mardi 6 février 2018

لا قاع أحمر

credits: Internet

فرق كبير بين عاهرات جنيف وعاهرات مغربي العزيز
قيل، سجارات فاخرة، ونبيذ عتيق وأحذية بقاع أحمر
تركع لهن عروش على طولها تحت قدميها العارية خاوية
لا،
لا، تلك التي أعرفها أنا الآن هاوية،
لم تعد ترى ضوء بداية النفق
أما نهايته، فبعض أنقاض أمانٍ مبعثرة
صباحها عباءة سوداء ووشاح أسود على الرأس غطاء
هكذا عرفتها، واحدة من الباقيات الصالحات
سواد على سواد، وكأنها في حداد على الحياة وحتى الممات
كلمترات بعيدة عن مسقط رأسها،
أحذية عليها وحل
فناجين قهوة مَرار
صنة سجائر تفوح
خرجات صباح مبكر في برد طنجة القارس
عودة ثقيلة، خطوات ثقيلة، رأس مطأطأ
هكذا عرفتها، واحدة من الباقيات 
أيام ولت، خلتها هي التي عرفت
مسكينة بلا سند ولا ظل فهذه الحياة
حزينة على ماكان ولم يكن
حتى ظننت أن المستذئبين خرافة
لكن، ليلة مقمرة أم لا كانت جد كافية
لتخرج المستذئبة من لباس الباقيات البشري
شعر بني على أكنافها ملتوٍ
وجه مرسوم عبث،
حواجب موشومة
عينانين مكحولتان
شفاه ممتلئة تكاد حمرتها تنفجر لافا
ثديان شبه عارية، معروضة فوق الطلب
خصر ممتلئ ملتو حول نصف شبر ثوب
ساقان ممشوقان 
وحذاء كعب عال،
لا، لا قاع أحمر، لا
عطر فائح استغوى الجو حولنا، ولم ينل من رائحة السجائر الكريهة
ليس من عاداتي تثمين الأشياء أو استرخاصها 
لكن اصدار الأحكام المسبقة لاشعوريا انغرزت شوكته فية حتى النخاع
ماعساني سوى أن أرى الرخص مستذئب أمامي
نظرة شاملة على وقفتها كانت كافية
وكأنها في حداد على الحياة وحتى الممات، سواد في سواد
صباح مساء
حيث هي فعلا في حداد 
إلى الغد، كان كل ما قلته
...............................يتبع


lundi 29 janvier 2018

Once in Taghazout, I tried to look for the hostel I booked a room at. I found the owner and he informed that my reservation was cancelled because I didn't answer his phone call, which I never received. When asked him to check the phone number he used, it was definitely mine but the last two pair of numbers were misplaced. My bad.

The room I booked was already taken, so he suggested that he himself would look for suitable accommodation for me. Eventually, he hooked me up with his cousin who owns a house and rent separate rooms. I got a room in the second floor with shared kitchen, bathroom and living room. It was clean and in rather secure place, so I took it. Upon my arrival to the said house, I found to foreigners about to check in.

Besides the owners of the house, I was the only Moroccan amongst two Irish and a group of 3 Spanish surfers. My room was next to the Irish guys. The Irish guys and I arrived at the same time to the house, so when the tenant was showing me my room, his brother was showing the Irish guys theirs and asking for their passports to complete the formalities.

The Spanish group were settled in the roof floor, been there for almost a week, I heard. All I heard from them were the "hola" and the sound of their struggle to bring up or down their paddle and surfing boards. They were beyond sun-bathed and often stoned.

The Irish guys, on the other hand, we became friends. One in his late fifties and the other in his late thirties. I learnt that the two of them knew each other on their flight to Morocco only and they have traveled together in improv. They visited Fez and Chafchaouen and they intended to go south. When I say friends, I meant friends who didn't worry about or bother memorizing the names of each other because it was fine. 

jeudi 4 janvier 2018

A Sola Backpacker - Part VI

What stroked me the most is that most of the people I encountered were very friendly. You smile and they immediately smile back, that if they don't actually smile first. As far as I go, the urban features are getting simpler, or rather more 'primitive', if I may say. Less fancy houses, less fancy cafés, less schools, less entertainment areas, less health services, less "civilization". The more I walked, the more I felt content and at peace. The bigger that satisfaction, the bigger grew my excitement and drive and the more I felt hungry :D. 

I stopped by a restaurant. Ordered the easiest meal on the menu, I was starving. Meanwhile I started chitchating with one of the waiters. "First of all, he said, you are eventually in Tamraght." Then, he pointed out that there are not many hotels around and that the owner of the restaurant might arrange a room for me, given he own a small hostel. My guts said no. I told him that I wanted to book a room in a hostel but it was busy. He said that it should, given that it was surfing season and all hotels, hostels and apartments tend to be fully booked. 


A guy undoubtedly was ear dropping , as once the waiter left, he started a conversation with me regarding a place to rent. I let him make his offer: a bed in his little cottage down the beach, cheap, clean and safe; conveniences: no electricity, no private bathroom, no neighbors. No. So I looked for accommodation in Taghazout and luckily I found one. 

