I'm absolutely exhausted - I took a couple of days off from watching the news (although I did indulge in the Euro edition of Time Magazine today, only to discover that it, too, is disgustingly biased - not to mention their transliteration of "Hezbollah" is shameful...Stupid Limeys) but I'm tired anyway. I'm sure it's the result of too much sticky brown/staying up late/playing with Nus-Nus/pistachio ice cream/insert equally absurd whatever here. Or teaching. I'm currently teaching two classes, which is actually only 5 total hours of my day, but feels more like 10. Check this hellious schedule:
Wake up at 7:30, go to work at 9:00 to start teaching at 9:30, go home at 12:00 (usually after checking email and whatnot), eat lunch and chillax, go back to work at 3:30 to start at 4:00, and generally finish around 6:30, though two nights a week I have other obligations at the center, so I'm there until nowish, or 9:00/9:30 if you prefer. I have no life.
But fortunately, I'm down to about two weeks until takeoff. I feel like wandering around in miniskirts and drinking heavily and eating disgustingly fattening foods I haven't touched in a year like calzones and Chicago-style pizza.
Seriously, though - I joke but I know it's going to be a little tough for me to face all of these freedoms that once seemed so implicit to me. To your average American, the idea of walking down the street without being stared at or talked to isn't a luxury - it's the norm, and if anyone bothers you, they'll get smacked (or at least the finger or some unkind words). Here, it's a daily assault of eyes on my body, or ridiculous words thrown at me like tomatoes. Sometimes I think that if I have to hear one more person in that hideous typical Arab accent yell "Hello, how are you?" at me for absolutely no reason (they certainly don't know me), I'll scream. Then I relax and realize that it's just hospitality, but then I think a little more and realize that if it really were hospitality, then women would say the same thing. Dammit.
There are days like that, and there are those which aren't. With H, I'm happy, but there are nights I don't even want to go outside alone because I just don't feel like being looked at that way.
I was talking with a fellow female American about this the other day, and I said something along the lines of "Most American men wouldn't stare at a woman's breasts if she were wearing a simple t-shirt." Which may or may not be true, depending on the location, the man, and most of all, the breasts, but generally speaking, we have the right to turn our sexuality off in the U.S. Here it's always on. Unless you cover your head in hijab perhaps, but the idea of covering my hair only to wear skintight clothes like so many Moroccan girls do seems so insanely hypocritical. Because hair, you know, is sexual.
I should stop before I go insulting the whole of Islam or Moroccan culture which, mind you, is not my goal. I'll just be happy to land on solid ground again after so many months of running just above the pavement.
You've got to be kidding...
Over what amounts to a 95 cent pastry and cappucino this morning, I burst into tears.
CBS Morning News informed me that 11 Israeli soldiers had been killed. And then it informed me that 48% of Americans support Israel's actions.
Who, exactly, are these Americans? We cannot blame this on Jews (as many here are wont to do), as they make up nowhere near of 48% of the population of the U.S. and plenty of them do NOT support Israel. I tend to blame everything on the Deep South, but I doubt they're even the ones being polled. I don't know. Perhaps Americans are so brainwashed by the mainstream media that they can't even think for themselves anymore.
11 Israeli soldiers. Nice of you to mention the over 200 Lebanese children, CBS. Thanks a lot.
- An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
- A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
- The condition of being separated from others; segregation.
The official definition of apartheid does not include the following, however, for my purposes I will adapt the word, as I can't seem to find one better. One ethnic minority ruling over another, hostile, ethnic majority. Such as it occurred in South Africa, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere.After the horrifying events of the Holocaust, it makes sense as to why so much of the West supported the creation of a Jewish (Israeli) state as well, but after the creation of Israel, the Israelis simply pushed out the Palestinian people with no compensation and no hope of return.
Mahmoud Darwish has referred to the conflict as "a struggle between two memories." Both sides have historic wrongs to be righted, and both have resorted to absurd tactics - how does killing children or denying people food help to protect the religious icons and places so meaningful to Christians, Jews and Muslims?
Here is where I now stand:
3.9 million Palestinians are registered as U.N. refugees. The concern of Israelis is that letting these refugees into the country would overwhelm the "Jewishness" of Israel and present a security problem. For the latter, they could be right. But as for the former - how soon they forget that Israel is a land for all of us? The Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall, etc etc etc. What will it take for the people of Israel to drop their violent nationalism and consider the lives of the Palestinian people? Now don't get me wrong - I am as against Hamas as any other peace-loving American and I do not support any "terrorist" efforts - but who's to say that Hamas is more of a terrorist than Israel?
26% of Palestinians are unemployed. Most make less than $2,000 a year, while the majority of Israelis make around $30,000. Almost 50% of Palestinians live below the poverty rate (there considered about $2USD/day). Israel's poverty rate? 0%.
Regardless of what's been done to Jews in the past (which, I admit, is horrifying and unwarranted), it's as if no one ever told the people of Israel that two wrongs don't make a right.
