Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Moroccan News Briefs #96

 Reopening of Moroccan-Algerian border: Algeria's conditions

Algeria and Morocco are mired in a "tunnel of confusion", the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Saad-Eddine El Othmani said in an interview with the British BBC this week and added that he did not know the conditions of the Algerian authorities to achieve this goal.

The following day on the Algerian news site TSA a "senior diplomat"  on condition of anonymity outlined conditions that his country expects Rabat to comply with before returning to the status quo as it was back in August 1994.

"Our Moroccan friends know very well that there are three key issues that will play in favour or against the reopening and the ball is in their court," said the official  who it is suspected is the Algerian Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Amr Belani.

The official went on to say that the key issues were the Sahara issues and the drug trafficing of drugs. But as far as drugs go, Interior Minister Mohand Laenser put it clearly at the meeting on April 9 in Algiers, of the 5 +5 Group of Ministers of the Interior, As he said at the time "if the drug is the cause that justifies the closure of borders, then the borders s' never open because there is not a single country in the world has managed to eradicate trafficking".

 Morocco now allows Amazigh names

Since 1996, hundreds of families have been denied the right to give an Amazigh names for their children but now, at long last, the Moroccan government has given in to the public demand for the right to give their children Amazigh (Berber) names.  According to the Arabic language newspaper,  Assabah, the Interior Minister, Mohand Laenser has sent a circular to all registry offices in Morocco as well as Moroccan consulates abroad, ordering them to accept Berber names.

For Mounir Kejji, Amazigh activist, this circular is great news. "It was time! This is a victory and revenge for all the parents who were not allowed to give Amazigh names to their children! , "He says. "This circular represents the end of a racist law against all Amazigh, as the banning parents to give the name they wish their child was totally discriminatory."

Getting the law changed has been a long and hard struggle that began back in 1996 when  Driss Basri, the interior minister at the time and Abdelouahab Ben Mansour chairman of the High Commission of the Civil Registry and historian of the kingdom signed the decree to prevent the use of Amazigh names.

Following the ban parents decided to strike back by filing a complaint against the state. This action came at a price that was not only financial in terms of legal fees, but also for many children who for more than a decade had no official name. In reality this meant that the children did not exist in the eyes of the Moroccan state. "Fortunately, these parents eventually won their case!" says Mounir Kejji enthusiastically.

Marrakech seduces the Indians

 The city of Marrakech is the third largest of the most accessible destinations for Indian tourists. It is reported that India news agency Asia (IANS) citing a survey of a site specialized international travel. The ochre city is ranked just behind the Egyptian resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh and Cape Town, South Africa, the top three of a list of 10 popular destinations for Indians looking for cheap holidays, according to an index established in 2013 by the review site TripAdvisor.

The index compares the cost of consumer products and tourism services as a basis for a tourist in different locations, such as the price of a sandwich, a bottle of water or ironing a shirt. The three African cities in the rankings ahead of nearest tourist destinations of India like Jakarta and Taipei. You should know that millions of Indians traveling abroad annually but it is the closest Asian destinations such as the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore, which benefit more from this client, thanks to the dynamism of low cost airlines and boom reservations online.

Indian tourists have also headed to Fez each year for the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music which has a strong tradition of presenting Indian music and dance. This year the Festival will feature Pandit Shyam Sundar Goswami who originates from Bengal and trained in the Kirana Gharana vocal tradition of North Indian classical music.

Morocco is a major consumer of champagne

 Moroccans are the fourth consumers champagne in Africa, which is, after the United States, the second largest market of champagne outside Europe, with 10 million bottles sold.

 In 2011, 323 million bottles of champagne were sold worldwide, more than half of them in France. Selling champagne in Morocco hast experienced a decrease of 6.8% compared to 2010, according to a survey conducted by the consultancy London International Wine and Spirit Research '. During this period, the Moroccans have consumed 200,625 bottles of champagne. Leading with 688,335 bottles sold, Nigeria is the largest consumer of champagne in Africa, followed by South Africa (443,016) and Gabon with 223.000 bottles, reports the weekly Tel Quel. Moroccan law prohibits the sale of alcohol to Muslims, yet Moroccans consume daily 1 million bottles of beer, 120.000 bottles of wine and 10.400 bottles of spirits

Essaouira's Gnawa Festival may be soon be listed as "Oral and Intangible Heritage" by of UNESCO.

From the 20th to 23rd of June 2013, Essaouira will host the 16th edition of the Festival Gnawa and World Music. The organizers of the event, which they describe as a true "crossroads of music and cultures of the world" should be included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

An application has been submitted  to the UN organization, said Neila Tazi, the director of the festival. "The reputation of this festival and its commitment to the values ​​of universality led the organizers to apply for listing of the Gnawa music of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of UNESCO. This will safeguard the art, which has never departed from its African roots and has never ceased to assert and preserve its longevity all that music has attracted an audience of enthusiasts music of the world ages and different social groups in Morocco and abroad,"

 The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has also responded by letter to the organizers.but no positive response to their request them has been reported. An ambition they hope, however, "be carried out in 2014."

The 16th edition of the Gnawa Festival Gnawa promising. "The principle of the festival is to have, despite all the changes that can be made, the Gnawa headliners," says Mâalem Abdeslam Alikane, co-artistic director of the festival.  The line up includes maalems Kouyou Said Omar Hayat Abdelkébir Merchane Mahmoud Guinea, Rachid Hamzaoui, Abdellah El Gord, Abdellatif El Makhzoumi and Fathallah Chaouki.

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1 comment:

south africa news online said...

It is good news and I am really pleased to know about the reopening of Algerian and Moroccan border. I think that if the conditions of Algeria are suitable for Morocco, then they should not take any extra time to agree.