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Reisverslag Morocco, you’ve been amazing, shukran!
17 augustus 2014
Morocco, you’ve been amazing, shukran!
In the eight weeks I have been here, I have learned, wondered, discussed, asked questions and been amazed over and over again.
When I applied for Nour Project, I was approaching the North-African region from an academic perspective. During the courses I took on Political Islam, Eurocentrism/Orientalism and writing my thesis about the relations between the EU and Morocco, I have mostly seen only the theoretical sides of the debates. I thought that by already being familiarized by the religion and its traditions, I would be pretty well prepared for my trip. And when it came to the many fascinating debates about religion I have had here with both Moroccans and my lovely flatmate from Egypt, that has been true.
Nothing however could have prepared me for the incredible experiences I have had here, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. Already on my first night, I experienced the world famous hospitality of the Arab world by having the pleasure of enjoying my first ftour ever with a great Moroccan family. Living right next to a mosque in a large boulevard in Casa has shown me the amazing experience of people praying in large groups in the middle of the road, simply because the mosque was already full. Witnessing more that 25.000 believers praying outside of the Hassan II mosque is also a memory I will treasure for ever.
Despite all the wonderful things Ramadan has showed me, it has also showed me the two-facedness that Casa is struggling with. On the one hand, people value and treasure their religion and its traditions and want to be good Muslims. But on the other hand, the staring eyes of men, the comments, and the 180 degrees change in people after Ramadan is over, misses the point of the religion and its traditions completely. And of course there are many, probably even the majority, people who do not change their behaviour completely after Ramadan, and who will still be modest, respectful and following their religion. But in the streets of Casa I have seen too many examples of people who did completely the opposite and returned to disrespectful behaviour, drinking, going out and all related things.
In my opinion, after spending my summer here, this is partly a consequence of the two worlds that are dividing Casa, and Morocco as a whole. On the one hand, it is the tradition and the culture they value and respect and this is what makes the hole society shut down during the holy month. On the other hand, especially in a financial capital like Casa, people see a lot of the life lived by the Europeans who are here in big numbers as expats and show to the people a completely different, but apparently very attractive, lifestyle where decadence, luxury and especially freedom, are highly valued. It has been very fascinating to witness this division and experiencing both sides.
I would not have wanted to miss a single thing of it and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
For my last week, only fun things are planned now. Partying in Casa is amazing so that will be definitely part of it, as will be lovely dinners in famous places like Rick’s café and over all enjoying this city for a final week!
Morocco, you have earned a special place in my heart and will not say goodbye, but until we meet again, inshallah!
17 augustus 2014 20:25 | Door: Sharon
Je schrijft echt goed, mooi verwoord en met veel emotie.
18 augustus 2014 19:24 | Door: Remco
Wonderful blog again. Ever considered doing this as a professional ?