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MOROCCO
Aziz Bezza
canton, ma USA
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24
comments.
Those were the days...
07:12:39 PM Friday Aug 12, 2005


Most immigrants who left their homeland were hungry for a rewarding life, big cities, big ideas, and exotic places. From a personal experience, when I do return, my home address and my job remain abroad, but when I enter a caf? shop in Oujda or stop to fill up my father car?s tank with Algerian gas, I am just someone who grew up around there. I use to think that the influences of the people, the land, and the childhood were part of the past. But increasingly I came to realize how much they meant to my upcoming. I am certain that a number of you share, to some extent, similar experiences and every once awhile you remember something related to your passed, it can be a turning point, a strange event, a funny story or for that matter a particular personage. If you have any real story, please do share it with us.

I would like to share with you a brief story about Niguis, hint to oujdis he was always parked in place du maroc. For those who grow up in Oujda, and are old enough to remember him might already know the anecdote.


Niguis was a clandestine taxi driver during the 70?s and the early 80?s. His outfit distinguished him for he looked exactly like a black southerner, always wearing a brimmed hat and suspenders. His daily furtive trips during summer time included driving ?shouala? harvesters whom he drove early in the morning and brought back from the fields in the afternoon. In good rainy years, summer business always brought prosperity to Niguis and you could just see his old black car entering everyday the slow paced city of Oujda loaded with at least six people including him.

One blistering summer afternoon, he was faced with a dilemma where two extra harvesters, beside his daily six customers, needed a trip from the fields back to Oujda. Niguis reckoned the only place left in his car was the trunk and thus he suggested and realized the idea.
While driving toward his destination, he got stopped by ?gendarmes? to whom he was already known. But this time one of them asked.

?What?s n the trunk?
?Oh Nothing much, just a couple of sheep!!
?Let me take a look?
?Sure.
Niguis got out of his car and opened the trunk.
?Well Niguis these ain?t sheep
?Well, they wouldn?t be in the trunk if they weren?t sheep!!
One of the two shouala got offended and replied to niguis:
?Lkabsh houa rajel khaltek, iwa 3ayatlou ysalek-ha darwak!!

Now a day?s people might barely smile for a story like this. But back then people laughed about simple gestures. Still, when I talk to my friend in Holland just the name niguis makes us chuckle.


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4:00 pm    August 21, 2007

hudhud message
24
i was so clueless about this until about a year ago.

interesting thing is that wikipedia has an article about sheikh ahmed zarruq and there's a revived interest in him (and in a few other forgotten sufi sheikhs) among some of the young sufis i've met here in cali.

·

3:51 pm    August 21, 2007

hudhud message
23
maybe lemrabet is related to sid ahmed zarruq. i know my grandmother always says we're "mrabtine" as far as andalousi affiliations and ancestry (the almoravids). i also know ppl still name after that "mrabet". there are zrarqa in oran, alger, bedjaia, not sure about tlemcen but quite possible. there are some zrarqa in libya too, altough very few. sheikh ahmed zarruq died and is buried in libya, near mesrata.
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3:44 pm    August 21, 2007
zarrouki
22
i'm zarrouki , but i was born in north of morocco , my grandmother tell me that we are from the zone between oujda and telimsan , and our ascendant is man called lmrabet zarrok , and we are arabe chorfa ..and i know that they are many zarrouki in morocco , specially in oujda , and in west of algerie ..
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9:23 am    April 12, 2006

hudhud message
21
20
thanks Adnane that's really interesting. but I think that's a different member of the zrarqa tribe, way too far back.. the one I had in mind is two generations back, and i've never heard anyone in my mom's family refer to him as "zarruq" always as "zarruqi" or "izirrouqen" the berber way. i think in spanish it's "zarocan" but who knows. elmouhim, if the one I have in mind was sufi, my family certainly doesn't know it! I would be surprised.
As for Hamza Yusuf, I knew someone who used to attend his programs at the Zaytuna Institute, and heard a lot about it. There are many people who consider him a sufi, but as far as I understand, I don't think he ever openly calls himself that. I think there are some good things we can gain from the early sufi thinkers, just the very idea of going back to a simpler way of worship, focusing on the core aqidah, and trying to be closer to god.. but yes there are definitely some things in more modern-day sufism that ahl assunah waljama3ah have rejected, such as the concept of having an imam being considered as an intermediary, or being much closer to god than ordinary people, and giving blessings, etc. They also have some other innovated worship practices that have been labeled as "bida3" by many fuqaha, such as the sitting in a circle, holding hands, in a dark room, and just saying "allah" over and over.. Obviously not all sufis do this, and no not all sufis are considered "kafir" or "kharij 3an el millah" and I honestly believe that the very first thinkers were just trying to go back to the core aqidah, not to innovate new ways of worship that may go against the prophet's teachings. Plus, we already have the concept of the prophet's shafa3ah in islam, so why do we have to add all these "high imams" in the mix? That makes me think of catholicism and the priests that claim the right/power to bless, forgive, etc... unnecessary and possibly very unislamic complications. Personally I'd like to keep it simple.
·

