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Articles on this Page
- 02/18/14--21:03: _“Careers in Morocco...
- 02/18/14--21:30: _Morocco: Israeli Re...
- 02/18/14--22:16: _Spain-Morocco and V...
- 02/19/14--16:24: _Moroccan actor Lose...
- 02/19/14--19:12: _I am Moroccan Musli...
- 02/20/14--17:22: _Signing of bilatera...
- 02/20/14--21:36: _Morocco: American e...
- 02/20/14--21:52: _Spain lauds Morocco...
- 02/21/14--21:39: _A Moment in Rabat
- 02/22/14--10:30: _A Snake Charmer in ...
- 02/22/14--12:06: _Moroccan-Dutch Wins...
- 02/22/14--15:05: _Moroccans and the 2...
- 02/23/14--12:10: _Paris to shed light...
- 02/23/14--21:17: _Morocco-Africa: a m...
- 02/23/14--22:08: _Cultural Identity a...
- 02/23/14--22:09: _More than 5 million...
- 02/24/14--14:25: _Morocco fully adher...
- 02/24/14--20:58: _Thanks to King Moha...
- 02/24/14--21:36: _Morocco: Armed Gang...
- 02/24/14--22:10: _Israel Offers to He...
- 02/18/14--21:03: “Careers in Morocco” Forum slated for March 29th In London
- 02/18/14--21:30: Morocco: Israeli Rents Beach, Prevents Locals from Access
- 02/18/14--22:16: Spain-Morocco and Valentine’s Day: Day of Love, Day of Hate
- 02/19/14--19:12: I am Moroccan Muslim and a part of me is Jewish
- 02/20/14--21:36: Morocco: American evangelist arrested with 4 underage girls
- 02/21/14--21:39: A Moment in Rabat
- 02/22/14--10:30: A Snake Charmer in Marrakech Dies from Snakebite
- 02/22/14--12:06: Moroccan-Dutch Wins Holland’s The Voice Kids 2014
- 02/22/14--15:05: Moroccans and the 20 February Movement
- 02/23/14--21:17: Morocco-Africa: a model of south-south co-development
- 02/23/14--22:09: More than 5 million Moroccans suffer from depression
- 02/24/14--14:25: Morocco fully adheres to its African calling, Mohamed VI says
- 02/24/14--21:36: Morocco: Armed Gang Robs MAD 7.5 Million from Bank Truck
- 02/24/14--22:10: Israel Offers to Help Morocco Implement its Renewable Energy Policy
By Aziz Allilou
Rabat- "Careers in Morocco,” the forum of Moroccan competencies in the world will be held on March 19th in London for graduates and Moroccan professionals residing in Europe and looking for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in Morocco.
Building on the success of its previous sessions in Paris and Montreal, the initiative Careers in Morocco will open its doors in 2014 at the Hilton Paddington for Moroccan graduates and professionals in the UK.
Over 1,500 Moroccan graduates and professionals are expected to attend this event with the participation of more than twenty leading companies and organizations from various business sectors in Morocco.
The forum will be marked by several panel discussionswith prominent guests focusing on different economic news, entrepreneurship and career opportunities in Morocco.
Previous sessions of this forum were distinguished by the participation of several companies and organizations, including the Moroccan Agricultural Credit Group, Sonasid, Rono, Barid Al-Maghreb and Coca-Cola.
This event offers the Moroccan expatriate the opportunity to learn about career opportunities offered by the Moroccan labor market and to build contacts with Moroccan economic actors.
Edited by Elisabeth Myers
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Rabat- According to Moroccan daily newspaper, Al Massaa, an Israeli advertising producer rented the beach of Safi to film sports scenes and prevented local citizens from having access for three days.
Windsurfers, kite surfers and recreation lovers were disappointed when they arrived at the famous, recognized surf spot on Safi beach, only to find it surrounded by barriers and police officers who banned them from entering the beach facilities.
The seashore was covered with huge spotlights, cameras and other film equipment, when the Israeli advertising producer rented the beach for three successive days to film surf scenes for international television and sports magazines.
The local marine sports associations denounced the closure of the beach as a seizure by the Israeli producer without an authorization from the local Safi authorities.
In a statement to the same source, officials said that the municipality of Safi had not authorized the use of spotlights, and that it did not know about the Israeli citizen’s actions.
Aware of the wind conditions at the location, the Israeli, who is of Lebanese descent, comes frequently to Safi and closes the beach to the local population in order to film surf scenes.
Edited by Elisabeth Myers
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Casablanca- Some people celebrated last Friday as the day of love. The celebration has become a tradition whereby the lovers, married or not, buy gifts and exchange sweet words. February 14th refers to a romantic person, Saint Valentine.
Saint Valentine is the subject of several myths. Some claim that it is the name of a pagan Roman celebration, while others assure that this is the name of a Christian Pope. Still others swear Saint Valentine is the name of an obscure Greek god.
However, whatever the truth, Moroccans help the god in his loneliness, even though they should be more inspired to celebrate other gods, such as the gods of Poverty or Corruption.
