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fender (full stop)
Liege Belgium
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chnou 3endek nta
04:39:57 AM Tuesday Jan 31, 2006

So here we are, some call it, D-day, others, Judgment day, I didn?t find the right word yet..
Long time ago I was warned about this day; be patient, brief, focused and most important don?t ARGUE! These were the tips I got.
You?re all asking your selves at this moment, what the heck is he talking about!
Well, what else can I be talking about besides the first visit to the Moroccan consulate.
I needed to renew my ID, and I really did all the best I can to avoid any physical contact. At the end, nothing helped, I just had to go there and be patient, brief, focused and most important not ARGUE.

1st time 12h:
- Salam alaikom chnou 3endek nta!
I explained that I just wanted to renew my ID.
- Ra9em tesjil!
I don?t have one
- Achnou kount dir hadi 9ans!
No comment
- 4 tsawer, passport ou dir tour, rah lyoum chwiya 3amer, ghadi testenna +/-2h.

Thinking it would take about 30 min, I didn?t take all day off, So I pack my papers and reschedule the whole thing.

2nd time 13.30h:
- A khouya seddina, apr?s 13h, kan saliw

3rd time 08.30h:
-Ach 3endek nta. (ungry voice)
Replied, Sba7 lah, nass tsebbe7 3la l?khir ou 7na 3la wjouh Ccher, I packed and went to my work.

A week later

4th time 10h:
- A smi7li a khouya, reseau mherrres, ndirou dossier manuellement walakine rak m3ettel a chrif.
How long would it take, define m3ettel?
- Hak nemra 62, daba yallah rahoum m3a numero 5.

Without saying a word, packed again and went away. The situation is getting ridiculous, I avoided this for 9 years, and here I am!!! As deep in our beloved bureaucracy ay it possible can. I tried to find a way to solve this problem which was getting urgent as the days went by.

5th time 12h:
- Salam alaikom,
I returned the salam back, dressed like I was going to attend a meeting with queen Elisabeth, spoke very formally and acted like I was the senior manager of the place.
This helped passing some issues, was talked to respectfully; even the word n3am a sidi came out!! But still, I was nr 40, and they were only at 15. So I said to my self, Come on, you can do it?
Couple of minutes later, I find my self leaning at the desk of (chaouch) and I say, Dir chi 9hiwa a chef, ila bghit nedakrou chwiya. yallah rah 9hiwa 3la 7sabi?.!!
- Iyeh, 3lach la.
I hand my documents to the man, and we go out drink a cup of coffee about 100m away form the consulate, we talk about everything a nothing, exchanged our phone number etc etc..
20 min later we go back. All the papers I had were done, next time my new friend ?chaouch? whom I will not say the name proposed to me, ghir 3iyet ou ana netkellef. Ou biensur 9hiwa 3la 7sabek.
Lah Iketter men nass khfaf ou driyfin b7alek!!

When I look back to this adventure, I find the story funny; after all I got a nostalgic trip to L?Idara l?maghriobiya for free. But for some reason, it doesn?t feel right.. It doesn?t reinsure me about the progress that morocco (still have to make) in the future.

Any experience of the kind ?

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6:42 am    February 2, 2006
Morocco is counting on us (or some of us), the educated/open minded few. If we don't "try" to correct issues back home, I don't know who will. The reality check is that our ancestors died for their religion, our grandfathers died for their country, the least we can do is not make matters worse.
Besides, our country could be worse. All it takes for me to realize that is turning NPR radio on.

2:31 pm    February 1, 2006

hudhud message
is not really considered kissing ass. it's a necessity if you want to get things done. as much as i hate it too, but still i would rather give someone a few bucks here and there to get things moving faster than try slamming my head against a concrete wall.. it doesn't get me anywhere and i am not about to change the entire system. reality check..
a few years ago one of my sisters had a horrible mis-adventure as she was trying to avoid paying a bribe and ended up running back and forth every single day, for almost two weeks in a row trying to get some papers in order. one day they say the computers are down. another day they say the guy in charge isn't available, come back tomorrow, etc. there's always some lame reason for dragging ppl in the dirt, wearing them down bone-thin, and inconveniencing them in every possible way imaginable. in the end, i think one of my uncles had to pay someone off to get the papers in order.. the sad part is not when you have to pay someone to get things done. it's when you have to humiliate yourself and act completely stupid and bow down to their insanity with "sidi" thoroughly sprinkled throughout. ou ya waylek if you dare show any sign of being annoyed or upset..
i also don't like the fact that the old passports have to be returned. but i guess they do it for security reasons so that ppl won't try to mess around with such documents. well professional crooks still do anyway, but i guess it's the principle of the thing.. funny how some priniciples are upheld while so many others are completely destroyed..

