Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Some Rappers Promoting Conservatism,Talk Politics

Here is an article from alBawaba about rappers in Morocco using their art-form to take political sides and to promote social and religious policies.

'Halal rap': Morocco's MC's preach politics and conservatism

Published November 11th, 2012 - 06:04 GMT via
By Mohammad al-Khudairi
Some of Morocco’s young rappers are using their music to show support for the country’s ruling party, espouse family values, and encourage female modesty. It’s called “Halal rap,” but can it even be considered rap at all?

Sheikh Sar (known as Chekh Sar in Morocco) is a rising star among religious youth here.
But Chekh Sar isn’t an upcoming Salafi preacher on one of the religious satellite channels proliferating throughout the Arab world. He is just a young rapper from the city of al-Rashidiya in east Morocco who used to be called Elias Lakhrifi.
His mix of religious advice and conservative values has turned Chekh Sar into a symbol of “halal” music for an Islamist audience. Chekh Sar is credited with inventing a new style of Moroccan rap called “Halal rap.” He uses it to defend the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) and call for building a conservative society.

Although Chekh Sar has denied links to the PJD in various statements, he rose to fame by performing at party rallies and later rode the wave of the party’s success when they took parliament in November 2011.
He recently released a song defending the achievements of the Islamist party and criticizing its partners in government for supposedly obstructing the PJD’s work.

In this song, he re-appropriates the phrase “Do you understand me or not?” which was originally spoken by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane when asked to explain the rise in prices of basic goods during a television interview, but later seized on by Moroccans to mock him. Chekh Sar turns it around to attack PJD’s detractors and defend Benkirane.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Morocco Setting up Field Hospital in Gaza

Here is an article from the AFP regarding Morocco's decision to set up a field hospital in Gaza to help the innocent people being killed and injured as Israel bombs  Palestinian civilians  in order to "defend itself. "  See link for article in its entirety.

Also, for realistic news ( not whats on your TV or even your public radio if you live in America)  on the situation in Gaza check out  or follow the hashtag  #Gazaunderattack  on twitter .
Gaza photo courtesy of :

Morocco says setting up Gaza field hospital

(AFP) – 34 minutes ago

RABAT — Morocco announced on Sunday it will set up a field hospital in the Gaza Strip to help Palestinians injured in Israeli air strikes, which the king described as "military aggression" in a statement.

Mohammed VI "ordered the immediate setting up of a Moroccan field hospital in the Gaza Strip," which will include medical staff from "the armed forces as well as Moroccan civilian doctors and paramedics," the statement from the royal palace said.

The hospital was designed to "reinforce existing medical capabilities" in the territory, it added.

"Through this humanitarian initiative... in coordination with the Palestinian authorities," Morocco will "help alleviate the suffering of a population victim to several days of military aggression which the kingdom strongly condemns."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Moroccans Leave Spain (and its Economic Troubles) for Home

Here is an article from the Christian Science Monitor on the wave of Moroccans returning to their homeland due to the increasingly bleak economic situation in Spain. The first portion of the article is pasted below.

Spain loses title as Moroccans' land of opportunity 

Moroccans seeking economic opportunity used to flock to Spain, but with its economy tanking, Spain has less and less to offer them. 

By John Thorne, Correspondent / October 22, 2012
Tangier, Morocco

“I saw my friends losing their jobs,” he says. “And I knew that eventually the same thing could happen to me.”
Mr. Benhima, like an increasing number of Moroccan migrants, is giving up on his northern neighbor. For years Spain beckoned as a land of opportunity, but that image is now shattered by an economic crisis that has pushed unemployment there to nearly 25 percent.

For Morocco, Spain’s woes are part of larger troubles among European trading partners that have dented the Moroccan economy, too, as remittances and tourism revenue have sagged. For Spain, fading luster as a source of jobs underlines how deep its malaise has become.

Unemployment among Spain’s estimated 783,000 Moroccan workers is just over 50 percent – roughly twice the national rate, according to a report released in May on the effect of Spain’s crisis on Moroccan workers by Colectivo Ioé, a Spanish social affairs research institute. Data from Spain’s central bank indicates that remittances to Morocco fell by a third between 2007 and 2010.

Increasingly, Moroccans are giving Spain a pass. While illegal migration makes exact numbers murky, a net loss of Moroccan immigrants was registered in 2010. Last year that loss was nearly 22,000, according to Spain’s national statistics institute.