Moroccans who celebrate this day of love,do it only to show that they are more ahead of their time than others. That is why they buy red and white roses that cost more than 50 DH apiece.
Indeed, the price flowers on February 13 is different than on February 14. People also buy chocolate and organize parties where romanticism reigns supreme in private. Others dress in red and go out so that everyone knows.
It is nice that people celebrate love, but love is like the air: it does not need a day dedicated to it. It must be something permanent, or not at all. But the trouble is that whenever something disappears, humans dedicate a day to commemorate it. It is the least that we can do.
February 14 is also a day marking a national historic tragedy,. This is when Queen Isabella of Spain decided to complicate Muslim Andalousians’ lives in the late 15th century. And when someone brings up Muslim Andalusians, we think of Moroccans; and when we think of Moroccans, we necessarily think about all those among them that, today, live in ignorance of the history of their ancestors.
Andalusia is not only the eponymous music or the remains of architectural art. No, Andalusia also has a dark history, which began in 1492 when Andalusians did not even have the right to produce their olive oil. This was a Muslim practice at the time. Muslims could not wash on Friday. They had to convert to Christianity and change their names. They also had to leave the door of their homes open to the troops of the Inquisition so that they could enter at any time of day or night. They would make sure that the occupants did not have any reminders of Islam; otherwise, the stakes were lighted and the questions were endless. In the best case, when the Inquisitors were in a good mood, they simply expelled the “convicted.”
On February 14th, the Catholic Queen Isabella decided to crack down on the Andalusians. She confiscated their property and totally denied their rights. She was a radical and violent woman who thought that the torments inflicted on people were divine will and the expression of the Christian message. That's why she showed her hate. It happened on February 14, and this day became the day of hate and not of love.
If Moroccans knew their history, they would be more careful about celebrating this day. There are 6 million people in Morocco whose Andalusian ancestors lived through the infamous February 14 crackdown.
Moroccans have a strong relationship with Andalusia and the Iberian peninsula because they are the ones who conquered it with their troops. These troops were mainly Amazigh whose descendants formed the great people of this great country for more than eight centuries. Therefore, February 14 is not connected to those who are Andalusian only, but it is a bitter memory for all Moroccans.
But what do you see these days? A special TV program? No. A documentary about this painful period? No. The publication of books recalling these tragic events? Absolutely not. Newspaper articles writing on this period? Never. Has the head of government said a word about these missing persons? No, nothing, nothing at all but emptiness. We are a sick nation. A seriously sick nation that turns a day of hatred into day of love!
Translated by Nahla Landolsi. Edited by Katrina Busko
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Rabat- "Satan," the famous character played by Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani in the American movie “Son of God” will be removed from the film due to the likeness observed between Mehdi Ouazzani and Barack Obama.
Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani, who had participated in the American production of “The Bible,” has been deprived of his role. This “Son of God” film has been shot partly in Ouarzazate.
According to The Guardian, controversial scenes in which an actor portrays Satan with a startling resemblance to U.S. President Barack Obama have been cut from the film. The big-screen version is based off a hit mini-series about Jesus' life.
In an interview with the Hollywood reporter, producer Roma Downey stated that the controversy over Satan’s appearance had eclipsed the religious message of the series.
"Someone made a comment that the actor who played the devil vaguely resembled our president, and suddenly the media went nuts," Downey said. "The next day, when I was sure everyone would only be talking about Jesus, they were talking about Satan instead.”
She added, "For our movie, Son of God, I wanted all of the focus to be on Jesus. I want his name to be on the lips of everyone who sees this movie, so we cast Satan out. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting-room floor."
Edited by Katrina Busko
By Nabil Ouchagout
Boston- I am Moroccan Muslim and a part of me is Jewish as every Moroccan Jew is partly Muslim. The Influence of these cultures on each other is one of the aspects that any Moroccan with a minimum of knowledge about the history of his country will tell you about. This thought came to my mind after listening to the interview of Nicole El Grissy upon the release of her book “la renaicendre“ :
Nicole El Grissy tells us the relation between the Moroccan Jews and the monarchy, as well as the division caused by the mass exodus of Moroccan Jews following the rumors launched by the Zionists, on the one side and by the Pan-Arabist from the other side.
She particularly emphasizes an interesting and recent phenomenon: through social networks, especially Facebook, the Moroccan Jews and other Moroccans discover again each other and discover that love of each other is always present, the culture of the ones is always present in the culture of other, forming this plural Moroccan identity made up of Moroccan Jews, Moroccan Amazighs, Moroccan coming from Sub-Saharan Africa, Moroccan from Andalusia, etc. It is a so rich and enriching mixture that eventually constituted a single identity and a single Moroccan culture where we find all these influences without making the difference between them.
The awakening of the Jewish identity of Morocco is also in progress thanks to works such as Kamal Hachkar’s excellent documentary “Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes from the Mellah”.
