Monday, January 22, 2018

Small Girls Hurt in Fez House Collapse

The inhabitants of the woke up today to a tragedy next to their houses where an apartment building in the El Bourniat district of Bendabab in Fez collapsed on Sunday, January 21st

The family of four occupying the building included two little girls who were found in in serious condition and transported to the Hassan 2 hospital.

The prefectural services rushed on site and established a security perimeter around the collapsed building. They also proceeded to the evacuation of nearby houses pending the completion of architectural report, in the coming days to determine the causes of this tragedy and take security measures that are necessary to avoid the repetition of such an event.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Pedestrian Crossing Law Angers Two British Tourists

In Morocco pedestrians should use pedestrian crossings - or pay a fine. However, some tourists are reacting badly to the new laws in the Highway Code

Two English tourists face up to two years in prison for refusing to pay a fine and assaulting a traffic policeman.

The criminal investigation of Marrakech on Wednesday sent back two English tourists and their Moroccan women to the Attorney General of the King, for "humiliation of a public official during the exercise of his function" and "assaulting a police officer in uniform", reports the daily Akhbar Alyaoum in its edition of January 19th.

The four defendants, who face jail terms of up to four years in prison, initially failed to respect the crosswalks, crossing Hassan II Boulevard in Marrakech. When the policeman explained to them that they must pay a fine of 25 dirhams as provided for in the Highway Code, they reacted violently and assaulted the policeman after refusing to pay the fine.


Weekend Weather in Morocco

The weather will be rainy in several cities of Morocco. Locally important rainfall and showers are forecast over the eastern Mediterranean and Rif, the north of the Oriental and the Upper and Middle Atlas. This precipitation should concern Nador, El Hoceima, Berkane, Oujda, Azilal, Ouarzazate, Midelt, Errachidia, Khenifra, Ifrane, Boulmane, El Hajeb, Midelt, Taza and Beni Mellal

The weather will be cold on the reliefs, the Oriental and the south-east slopes with frost or ice. It will be cloudy over the north and center, west of the Mediterranean and south of the Oriental with weak localized waves.

Snowfall is expected on the reliefs of the High and Middle Atlas at heights exceeding 1500 meters. The wind will be moderate from north over the eastern and southern provinces with local sand flushes and weak to moderate from west to variable elsewhere.

The minimum temperatures will be of the order of -4 to 2 ° Celsius on the reliefs of the Atlas and the south of the Oriental, of 2 to 8 ° C on the Rif, the north of the Oriental, the southern slopes, the Saiss, plateaus of phosphates and Oulmes, 8 to 13 ° C on the Loukkos, Gharb, Chaouia, Chiadma, the inner plains, the Mediterranean and the eastern provinces of the south and 13 at 16 ° C elsewhere. The maximum temperatures will vary between 3 ° C and 8 ° C on the eastern highlands and plateaus, 11 and 17 ° C on the Saiss, the plateaux of phosphates and Oulmes, the plains west of the Atlas, the north of the Oriental and the Mediterranean, 16 ° C and 21 ° C on the Atlantic plains, the southeastern slopes and the north of the southern provinces and between 22 ° C and 26 ° C on the southern Saharan provinces.

Moreover, the sea will be rough on the Mediterranean, the Strait and between Tangier and Larache, strong to very strong between Casablanca and Tarfaya and agitated to strong elsewhere.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Concert with Shishani Vranckx in Fez!


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Calling all Australians in Morocco


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Fez Gathering - Final Roundtable Discussions

The 3rd International Artists Gathering  hosted its final day of discussions with a highly appreciative audience braving the very cold conditions. The provision of coffee, tea and small snacks, assisted in boosting the energy levels of those a little tired from the previous night's Slide Luck presentation

The first round table discussion on contemporary art in Africa was well attended, but got off to a late start on a particularly cold morning of around 7 degrees Celsius.

Moderator Neil van der Linden

The individual contributions were well received. Aurelie Lierman, a composer based in The Hague, pointed out the domination of the contemporary art scene over the years by 'middle-aged male Europeans". Originally from Rwanda, Aurelie, an engaging speaker, was one of a strong contingent from the Netherlands that included Neil Van der Linden, and singer,  Shishani Vranckx.

Aurelie Lierman

The two second speakers explained they were doing a joint project, but their contribution were plagued by technical problems and a rather chaotic attempt to rectify the situation turned into an unintended piece of performance art. Eventually, Yassine Balbzioui, from Rabat and Matteo Rubbi, from Italy, informed the audience that the project was a 'paper plane making" competition. Inexplicably, the presentation ended up with a large painting being carried around the streets and an attempt to destroy it by kicking a football through it.

This was followed by a video presentation filmed in Dakar, entitled "You are the shade of my Heart" by Mohammed Arejdal from Rabat. In the video, the audience follows a man dressed in Moroccan clothes, carrying a large red umbrella through the streets. The reaction of local people makes for an interesting cross-cultural discussion. The carrying of an umbrella was the job of a slave - and Mohammed explained his motivation as being political.

The session however, suffered from having too many speakers, technical problems and an overlong introduction from the moderator who, to the bemusement of many in the audience, appeared to cast himself as a contributor rather than facilitator.

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

The final session was preceded by an unannounced but interesting input from Syrian American author, Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar, whose first novel, The Map of Salt and Stars, is to be published in a couple of months. Jennifer explained that her novel had two main threads - the story of modern-day refugees and that of a famous make-maker some eight hundred years earlier. The introduction of the art of the written word made for a seamless transition to the topic that followed

The final round table discussion switched direction from art, performance and photography to the realm of language. Titled  looking at the history and tensions between Anglophone and Francophone communities.

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar's first novel

In Africa, English is spoken by around 130 million people, while French speakers number 115 million.

As one of the panelists commented, "Africa needs an African language". However, while Swahili might be an obvious candidate, the chances of a consensus is highly improbable.

Linguistic dominance comes at a price and is an issue that should be considered seriously. With the increase in so-called world languages comes the erosion of local languages and dialects. Language is the mother of culture - it is part of the cultural DNA and needs to be respected and protected..

The total number of languages natively spoken in Africa is variously estimated (depending on the delineation of language vs. dialect) at between 1,250 to 2,100. Nigeria alone has over 500 languages - one of the greatest concentrations of linguistic diversity in the world.

Several speakers suggested that the future will include Cantonese and Mandarin. The growing importance of China in trade, development, investment and tourism will provide employment possibilities for those who can speak Chinese.

Omar Chennafi, Meryem Lahrichi and the team deserve congratulations for their vision of the 3rd Fez Gathering and having turned that vision into a stimulating few days in Fez.


Casablanca and Bordeaux celebrate 30 years of twinning

According to the French Cultural Institute of Casablanca, cities of Casablanca and Bordeaux are preparing to celebrate 30 years of twinning through a series of events

In 2018, artists, inhabitants, architects, public actors, entrepreneurs will come to Casablanca to "discover or rediscover the most active city of Morocco".

The Institute proposes to mark this event, initiated under the theme "Casablanca / Bordeaux: 30 years of life together," by renewing the links between the two cities over the years.

Actors, artists and personalities, who will "have the heart to invent projects with and for Casablancais", will come from Bordeaux, announces the Institute. "As well as the invitations of personalities and artists from France, the Institute proposes to create new meetings, with the hope that they will open new projects and beautiful adventures."

According to the Institute, both cities have "things to share". They are both port cities, open to the Atlantic, and they have the distinction of being "rich in creativity and innovation". Bordeaux, being at the heart of wine tourism, is a popular holiday destination for many Moroccans.