Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Moroccan News Briefs #87

Fes Festival  - Patti Smith to Headline

The organisers of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music have just announced the great news that Patti Smith will be performing in Bab Al Makina for the closing concert on Sunday 15 June.

Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith (born December 30, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.

Called the "Godmother of Punk", her work was a fusion of rock and poetry. Smith's most widely known song is "Because the Night", which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978.

In 2005, Patti Smith was named a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, and in 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On November 17, 2010, she won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. She is also a recipient of the 2011 Polar Music Prize.

A reminder that the 19th edition of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music will be held from 7 to 15 June is timely as, according to a number of accommodation owners in Fez, bookings are coming in already and finding a place to stay will become increasingly difficult.

Morocco's spiritual capital will celebrate the famous festival with the theme "Fez "Andalusian", organizers said on Tuesday night in Casablanca. This cultural event will this year celebrate the Andalusian culture that, for more than eight centuries has combined Amazigh (Berber), Arab, Iberian, Roman and Visigoth together in a crucible of cultures of East and West, said the president of the Spirit of Fes Foundation, Mohamed Kabbaj. This festival, he said is the the highlight of the work of the Spirit of Fes Foundation, which works to promote the cultural heritage and to promote the image of Fez, nationally and internationally, as a center of peace, dialogue and creativity, at he added.

This year will also mark the millennium of the creation of the Kingdom of Granada, said Director General of the Foundation, Faouzi Skali, highlighting again that this festival is a tribute to the Andalusian culture.

Amazigh language celebrates International Day

Next Thursday the  Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM) celebrates the International Day of Mother Language (IMLD), under the slogan "the book, a pillar of the education in the teaching of the mother tongue."

As part of the celebrations IRCAM is organising a scientific seminar and other cultural activities, in collaboration with the UNESCO office in Rabat, the Ministry of Culture and the Faculty of Education Institute. The activities will include a presentation on "Amazigh language: standardization, education and new technologies" and another on "Amazigh heritage and not material", which aims to promote culture as a whole.

The International Day of the Mother Language was proclaimed by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1999 to promote the some 7,000 languages ​​in the world, and as an opportunity for effective mobilization in favour of linguistic diversity and multilingualism.

An embarrassing turbulence strikes Air France and the Palace

An strange incident that took place on December 5th has created a ripples in both France and Morocco. On that day an Air France pilot made a joke about the delay in taking off. To justify a delay, the pilot said it was due to the presence of a plane belonging to the Moroccan king being ahead of them. “The control tower won’t let me take off until His Majesty the King of Morocco has finished relaxing in the VIP lounge,” he said, according to news reports.

The pilot of the Casablanca-Paris flight flight AF2497 is reported to have added, “Those passengers who want to complain and get their tickets reimbursed can do so by writing to King Mohammed VI, the Royal Palace, Rabat.”

Some passengers were not amused, and a group of the Moroccan travellers made an official complaint to Air France,  accusing the airline of  “the most disgraceful example of a certain superiority complex” inherited from the colonial era.

Air France CEO Alexandre de Juniac sent a letter to the group apologising for the December 5 incident, adding that the pilot in question “would be sanctioned” for the offence.

Unfortunately for Air France, the apology has not closed the book on the story, and the passengers have decided to take their complaint to court and to ask for the airline to hand over the cockpit recording of the incident when Air France appears in court in Bobigny, Seine-Saint-Denis on the 25th of February.

Now it emerges that the Palace and HM King are embarrassed by the charges against Air France. According to L'Express "HM King Mohammed VI, who learned the business from the press, took care to distance himself" from this case. The filing of the complaint would be "especially felt awkward to the entourage of the ruler coming as it does before an official visit by François Hollande," says the French newspaper.

"France is on the side of Morocco" - Luc Chatel

The Sahara issue came to the fore in remarks made this week by the President of France Morocco Friendship Group of the French National Assembly, Luc Chatel. "France is on the side of Morocco" in the Sahara issue, he said in Rabat, He went on to describe the Franco-Moroccan relationship as "solid and historical, based on a political and economic partnership."

"France has shown that for many years it supports Morocco on many issues especially the Sahara" added Mr. Chatel, after an interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Saad El Dine Otmani.

Mr. Chatel has also welcomed the conduct of reforms undertaken by Morocco as well as parliamentary diplomacy between the two countries, adding that "parliamentarians have a role to play in sharing good practices and experiences between our countries." In a similar statement, Mr. El Otmani emphasized the strategic relations between the two countries that are rooted in time, declaring its determination to work to further improve the benefit of both countries.