I think that it is time to think about a cultural event that celebrates the plurality of Morocco, which will be opportunity to gather Moroccans from here and elsewhere. Meanwhile, I launch the movement “Moroccans united“. If you agree, post the following picture on your Facebook profile, twitter or other social network.
Translated from French by Nahla Landolsi
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
Bamako- The signing on Thursday of bilateral cooperation agreements heralds a new era in relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and Mali, said Head of State of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
In a statement broadcast by Moroccan television channel Al Oula, Keita considered that the strengthening of ties between the two countries "is consistent with history, geography, and anthropology, noting that His Majesty the King is right to confirm the African identity of the kingdom."
Morocco and Mali are about to herald "a new happy beginning, with cooperation taking place in a climate of trust and brotherhood, he added.
King Mohammed VI and the Malian President chaired on Thursday the signing ceremony of seventeen bilateral cooperation, mainly in the fields of investment protection, livestock, industry, trade promotion, health, mining, oil and gas, finance, telecommunications, and vocational training.
By Ezzoubeir Jabrane
Casablanca- According to the Moroccan daily Al Massae, the direction of territorial surveillance (Direction de surveillance du territoire or DST) and elements of the judicial police arrested on Wednesday an American citizen engaged in missionary activities in the northern Moroccan city of Al Hoceima.
According to the same source, the security forces besieged the American's residence in Mirador neighborhood after it received accurate information saying that the residence in question was often frequented by four underage girls.
The security services confiscated a number of electronic gadgets and CD-ROMs in an unprecedented security alert and surrounded all corners of the neighborhood. The operation drew the attention of the neighbors and the passersby who gathered in huge numbers in the point of arrest before they were dispersed by the police.
The American citizen had been closely watched by the police after a complaint filed by a preacher who suspected that the American exploited his house for immoral activities, especially that teenagers frequented it regularly. However, the police found out that the house was used for proselytizing purposes.
The American has lived in Al Hoceima since the disastrous earthquake in 2004. According to the same source, eye witnessed in his neighborhood reported that that he indulged in mysterious activities and that he probably had connections with international organizations engaged in missionary activities.
Paris- Spanish interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz commended, on Thursday in Paris, Morocco's effective collaboration to fight against illegal immigration.
In a joint press conference with French, Moroccan and Portuguese peers, Manuel Valls, Mohamed Hassad and Miguel Macedo respectively, Diaz said that fighting this plague is a shared, solidarity-based responsibility, noting that the migration pressure impacts countries in both shores of the Mediterranean including Morocco, Spain and all EU countries.
The principle of shared solidarity should come first in the management of this thorny issue, he added.
He went on to say that the Morocco-EU mobility partnership will enable to better manage this problem.
Washington- While I can write a blog, publish a story, or answer friends' and family's questions about my experience abroad in Morocco, there would be something fundamentally different about how I was affected by my experiences and how I convey them to you, my audience. Even the most elaborate recounting of my memories will sorely fail at communicating what really transpired during my 5 months abroad.
Of course I want to be able to recount every detail as it happened but I find it impossible to do justice to experiences that were so real to me and mere "abroad stories" to my friends and family back home. How to truly mesmerize you the way I was memorized when both you and I are now so removed from the moment? It seems to me the ultimate "you-had-to-be-there" paradigm that as much as I want to invite you to relive my experiences with me, I can't. But if I could for a moment... just one fleeting, insignificant, ordinary moment... escape the confines of memory and defy physical laws of time and space, this is a moment I would want for you to experience with me ….
I want to be walking home from school with you on an ordinary day, let's say in October, when you reach into your pocket for your cell phone to check the time out of habit though you know it's the call to prayer and not your watch that's your reference of time here...
I want to share with you the joy of finding a surprise 5 dirham coin in your pocket that you thought you had already spent for the taxi fare home...
I want for you to pinch the lucky coin with your fingers while trying to bee-line through the busy afternoon crowds of the old medina while avoiding baby carriages, beggars, bikers and all other forms of life and obstacles...
I want to feel with you the winning feeling of finding that the freshly-squeezed orange juice cart is magically still in the same place as yesterday though the balding old man with no teeth has been replaced by his spiky, gel-drenched, dark haired junior whose drilling gaze we try to ignore by staring at his obnoxious, yet endearing knock-off Prada T-shirt with Shakira's face plastered beneath the brazen letters...
I want you to notice with me how very out of place yet in perfect harmony he seems in comparison with his surroundings: flip-flops branded with the apple logo, cow skulls grilling opposite the shop where lingerie is sold, side by side with head coverings... clementines and kleenex stacked in neat piles in between stampeding feet, wheelbarrows and wooden crates...
I want to hear you timidly ask the much too eager twenty-something-year-old eyeing you with the oh-so-familiar "hey zwina" for a glass of orange juice in Darija and look on as you watch him dip one of the two drinking glasses at his disposal in a questionably sanitary basin of water meant for “washing”…
I want to witness you shrug your shoulders after the original shock of finding out how your drink will be served and I want to take pride in your smile of resignation as he begins cutting up and squeezing oranges into the glass he so kindly rinsed. I want to be there when he hands you the glass and takes from you the fateful 5 dirham coin with his sticky fingers covered in orange remains and return your single dirham of change...
