another. You might find Ashura observances in one city or village contrast with practices in the next city or village. However, some customs are starting to disappear, with only a few regions fully preserving their rituals………………………….
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Exploring the History, Evolution, and Observance of Ashura

Ashura is a day of sorrow for some Muslims and a day of celebration for others.

By Jihad Dardar -  Aug 29, 2020
Muslims all across the world observe the holy day of Ashura with practices and rituals based on history and religion. They unitedly believe that Ashura is one of the most sacred days of the Islamic year. However, between the two biggest sects of Islam, the Shia and the Sunnis, the commemoration of this day can differ greatly.

Ashura day falls on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Its name derives from the number 10 in Arabic, “ashara.”
Muharram is a significant month for all Muslims. It is when the prophet Muhammad and his followers escaped persecution in Mecca and migrated to Medina. The migration was called Hijra, and later came to mark the start of the Islamic lunar calendar’s year, called Hijri. Muharram became the first month of the Islamic year………………..
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Moroccan Cuisine: Recipe for Rfissa, Savory Chicken With Lentils

The dish is most commonly enjoyed in winter and autumn, but Moroccan cuisine enthusiasts who can’t resist the taste never hesitate to prepare the famous rfissa even on a summery day.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Aug 29, 2020 Rabat

The beauty of Moroccan cuisine is that with the right ingredients, food enthusiasts around the world can try hundreds of recipes. Rfissa, a savory chicken dish with lentils, is a favorite in Morocco and abroad. Try Morocco’s famous rfissa for yourself with this easy-to-follow recipe straight from a Moroccan kitchen.
The meal has a long list of ingredients, but don’t feel panicked. This Moroccan rfissa recipe is actually very simple and doable if you follow the procedure correctly. You will need two lists of ingredients. Let us start with the basics. Bring a bowl to prepare a doughy paste to prepare one of the basic ingredients in rfissa: Flat msemen, also known as Moroccan pancakes…………..
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Tifinagh: Morocco Adopts Draft Decree to Implement Amazigh Alphabet

Morocco’s head of government will lead the commission monitoring the implementation of Tifinagh in public life.

By Morgan Hekking -  Morgan Hekking holds a BA in International Relations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Sep 3, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s Government Council adopted a draft decree on Thursday relating to the implementation of Tifinagh, the official alphabet of the Amazigh (Berber) language. Draft decree No. 2.60.600 establishes the composition and operating procedures of a permanent inter-ministerial commission tasked with monitoring the implementation of Tifinagh in education and public life. Minister of Culture Othmane El Ferdaous presented the text, aiming to follow through with the provisions of Law No. 16.26, relating to the official use of the Amazigh alphabet in Morocco. 

Law No. 16.26 sets the stage for Tifinagh’s integration into education and various aspects of public life in Morocco.  Thursday’s decision concerns Article 34 of the law, which calls for the creation of “a permanent ministerial commission” responsible for “monitoring, evaluating, and activating the official alphabet of the Amazigh language” in Morocco.  Government spokesperson and education minister Saaid Amzazi explained the details of the decision during a press briefing after the Government Council session, according to Morocco’s state media. He said the new draft decree outlines the composition, functions, and goals of the Tifinagh monitoring commission. …………………….
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Morocco’s Cereals Production Down by 39% in 2019-2020 Season

Lack of rainfall during the season caused a major drop in the country’s cereals production and an increase in imports.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Sep 3, 2020 Rabat

The final production of the three main cereals for the 2019-2020 season is estimated at 32 million quintals in Morocco. The number represents a decrease of 39% compared to the previous season. The last season was an average year for production, with 52 million quintals, the Ministry of Agriculture announced on Wednesday. The campaign is also down by 57% compared to an average year under the ministry’s signature Green Morocco Plan.  The ministry announced the statistics in a press release based on a survey carried out by the Strategy and Statistics Directorate (DDS). The survey shows that the cereal area sown for the 2019-2020 campaign is 4.34 million hectares. Soft wheat cereal production reached 17.7 million quintals, while durum wheat amounted to 7.9 million quintals.
Production of barley reached 6.4 million quintals, the survey shows. Lack of rainfall was a direct motive for a weak cereals production this season compared to the previous one. The agriculture ministry explained that the rainfall for the 2019-2020 campaign was characterized by a “poor temporal distribution.”
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El Jebha, Chefchaouen: Morocco’s Little Paradise City

To discover one of Morocco’s hidden gems, you must head to the North and visit the village of El Jebha in the Chefchaouen province.

