I recently watched online a studio-recorded show of a panel of Moroccans discussing community issues. The video is broken up into 11 pieces located here moroccoboard.com. At times, it felt like they were attempting to root-cause the lack of organization and coordination among Moroccans in the US, and other times it felt like they were celebrating a Moroccan diplomat who was among the panelists.
I got confused a little bit, but I got illuminated nonetheless. I learned that Moroccans could now be the second or third Arabic minority in America after the Lebanese according to the diplomat, Mr. Khantoush. Unfortunately, according to him, nobody knows because nobody cares to register himself or herself with the consulate. The only way to reach Moroccans is through online mailing lists of various websites ~ they didn't mention Raioo but it's okay I kept on watching :) I also learnt that the Moroccans in Florida claim to have the strongest cultural presence in America, and that is thanks to Disney, according to Mrs. Jamila Mimi Chami. She believes Moroccans do not trust each other and suffer from the ability to talk without acting or executing. According to her, no pun intended, the only solution is for them to go back home. "Simple like that" she said. I'm sure she meant for them to preserve their traditions and values, and not buy a one-way ticket to Morocco. But even so, I wonder what that has to do with her statement that Moroccans do not trust each other. I don't feel that way at all. I sense subjectivity here.
I also learnt that his Majesty the King has ordered the creation of a high council of Moroccan Immigrants around the world and assigned representatives for each community. But I also learnt that there is another effort led by the diplomat Mr. Khantash to build a network of Moroccans in the US in hopes to mobilize and with aspirations to become a strong lobby. Such a network could be key to improving tourism in Morocco and facilitating the trade between the US and Morocco, the facilitator of the show, Mr. Sawt emphasized. But not everybody agreed, a journalist among the panelists Mr. Abou3kil warned that the network could soon be diluted by virtue of the high council. His idea was immediately shut off as if he were perceived as a third eye who should sit in a corner and listen. I thought that he had some deeper thoughts; maybe he believes the network itself is not on proper grounds. But who am I to even theoretize? I sense I am growing a third eye..
Overall, I thought it was an interesting town hall meeting recorded in a professional studio. I hope they do it again and discuss more goals and objectives in some more details. This could lead to something bigger as time goes by. A real TV channel where Moroccans can enlighten each other and others, and celebrate their achievements and culture. Way to go!
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Her statement that "Moroccans do not trust each other" does not resonate with my experience with the Moroccan community here at *all*.. my personal experience is within the muslim moroccan community specifically, and that they are close-knit, work well together, and very supportive of each other as well as being actively involved in their communities' schools, masjid's, etc. (so much for not getting "mobilized" - I find that to be another harsh criticism not entirely accurate - sorry Baba Salem... :)
I think that statement would more closely apply to the Algerian American community, though - but again, that's just based on my own personal experiences.
ps: I'd like to know what specifically is meant by "improving tourism" .... and is/should that be the priority of such a lobby - or of the Moroccan American community in general?
I agree that mobilizing Moroccans is an "impossible" task. That would be a good theme for a PhD thesis ;-) to know what are the reasons for that. It's a real dilemma. The answer lies probably in the history of our nation, but I think it's rather a negative behaviour that is widely recognized among the moroccan society, as we always find ourselves dragging way behind the nations in the race towards progress. Let's be optimistic though and hope that most of the local little associations in various states in the USA will one day agglomerate and constitute a strong community for the benefit of Moroccans and Morocco and for the host country (USA) as well. I think that the various initiatives mentioned in the TV Program are positive and success stories such as the wonderful experience of Mr. Khantouch are worth speaking and writing about.
Quoted in original note and in program,,,, ''I learned that Moroccans could now be the second or third Arabic minority in America.......''
Let us not forget that not all Moroccans are of Arabic descent. There were Moroccans in Morocco before the Arabic peoples ever arrived. There is a well organized community of Moroccan people in Maine where I am from originally. Morocco is not ''an Arabic nation'' as is much of the Middle East etc..Accepted, an Islamic country though not, in such simple terms as quoted above, an Arabic country entirely.