I want to watch you as you take the first hesitant sip after trying to decide which part of the glass's surface area is least infested with the saliva of previous orange-juice customers... I want to laugh as your eyes light up when the fantastic taste sinks in... I want to roll my eyes when you forget about the angle at which your lips touch the glass in your urgency to take the next sip. And I want to smile on in understanding as you drain the glass, return it and thank your server before he asks you for your number...
After all, that's exactly what I sought to do in the first place... to share an understanding of my experiences, even if just for the moment I just described.
Sahar Kian is a Persian-American student majoring in International Relations at the American University in Washington, D.C. She returned to the United Sates in January after a five-month language study scholarship program in Rabat.
Casablanca- Snakes are bewitching creatures to watch, but they can also be the cause of unforeseen tragedies. A snake charmer in Marrakech lost his life on Friday after he was bitten by one of his snakes.
A Moroccan snake charmer lost his life last Friday in Marrakech at Mamounia Hospital after he was bitten by a snake he was charming in the red city’s famous Jama El Fna Square.
The snake charmer had reportedly attempted to save himself traditionally by just trying to suck the poison out of his vein using his mouth. That method did not work eventually.
As the snake charmer felt acute dizziness, he asked his friend to take him on his motorcycle to Mamounia Hospital, where he died afterwards.
Trusted sources from Jama El Fna told MWN that the performer’s body would be autopsied to verify the cause of his death.
The sad incident has stirred a debate among Marrakech residents, as well as Moroccans from other cities who visit Jamaa El Fna especially to enjoy the memorizing performances of snake charmers.
To what extent are safety standards respected by all performers in Jamaa El Fnaa? Can we still enjoy traditional performances there without recalling incidents like these?
Casablanca- Moroccans shine bright wherever they are. Moroccan-Dutch talent Ayoub Maach has recently won the third edition of Holland’s The Voice Kids after he had wowed both jury and audience with his soulful voice.
Ayoub Maach has just joined the list of talented Moroccans who stunned the world with their voices in various singing competitions across the world.
Maach had auditioned for the first edition of The Voice Kid in 2011, but did not succeed to draw enough attention to him at that time.
Three years later, the ambitious Ayoub auditioned again with his interpretation of Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts. This time, he magnetically drew all attention to him. The four members of the jury turned their seats fast.
Among the three coaches (Marco Borsato, Nick & Simon and Angela Groothuizen) Ayoub Maach chose Team Borsato.
According to his coach, as well as the other two coaches, Ayoub’s voice was unprecedented and enchanted the audience during each of performances.
The new Moroccan star worked harder and polished his singing skills with every performance. He eventually made it to the final to easily win a deserved title.
While Ayoub Maach is still not very popular in his motherland Morocco, he has already reached the summit of “teen popularity” in The Netherlands by winning one of the country’s most popular singing competitions.
“Thank you all for voting for me,” said Ayoub soon after he was awarded the title of The Voice Kids 2014.
Ayoub outperformed both Isabel (Team Nick & Simon) and Stephanie (Angela Groothuizen’s team).
Ayoub went home with a glistering trophy and a scholarship of Euros 10.000. The Moroccan star has made the pride of his two parents as well as that of coach. He has also joined the camp of talented Moroccan people who compete and excel in the name of their motherland.
Rabat- A few days ago, the 20 February Movement celebrated its third anniversary, flavored with dismal failure.
On this day in 2011, the 20 February Youth Movement, a group largely consisting of students, led a series of demonstrations across Morocco. This occurred from 20 February 2011 to the spring of 2012.
The Movement convinced thousands to take to the streets of Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, and Marrakech in peaceful protests. They demanded a new constitution, a change in government, and an end to corruption.
Since then, a new constitution and government have been put in place, but the number of people affiliated with the Movement has dwindled. In recent months, its demonstrations have struggled to gather even a few hundred people.
Now, the protests have stopped, and the gatherings have separated. The question is, did the 20 February Movement succeed or fail?
Many Moroccans have personal opinions about the Movement; some think it was a good initiative that achieved reforms in the Kingdom, while others believe that the 20 February Movement failed due to a lack of specific orientation.
Morocco World News listened to citizens expressing their opinions about the 20 February Movement.
On the one hand, several Moroccans expressed positive attitude toward the Movement, insisting that Moroccans no longer have fear.
“20 February broke the wall of fear and silence,” said Karima el-Wattasi. “Now, our voice is heard by the decision makers. And many reforms have been lunched after the 20 February protests,” explained the 25-year-old student at Kadi Ayad University in Marrakesh.
She added, “Moroccan youth led peaceful protests demanding a new constitution, a change in government, and an end to corruption. These are mature demands.”