2:03 pm    February 1, 2006
my husband told them he lost his ID because he wanted to keep his old one ;)

Anyway, going back to our bureaucracy, I remember the first time (and the last) I set foot in a moroccan administation when I wanted to get my "carte nationale" for the first time. I went to the police station (or whatever that administrative office was) on an afternoon. needless to say I was horrified by everyone's look. A guy comes out and asks me what I'm doing there (not what I need). I told him I needed an ID. he told me "tan 9blou dossy dial la carte ghi fe sbah...rej3i ghda sbah". I told him that I had school in the mornings and that I couldn't skip classes for that. He didn't wanna hear it. I got so upset that he didn't care if I skipped school. I was a type A (still am). I wasn't going to skip school. I went to my dad complaining. He started laughing but quickly put on his angry look and told me to get in the car. we went back to the station. I whispered "ra houwa" to my dad. Now... Knowing the tough stubborn person my dad is, I expected he was going to yell at him or something, so I stood quitely devilishely laughing inside... my dad goes in and puts a green bill (50 dirhams) into his hand while he shakes it and the guy calls me "aji a benti diri lbasamat." you can't imagine how mad I was. I get the fingerprints...he brings me scented soap from somewhere and gives me kleenex to wipe my fingers. I was so ashamed of my father, but I didn't know the sad reality of "dhen a sir ye sir." I made a promise to myself then that I would never, never, under any circumstances, bribe someone. I will never kiss a** to get what I'm entitled to.


1:08 pm    February 1, 2006

Adnane Ben. message
is it for security reasons? I would have loved to keep my old passports as a souvenirs.. especially with the VISAs, and photos..

and I hate it when my personal profile info is written in a children's handwriting Arabic or French! Come on! don't they have a freaking person who knows how to write legibly and well.. preferrably in some calligraphy type? Maghrebi, Naskhi, Diwani.. whatever? pisses me off..


11:17 am    February 1, 2006

fender (full stop) message
souhaima ,
Passport are localy made.
ID's are sent to Rabat, At least this how it works here. I really don't understand where this habbit of making things difficult comes from. As for example, I worked when
I was student at the city hall, I saw how the people that worked there were motivated, I mean helping out someone, knowing he's leaving with satisfaction gave a nice feeling. When, it looks like the main goal of the employees in our administration is to make it as hard and unpleasant as possible. The one and only thing even my dear friend "chaouch" could not solve for me was, that, they asked for a "translated in french" version of my degree.
- La lla a sidi, Khasna une tradiction en francais du diplome, sinon rah mousta7il nektbou ingenieur!
Knowing that it only was about making clear he still had power, I said to him, that i didn't care for the status, and if it would make him happy, he could write (Bi doun/ Sans)... Ghir hennina "applied Rule, Do Not ARGUE".
-La lla 7chouma, wanta tbarkellah bayna 3lik kheddam meziane "see dress code in firts message", Ghadi ndir employ?, yak meziana ?
As long as it meant all papers were ok.. I was fine with any thing :)
-Sir, kounek hani, rje3 ds 3,5 mois, inchalah tkoun wajda. .. I'll keep you updated.

9:47 am    February 1, 2006

Rasta Gnawi message
Man, I haven't laughed that hard in a while. Souhaima, every time I go there, they tell me the consule is not there. I was starting to think that I had this amazing gift of telepathically knowing when he is not around to plan my trips. I feel better that I was not the only who was fed that line.

I once knew an old guy in NYC who knew almost everyone in the consulate. They told me that they could not extend my passport since the consule was on les vacances dyal ssef. So I met this old guy who was a friend of my father's. He took me to the consulate at 3:30pm (it closes for business at 1pm.) We went inside, he had some guy take my passport while they brought us tea. We chatted with this guy for a little bit, then an hour later, I got my passport with the extension.

My ID is expired now. Every time I think of getting it replaced I dread having to hear: "ashnu khessek nta?"


