11 April 2006

Unlearning Moroccan Arabism

Finally there are people who start to question some of the “general academic comforts” about Moroccan identities. Is Morocco an Arab country? ( oui bien sure )
For many decades the Moroccan visitors, guests, students, scholars, anthropologists bought into the old story of the Moorish world successfully sculptures to fit the needs of an “Orient” full of dreams, harem, and desert camels.
Moroccans helped.
The foreign language craftsmen like T.Benjelloun, Berrada, Chraibi … and crafts women like Lalla Fatima Mernissi recreated the image of the Harem and sold it to the west. A return policy based on dexterity and the craft of verbiage.
When students of Morocco are given these stories as required readings, they have to read and reproduced the stories. They recreated the narrative patterns. But as they still travel round the country and usually run head into the question and find it hard to go round it. Michelle Medina in her article publishe at Glimps dotcom had the courage to ask the question. She concludes:

Moroccan identities confuse our desire to simplify culture and fixate on color. Ultimately for me, the beauty of this country is its fluidity, its seamless ability to be many things at once.

Some ignore it and keep going through the tunnel of denial others stop and ask for directions. Is Morocco an Arab country?
Why do you care, it is Morocco and we are an Muslim and Arab country. This has been decided long ago and it has been written on the books. Go to any University in the UK, France or the US of A. look at the book shelves. Look at the nice achievements and awards these skilful craftsmen had harvested from others like them in appreciation of the hard work they do.
Now what’s new?
“Ait debrouille” , "Les Sindbads marocains"? a move towards civil society the fashion of development and women empowerment strategies a white burden a la marocaine. This is where the Moroccans lost contact of their “literates”. How asks what question? When did Fatima go to Ait Iktel to find answers for what sells best the Harem or “l'intelligence de miser”? it is easy to schedule the move now that the world of letters calls it “Development”
Now is a good time to start thinking the Berbers of Morocco might sell better. they might be a good material for crafting without abandoning the old “academic comfort” established by old pan-arabs, old second-hand-pan-arab friends from the west.
Some of the Moroccans of the blog sphere are still behind… “witness”(n arabic)

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