Abdelah Jari, a 40-year-old English teacher in Casablanca took part in the 20 February Movement. He stated that on February 23rd 2012, “the National Council for Support of the Feb 20 Movement, also known as the Support Council, was created in Rabat by forty political and civil society groups. This included the DAL, AMDH, ATTAC, Annahj, and Al Adl parties.”
“All [parties] committed to the ground rules that the Casablanca branch had set days before: no distinctive features, slogans, or banners would be tolerated for any political group. Everyone would be behind the 20 February banner and accept the youth’s slogans and overall guidance,” he added.
For Latifa Souilah, a high school teacher in Agadir, the Movement's influence was undermined to a large extent “by the adoption of the Constitution by overwhelming majority in the second half of 2011. This gave enhanced powers to the government and a historic victory for the Islamist Justice and Development Party,” she explained.
Supporting the Movement, Younes Souis a student in Dhar Lmehraz University in Fez said, “thanks to 20 February, Morocco’s 2011 events were a perfect tale of popular protests with a happy ending.”
He added, “after huge pro-democracy demonstrations broke out, the government complied without firing a bullet and a reformed constitution was approved by popular referendum.”
On the other hand, other citizens expressed negative attitudes toward the Movement, stressing that it was led by unknown figures. This discouraged Moroccans to join the crowds on the streets.
“Demands were not clear and specific due to the lack of coordination among the founders, since it included individuals with different ideologies,” said Ali Kamel, a student at Ibno Zohr University in Agadir.
For Abdelali Zaynoun, a student journalist, the movement failed to gain the support of many Moroccans because of the vague backgrounds of its leaders. “Moroccans didn’t have any idea about the real organizers of the movement, neither their inclinations nor their political or intellectual interests,” he explained.
In the same vein, Marouan Dardour, a student at Agdal University and a waiter at a café in Rabat told Morocco World News, “I witnessed the events of 2011. People at the cafés were talking negatively about the movement.”
“We weren’t excited to join the streets because we heard that the 20 February was set up by atheists and homosexual figures, such as some members from the association ‘Kif Kif,’ which aims to legalize homosexuality in Morocco, and from ‘W Ana Mali,’ which calls for the protection of atheists in Morocco,” he explained.
Dounia Atif, a Master’s student at Mohamed V University in Rabat told MWN that demonstrations and protests should have come from inside Morocco to struggle for the internal issues. “The movement was managed by figures living abroad. Thus, any movement organized from abroad would end in failure, because Moroccans are more patriotic than their expatriates,” she explained.
MWN tried to contact Mohammed Sokrat, one of the Movement’s founders, who was jailed. He refused to reply.
However, we were able to contact Mehdi Hehi, another founder from Guelmim in southern Morocco.
In his response on the opinions of the citizens, Hehi stressed that the 20 February Movement wasn’t inspired from the Arab Spring. “20 February is a series of social movements, which are deeply rooted in the history of Morocco.”
Hehi said that the movement included figures with different backgrounds. “Thus, it was hard to coordinate with them and agree on specific demands. Meanwhile our aim was attracting Moroccans to the streets in order to express their demands themselves,” he explained.
In response to the accusation that the movement was managed from abroad, Hehi said, “that’s true, the Movement included Moroccans who spent their whole lives abroad. Most of them were radicals, such as Allouli from the US, who was against the monarchy.” He then added, “But those radicals were not the only founders of the movement. All Moroccans are the founders of the 20 February Movement,” he explained.
Hehi concluded that, “the accusations that 20 February was set up by atheists and homosexuals were due to the stereotype introduced by the media campaign. The campaign was carried out by State television and radio in order to deface the reputation of those young ambitious activists.”
Edited by Katrina Bushko
Paris - France required, Saturday, to shed light as soon as possible on the demand to schedule a hearing for the Director General of Territory Surveillance (DGST) for accusations of alleged torture complicity in Morocco.
In response to the demand of the Moroccan authorities, we have immediately required to shed light as soon as possible on this unfortunate incident, in the spirit of the friendship between Morocco and France, said spokesperson of the French foreign affairs ministry Romain Nadal in a statement.
France's news agency (AFP) recently reported that a French NGO has demanded to schedule a hearing for the DGST in this case.
Minister delegate for foreign affairs Mbarka Bouaida summoned, on Friday at the ministry's headquarters, France's ambassador in Rabat Charles Fries to express Morocco's strong protest following information about a complaint lodged against the Director General of Territory Surveillance (DGST) concerning an alleged torture complicity in Morocco.
A statement by the foreign affairs ministry said that Bouaida affirmed that Morocco flatly rejects the cavalier procedure that runs counter diplomatic usages and the baseless judiciary cases that were cited.
Boston- Will 2014 be the year of Africa? Will the long-awaited events be the sign of the increasing celebrity of the African continent?
The EU-Africa summit, that will take place in Brussels in April, the USA-Africa summit in Washington in August, the visit of the Chinese president in Senegal and the second tour of the king Mohamed VI are all connected.
