Casablanca - Shelley Segal’s video on YouTube, Morocco, continues to gain more viewership despite growing dissent surrounding the song.
Casablanca – Shelley Segal’s video on YouTube, Morocco, continues to gain more viewership despite growing dissent surrounding the song.
Morocco, a single from Segal’s upcoming album, An Easy Escape, describes her experiences from a trip she took to Marrakech and Essaouira in 2007.
Segal sings about “flying free,” and medina shopkeepers asking her, “Do you want to buy some weed?”. She explores what she says to be her true experiences in Morocco—drugs, propositions from men, and beauty.
Despite the few comments applauding Segal for exposing ‘what is truly happening in Morocco,’ the video has been berated with harsh, insulting comments, not only criticizing the video, but also taking personal stabs at Segal and her physical appearance.
Yousef Sourgo recently wrote an article for Morocco World News highlighting the themes of the song and the initial responses from YouTube viewers. This lead to more outcry from readers.
Many Moroccans are taking this song very personally and voicing their critiques, while others are standing by Segal’s side. One reader wrote, “If she didn’t dress like a fat 1/2 naked hippy in with dreads in an Islamic society, she wouldn’t be sexually harassed. She wouldn’t be offered drugs because she looks like an idiot hippy tourist looking for drugs.”
Regardless of personal opinion, the song is about the experience of a single tourist visiting Morocco. It is helpful and interesting to have dialogue about controversial topics, such as the ones Segal mentions in Morocco, and the heated comments reveal that the video has resonated with viewers.
No one likes to look at, and analyze the negative aspects of their country, but songs like Morocco create a unique opportunity for people to share their opinions surrounding topics that otherwise would stay hidden.
Pretending Morocco is free from problems, or that the problems are ‘not that bad,’ does not allow for positive growth in the country. While every country has challenges and problems, ignoring these issues produces more harm than good. The only way to produce growth and improvement in societies is to acknowledge the difficulties and challenges in order to promote open dialogue and discussion.
Comments such as, “Morocco wants to bring 20 million tourists, but the majority of people are still not ready for this, since they are not able to come to terms with critics” and “Shelly is addressing a reality, she’s not making this up. We need more of this, this is new way to fight this corrupt behaviors,” are neither right nor wrong- but they are comments that raise interesting and productive dialogue.
On the other hand, the majority of the comments attacking Segal’s physical appearance are appalling and shameful. Freedom of speech is a universal right, but with freedom of speech comes a personal responsibility to use words to engage in civil communication for societal growth.
People have a right to disagree with the song, but under no circumstance does posting hateful comments help to foster useful dialogue. The song should be viewed as a platform for discussion, which if used correctly, could provide the opportunity for different opinions to be heard and explored.
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