11:44 am    April 9, 2006

Adnane Ben. message
20
10
You probably mean Ahmed Zarruq.. not Zarruqi. Ahmed Zarruq I think was a famous North African Sufi - I think Moroccan from Fes.. around mid 1400. He founded Zawya Zarruqiya an offshoot of the Zawya Shadhliya. The Sufi phenomenon in Morocco faced many critiques by non-Sufi Sunni scholars and even declared them Kufar. I think one of the major reasons why because the Sufis in Morocco in essence declare themselves as an interface between the normal person and the light of God. Also, they ask that when people are lost and miserable to call up their name (the leader of the corresponding Zawya) and that leader will come to them with help. That is clearly wrong in my opinion. But I don't know much really about the Sufi movement in North Africa. But pretty much, because of their powerful spiritual relationship with regular populace, they were an important tool for the central governments to influence people.

Hamza Yusuf oftentimes quotes Ahmed Zarruq and other Sufis from North Africa.. I actually now think that Hamza Yusuf leans more towards Sufism.

references:
Zarruq, the sufi

the poor man book of assistance

etc

·

6:03 pm    August 15, 2005

hudhud message
19
good that's what/who i'm looking for.. will ask a friend of mine from oujda for more details..
anybody knows any other zerrouki's in other cities/areas? pls share.. trying to locate some distant relatives...

thanks again!

·

3:21 pm    August 15, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
18
fouad, mostafa lhayel use to be a dear friend of ahmed assouar i've seem him many times in his store.

hudhud,I am pretty sure they are arabs.

yeah adnane he was also known by nipo. he was a mad freaky man. what i also remember among the crazies l3alia and papa( chat mat brat a kachch)

·

2:45 pm    August 15, 2005

Adnane Ben. message
17
16
Rasta, you mean L3atrouss, not Lakhrouf.. that homeless terrorized the whole neighborhood, and I still don't know why the police never did anything about that. He used to wear baggy pants and a suit jacket. The baggy pants are storage for the stones (ssamm) and the jacket a cache for more stones. And the hours to avoid the neighborhood used to be... 1-3pm always know your shortcuts.
·

12:01 pm    August 15, 2005

Rasta Gnawi message
16
Man, I remember Lhaj from the old days in Saidia. He used to be one of the first ones to open it, and certainly the last one to leave it. One year, he hosted a program in Saidia; one of those on beach entertainment things. One day, he had little kids telling jokes. He was on stage near la 2eme guinguette. I was there with a friend of mine who came from France, so he was fresh on his freedom stuff. The little girl started her joke with: "wahed anhar, jommani wel malik..." and he immediately cut her off, taking the microphone and saying something polite and nice. My friend screamed out: "wafine la liberte d'expression?" He looked in our direction and screamed: "3layach kaddefe3 a ssi moulay." Needless to say I was looking for sand to burry myself in, and my friend quickly realized he was in Morocco and kept his mouth shut.

Lhaj was a nice guy. The program he became famous for is "moussabaqat lmoudoun?" when he did an empersonation of the walimah guy.

Does anyone remember Lekhrouf? The crazy guy who used to cover himself in the couverture rmadya and used to throw stone and kids coming out of school and the qbour nassara and laguare area.

·

10:59 am    August 15, 2005
fouad
15
You're welcome Aziz. It was my pleasure sharing those memories. Sorry to tell you I'm not the Bekkaoui you think of though I indeed used to live in lhoma dial kbour nsara not far from lkarte dial l3esker. Hudhud sorry I can't tell you if the zerrouki family is of berber descent but except of their father who died when I was still a little kid, I spoke with all of their family members and they only used arabic as language. Yes Aziz I remember Khlafa lboulissi very well. Indeed he too was one of the city's characters.
A friend of mine once got arrested by khlafa while he was near "lparc" with his girlfriend. Tel3ohom lcomissaria o tma khlafa gal lelbent " ewa ach konti diri m3ah bohdek? Ah? temchi m3ah o dirlek bibi (baby) o termeh lna f znaki? As for Mouly dial l'USMO yes I remember him too but I can't tell you if the story about him drinking "rouj" before going to the game is true or not. But I'll try to find out. Speaking of nass dial kora f oujda, you must know the great and funny and unique in every way, the one and only Mostafa Lhayel and his team L'ASCRO. hadak howa l fenomen dial bessah. Boy,memories are rushing through my mind as I'm writing this. I should stop for it's reminding me how much I miss home. b9aw 3la khir.
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7:16 pm    August 14, 2005

hudhud message
14
do you know if they are arab or berber, or mixed?

thanks aziz..

