Rabat – A video of Saudi stand-up comedian Samer El hazmi’s latest performance, insinuating Morocco is a destination for “sex tourism,” has predictably sparked outrage among Moroccans.
Seemingly aware of the reaction his chosen material might inspire, the comedian took the unusual step of acknowledging the nature of his routine’s subject matter at the beginning of his performance, calling it “sensitive.”
To the amazement of his audience, the comedian started talking about his first travel experience to Morocco and the unexpected reaction other Saudis’ express when they learned of his travel plans.
“I am going to tell a true story. It was normal when the first time I thought about it – but when it has come true, I received different strange feedback from people.”
The comedian continued to recount how Saudis consider Morocco, “People are divided into two groups when you tell them that you travelled to Morocco. The first group supports you and views travelling to Morocco as a victory. While, the second group rebukes you by saying astonishingly, ‘Oh, you travelled to Morocco [as it is a shameful country].’”
He went on noting that, “Morocco is a Muslim country, containing Mosques, but Saudis are not eager to discover Morocco – they already know about it as a country for sex tourism.,” going on to declare that Morocco is well-known to Saudis for its “pretty girls.”
The comedian’s controversial show and the sensitive topic he attempted to tackle with humour instead caused an uproar among Moroccans, who expressed their dismay at the comedian. For them, the only reason behind their travel to Saudi Arabia as following: “Moroccans travel to only to make pilgrimage, known as the hajj, to Mecca.”
When approached by the media for a comment, the comedian explained that he did not intend to abuse Morocco during his show, saying that he “had intended to ridicule Morocco and Moroccans misunderstood his show,” noting that during his show he said that “Saudis who visit Morocco are the suspects.”
Seeking to heal the wound he offered the following, “I love Morocco and Moroccans, and I am a friend of a Moroccan whose mother is Moroccan and she is like my mother too – it is impossible to abuse the mother of my friend,” the comedian said.
Edited by Constance Guindon