By Majid Morceli
By Majid Morceli
San Francisco – More often than not, I know how I feel about things. I am either for or against something. However, this time I started out conflicted. Watching a few clips from Nabil Ayouch’s film “Much Loved” and Jennifer Lopez’s lascivious opening act in Mawazine festival threw me off.
The Moroccan part of me feels that the movie is too vulgar and too low on class and has no place in any Moroccan artistic platform. Additionally, Jennifer Lopez’s orgy of twerking and sexually provocative performance was simply inappropriate for Moroccan television.
No matter how I looked at it, I kept thinking 99.9% of Moroccans are Muslims. Of course Islam in Morocco comes in different levels and flavors, but you can bet that any Moroccan family sitting in front of its television set watching JLO or “Much Loved” will be horrified. I kept thinking that Morocco is simply not ready and will never be ready for such spectacles.
Moroccan families do not disavow such events solely based on their religious belief; they do so because it is not part of their social fabric or culture. From the clips available online, many Moroccans attending JLO’s concert are more concerned about taking pictures and videos of the performance, unlike concerts in the US where the audience is truly immersed in the performance.
The American part of me says: live and let live. If anyone thinks that the movie or the concert is inappropriate, there is a very simple solution to rectify the problem. Turn the TV off or switch channel. No one is forcing anyone to watch something they are not happy with. I believe that no Muslim or otherwise should tell me what I should or should not watch. If I am to end up in hell because I watched JLO, then I take full responsibility for my actions.
Growing up in Casablanca next to two of the then biggest Mosques in the city, I watched worshipers and sometimes joined them for prayers. I watched them go about their business right after prayer. Other than our parents, no one told us what we should and should not do. Morocco was a lot safer then and a more beautiful place to live in.
With that being said, the American side of my brain still wins hands down. People in general should be able to make their own choices and no one should impose his or her belief on anyone else. God, if you believe in one, gave us a brain to use it and not for someone else to tell us how and when to use it. If I sin, I take full responsibility for my sins.
Moroccan authorities need to end their system of paternalism and allow people to be free. The majority of Moroccan households are equipped with satellite televisions that can easily stream X-rated movies. Therefore, banning the movie is such pathetic move. The movie is freely available online. Are they going to ban the Internet as well?
Or is it because of Nabil Ayoush’s gutsiness to bring to life something considered taboo? Prostitution in Morocco is alive and kicking and there is no sign that it’s going to vanish anytime soon. The reason for this phenomenon is very simple: poverty. Instead of going after a movie producer, it would be more helpful to tackle the real culprit: the poverty and lack of education that are so rampant in the country.
It is utterly ridiculous to tell the world that banning the movie is to protect the image of Moroccan women. To protect women, Moroccan authorities should start by looking closely at the annual Gender Gap Index which shows Morocco falling to 133rd place overall out of 142 countries.
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