I enjoyed that little break and decided to keep going to reach Taghazout.

It was a bit difficult to carry on in the same pace as my stomach was full, so I took it slow. Along the way, there were lot of construction projects, so I passed by trucks, workers, and dust. One security guard advised me that if I want to reach Taghazout, there is a quick shortcut after about 10 min walk to my right, it'd take me down the beach. I asked him about the other main road, he said that it gets up to the mountain, circling the buildings at the bottom of the hill. 

As tired As I were, I opted for the shortcut, bearing in mind that there are touristic residents ashore and that it would be secure for me to walk along the beach even if it were deserted. To my surprise it was not. As I discovered later on, the said beach is only a 5 min walk from Taghazout.

I reached Taghazout around 5 PM. -ish. It was busy, lot of vans and caravans parked along the way; coffee shops oozing with tourists, lot of surfing boards and wet-suits.....



mercredi 27 décembre 2017

A Part-time Prostitute V

One evening I heard footsteps on the corridor, heels to be exact from two different pair and female voices. Well, my room was next the main door, so yeah I heard basically everything. Anyways, it was bit unusual given that only two people live in that flat, me and her. My parents don't have time to visit and her family never visited her, so I got curious.

The very next morning, I went to buy some supplies and the shopkeeper briefed me, of course
" - I heard that your flatmate has visitors?
- Really? I don't know.
- Yes, I saw them yesterday around 8, all high-heeled and with hug suitcases.
- Aha.
- I can't hide it but they look suspicious.
- Aha. Are you done?
- Yes, I mean it is not my business, but you see we live in this conservative neighborhood with families and stuff. It is just those girls are suspicious."

I bit my tongue to stop me from asking him about the girls he keeps bringing to his apartment every night. Because guess what, he lives in the apartment upstairs. I bit my tongue to stop myself from busting him. Because guess what, I saw him tiptoeing one upstairs. Whatever!

I had quite a busy week. I didn't get the chance to meet with the visitors nor chitchat with my flatmate. By Saturday, she came knocking on my door around 9 in the evening, and inviting me to her room to introduce me to her friends. I wanted to refuse but well, I went. 

Two girls, one my age and another younger, smoking like chimney. Fake nails, hair-extension, lowest V-necks ever and jeans about to bust open. The girl my age was white, with vision glasses, black hair and cute smile. The other one, dark-skinned with a hoarse voice, long tie dye black and light-brown hair, rather pretty and appeared to be rude. We greeted each other and conversation flowed. The dark skinned happened to be my flatmate's bartender friend's daughter  and the other girl is her friend; both are living in Turkey and coming to Morocco for vacation; both working in bars as waitresses. That explains a lot. They summoned me to inform me that one of the most famous nightclubs in Tangier sent them an offer and they needed company: one free liquor bottle of their choice for a bunch of 5 girls. Three of them, me and some other girl we should find/invite asap. 

I just phased out from the conversation, making a mental list of the reasons I won't join them. 

1. I have mid-terms to study for and two presentations to prepare;
2. I don't drink/smoke;
3. I am broke;
4. I have nothing to wear (that's gonna be a lame reason, bearing in mind the amount of clothes scattered over that room, on the sofas, on top of the suitcases, on the floor...
5. my hair is a mess;
6. I don't have any other female friend into clubbing.

So I opted for excuse 1 and 6. They hated me for that but well. 

I stayed for a cup of tea and it was really interesting. The way they interacted with each other was strange to me. They acted like sisters and enemies. My first impression was proved. The girl with the glasses, with her naive features and petite physique, is the actual brains. The rude-appearing one was actually sweet but her appearance would made it hard to appreciate her for herself. They started talking about guys, cheating, sugar daddies and a lot of concepts I never heard of until then. And of course, they made fun of my non-drinking non-smoking character.

vendredi 8 décembre 2017

Morocco, Moroccans and Sub-Saharan Illegal Immigrants

Once again, the issue of the Sub-Saharan immigrants resurfaces. Moroccan society is truly and literally divided over this issue, especially after a clash between Moroccans and illegal immigrants in Casablanca a couple of days ago. Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, Safi, Essaouira and other Moroccan cities have known a significant flux of illegal immigrants from countries down South, along with Syrians refugees. Those aim at crossing the borders to Ceuta or Melilla or reaching the greener side, Europe. Some are still waiting for the so-longed for opportunity to cross or reach; some have reached the greener side, got caught and were repatriated while others, unfortunately, died trying.
 
©Mathiew Willcocks, World Press Photo
A significant number of Moroccans think that the government and the authorities should repatriate any individual from African Countries, as they are not welcome into Morocco due to their behaviors, difference or simply race that tarnish the image of Morocco worldwide. Their argument is that many of those illegal immigrants stuck in Morocco are working as drugs dealers, beggars, pickpockets or running prostitution networks. "We don't want those “Aawaza” (blacks) in our country", one old woman said in taxi conversation, "I fear that there will come a day when they would colonize us and claim our lands as theirs. What would happen then to us and to our children". "Look around us, 'Africans' are everywhere", added the taxi driver, "they don't do us any good, and after the King's order to regulate their situation and to issue residence permits to them, they will be empowered more than they already are".