9:20 am    February 1, 2006
my passport expired and so did my husband's ID. I decided to take a trip to the big apple. "hejja ou ziara" I told my husband..."let's take a day off and go to NY."
Being organized, I called the consulate. It took me a couple of days to get a hold of someone on the phone, but I finally did. I asked what paperwork I needed. The lady who answered the phone was very polite and helpful I found. I gathered all photos, my electronically filled forms, the birth certificates that I had my dad overnight to me...etc. I did my homework.
To beat the rush hour, I got up at 3am and hit the road. I drove while my husband slept, but I woke him up when I got into the city so he could read the map. I hate one-ways (I'm the U-turn queen). Anyway, I parked in the first parking garage I spotted and managed to find the building on 10 East 40th Street block.
let me tell you, I was impressed by the marble-ous elegant entrance. we took the elevator (I can't remember what floor it was). The door opened and my heart started pounding when I saw the moroccan flag. A good looking middle age lady dressed like a flight attendant greeted us and showed us the way into the office....
The second we walked in, I felt like I was teletransported to the mohammedia police station. The tiny waiting room, dirty old furniture, and the grumpy face behind the counter gave me the creeps. we stood in line. minutes later it was our turn(we got there early).
-shnou khassek
-lpassport dialy expira....etc

before he could start his list of what I needed, I handed him our file with all the document and smiled (thinking I got it all).
Since my passport only needed a stamp and I didn't (with all due respect) trust the moroccan "idara" I asked if my passport could be stamped that day. he asked me if I had a flight to catch and I said no. he then said that they can't do that "rah had chi ti douz fmarahil...tansiftou dossy l rbat...". I didn't believe his BS so I insisted and told him that I drove all the way from boston and that I can't afford to lose my passport in the all went into one ear and out of the other. He said "ou ji hta men california..ou zaydoun,lconsule makayench..gha nsiftou lik lpassport cerfifie m3a usps...rah 3ndhoum 1 million dollar insurance." my husband told me to give up but I gave it another try. I opened the last page and showed him that it's against the law to mail it. he seemed prepared for that question and said "hadik ghi flmeghrib." I finally gave up. they called my husband to get his fingerprints because he lost his ID... he came out with his dirty fingers shaking his head. They didn't even have soap in the bathroom. He later said that there were about 3 people in the back chatting and having tea and harsha.
I walked out of that building with one thing on my mind. If moroccan idara can't be corrected in the middle of the most civilized countries in the world, will it ever be corrected in morocco?


5:51 pm    January 31, 2006

hudhud message
of being bounced back and forth like a tennis ball.. it's good exercise, physically and psychologically -- if you can come out of the experience still sane... and this is the norm in every single "developing" country. all across north africa, from the atlantic ocean to the red sea.. morocco, algeria, tunisia, libya, egypt.. same thing in the middle east. same thing in latin america, and most of asia. same thing in the USofA --except in the USofA the noble work of the chaouech is a streamlined, legalized institution, a profession entitled "immigration lawyer" ;)

this reminds me of a syrian actor who said in some mousalsal or other as he was playing the role of a government officer in some petty position: "kel ennass 3am yakhdou koumissyounat! laysh ana kamaan ma akhoud koumissyoun??"

why are these situations still the norm in "developing" countries? bribes are the only way to go if you want to get things done.. must be "growing pains" i guess...


4:53 pm    January 31, 2006
Sana Sa3ida 1427 inchallah b saha w salama w matmena 9loubkoume.

12:51 pm    January 31, 2006

fender (full stop) message
Rasta, the concept front office and back office are some kind of an utopia, we do not even dream of such organizations here!
There is one men, "photocopier,doorkeeper" this is what we might refer to as a front office. And my tip for you is: Never underastimante the power of "moul photocopie". ;)

11:32 am    January 31, 2006

Rasta Gnawi message
Sounds very familiar. Hey at least you got your business taken care of. Sometimes I wonder why they close so early. I imagine that it's to be able to process the documents. But shouldn't there already be people in the back office taking care of business while the people in the front office are 'greeting' people? Not sure how it works exactly. Here in Boston we have to take a trip to NYC to get things done. They encourage people to do things by mail, but it says clearly in the passport that we should not put it in the mail. I'll try the coffee thing next time I'm down there.

10:18 am    January 31, 2006

Adnane Ben. message
Funny! nice narrative, I particularly liked "..I needed to renew my ID, and I really did all the best I can to avoid any physical contact."
that immediately triggered in my brain's internal plasma HDTV images of somebody being pushed away from the thin glass window (notice that it should be really thick - money savings maybe?), paperwork flying around, and at some point Bounia and R3if! Le Maroc, des choses qui ne changent, et si ca change, c'est plus le Maroc.

fender (full stop)'s notes (5)
21 January 1793..
Zzzzzen. Profile don't match, object exterminated..
someone who say things how they are..
Western medicine meets the traditional symbolic..
chnou 3endek nta..


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