Coming full circle

Change is felt acutely in Moroccan cities like Tangier, where Spanish headlands are visible across the Strait of Gibraltar. For years Morocco’s north, a region formerly colonized by Spain, has relied on sending migrants there to help feed families at home.

Benhima grew up in Tetouan, once Spain’s colonial capital, where his father worked as a customs official. He went to Barcelona to study textile engineering in 1998, but financial concerns led him to dive into the job market instead.
“At first you work to pay for studies, but then you forget studies and just work,” he says.

He drove a golf cart by day and tossed pizzas at night, supporting himself while also helping cover medical bills for his father. He stayed in Spain for two uninterrupted years, until he got legal residency. Then, in 2000, he surprised his parents with a visit. His father died four days later.

Benhima’s mother and three siblings moved to Tangier, while he settled in Madrid. Using his ability to speak Spanish, French, English, and Arabic, he found work in 2001 handling overseas clients for an insurance company. The job put him in the top tier of Moroccans drawn by an economic boom in Spain. Moroccan arrivals peaked in 2005 at about 75,000, according to the Colectivo Ioé report.

Meanwhile in Tangier, Benhima’s mother, Badia Amrani, founded BAYSIM, a goods transit company, in 2006.

Read continuation of article here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Being a Black Person in Morocco

Its hearbreaking to witness  Morocco go backwards with regards to racism,  but here is an article from France 24 about a recent article in  the Moroccan media on the "Black Peril, "  i.e. migrants from Subsaharan Africa.  Part xenophobia, part white-skin supremacy, the rising distaste for black people  is palpable in the big cities like Casa and Rabat ( especially if its aimed at you!).  

Being black in Morocco: 'I get called a slave'

 The latest cover of Maroc Hebdo magazine—seen as racist by some, defended by others—has launched a national debate on the struggles faced by sub-Saharan Africans living in Morocco.
“The Black Peril.” That's the controversial headline that the Moroccan weekly ran on its cover last week to tease to an article about the rise in the number of immigrants from sub-Saharan African, many of whom come to Morocco in the hopes of making it to Europe. Many are turned back and end up staying in Morocco, where they live in poverty. Some end up taking part in illegal activities to make a living. According to Morocco’s Interior ministry, there are about 10,000 illegal immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa living in the country. Human rights organisations estimate this number higher as closer to 15,000.
Headline: "The Black Peril."
Moroccan authorities are taking an increasingly strict approach to immigration from sub-Saharan Africa. Immigrants without residency permits are quickly expelled. The European Union’s ambassador to Morocco, Eneko Landaburu, recently called the treatment of these immigrants “problematic”, a sentiment echoed by the Moroccan Human Rights Organisation. Meanwhile, the Moroccan labour minister, Abdelouahed Souhail, accused sub-Saharan African immigrants of being in part responsible for the country’s employment crisis.
The International Organisation for Migration recently launched a campaign to raise 620,000 euros to help send some 1,000 illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa home.

"Young Moroccans have physically assaulted me on several occasions, for no reason"

Joseph (not his real name) is from Guinea. He lives in Casablanca, where he studies computing at a local university. He is a legal resident.

"I came here to study computing thanks to a grant from my country. I’ve been here for four years, and for four years I’ve been a victim of racism. It happens all the time, everywhere.
The most awful incident took place at the airport. I was with my aunt, who was heading back to Guinea and had a lot of luggage. Other passengers from sub-Saharan countries, seeing her struggle to carry it, came to help her get it onto the plane, but an airline employee stopped them, saying she had to deal with it on her own because she was black. I replied in Arabic, and he replied by hitting me in the head. I told him I was going to file a complaint, and he said, sarcastically: “That’s right, go complain to the king!” I never did file a complaint.
Often, when I’m just walking down the street, people will call me a “dirty black man” or call me a slave. Young Moroccans have physically assaulted me on several occasions, for no reason, and passers-by who saw this didn’t lift a finger to help me. All my friends are black and they have all had similar experiences. Even the girls get insulted in the street. To avoid getting hurt, I now try to ignore the insults. But if someone starts to hit me, what can I do? I have to defend myself...
In two years, I’ll be done with my studies, and I certainly don’t intend to stay in Morocco to look for work. Even if someone were to offer me a job here, I would rather go home to Guinea."