More horrifying is America's unwavering support of Israel. I've said it before and I'll say it again - we have no business with them. We claim that we don't deal with terrorists, but as the definition of terrorism is...
- The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.
...then how can we possibly not describe Israel's actions as terrorism?
Things I Try To Avoid Speaking About in Class But Usually Fail and Other Lists...
1. Israel and Palestine
2. The fact that the American minimum wage is still $5.15
3. King Mohammed VI is cute!
4. My deep hatred of the French language
5. My boyfriend
6. How much I love kefta even though it might contain...lawyers
7. That I'm a total nerd
9. Moroccan men on the street and the ways they make me angry
10. Wet hair
Things I Miss About the U.S. Right Now
1. Wearing miniskirts
2. The availability of sushi
3. Public drunkeness
4. My wardrobe and the walk-in that contains it
5. Comfortable stylish shoes (nonexistent in Morocco)
6. Orange Julius!
7. Chicago-style pizza or hell, any pizza that doesn't suck
8. Free speech
9. Availability of English-language books
10. Political discussions that don't result in me being called a traitor/stupid/crazy/hypocritical
Meats I Never Thought I'd Eat But Have
4. Donkey, apparently and unfortunately AND accidentally
Photos from the North
With my boy in the Asilah medina.
I love how all the tour books claim Chefchaouen's mosque to be the only octagonal one.
Red sky at night, sailor's delight!
And Asilah's medina.
Setting up for a children's fair.
I could resist photographing FrankenCat (or well, any cat for that matter)
What a melange of architecture...
This fresh fish plate cost me - no joke - about $2.00 USD.
The (in)famous port of Tangier.
An old church in Asilah, left over from the days of the Spanish Protectorate.
Don't forget the influence of the Portuguese!
And apparently the Turkish, though I don't know the history of this odd Tangier mosque (odd meaning unlike any other in Morocco)
And last but not least, the lovely (and cheap) Mounia Apartments where we stayed in Asilah.
For the rest of the photos (including many of my boy and me which I'm sure aren't all that interesting, but also more of Asilah and the beach and my ugly legs in a bikini and Tangier): Asilah and Tangier
My posts have been few and far between; I apologize. Anyhow, I've spent the past two weeks in vacation bliss, although it still seems like it wasn't enough. After I finished the last session of classes, my boyfriend and I went to Asilah and Tangier (photos to follow, or just click the album link >Morocco>Asilah and Tangier), I relaxed in Meknes, then had a visitor - the lovely Michelle whose husband is Moroccan; they were visiting his family for the first time.
I leave for the US on August 16 and despite the fact that I miss it a whole bunch, I'm slightly terrified of that phenomena often referred to as "reverse culture shock." I'm certain that paying $4 for a cappucino will seem like a travesty, and the idea of driving again is somewhat daunting (though Hamza's been giving me lessons on his dad's VW stick shift so I'm not entirely out of practice), but the unforeseen...? I don't know.
After spending the past couple of days with a fellow American woman, I've realized how much I really miss that openness. I'm afraid my American self might go out in miniskirts and drink copious amounts of beer for the first week. I suppose there are worse things.
Yesterday in the medina with Michelle, walking along and minding our own business, a man approached and began to ask the inevitable: "German? Spanish? American?" Normal, completely normal. Then: "American Jewish? FUCKING JEWS!!" Never in my life have I heard even an anti-Semitic phrase uttered, and to myself? A non-Jew? Un-fucking-believable. Morocco's Jews have mostly gone, and those that are left seem to live the charmed life, so to speak (or at least a better life than many of the South's Berbers anyhow), and so this came as a complete shock. Meknes itself is inhabited by only a few Jews, and I only know one personally (the best diamond jeweler in town - insert jew/jewelry joke here). Regardless, I don't know for certain if this man even knew what he was saying.
I've been reading the ground beneath her feet by Salman Rushdie for the past couple of weeks. Now, this book is more Tommy than evil, but nonetheless, most Moroccans who notice it in my hands tell me they want him dead - or at least express shock at my reading a book by him. What on earth? I assume most of my readers know the history - but in short, The Satanic Verses by the same author caused a huge controversy during the reign of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who likened it to an assault against Islam - mind you, I haven't read it and won't until I get back to the States, so I still don't entirely know why - and the Ayatollah thus issued a fatwa against Rushdie, demanding that any Muslim who comes across him kill him. A massive assault on free speech. Not too unlike what recently occurred with Denmark's press. Both frighten me.
Enough about that - I don't feel comfortable with assaults against Islam either, and am not about to provoke one - not to mention I do respect the religion and God - just not the culture, the modern manifestations, and so forth. What's been said a million times.
Lastly for now - I have recently discovered that I am more myself now than I have ever been. I suppose it takes a year away from everything you've grown up with (or longer) to see how much you love what you know.