Such un-educated opinions are a combo of racial, religion and other differences mainly. "They don't respect us, neither respect our religion, culture and traditions", said one Facebook comment, "you know why that incident happened (in reference to the clash between Moroccans and illegal immigrants), it happened because one or many of them harassed one Moroccan girl in the street and two Moroccans interfered to help her; the harassers got backup and the girl called backup, her family and neighbors, and things got out of hands urging police intervention". "The government is to blame. When they saw Euros, they agreed to take those immigrants blindly without considering the aftermaths. We don’t know who they are, they might be rapists, criminals, or killers escaping justice." One comment in a Moroccan online newspaper stated. Some go as far as refusing to rent houses to 'Africans', simply because they are 'Africans or because they are 'loud', 'dirty' and tend to overcrowd the houses.
 
Credits: le360.ma
On the other hand, aside from any racial or biased prejudices, many citizens think that Morocco has its hands full with the current interior conditions. “As much as we want to welcome our brothers and sisters into our country, as much as we fear that with the increase of unemployment and illiteracy, difficulties facing the educational system, stumbling heath institutions, and the like, the country would fail both of us ”, stated a comment on Facebook.” As a matter of fact, Morocco is bound by many partnership and cooperation agreements with European countries, mainly Portugal, Spain, France and Italy regarding illegal immigrants coming from Morocco and other African countries. In fact, most of these agreements appoint Morocco as a border "guard" to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into Europe and to abort any attempts to reach the other bank by fighting against illegal immigration mafias.
 
©Sergi Camara - The Guardian
Such mission forces Morocco, its government authorities and security services to deplore plenty of its resources to ensure the "guarding" mission. In addition, depending on each agreement, Morocco is not only expected to guard the borders but also to receive and welcome the repatriated immigrants into its territory, not only Moroccans, but also immigrants from other African countries and ensure their rights and reintegration. That alone will take all Morocco's focus, concentration and resources, as NGO's, Human Rights organizations, and binding treaties and agreements are regularly supervising and monitoring the situation.

European aids and funds to carry such "guarding" mission only are not sufficient. Such issue needs strategies and methods that Morocco is not capable of making. Take Germany and other European "developed" countries for example, they have had their hands full when managing the flux of refugees; Then what would Morocco, a country under development, do? As a result of the lack of such strategic and well-built approaches ensuring a suitable life for those immigrants, many citizens strongly recommend that Morocco itself should repatriate the immigrants to their home countries for public benefit.
[ 
Credits: Fondation Orient - Occident[
It is not like there are not any illegal Moroccan immigrants in Europe or elsewhere - or at least Moroccans who used to be illegal immigrants before the regulation of their situations. In this regard, I share with many the belief that society, associations and individuals should take part in the reintegration of those illegal immigrants, through organizing events to introduce the Moroccan culture, traditions and lifestyle, to establish mutual understanding of each other’s differences and to help improve the lives of those immigrants, interacting with them without prejudices and treating them right, after all, notwithstanding color, language, faith or status, they are human beings.

Foundation Occident Orient is a great illustration of such reintegration. It provides assistance and help to immigrants and refugees. It provides a platform for those immigrants to reintegrate society and to meet with, discover and exchange with Moroccans. Another example of this integration is the African Cultural Center in Rabat that promotes African culture in Morocco and the exchange between Moroccans, Sub-Saharan immigrants and non-Moroccans residents through organizing cultural days, souks (markets), art exhibitions and so forth.

I personally have come across many immigrants who integrated the Moroccan society. Some have earned their residence permits, found jobs, married Moroccans or brought their wives from home, even learnt Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and started a living in Morocco either by working as musicians, dance teachers, sellers, journeymen, beauticians, laborers and sadly beggars; some are still waiting for the regulation of their status while others, unfortunately, are still pursuing the dream to reach the other side.
 
©Walid Bendra, Instagram

If you visit the Twin Center, you will find beauty shops owned by non-Moroccan Africans. If you go to Bab Chellah in Rabat, or Rue Rabat in Safi, you will witness with your own eyes the interactions between Moroccans and non-Moroccans. My Shea butter supplier is a Senegalese. My sister's hairdresser is Congolese. And I even learnt the "tchiiip" from an Ivorian beautician.

In sum, I agree with the worries of Moroccans regarding public safety. I believe that Morocco and other African countries should bind their efforts to manage this issue, especially now that Morocco reclaimed its seat back in the African Union. And If Europe appointed Morocco to do the dirty work in exchange of funds and aids, other African countries need to lend a helping hand to find solution, be it the governments or NGOs. Immigrants, legal or illegal, repatriated or stuck in Morocco are human beings who left their home countries escaping wars and hardships looking forward to better life conditions. They need assistance and help. They need to enjoy their rights as human beings as well as assume duties. They not only need to obtain legal status but also need to have access to social security, to education, and to health care. Morocco, unfortunately, cannot achieve such accomplishments alone.