By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, Nov 18, 2012
Independence is the most glorious milestone event in the history of any nation. There is no parallel to the day where an oppressed nation breaks the shackles of servitude and occupation to embrace freedom, self governance under more auspicious horizons.
Independence is usually not a fortuitous achievement brought by luck or fortune. It is gained with armed struggle with its toll of causalities and fatalities. In the most generous act of abnegation and heroism, oppressed people renounce their right to live for the sake of their ancestors’ lands.
Every year on November 18th, Morocco celebrates with Pride its independence that marked the end of the French occupation. It is a unique opportunity for the older generation to recall their tales of heroism and for the younger to relate to their past historical legacy.
In the few past months, many internet users became accustomed to the graphics displayed in Google’s homepage. These visual presentations used by Google remind internet users about the landmark events and achievement that coincide with each day.
To mark Morocco’s Independence Day, Google designers did not find more reminiscent image than displaying a picture with “leather cushions” usually labeled in French as “maroquinerie”. For some unknown etymological providence the noun used to design “goat leather tanned and dyed in the hair side” is “maroquain” which has the same phonetic distribution as “Marocain” which means Moroccan in French.
It is true that leather craft is widespread in Morocco but it is more known in Texas than in Marrakesh. Yet, this etymological and phonetic similarity does not explain why did Google graphics designers opt for cushions to refer to Morocco’s Independence Day.
Though Edward Said’s” Orientalism” doctrine dealt primarily with written texts, he also mentioned the impact of these visual media in the conveyance of this flawed representation of the “ Oriental” culture. In Google representation, the Moroccan struggle for independence was reduced to a set of cushions, those leather artifacts that appeal mostly to tourists more than the locals.
Perspectives along with language and context help to mold meaning. Perspectives are the driving forces of speech while language is their relatively docile instrument. From the vantage point of Google designers, Independence Day is narrowed to a less representative and even offensive image of Moroccan history and culture.
It would be a mistake to assume that Orientalist art has waned with the emergence of more abstract trends. It is maybe revived now through the most accessible medium in the history of humanity, internet.