Abdelatif Ait Aazzi
Abdelatif Ait Aazzi
Casablanca – Bouzabal, the Moroccan animated comic series, has, surprisingly, enjoyed incredible success in Morocco.
The short episodes have succeeded in attracting millions of YouTube and Facebook followers due to a young man’s ability to reflect and comment on aspects of Moroccan daily life and youth culture.
The animated character, Bouzabal, addresses otherwise unaddressed social issues that are deeply rooted in Moroccan society by using street languages often employed by young people. Bouzabal criticizes reality in a comic and a sarcastic style and never takes the issues too seriously. The character is a young man with a “low profile” who doesn’t agree with Moroccan societal norms. One of the most recurring themes of Bouzabal’s commentary is his conflict with high class young men so- called “kelinimi” who regard lower class people, such as Bouzabal himself, with disgust.
Mohammed Nasib, the creator of Bouzabal, claims that his animated series aims to reflect the hidden side of some youth culture in Morocco. He argues that those who disapprove of Moroccan societal norms generally live in isolation and have been left out of the communal narrative.
Bouzabal exposes the widening gap between rich and poor as well as the disparities in the distribution of wealth and income in Morocco. While many viewers think of Bouzabal as a vicious, vulgar, impolite, and illiterate character that has been extracted from national patriotism, Mohammed Nasib disagrees and asserts that Bouzabal is not a series that makes positive change seem pessimistic. Nasib does not believe that Morocco is a maze of failure or pit of losers; rather Nasib argues that Morocco is a country of equality that embraces creative minds.
While it is undoubtedly true that Bouzabal speaks the often ignored truth about young people who are not satisfied with their situation, he is also not a harmless character. Young children often perceive Bouzbal as a role model, imitating his vulgar way of speaking, his way of dressing in sports clothing, his method of harassing girls, and his method of taking the bus without paying.
Though Nasib does not encourage people to imitate these outrageous behaviors, young children seem to fully incarnate this character by idealizing vandalism, harassing girls and generally repeating the actions of Bouzabal. Many young men perceive that by doing something normally forbidden, they are able to prove their manhood and existence.
The Bouzabal series is meant to raise young people’s awareness and shed light on some of the problems in the Moroccan society using a sarcastic tone. Nonetheless, this phenomenon seems to have negatively affected some young people who have chosen Bouzabal as a role model. This character has been created in a way that encourages this people to follow suit, not only in his actions, but also in the way he perceives and exposes social injustice.
Unfortunately, the mindful intentions of this comical series was not able to prevent youth behavior from becoming increasingly vulgar. Should we only blame these young people for the wrong understanding of the essence of the character or has the creator of the series failed to shape adequate constraints for the character?
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