Sunday, April 30, 2017

Moroccan Photo of the Day

Today's photo of a beach scene in Essaouira was submitted by Paul Menconi
"Lawrence of Essaouira"

(See more delightful photographs by Paul on his blog: Luckydog Adventures!)

See more in our series Photo of the Day 

The View from Fez welcomes contributions to our Photo of the Day Series


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Morocco's Plastic Bag Ban - a Year On

It has been almost a year since Morocco formally prohibited the manufacture, import, export, sale and use of plastic bags. The law was published in the Official Bulletin of December 14th 2015 and came into force in 2016 with a national campaign entitled Zero Mika - No Plastic

Zero Mika applied to all plastic bags except those for agricultural and industrial sectors as well as household waste collection. Isothermal bags and those intended for refrigeration and freezing were also exempt.

Despite scepticism in some quarters, the result exceeded expectations. Within a week of the ban being announced, shoppers had taken to carrying basket and using paper bags instead of plastic. Since that time there has been general acceptance of the policy.

Sadly, the plastic bag ban has resulted in a blackmarket in plastic bags with Moroccan authorities seizing more than 420 tonnes of plastic bags in the year since the entry into force of a law prohibiting their use,  According to the Ministry of the Interior they have also intercepted more than 421 tonnes of plastic bags, 70 manufacturing machines, 16 vehicles and arrested 55 people.

With the legislation dubbed "zero mika", or zero plastic in Arabic, Morocco became one of the first countries in Africa to impose a total ban on plastic bags, along with Rwanda.

Since the law took effect, the authorities have been strict to ensure its application, especially in shops and supermarkets in larger cities and towns. The government has described as "encouraging" the results of the ban, saying it had virtually eradicated the use of plastic bags in the country.

Moroccans have instead taken to using fabric bags

The ministry of industry has set up a 20 million euro ($21.8 million) fund to help companies affected by the law.

The government has described as "encouraging" the results of the ban, saying it had virtually eradicated the use of plastic bags in the country.


Storytelling Festival in Fez

The 2nd edition of the storytelling festival in Fez ~ Nozhat Al Hakawati ~ will take place from the 2nd to the 4th of May. The festival will be held in Recif Square, Bab Boujloud Square and Cinema Boujloud


Tuesday 2nd May:
20h00 - 22h00 - Opening ceremony - Storytellers from Marrakech, Essaouira, Fez and Sefrou will perform in Recif square next Cinema Al Amal, the show will include Fusion music with ZAHIO band and Traditinal music Abidat r'ma from Kenitra.

Wednesday 3rd May:
10h to 11h00A debate about traditional storytelling between the past and present and how to preserve this heritage at IPDF Centre in Batha
14h00 - 17h00 open storytelling workshops at IPDF Center in Batha

Thursday 4th May:
17h00 - 18h00 Storytellers will do (Halqa) Circles at Bab Boujloud Square.
20h00 - 22h00 The closing of the festival. Storytellers from France, Marrakech, Essaouira, Fez and Sefrou will perform at Cinema Bab Boujloud, the show will also include Melhoun Music.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Fes Festival Publicity Backfire

Readers of the respected Morocco World News have expressed astonishment in one of their latest stories, in which they expose the treatment they received from a supposedly professional marketing organisation in charge of publicity for the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

The story pulled no punches and stated that "journalists and staff of Morocco World News express their strong condemnation of the insults, defamation, and humiliation directed at them by Publikart and its director, Mrs. Sanaa Smiyej."

As shown in the screenshot posted below, during a professional communication, Mrs. Smiyej called the journalists of Morocco World News “fake journalists,” even going as far as to characterise them as “vermin” and “scumbags.” See the full story here.

"The festival belongs to Morocco as a whole and does not belong to a person or a company. I won't keep quiet in front of disrespect - and this company has disrespected Moroccan media and international media." - Adnane Bennis
The View From Fez (which is an accredited Festival Media Partner) can report that this is not the first time that Mrs. Sanaa Smiyej has showed a lack of understanding of the importance of social media outlets. Despite our many attempts to contact her to arrange interviews ahead of this year's Festival, The View From Fez has been ignored. This, despite Mrs Smiyej receiving a direct instruction from the Festival director.  As a social media outlet, The View from Fez has been read by over 4 million visitors, plus many more on Twitter and our Facebook pages. 

Mrs. Sanaa Smiyej  failed to see the importance of social media

To put things in context, social media play an equally, if not more important role in covering the festival than do traditional media outlets. Most visitors to the Festival access information online prior to their arrival and during their stay. 

The View From Fez has been covering the festival for more than a decade and is the only media organisation to publish reviews of all the events and concerts. Our team are all professional reviewers and our photo-journalists, responsible for our hundreds of photographs, are respected, award winning professionals.