By Jihad Dardar -  Aug 30, 2020

Morocco’s little paradise city, El Jebha, is the perfect summer travel destination for any tourist or local, either for a peaceful getaway or a fun adventure. 
Traveling to Morocco comes with many secrets that you unravel each day of your journey. It is definitely full of surprises.
Moroccan cities and landscapes are iconic feasts to the eyes. Ancient towns are rich with history, culture, and heritage. Diverse vistas stretch from the glistening Sahara desert to the high Atlas mountains to the North Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.
When planning a visit to Morocco, the first thing that crosses a tourist’s mind is often traveling to the red, bustling city of Marrakech or trekking down the golden dunes of the Sahara desert.  Morocco’s most famous attractions are definitely as good as expected. 
However, they also divert attention from less known attractions that are also worth a visit……………
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'Look forward to achieving great success' - Morocco's Ait El-Haj on starting life at Zaragoza

Samuel Ahmadu Africa Women's Football Correspondent

The Atlas Lioness star has gone straight into training with the Spanish side after joining from Moroccan outfit ASFAR. Morocco international Hanane Ait El-Haj is excited after training with her new Zaragoza teammates for the first time on Thursday. The 25-year-old joined the Spanish side on a one-year contract with an option of an extension after leaving the Moroccan side ASFAR, where she celebrated league triumphs in four years. The move to the Reto Iberdrola club saw the Raja d'Agadir-born former Najah de Souss and Nadi Baladi de Laayoune defender achieve her dreams of playing professional abroad for the first time……………..
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Wildfires in Morocco: Fire Ravages Date Oasis Near Errachidia

This is the fifth major wildfire that Morocco recorded during the month of August.

By Taha Mebtoul -  Aug 31, 2020 Rabat

Hot, dry conditions combined with southerly winds fueled another fire in the southeast of Morocco, destroying several hectares of a date oasis in the province of Aoufous, near Errachidia. The fire took place the night of August 30 in the oasis of Ksar El Gara, 40 kilometers from Errachidia, in the valley of Ziz in the High Atlas mountains. The fire reached the oasis when wind pushed flames from the south, ultimately ravaging over two kilometers of vegetation………………..
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Why Morocco refused to normalize relations with Israel

By Edward M. Gabriel, opinion contributor — 08/31/20

Morocco’s decision not to normalize relations with Israel following the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) likely came as a result of two overriding considerations. First, King Mohammed VI and the country consistently have supported a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, and may have determined that a Moroccan agreement with Israel would damage the prospects for that. Second, acting during an election year in the United States was probably a deterrent for Morocco to move too hastily.  The king has made his viewpoint clear over the past 20 years with regard to Palestine, and used his position as chairman of the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to assert strong support for a Palestinian state. At the same time, he has expressed support for warm and full relations with Israel, and seems perfectly situated to become a peace partner with Israel, given that Moroccans are the second largest ethnic group in Israel, after Russians. …………..
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180+ Books: A Look at Moroccan Literature Available in English

ArabLit Editor Nadia Ghanem surveys the twentieth- and twenty-first century Moroccan literature available in English:

By Nadia Ghanem April 29, 2020May 2, 2020 mlynxqualey

From the Casablanca International Book Fair.
Many readers and bookshops organize their book piles, shelves, and readings by country, loosely defined as the author’s country of origin, or else by where the story takes place. It’s an approach to fiction I always found odd and enjoyable; there is a special kind of enjoyment to be had by sticking to the fiction of a place and concentrating on it for a while. I could say that my tendency to focus on a country is how the construction of this list began, but that would be a sticky fib. Truth be told, after a deep attachment to Algerian literature, I simply felt like peeking at the neighbors to see how they fare in translation. Contrary to how I proceeded for my list of Algerian literature in English translation — for which producing a list came to consolidate years of reading, and was an attempt at understanding Algerian literary production outside of its geography — the present list is produced at the beginning of my journey, from the outside going in…………
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The Traditional Moroccan Hammam: History, Steps, and Benefits

Traditional Moroccan hammams are bath houses Moroccans frequent to clean their bodies, purify their souls, and truly be themselves.

By Jihad Dardar -  Aug 30, 2020

For every tourist coming to Morocco, visiting a traditional Moroccan hammam and experiencing the wide range of benefits is undoubtedly on their bucket list. While public bathhouses might be associated with Turkish and Roman cultures, the traditional Moroccan hammam is a unique experience.
Moroccan hammams take their inspiration from the first original bathhouses created by the Roman empire more than 2000 years ago, built to increase public hygiene. Roman’s rule over North Africa left its pronounced influence on Moroccan culture, seen in the architecture of Roman ruins still remaining across the country. Rome’s thumbprint in modern Morocco is most noticeable in the Moroccan hammam.
The ancient bathhouse rapidly grew in Islamic Moroccan culture with a few modifications that made it unique and different from others. Traditionally, Moroccan hammams are located near mosques to facilitate the purification of body and soul before prayers rituals………… 
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Morocco Launches Mass Production of 100% Moroccan COVID-19 Test Kits

The Ministry of Health was the first to place an order for 100,000 tests.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Sep 3, 2020 Rabat

The Rabat-based Moroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation, and Research (MAScIR) has launched large-scale production of its 100% Moroccan-made COVID-19 PCR test kits. The Ministry of Health has ordered 100,000 units, a press release from MAScIR announced on Thursday.
The launch comes four months after the foundation received national and international validations for its Sars-CoV2 diagnostic kit…………
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Minister: 80% of Families in Morocco Chose In-Person Education

Amzazi noted that every classroom will contain between 15 and 20 students.

By Taha Mebtoul -  Sep 3, 2020 Rabat

80% of Moroccan families have chosen in-person education over remote lessons for their children, Morocco’s Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi revealed yesterday, September 2. The minister made the declaration in a television program on 2M. He noted that every classroom will contain between 15 and 20 students, according to groups, avoiding overcrowding and upholding preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19.
Amzazi also revealed that students who opt for in-person education will have a space of four meters each.……………………
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