Ohio – On the “Perks of dating a Moroccan man” Katrina Bushko’s article that enflamed and enraged some to the point of declaring it blasphemous, I’d like to simply state that the unwarranted assault is not only on free speech, but on the very foundation of why Moroccans often feel misunderstood as a culture when they try to respond to stereotypes or misconceptions about their so ‘untouchable’ culture.
Unless weak and otherwise short sighted, there should be a sense of dignified pride in the Moroccan culture with its beauty and its not so glaring realities. Let’s not forget that we are part of a cultural heritage that is rich with diversity, tradition, and above all, a culture that considers itself wiser for its outreach to the outside world with its multidimensional influences.
I strongly lament the abundance of all the unconstructive criticism leveled at the author. Everyone has the right to weigh on the merits and content of any given article, essay, statement, and point of view to the extent that they offer a platform for debate, constructive debate, wise debate, inquisitive debate with a healthy dose of wisdom.
As we say in Darija “Queshaba was3a” for all types of comments. What I find truly a matter of displaced argument is when many absolve to annoying and sometimes borderline incitement to violence against someone’s opinions. Here is a sarcastic response by one of the insightful readers about the negative response by someone who republished Katrina’s article in an her blog:
“Also, good work exposing her identity so internet trolls can send her personal hate mail. She surely deserves rape threats and insults for being goofy, if at all possible”. The maturity of our dialogue lags when it lacks a fundamental ingredient: Respecting each other when we disagree. All consideration given to the stereotypes that one may have of a culture.
Many of us who live abroad may realize that it is very hard to integrate into new cultures. It takes years of interacting with new cultures to understand their values; it only takes one published article to unjustly expect visitors and tourists to Morocco to be expert sociologists. This can be true in a fictional universe only.
Fact or fiction, it is important to note that many overlooked heart wrenching sentences like this by the author of the article published on MWN: “On any given day, I could walk through the souq in Fez or in the streets of El Jadida and be stared at, called to, and generally harassed. I had written off most Moroccan men as being in either one of two categories: they either want to sleep with you or they want to sell you something. But, I luckily found one who doesn’t belong in either. This gives me hope that there is, in fact, a third category of genuinely good Moroccan men. So that was definitely a pro of dating this “third category” Moroccan: respect.”
This frustrating sentiment is shared by countless Moroccan women. Tell me why haven’t “readers” with some sense of critical thinking paid attention to such a comment and debated it as a disturbing phenomenon? It is a huge sociological problem to be a woman in Morocco, because of the relentless harassment on its streets.
Let’s see who can deny this fact and defend it! See, it is easier to blindly defend one’s lack of depth of a host culture, but I find it outrageous to nonchalantly accept the fact that millions of women are frightened to go beyond their walls. Many have given up the free stroll of the streets and boulevards because of the countless barrages of cruel, obsessive and demeaning pick-up lines by sexually obsessed suitors of all ages and walks of life.
What other issues were raised in the article that would cause such an outrage among conservative reactionaries? That the cultural divide is beyond great between those who have it all and those who are oppressed socially, politically and existentially is not a cliché, but a reality that deserves our attention to bridge that gap, and give opportunities to all because the future of this country depends on it.
That some Moroccans are driven by an insatiable need to procreate, search for a better future and date foreign blue eyed women is only natural. Moroccans do not discriminate against all opportunities, especially if one presents itself to search for a better future elsewhere among ‘blue eyed folks around the world’.
Can Moroccans be put in stereotypical categories? I don’t think so, but it is possible to put the readers in these categories: destructive reactionaries who hide behind some type of hypocritical moral piety prescribed by their personal sense of professing the absolute truth and dare anyone think differently.
This category can be very troubling, because it emanates from a deviated chauvinistic sense of patriarchal authority. The second category is one that is passive and is accepting to all sides of thinking with a high sense of peaceful coexistence regardless of the frictions that exist in their environment. This category is always on the sidelines, and can be a waste of ideological space. The third category understands that the past and the present can be powerful indicators of the degree of change. This category wants change, and is willing to debate and compromise with civility on the modalities of what constitutes change.
This is the backbone of progressive societies where consensus is won by the power of collective visions bargained on behalf of the intellectual health of the community. Can Moroccans change stereotypes? Can Moroccans learn that disagreement is part of the universe? Can Moroccans reflect the thinking and openness of a new society? Perhaps these are the questions we should focus on rather than destroy the messengers. Until this debate is upgraded to the issues, all issues, MWN will continue to post what it deems worthy of a dialogue and brush off frustrated posts as destructive reactionism by those who resist change.
The article discussed here has been removed at the request of the author following the avalanche of harsh attacks and insulting messages she received on social media
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