“When we talk about the migration history of Moroccans to Europe, we rarely talk about women.”
With FATIMA, Raja Felgata and Fatimzahra Baba wish to give a face to the often overlooked Dutch-Moroccan women who moved to, were born in, and are growing up in Amsterdam, by launching a new platform and movement on December 6 at the ‘Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.’
“When we talk about the migration history of Moroccans to Europe, we rarely talk about women. In the Netherlands we had the ‘guest workers’, men who first came from Morocco after the Second World War to do the dirty work in factories, shipyards and assembly lines.” Fatimzahra Baba explained to Morocco World News.
“With FATIMA we want to tell the stories of the women in the Netherlands who have an individual, but shared connection with Morocco.”
We are here to stay
FATIMA sets out to inspire a new generation of Dutch-Moroccan women, but also commemorate Dutch-Moroccan women who have contributed to Dutch society over the past decades. To mark 50 years of migration, the association will put 50 photos on display at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam at the December 6 launch, showcasing the many different faces of FATIMA.
Displaying FATIMA’s many faces will serve to change the narrative within the media, as Baba explains. “FATIMA is here to say: We are here to stay and we will not be dismissed. We are fed up with the often-heard song of portraying women with a Moroccan background as oppressed and lacking self-empowerment.
We don’t hide or downplay our cultural roots, we are not ashamed of who we are, but take pride in it. This is important, not just for Moroccan women but to everyone one. After all, If you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know where to go.”
“We consciously thought of FATIMA as a name, since it is very traditional and in line with preconceived notions of what we can expect of women with a Moroccan background.It contributes to the self-awareness that your personal identity has many facets and is constantly evolving.”
The youngest of FATIMA’s faces is Yousra, a girl of nine who is living in Amsterdam and is one day hoping to become prime minister, and Aicha, born in Fez, is now 67 years and has made both Morocco and Amsterdam her home.
FATIMA’s members also represent different sectors of work. From neonatologists to police detectives, from elementary school teachers to trade unionists, all are active and contributing to society in visible and invisible ways.
Though FATIMA kicks-off with 50 years of migration in mind, this does not mean the grass-roots movement is there only for Dutch-Moroccan women. “The exhibition that will be unveiled soon is the start of something that we want to branch out over time. Think of workshops, events, talks and not just in the Netherlands, we are talking Marrakech, New York and other places where we hope to promote female, self-empowerment,” Baba concludes.