Casablanca - Africa's third top destination

Casablanca has long been Morocco's economic capital but now it is emerging as a major tourist destination. A report released this week by a network of tourism professionals in South Africa claims Casablanca as the third top African destination after the top two -  Cape Town and Durban in 2012. Both these cities attracted more than two million tourists, said the report. These African cities offer many places for conferences, fairs and quality accommodation, the report says, noting that among the cities which also benefited from tourism are particularly Accra, Nairobi, Dakar, Kampala, Lagos, Maputo, Cairo and Tunis. The report also claims that foreign tourists, who were accustomed to spend their holidays in the cities especially in Europe, have started to visit African cities that have made ​​great strides in diversifying their tourism product.

Fatality in Agadir

Mystery surrounds the death of a French woman found dead in her apartment in Agadir on Tuesday. Police officers broke into the woman's apartment to find her body. Initial reports say that it appears she died of electric shock. Very little information has been released but it is believed that the woman was 33, divorced and the mother of four Moroccan children.  Civil protection and forensic units have visited the scene and opened an investigation to determine the circumstances of the death.

Cinema tonight in Fez

Thanks to the French Institute in Fez, the French movie All That Glitters will screen tonight, Wednesday, February 20, at 1900 in Rex Cinema.

Cinéma "Tout ce qui brille" ce soir

Members and students: 10 dh Non-members: 20 dh
Directed by Hervé Mimran and Géraldine Nakache
Nationality: France
Duration 1:40 min
Year 2009
Leila Bekhti with Geraldine Nakache, Virginie Ledoyen, Linh-Dan Pham, Simon Buret, Audrey Lamy, Daniel Cohen and Manu Payet
César 2011 for Best Female Newcomer young

Leila Bekhti Ely and Lila have known each other since childhood and share everything together and dream of another life. They live in the same suburb, ten minutes from Paris. Things change... starting with small shenanigans and then big lies. They will try to enter a world that is not theirs and where everything seems possible ...

Opinion - Sexual Harassment in Morocco

Nidal Chebbak, writing for Morocco World News, takes a look at an issue that is being hotly debated in Morocco. Here is an extract and a link to the full article.

Sexual harassment has been a controversial issue in Morocco for a very long time and it still is. Different people have different opinions about the issue; some blame women for being too loose and others blame men for being unable to control and behave themselves.

As a Moroccan girl, I can very much relate to this issue as any other Moroccan girl. As I believe, every Moroccan girl/ woman is harassed every time she goes out regardless of her age, shape, color, ethnicity, background… and no matter what she wears, even if she puts on potato bags. Any girl who says the opposite is living in denial because that’s the reality we deal with every day.

Sexual harassment can vary through the constant gazes that checks every inch of the girl’s body from head to toe, the harassing words coming from every corner, the following -or as I’d prefer to call it “the tireless stalking”-, the insistence to get the girl to talk, then it can move too far to the undesired touching of her body.

Men would argue that it’s the women who give way to men to sexually harass them in the streets, especially when they aren’t wearing “decent clothes”. Many men feel that they have the right to harass a woman who is wearing revealing clothes and that this type of clothes is actually an open invitation for harassment. This type of women is labeled as loose and immoral, even if they are not. After all, what’s the fine line between decent and indecent clothes for women? As far as I have experienced, seen and heard, no matter what a woman wears, she’s still going to be harassed at some point in her usual day.

I also think that this whole issue of “indecent clothes” is just a very weak and “loose” excuse for men to carry on their horrendous habits. We are a Muslim country where almost every Muslim Moroccan prides everywhere about being a Muslim (of course, in words but rarely in practice) but still we find these horrible acts that are condemned by our religion. In Surat an-Nur, the Almighty Allah states: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That is purer for them, verily Allah is All-Aware of what they do.” (24:30). Isn’t this a verse where the Almighty Allah asks men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty? Did He by any means in this verse or in any other verse state that, well if women aren’t dressing decent enough then you shall harass them? No, He didn’t. Muslim men take pride in being Muslim, but as long as they don’t abide by this and other verses, their pride amounts to bigotry.

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Anonymous said...

No excuse for the way Moroccan men disrespect women. Awareness and consequences needed.

Anonymous said...

No excuse for the way Moroccan men disrespect women. Awareness and consequences needed.