Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Trying not to generalise

I went back to Hassan's place with some English chocolate for the girls and some printed photos for the family.  Fatima-Ezara managed to show every member of the family, every friend, every neighbour, and every teacher the picture of me and her, all in one day.  I stayed there for a few more days before heading to Rabat to get my visa for Mauritania.

I arrived at 5am so headed straight to the embassy.  However, there was nowhere open at that time to get more passport photos so because of the early closing times of the embassy, I had to give up and leave it till the follwing day.

Somebody gave me the address of a hostel in the city, so I headed there.  I got a taxi, fixed the price with the driver (which was the same as I paid to get their at 5am), then arrived at the hostel.  Then the f***ker demanded more than three times more than the original price.  I tried to argue with him.  He wouldn't let me get my backpack out of the boot until I paid the full money.  Then he tried pushing me back into the taxi saying that he will take me back to the embassy.  That makes perfect sense!?  A man walking by stopped to help and got the price down to a lower amount, then they both left.
It was still very early, so the hostel wasn't open yet.  I knocked and banged for about an hour.  Then a young guy came to help me.  I was really thankful until he touched my bum.  I frowned at him.  Then he did it again.  I said "no!" and pushed him away.  He slammed me against the wall and grabbed my crotch (over my jeans, don't worry).  He laughed in my face then walked away.  I started crying and banging harder on the door of the hostel, but had to wait another hour until it finally opened.

I really am the most liberal and un-prejudice person I know, but after the two Moroccan guys in the beginning and then the aggressive cheating taxi driver and now this touchy guy; I really have lost all my patience with Moroccan men.  Yes, I have met some very nice ones too, but in all my life and in all the places I've been around the world I have never had a bad experience, then I come to Morocco and meet four different men who treat me like I am a piece of meat, like a second class citizen.

At the time I wanted to take back what I had said about why young Shaima wears the Hijab.  But that is true for her so I can't.  For other women though, I can understand why they wear the loose cloths and cover up completely.  I knew I would feel more comfortable wearing that myself from now on.  But what type of hypocrit would I be then?  I believe in freedom for everybody, to be who you are and do what you want.  So hiding away because men can't control themsleves would be succumbing to their ways.

I really don't know what the answer is for the future of how women are treated in Morocco, after this I have no ideas myself.  Wearing traditional clothes is great for culture and to maintain identity, but in terms of wearing them just to hide away from men is ridiculous in my opinion.  In Europe, it's up to men to control their desires.  In Morocco, it's up to the women to control the mens' desires.

I have to accept that this is a different place than Europe, it's not my place to have an opinion of how people here should be.  But, for the first time in my life, I'm having a hard time adapting.

I apologise if this post offends anyone, maybe my opinion will be changed again, maybe I will look back at this post in the future and be embarrassed from my lack of knowledge and understanding.  But I wrote this now, in the moment, so please see that it is just a true account of what happened to me and how I personally feel in the days after the events.

I got my visa the next day as planned and set off to Agadir to meet a Polish guy who will be my travel buddy for the next few months.  It's the first time I will ever have travelled with others, but I am very glad for the company now an I am looking forward to our adventures together.  First plan; hitchhiking though the Sahara desert.