Thursday, October 06, 2005

My return to Morocco

Since leaving his native Morocco in 1972, Hanania Alain Amar had been resisting the idea of returning. But return he finally did - in 1987.

" It took me a very long time to forget or put behind me those years spent in the Maghreb's Lucky Empire. These years were known locally as the Leaden Years, years of fear if not terror. The police were everywhere, feared and fearsome. Fear stalked public places, cafes and restaurants. Antisemitism merrily confused with anti-Zionism suffused the newspaper columns, and in particular the Istiqlal (ultranationalist) daily L'Opinion, TV and radio - all despite calls for calm coming from the Royal Palace, preceding King Hassan's attempts at mediation in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

"What on earth did it have to do with us? Why did we have to put up with the pernicious and sinister effects of what was happening in the Middle East? Did being Jewish make us Israelis or Zionists? Without a doubt this deplorable and regrettable confusion carefully nurtured by people of all types and of all views was primarily responsible for the decline of the largest and most ancient Jewish community in this part of the world. (My emphasis -Ed)

"I therefore left without ever intending to come back. Our friends the P****s insisted that we join them for a holiday in Morocco....I knew that the clash of memory with reality was going to be hard.

(...)"Arriving at the airport in Tangier was a rough experience for me in spite of my French passport. The immigration officer was being overzealous and inquisitorial. Noting that my place of birth was Rabat he felt entitled to interrogate me: 'where are you from originally'?
" I'm French, born in Morocco, in Rabat."
"Where are you from originally?"
"I'm French, born in Morocco, in Rabat," I replied in a monotone.
He must have asked me a dozen times until one of his superiors ordered him to stop playing games.

"Later I learned that the immigration officers were looking for Muslims who had broken the law by marrying Christians. But I was not at all convinced by this explanation, recalling instead the fierce judeophobic campaigns going on in Morocco when I left.(..)

"At Moulay Idris, redoubt of a harsh and extremist Islam, I was struck by the cloying attitude of the street urchins. They claimed a few dirhams and pens from us even as they smiled angelically and 'flogged' us insults such as, 'Get stuffed, a curse on your mother's religion' and other 'kindnesses' which I understood with ease. It's strange how one can have no trouble understanding insults in a good many foreign languages. I had not learned Arabic but had internalised the cadences and a few words of my native country's everyday tongue.

"A few days later these 'charming' words would be employed once again by a baboush seller from the souk in Fez. I was asking him the price of a pair of traditional baboush slippers and in keeping with local custom, made him an offer. The seller, who did not know I understood his language a little, looked at me coldly and mumbled:"I would be a Jew to accept your offer." I then seized the baboush and hurled them across the shop, telling him to keep them for himself. Fez has always been a harsh city, seen by travellers and tourists as the imperial city of most interest to the visitor. It certainly does have a long history but the bumptiousness and arrogance of its inhabitants make it insufferable. I really do not like Fez, I've never liked this closed city contemptuous of others just because it had a glorious past."

Read this Los Muestros article in full (French)

13 comments:

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LAMOA said...

I DT KNOW:)

LAMOA said...

talking abbout fez like that surprise me really ..even i've just read this article since it was published long time ago ...but i'll say that it is wrong to talk about a city like that "negativly" really the people are not like that at all & if the writer of this memoirs lived bad experiences in this city that not mean that it is bad city...he generalize that all ppl in fez are bad even this city is strongly present in the history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "no comment" really it is surprising me .....fez is a city of history but i dt like it cs there is some ppl who do not apeal me ....we judge all ppl cz few of them are bad ...this is what i see from this article &&&&& thx

Maghrebi said...

It is obvious that the author already made up his mind before he went back to Morocco.

His prejudice is too obvious when he couldn't understand why the Moroccan custom agent was asking him about where he was originally from. I wonder how the agent knew that the author was Jewish.

For bigoted prejudiced people like him, I would say good riddance. Don't come back.

Morocco will not miss people like them.

Anonymous said...

This guy sounded like an ahole before he landed in Morocco. Go to Disney World. No one invited you to Morocco and you are not welcome either

ARABIANA said...

you seem to be very norrow minded...I do undersatnd that not all jewish pple are Zionists...but u should understand why moroccans were doing so at that time..pple back then were not highly educated all they knew was those pple who were attacking phalastine were jewish and it is normal for them to react that way....however ur remark about the airport thing is a lie i dont belive u.....and the mulsil marring christian thing lol wat ever....to ur info in islam u can marry a christain....anyways stop being negative if u have ur own probs sort it out wid ur self its the jewish pples mistake they gave a bad image of them self to the arabs thats why the shop keeper said that to u!!!!!

hanania said...