·

6:35 pm    August 14, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
13
fouad did you live arround kbour nssara, if i guess your last name can it be bekkaoui by any chance.
do you remember moulay (usmo) is true that he use to drink some rouje before playing in stad lkdim.
·

6:24 pm    August 14, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
12
10
I have no idea where zarrouki family descend from. i certainly can get you their address if you are interested.
·

6:18 pm    August 14, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
11
8
Thank you so much for providing the right story about lhaj zerrouki and definitely colise was owned by la3lej (now that you sent a strong oujdi flavor from paris). i use to sit down a lot with hamid his brother in front of his house, and after they reopened lhamam ( kbour nsara) i went their regularly to have a nice takssila from hammad and then go for some nice ka3k next door.
since you mentioned hmida lforma and hassan lagoma do you also remember khlafa the big size police officer?
·

6:01 pm    August 14, 2005

hudhud message
10
i guess a better way would be for me to ask if his family is in any way related to or possibly descended from cheikh a7med zerrouki (also known as izzirouken).. does that name ring a bell to anyone?

my guess is that they may be related to him from his father's family, not his descendants, but i could be wrong..

fouad? aziz? pls share, thanks!!

·

5:47 pm    August 14, 2005

hudhud message
9
does anyone know his father's and/or grandfather's name by any chance??

thanks for sharing aziz and fouad

·

2:38 pm    August 14, 2005
fouad
8
Hi everybody
Thanks aziz for bringing back to memory niguis and his adventures. I know that story and indeed we used to laugh about it a lot. As for lhaj zerrouki Allah yrehmou, I'd like to correct some facts for I knew him and his family very well. His family never owned cinema colisee. Colisee along with cinema vox and royal belonged to la famille l3lej. Anyway lhaj zerrouki just like niguis or hmida lforma or hassan lagoma (for those who used to go watch lmouloudia at le stade municipal) was indeed one of those characters you think only exist in books. He used indeed to dress always in serwal kendrissi and with his beard one couldn't miss him. The anecdote about him in lhajj is not true. He never was deported from saudi arabia and I remember very well the day he came back from lhaj. His mother insisted on taking him directly from the airport to the lhamam they own so he can give his blessing to the place. We laughed about it a lot. Yes la famille zerrouki own lhamam known by hamam zerrouki and it's the one I used to go to as I used to live in the same neighborhood. But lhaj zerrouki, his firstname was mohammed, was also known to the rest of Morocco through some cultural activities he took part in, mainly theater. He was most famous for doing a great imitation of bargash and his tv show walima for his used to look a lot like bargash. Allah yrehmou.
·

7:06 pm    August 13, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
7
4
la famille Zarrouki is one of the oldest clans in oujda. as a matter of fact they lived in one of the oldest neighborhoods accessible only to french and some jewish families now their house might be the oldest in that street. their father owned Cinema colise may be the first one in Oujda. just to get an Idea about lhaj Zarrouki, he was buried in sid lmoukhtar in 1996 if i recall, ( because i went to his funeral) in Lahd that was purchased years ago. i dont think there was any space for barial at that cimetery at that time.
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6:47 pm    August 13, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
6
It was known that he exhausted his inherited money in travelling. Some say that he drove to mecca, and was expelled from some country because of a V sign. too bad i can't back up my talk with some referances. but i know for sure that he loved wearing turbans, vests, and shorts. he also loved sipping wine and beer. he was quite a character.
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6:39 pm    August 13, 2005

Adnane Ben. message
5
4
aziz can tell about him better than me. Zarrouki is entitled to his own blog entry though.
·

6:36 pm    August 13, 2005

hudhud message
4
pls tell me more about him..
is zarrouki a large oujdi family? or was it just his nickname?
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5:47 pm    August 13, 2005

Adnane Ben. message
3
2
man I do remember very well! I always thought he was jewish. He used to wear serwal qandrissi everyday and had a beard. He looked european.
·

5:42 pm    August 13, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
2
1
He passed away in the late 80's and his daughters are still living in the derb to the left before lmohafada. he was very funny with a very exotic appearance and if i recall he owned a black old citroen. he could attract your attention just like lhaje zarrouki, remember mrahba bikoum fhad lhalka dial lghalka.
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4:05 pm    August 13, 2005

Adnane Ben. message
1
I don't know this guy Niguig, although I grew up in Oujda.. This story almost sounds like some scene from some Quintin Tarantino movie! guys in the trunk of a car, night time, though jokes, talking back, maybe a couple of guns around,.. hehehe I hope the sheep made it to Oujda alive after all.
·

Aziz Bezza's notes (3)
 
2005
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Morocco in Mexico 1986..
Those were the days.....


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