Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fez - breaking news update.

The information on what might or might not have happened in Nejjarine today appears even more vague.

The following rather weird post appeared on the Lonely Planet Thorntree forum

To the traveling prospector/ex pat/tourist shopping for riads:
Buying property in Morocco doesn't not make you Moroccan and it doesn't make Morocco whereever you came from. Behave or at least know your behavior is being watched, no matter how distant it seems.

To the tourist/riad owner/alc stud using his visa as a 'developing country' sex meal ticket:
Taking pictures of people (and exclusively women) with or without their consent (or even wandering around with a big camera) is dangerous. People don't know what you will do with the photos, etc. Remember "Belguel", Philippe Servaty - Moroccans do. Bad things have happened today.

To the tourist and the curious from another part of Morocco:
The Najjarine area of Fes just isn't bloody safe for Fassis let alone tourists - be extra alert here or give it a pass unless they put better security down there.

Vague summary: Two very unpleasant crimes in one day today that I don't expect to read about anywhere (as usual) - Your Hot Poppa is worried for you - go to Marrakesh like you were thinking of anyway.

The poster, Jamal Morelli, gives no further details. We are continuing to investigate, but as has been pointed out by other commentators - Fez is one of the safest places for families to visit and isolated incidents, real or imagined need to be kept in context. You are safer in Fez than New York, Sydney or London. I have walked around the Nejjarine area several times in the last few weeks including with a photojournalist with a camera and always been greeted warmly.



Anonymous said...

for tourists Marrakesh is really the most safe place in Morocco. People there, are really tolerant even about worst tourists

El Glaoui said...

Compared to Western cities, all of Morocco is extremely safe. The worst eneny if people's own fear of "the other". Tourists in Morocco and in Fez should simply be aware of personal security in the same way as they would be in New York or London.
As for Marrakech - petty crime rate is worse than Fez... and ... not nearly as interesting a place!

Anonymous said...

mister el glaoui let me remmeber that what hapened in fez is the same thing that happened last year. a french young man (17) has been killed in the same circumstances as you described


Anonymous said...

Anonymous seems intent on causing concern. And a point of fact, the attack that he mentions was not last year. In that incident the young man died protecting his mother from the tragic attack. But Sidi El Glaoui is correct, attacks like this are so rare compared to most Western cities. I also feel much safer in Fez than Marrakech.

Anonymous said...

i'll let you read what you write :

In that incident the young man died protecting his mother from the tragic attack.

no comment

advice for tourists : morocco is marrakesh

Khadija said...

Poor old Anonymous - has a problem with Fez? Seems so. Still if he wants Marrakech where about 90% of the Medina is owned by ex-patriots who hardly know a word of Darija or have Moroccan friends - he's welcome to it. They deserve each other.

Anonymous said...

Mmm. Marrakech is ok, Kkadija. Maybe not as friendly as Fez, but it's ok.
The Brits used to really go for Marrakech, now they are heading to Fez - times change, so do tastes. As long as people come to Morocco, that's all that matters.

Anonymous said...

The Brits used to really go for Marrakech, now they are heading to Fez - times change, so do tastes. As long as people come to Morocco, that's all that matters.

times change, so do tastes.
Brits are known to have bad tastes.
But when Brits will have a dram in fez i'ill discute that problem.

in my humble opinion, meknes, at 30 miles from fez really more autehentic and really more interessting. mekes is known for french as a Morccan Versailles

Anonymous said...

the more interesrting is that samir has an avatar Glaoui who cere the pacha of marrakesh

Anonymous said...

Maybe by trying to re assure everone that Fez is safe el glaoui and Samir are actually concerned that the little ex-pat paradise they are helping to create here in Fes isn't being so well received by the locals....or are you worried that the value of your precious medina property will plummet in the face of an islamist scare?

Sure Fes is safer than New York, or Sydney, or London. But that doesn't change the fact that foreigners stick out like a sore thumb here, and the violence in all instances was not some random crime like you find in larger cities, but targeted at tourists.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2)

This is a pointless discussion.

Greater Fez has over one million inhabitants and at least 1/3 of them are living in ghetto conditions in Fez medina and Fez jdid. There is a lot of crime in any city this size amywhere on the globe and you are living in lala land if you believe otherwise. For every precious foreigner attacked, how many Moroccans do you suppose suffer the same or worse? If only one crazy guy on the street attacks foreigners, count your blessings.

And as for Marrakech or Fez, they aren't the same and never were. Read some history. Marrakchis aren't Fassis and never were. And although the ex-pats may have sucked up the medina, the Marrakchis are still around and it looks like there are enough of them to be around for quite awhile.

Both cities will survive the present onslaught and go on as always long after the property gold rush dries up and moves on to the next country. Moroccans are a tough breed with a long history and they have traveled this road before.

Dale R. Davis said...

While Jamal may be a bit over the top in his critique anyone who believes Fez is untouched by the threat of religious-cultural violent radicalism is naive. There is an undercurrent of anti-western feeling that is certainly exacerbated by the profane behavior of ignorant visitors. Morocco is a society that embraces respect and tolerance but those two qualities go hand in hand and work both ways. If one expects tolerance then one should show respect.