At the end of January, President Barack Obama has invited 47 African head of states to participate to the USA-Africa Summit. The President had promised it during his visit in Africa last June. Behind this meeting, a seasoned observer could assume that American President will seek to reinforce the American presence threatened by many ”partners”. Organized under the theme of investment, the aim is to ”highlight the US commitment to Africa’s security, democratic development, and people.”
On the other side of the Atlantic, the topic of the 4th EU-Africa summit will be "Investing in the human element, prosperity and peace". On the European Council1 website it states, "The 2014 Summit will be the opportunity to take a new look at the EU-Africa partnership, to highlight some of the results obtained and to explore new sectors of future cooperation. Among the topics to be discussed, there will be education and training, women and young people, legal and illegal migratory flows between the two continents, ways to stimulate growth and create jobs, investment for peace and various ways to strengthen the aid provided by the EU to develop the capacities for the African continent to manage security on its territory.”
If relations between the EU and Africa are largely based on a common EU-Africa strategy, which was adopted at the second summit in 2007, the meeting at the White House is being shaken by the increase of investors in Africa.
For example, China covered the construction of the headquarters of African Union, which is estimated at $200 million, and the tallest building in Ethiopia finished in 2011. According to Roads and Kingdoms website, China built no less than 30 governmental and sports facilities over the last 50 years. During his visit last June, Obama has urged Africans to ask more questions to foreign investors, saying that it is "important that Africans check if these interactions are good for Africa.”
Faced with these partnerships, a south-south co-development model is developing, and this is the Morocco-Africa model. A strategy initiated since 2000 when the King of Morocco created the event by announcing – at the last Europe-Africa summit held in Cairo – the cancellation of the least developed African countries’ debt and the total exemption of customs duties on their exported products to Morocco.
The breakout of the crisis in Mali was the occasion to illustrate Morocco’s presence in and solidarity with in Africa. Morocco bases this partnership on the support sustainable development, the promoting of human skills and the increasing involvement of the private sector, as well as new stakeholders in the sharing expertise.
Morocco is taking part in several development projects in the fields of electrification, water resources management, irrigation, basic infrastructure, health, etc. Also, many state-owned companies are involved in the implementation of Morocco’s policy in Africa. It is in this context that King Mohamed VI has started his second tour in less than a year.
The King arrived in Bamako Tuesday evening for a five-day visit to Mali, and he will then continue his tour in Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon. This tour will be followed closely by observers and different partners of the Kingdom, in that it should be a south-south co-development model in the both EU-Africa and USA-Africa upcoming summits.
Translated by Nahla Landolsi
Casablanca- While biological racism today has relatively decreased compared to 100 years ago, other forms of discrimination have emerged. Simon Clarke uses the term “new racism” to refer to forms of discrimination that put excessive emphasis on cultural rather than biological differences.
In this sense, new racism includes any sort of discrimination against individuals or groups of people with dissimilar cultural practices or ways of life. This form of racism is what Clarke describes as “the exaggeration of [cultural] difference.” New racism, according to Clarke, “ignores the wealth of cultural and ethnic diversity,” while putting more weight on social “dichotomies.”
In new racism, the emphasis on cultural difference creates “an emotional boundary” between “them” and “us.” The exaggeration of ethnic difference is one manifestation of new racism. One repercussion of this, according to Martin Barker, is that it generates “a common sense that people from different cultural backgrounds cannot live together [and that] it is ‘natural’ for people to live with their ‘own kind’.” Any example of “ethnic mingling,” in which people with different ethnic identities successfully manage to live together, is deemed a social peculiarity.
Many Moroccans still consider the relationship between the two major ethnic groups in the Kingdom, Arabs and Amazigh, as characterized by discernable forms of cultural discrimination. Based on a report issued by Moroccan news portal Tamazgha.fr in 2003, the discrimination that Moroccan Amazigh are subjected to mainly comes in the form of “forced assimilation” into the culture of the Arabs.
One aspect of this forced assimilation is inherent in the process of Arabization that the Moroccan State carried out in the past so as to counter the dominance of colonial languages. According to the same report, the process of Arabization denied Amazigh the right to the expression and practice of a distinctive identity by granting more privileges to Moroccan Arabs, while Amazigh were forced to relinquish their cultural identity in order to access the same privileges.
Arabization, in this sense, oppressively forces Amazigh to learn and use Arabic in order to enjoy certain basic rights, such as the right to education. According to Tamazgha’s report, Arabization was one of the main reasons behind both the explicit and implicit discrimination that Amazigh in Morocco still undergo today.
The Arabization process seems to correspond to the process of “identity normalization” that Clarke refers to in his article. Clarke brings up Margaret Mead’s 1934 work to account for how an individual’s or a group’s “sense of cultural identity…is [sometimes] overwhelmed by the normalization of self by society.”
The identity that is mostly subject to normalization is that of the Amazigh, and the normalizing society is believed to be that of the Arabs. To get access to either public or private education, Amazigh are required to speak Arabic rather than one of their languages.