In contrast, the so-called mainstream media publish few reviews and often no more than four or five stories. In some cases, feature articles come out after the festival has concluded. 

It should be pointed out that neither Morocco World News or The View From Fez is criticising the Fes Festival team, from whom we have always received courteous attention.
We are disappointed that what should be an essential component in assisting journalists to get the news out about the wonders of the Festival has been so poorly handled.


Important International Forum: Women's Voices

Women’s Voices in the Mediterranean and Africa: Movements, Feminisms, and Resistance to Extremism

Under His Majesty the king Royal Patronage, ISIS Centre for Women and Development and Konrad Adenauer Foundation organise the 8th edition of the Mediterranean Women Forum on the theme “Women’s Voices in the Mediterranean and Africa: Movements, Feminisms, and Resistance to Extremisms” on May 5, 6, and 7-10, 2017 at les Mérinides Hotel, Fez, Morocco. This event is organised in partnership with Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University and Penn State University (USA). The main aim of the conference is to fight radicalisation and extremism, build-up peace initiatives, protect women’s rights, and enhance women’s empowerment.

An increasing number of women’s voices in the Mediterranean and Africa is rising against mounting gender-based violence in the name of radical Islam and the instrumentalisation of religion to exacerbate Islamophobia and attain power. These voices range from academics, to activists, and policy-makers, and suggest new ways of looking at the concepts of Mediterranean and African “women’s rights”, “Islamic feminisms”, Muslim African feminisms, and “resistance, as well as exploring theoretical and methodological tools. Trough feminist discourses, activisms, and movements, the voices are denouncing biases, asking for justice, reclaiming rights in public spaces, and reconciling older and newer generations of feminists in the Mediterranean and Africa.

In retrospective, women in the Mediterranean and Africa have always been sensitive to radicalised discourses as they are often used as scapegoats in such discourses. Although the two regions are seen as distinct spaces, women in them are increasingly facing the same ordeal. The Forum is multi-disciplinary and seeks to develop innovative and insightful ways of unpacking and accounting for these resistances.

Main Topics:

*The contextualisation of extremisms and women’s resistances
*Radicalised ideologies in the Maghrib
*Radicalised ideologies in Africa
*Islam and feminism/Islamic feminisms – Strategies of resistance

The keynote address on Friday May 5 (9.30am), will be Women’s Fight Against Extremisms: From Resistance to Bold Action delivered by Assia BENSALAH ALAOUI, Ambassador at large for His Majesty Mohamed VI, King of Morocco.

Venue: Hôtel Les Mérinides, Fès
Dates: 5,6,7 May, 2017
Dr Fatima Sadiqi, Director of the Forum
Ms Abir Ibourk (KAS), Director of Logistics


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tangier ~ A Boost in Tourist Numbers

According to a report of the provincial delegation of Tourism in Tangier, tourist establishments classified in Tangier recorded 75,904 arrivals at the end of February compared to 62,347 during the same period a year earlier, a rise of 22%

The number of international visitors to Tangier reached 36,263 tourists during the first two months of 2017 (+ 42% year-on-year), while domestic tourists totalled 39,641, up 7% compared to the end of February 2016, with an average stay of 2 days.

Over the period, the various classified hotel units in the city recorded 141,715 overnight stays, compared to 113,306 at the end of February 2016, an increase of 25%, with an occupancy rate of 34% compared to 31% at the end of February 2016 .

Spaniards are at the top of the list of foreign tourists who visited the city of Tangier during this period (7,593), followed by the French (4,982),  Arabs (1,886),  Americans (1,677), Germans (710), Belgians (652), Scandinavians (645) and Dutch (598).

Four-star tourist establishments welcomed 24,780 tourists, followed by 3 stars (19,399), 2 stars (11,893), 5 stars (11,072) and one star (5,394), as well as hotel residences guest houses (1,499).

In February alone, some 36,486 tourists visited Tangier compared to 30,324 in February 2016, a 20% increase, the same source said, noting that the number of tourist nights was 68,258, up 23% (55,532), with an occupancy rate of 36%, compared with 33% year-on-year.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Smartphone App to Help Preserve the City of Fez

The city of Fes has just launched a new application for smartphones intended for all its inhabitants. Called "I preserve my city" (je préserve ma ville), it allows its users to report any problems observed in the streets of Fez

If, during a trip, people find lighting that does not work, garbage cans overflowing or a hole in a sidewalk, they send a photo and a comment with their smartphone .

The city services receive the message and launch a team to intervene on the premises . When the problem is resolved, the person who reported it is kept informed ... and warmly thanked.

Thanks to this new mobile phone service, the inhabitants of Fez can all be involved in the cleanliness and good condition of their city . This is a citizen application that we would like to see developed in all the major cities of Morocco. It would allow every city dweller to live in a cleaner and well-maintained environment.

Check it out here:

Je Préserve ma Ville - أحافظ على مدينتي