By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, June 5, 2012
It was another sunny day casting its burning rays on the grey pavements, on the main roads as well as the narrow lanes of the big city Casablanca. The traffic is usually less congested in the afternoon. Therefore it was not very being difficult to find a big cab. I waved to the driver and paid for two seats since I don’t’ relish the idea of being squeezed by male passengers especially and more particularly in hot weather day.
The taxi driver kept looking at the sidewalks while honking the honks at different intervals in a search for potential customers. I was in the front seat, almost absent minded, and plunged in the thoughts of errands, my destination.
I heard the voice of a lady behind me, mumbling complaints, grumbling insults. To my surprise and disappointment I found out that the lady was insulting a young woman from a Sub-Saharan country. She whispered to her elbow neighbor “I hate them all, they all stink”.
Another passenger replied, “They became so numerous around. You can find them almost everywhere”. I was astounded at the woman’s harsh comments though it was not the first time that I heard such derogatory language uttered against the Sub-Saharan community.
It is commonplace to hear people labeling Sub-Saharan immigrants as”Azzi” or “Azzia” (black skinned) which is an overt manifestation of racism. Unfortunately, discrimination on the ground of skin color and the use of derogatory language against colored people is gaining ground among Moroccans. In history, racism has been a major part of the political and ideological underpinning of colonialist powers in third world countries.
The attribution of a superior status to some races was a mere pretext disguising the real intention behind the expansion towards countries in search for raw materials and cheap manpower. But racism is showing today another ugly face when it is displayed by third world countries citizens themselves.
With the arrival to Morocco of a sizable number of citizens from African countries fleeing plagues and atrocities in their native countries and looking for better life prospects in Morocco, the makeup of the Moroccan population is undergoing a subtle, but nonetheless, a real change, adding a layer of ethnic diversity to the Moroccan demography. Nevertheless, it seems that not all Moroccans are ready to accept that Sub-Saharan fellows have become their neighbors, their workmates, their business partners and even their friends.
More alarming is the fact that verbal abuse against sub-Saharan immigrants and colored people, in general, has been assimilated to the daily language of many Moroccans. Rarely do people question the convenience of such demeaning language.
It is also appalling to witness the indifference of many Moroccans towards xenophobic behavior displayed by children against people of color. Needless to say that permissiveness of such discriminatory behavior is a real threat to social harmony. It is also liable to dilute incrementally the values of hospitability, tolerance and equality anchored in the Islamic and the Moroccan culture.
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