In addition to French, Arabic is the language of instruction in Morocco, and one factor behind the privilege it enjoys today is mainly due to the importance that it has been attached to the Arabization process. According to Clarke, this happens when “cultural identity is used to pathologize other cultures whilst reinforcing who we are.”
The linguistic normalization of Amazigh in education and the job market, for instance, accounts for the “pathologization” of the Berber identity in the Kingdom. The process of forced Arabization and the resistance it has received from many Amazigh is what creates binary oppositions in terms of identities.
Many types of discourses in Morocco seem to victimize Amazigh’s identity, which is mostly described as that of a less privileged ethnic group. Such victimizing discourse generates what Clarke describes as “stigmatized identities.” This stigmatization is clearly perceptible in a plethora of Moroccan jokes generated by Arabs on Amazigh and vice versa:
1. A joke about Amazigh: Fire erupts in a Berber man’s shop. He then beeps the firefighters to avoid wasting money calling them. The firefighters then send him a message that reads “weew weew” (the sound of a fire truck’s siren).
2. A joke about Arabs: An Arab enters a shop for household appliances. He likes a TV, and asks the shopkeeper about its price. The shopkeeper replies, “I don’t sell to Aroubis. The Arab then exits the shop, disguises himself as a businessman, and reenters the shop. He then asks the shopkeeper again, “How much is this TV?” The shopkeeper replies, “I don’t sell to Aroubis” The Arab furiously asks, “How do you know I’m Aroubi?” The shopkeeper replies, “That’s not a TV. That’s a microwave!”
These jokes are only two among many other popular jokes Arabs and Amazigh generate about each other in Morocco. The first joke about the Amazigh man highlights a recurrent stereotype that is held about Amazighs in Morocco: they are “stingy” people.
The second joke highlights a stereotype that is held about Arabs: Arab people are “A’roubis” (a derogatory term used to describe Arabs from the countryside as stupid). Both jokes encompass a clear degree of stigmatization of the other’s identity.
By emphasizing the other’s imperfections, differences are exaggerated and discrimination subsequently takes place. One dangerous repercussion of these stereotypes is that they are used with knowledge about the other.
For instance, Al Mokri Abou Zaid, a deputy of Morocco’s ruling Islamist Party, the PJD, told a joke about Amazighs during a scientific conference in Saudi Arabia. After telling his joke, Abou Zaid stated, “There are people in Morocco who are known for being acutely stingy, and they are from a specific ethnicity.”
Clearly, these stereotypes are sometimes referred to as factual knowledge of the “other.” According to Papademetriou Demetrios, they are also used to identify and define the “other” as very different, and thus as a source of discomfort and social anxiety.
The stigmatizing stereotypes generated about a certain ethnic group, such as the Amazighs, and the exaggerated emphasis on differences in public discourses mostly leads to what Clarke describes as “ethnic hatred…in which people come to hate each other as particular notions of self and identity are re-written in relation to Others.” This is what characterizes new racism, according to Clarke.
The two jokes cited above, for instance, are examples of how groups and individuals idealize their identities while stigmatizing the identities of others. According to Clarke, this leads to the construction of “ethnic boundaries,” which complicate interaction and cohabitation between the various ethnic groups that form each society.
Clarke’s article “Culture and Identity” is significant because it accounts for the sources of different forms of discrimination and racism in societies. The article explains how the most intense forms of discrimination and racism start with a simple emphasis on difference. This exaggeration of difference takes place during the process of identity construction.
The self is constructed not in relation to the other, but against it. This consequently leads to feelings of fear and anxiety that are sometimes translated into intolerance, racism, and discrimination.
An interesting way of viewing culture was highlighted by Stuart Hall in 1999; according to Hall, one should view and define cultural identity as “not just about being, but becoming.” When cultural identity is defined as an ongoing process, cultural interaction and mingling become possible, and the discrimination generated by fear of the other becomes a myth.
In the case of Amazigh and Arabs, the two ethnic identities tend to be referred to as opposed and fixed, with their own exclusive characteristics. Viewing the Arab and Berber identities as processes would eradicate the ethnic discrimination and hatred that are still perceptible in many aspects of Moroccan life.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
Taroudant, Morocco- According to the Moroccan newspaper Almassae, the Ministry of Health has issued statistics indicating that more than five million Moroccans are depressed, and 200 thousand suffer from mental disorders.
The same source said that Hisham Berri, responsible for psychological and mental health in the Epidemiology Department in the Ministry of Health, revealed that nearly 49% of Moroccans aged 15 and older experienced psychological disorders in their lives, including lack of sleep, insomnia, and depression.
Hicham Berri added that 3% are heavy consumers of drugs, including 2.8% addicted. The percentage of excessive alcohol consumers reached 2%, with 1.4 % addicted.
In addition to the alarming shortfall of medical staff for psychological and mental illness, only 83 health institutions in the country provide psychological and mental care, which represents 0.25% of basic health institutions.
As for the reception capacity of patients suffering from depression and mental disorders, the number is estimated to be 30 units, with 2,043 beds.