Certains anonymes ont avec les abominables délateurs (de triste mémoire) un point commu, le manque de courage ou surtout la LACHETE. Cette lâcheté quyi leur permet, dans la quiétude de leur ignomignie d'éjaculer leur odieux et nauséabond antijudaïsme. Les Juifs du maroc étaient présents sur cette terre bien avant les Arabes, au moins 2 à 2,5 millémnaires.Et cene sont paq quelques minables qui me diront si je suis le bienvenu ou non dans mon pays natal dont je me réserve à tout moment le droit d'en vanter les beautés (Fès mis à part que je déteste et je le confirme) et les laideurs.
A bon entendeur salut. Je pensais que le Maroc était un pays de tolérance, mais si quelques bornés antijuifs veulent exhumer la hache de guerre, tant pis pour eux. Je les méprise.
L'auteur de l'article "Point of no return".

Anonymous said...

Complément au commentaire précédent :
Fort heureusement, l'amitié qui existe entre mes amis marocains musulmans et moi est assez solide et ancienne pour résister et faire fi des manoeuvres douteuses de quelques nostalgiques racistes qui sévissent iciou là et ont plus besoin de consulter des gens de ma spécialité : il existe d'excellents services de psychiatrie au Maroc, notamment chez mon ami le Professeur Moussaoui à l'hôpital Ibn Roch de Casablanca et à Ar-Razi, Salé...

Anonymous said...

CE COMMENTAIRE N'EST PAS ANONYME, il est de HANANIA ALAIN AMAR, mais je ne parviens pas à le "poster " sous mon nom !
Complément au commentaire précédent :
Fort heureusement, l'amitié qui existe entre mes amis marocains musulmans et moi est assez solide et ancienne pour résister et faire fi des manoeuvres douteuses de quelques nostalgiques racistes qui sévissent iciou là et ont plus besoin de consulter des gens de ma spécialité : il existe d'excellents services de psychiatrie au Maroc, notamment chez mon ami le Professeur Moussaoui à l'hôpital Ibn Roch de Casablanca et à Ar-Razi, Salé...

CE COMMENTAIRE N'EST PAS ANONYME, il est de HANANIA ALAIN AMAR, mais je ne parviens pas à le "poster " sous mon nom !

Anonymous said...

It is indeed an irony that some of the posters here accuse the writer of bigotry when it is they who reveal their own prejudices. To Arabiana in particular who states that it is "normal" for Moroccan people to react with fury against the Jews in their midst because of Israel-Palestine. To her, I say: then you can understand why so many people in the US hate and detest Muslims and Arabs after the 9/11 attacks. I'm sure you would understand their "normal" reaction -- right? Also, you are in no position to lecture anybody about "being negative."

Hanania Alain AMAR said...

Merci d'avoir apporté ce commentaire aux imbéciles qui demeurent antijuifs malgré le poids de l'histoire et bqui semblent ignorer que la communauté juive du Maroc, vieille de 2400 ans est bien antérieure aux Arabes envahisseurs du continent africain où ils n'avaient rien à y faire, si leur expansionnisme hors d'Arabie ne les avait poussé à envahir et occuper bon nombre de territoires et soumettre des populations dont les Berbères.
Signé Hanania Alain AMAR qui revendique pleinement ce commentaire
et regrette que des esprits chagrins aient encore le mépris de leurs aïeux pour ce qui n'était pas dans l'Oumma

Anonymous said...

As a Moroccan, I think Maghrebi could be right. From the way you come across, you seem to have had your heart set on receiving a bad impression. Although I could be wrong! Slightly. What I believe to be your behaviour is, not unheard of. There are some Jewish (some, definitely a minority) people, who, come to Morocco with the intent to hate, as one could have the intent of visiting a historical site or experiencing an event. In fact this reminds me of Yoav Smair's documentary, Defamation. Specifically, when an Israeli tells fellow Israelis about what is in store for them in Poland, he says:
"We will hate them [Polish] because of their participation in Holocaust."
Now I think some people come to Morocco because they feel it's an Arab-Islamic country they can settle their scores with.
Although I would be worried if the opportunity to hate Moroccans was deemed compensation for the awkward sorrow of air travel.
There is a fight to be had with anti-Semitism in Morocco. It's being waged! We have nothing against the Jewish People.

Hanania Alain Amar said...

Je maintiens en totalité mon commentaire et assure que tous les faits signalés sont malheureusement authentiques, certains Marocains musulmans ayant la mémoire courte et oubliant que bien avant la naissance de l'islam, des Juifs demeuraient dans ce qui sera le Maroc il y a plus de 2400 ans!