Meeting Moroccans in and out of the country

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I went out with some friends tonight and we happened to round out the night chilling at a Dunkin Donuts. The guys working there happened to be…. MOroccan!

and I could tell as soon as I heard one of them speak ( my MOroccandar is awesome!…lol). They were so nice. Actually, I have met quite a few Moroccans in Boston, and am a bit surprised that I had not noticed them before. I met some at Subway sandwich shop I frequent and some more at an Auntie Anne’s (let’s not get into my fast-food eating habits…lol… this summer has been rough and on the go constantly).

What I have been reflecting on is how different the treatment I received in-country is from the way MOroccans here in the states have treated me. If I had met these people when I was languishing in Rabat’s old Medina, I would have been spared my mental and emotional stability
( no, I literally lost hold of these things for quite some time because of my MOrocco experience).

I always think about blogging about Morocco, but honestly it’s a wound so sharp and cut so deep that I’m not sure that opening that door to past so widely will help rather than hinder my healing process.

At any rate, my brief encounters with Moroccans in the states, their kindness towards me even before they know that I am Middle Eastern Studies person, or that I studied/lived in their country compounded with their excitement once they find out that I speak Arabic (or at least speak some Arabic..lol) leaves me a bit perplexed. Whenever people hear that I have been abroad they always want to know how my experience was, what the country and people were like. Describing Morocco has always been a slippery slope for me: melding cold objectivity with my fiery hot hatred for what I had to go through. Which perspective is the real one?

Who are the “real Moroccans?” the ones I meet here (and the admittedly few kind ones I had positive encounters with while in the country) or the evil and (insert epithet here) ones  that made my daily life a living hell and question my sanity?

Returning to Morocco a year after my horrible experience did not really answer this question for me either. I guess the answer must simply be that both groups are. There are good and bad within any group/culture. But, this response seems trite, almost a punk of a compromise…lol.

I would like to think about it more, but I’m not sure I want to reflect on Morocco at-length anymore.

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4 thoughts on “Meeting Moroccans in and out of the country

  1. Gazelle du Sahara

    lol… thanks Khadija, but my Moroccan Arabic professor beat you to it 🙂

    No, I didn’t have a bad experience, I had several (what I would call) horrible experiences on different occasions/trips. Racism was definitely a problem, but I have to say in combination with sexism. Plus, the parts of the city in which I was forced to live didn’t help either.

    It was an experience nonetheless and I am trying to see the virtues of such encounters.

  2. cabalamuse

    Moroccans have bad experiences in Morocco on a daily basis, especially if residing in a city like Casablanca. Moroccan Social interaction could sometimes be coarse, not so much out of disrespect, but rather because of the Moroccans’ proclivity to be spontanieous and gragerious. For someone who is completely averse to being touched by strangers to the point of being ridiculously anal about it (I gathered this from one of your previous posts), I understand how it could be difficult to be living in a culture in which physical contact is a considered an emotional measure. I hope you will get to visit Morocco again. I am hopeful your next experience will be much more enjoyable.

  3. gazelledusahara

    I don’t think I am unnecessarily anal about strangers touching me. let’s shake hands and move on. But,

    I think any strange person particularly touching me in order to cop what in his culture is the equivalent of a feel is absolutely unacceptable. My Morocco experience was not horrible so much because of the “physical contact” but whole slew of reason that I itemized in this post: https://gazelledusahara.wordpress.com/2008/11/29/on-morocco/

    I agree that Moroccans (especially women) have issues in the cities as well, but I also know that if a street harasser has a choice between one of his female compatriots and the “African” foreigner, the foreigner is going to get the brunt of his attentions. Perhaps those who encountered were trying to establish “intimacy” or be spontaneous/gregarious as you say, (cross-cultural interactions are always full of mis-communication) but that is not the whole story. I know too many people with experiences like my own to ignore some of the glaring inconsistencies, inequalities and historical trends that manifest there (as they do elsewhere in the world). And I know the difference between someone being friendly and just being a creep or a*%! hole.

    As for the next experience, I too hope that it will be more fun, I hope that I get to find that out soon.

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