According to a November 2013 study conducted by researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland, “the Middle East and North Africa suffer the world’s highest depression rates.”
While common people may describe depression as feeling unhappy and down, experts consider it a serious illness that can lead to severe health complications if the depressed does not go through medical care and special treatment.
According to the World Health Organization, “about 121 million people worldwide have some form of depression, although less than 25 percent have access to effective treatment.”
Abidjan - the King Mohammed VI affirmed, on Monday in Abidjan, that Morocco fully adheres to its African calling as it always has throughout its history.
"Morocco, just like Côte d'Ivoire, fully adheres to its African calling, as it always has throughout its history," said the King in a speech at the opening ceremony of the Moroccan-Ivorian economic forum.
Morocco, a pioneer in the triangular cooperation mechanism, is willing to put its credibility and the trust it enjoys with its partners at the service of sister African nations, said the sovereign, underlining Africa's need to benefit from the opportunities offered by triangular cooperation as an innovative tool that facilitates joint efforts and helps achieve optimum use of resources.
For the sovereign, the mechanisms and scope of diplomacy are expected to adapt to new realities.
"Today, as in the past, diplomatic relations are at the heart of our relationship. Even so, and considering the profound changes affecting the world, the mechanisms and scope of diplomacy - even its status in international relations - are expected to adapt to new realities," the sovereign said.
In the past, diplomacy served to consolidate political ties. Today, it is the economic dimension which predominates. It is a crucial component of diplomatic relations, the king added.
The King noted that all projects are important, provided they are relevant and designed to serve the citizen.
"Needless to say, there are projects which have nation-wide significance and impact. Morocco knows this firsthand. Our infrastructure projects have been entirely carried out relying on Moroccan expertise - from design to actual implementation - be it highways, electrification projects, dam, port or airport construction," the Monarch underlined.
The King noted the existence of projects "which, although smaller in scale, are particularly important because they have a direct bearing on the citizens and aim to improve their daily lives."
"At one time, cooperation was based on trust and on historical ties. Today, it increasingly hinges on efficiency, performance and credibility," the sovereign said.
Rabat- Malians grow ever more admiring of King Mohammed VI, and they will never forget the week which he spent among them. However, the official driver of Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita considers himself the most fortunate of all.
“Near the Moroccan royal residence at Daoudabougou in Diago, it was His Majesty Mohammed VI who drove president of the Republic, His Excellency Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, with the driver in the King’sseat” noted Malian news site Malijet.com.
The same source claims that the Malian driver, Moussa, "will enter the history books from now on as the only person to have had the privilege of a currently ruling King as his driver, and a sitting president as his bodyguard. What a lucky man!.“
The press release concluded that all Malians who have always “adored the Chérifien sovereign, HM King Mohammed VI, now have even more reason to be taken with the charisma of the Moroccan monarch”.
Edited by Jessica Rohan
Casablanca- Monday was a day full of action in Morocco’s Northern Pearl, Tangier. An armed gang attacked an armored bank truck, robbing MAD 7.5 million from it.
According to news website Le360, an armed gang made of four people robbed an armored bank truck after they had attacked the two bank guards who were in charge of it.
The four suspects then immediately flew away in a fast car taking with them MAD 7.5 million. The two bank guards were left with different levels of injury.
According to the same source, as of Monday afternoon a helicopter from the Royal Gendarmerie was still tracking the armed gang in coordination with the National Security Services.
Tangier is not the only Moroccan city that has witnessed the emergence of new criminal activities. Last August, the police managed to arrest Chinese criminals who attempted to assassinate a Chinese citizen at Casablanca’s Derb Omar.
Last September, fire shots were heard at the Boulevard Mohammed VI in Casablanca. The victim was another Chinese man who was seriously injured in a reckoning operation. The perpetrators of the shooting were subsequently arrested.
Two months later, Casablanca Police announced the dismantling of an international mafia network active in the field of cross-border organized crime. Twenty-two members were arrested in the operation, and some suspects were found to be Maghrebans bearing the nationality of a European country.
Morocco’s Southern Pearl, Marrakech, was also not immune from this type of criminal activities in Morocco. Last November, three French citizens of Moroccan origins were arrested after they were suspected of being involved in fatal shootings that had taken place earlier in 2013.
Rabat- Israeli experts and scientists took part in the plenary session of the International Forum of Renewable Energy, which was held from February 19th to 21st in Rabat.
After participating in the forum, Israeli experts confirmed Israel’s willingness to help Morocco implement a system of renewable power production for residential environments. The production would be connected to the electric grid.
According to the news site Identité Juive, the Academie Hassan II des Sciences et Technologies holds the Israeli offer in high regard, and has expressed its desire to see cooperation with the Israeli researchers in order to offer young Moroccan graduates the opportunity to master renewable energy technologies.
According to the same source, Israel is recognized worldwide for its expertise in environmental technology. This expertise has been developed by universities and Israeli companies, and it is implemented in agriculture and industry.