Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Breaking the Fast in Fez

Just before the cannon sounds to signal the breaking of the fast, the streets of Fez are almost completely deserted. There is a silence throughout the normally bustling Medina...

Once the cannon and the call to prayer are heard, the atmosphere changes. The streets around Batha come alive as locals and tourists fill the restaurants and break their fast.

Restaurant owners and workers find themselves eating as they work. The street restaurants soon fill up and latecomers have to wait for a vacancy before they can eat and drink.

After the first food and glasses of water or orange juice are consumed the atmosphere changes as people relax and the conversations begin. 


Monday, May 21, 2018

14th International Festival of Amazigh Culture at Fès - Report

14th International Festival of Amazigh Culture at Fès called to strengthen the values of social justice and freedom

The curtain fell last Sunday on the fourteenth edition of the International Festival of Amazigh Culture in Fez. Organized under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI by the Association Fes Saiss and the Center South North in partnership with the Region Fes-Meknes, this edition was marked by the vibrant homage paid to the great writer Tahar Ben Jelloun and by a series of tributes to several figures of the Amazigh song.

During the debates, which brought together 30 speakers included Moulay Driss Alaoui Mdaghri, Mohamed Kabbaj, Nouzha Skalli, Hassan Aourid, Fatima Sadiqi, Jean-Marie Cimon, Juliane Tauchnitz ... the speakers emphasised the impact of multiculturalism in general and Amazigh culture in particular on modernity, democracy and sustainable development. "This congress shed light on the contribution of minority culture to the Islamic world and called for multiculturalism to be a lever for economic, social and cultural development," says Moha Ennaji, director of the festival. And to add that the congress has examined ways to promote democratic culture in the countries of North Africa. During the debates, Participants noted the important role of Amazigh intangible heritage and cultural diversity and their contributions to the culture of peace. Unanimous, academics like Mohamed Arji (University of Fes), Abdallah Boumalek (IRCAM), Abdelouahad Mabrour (University of El Jadida), Ali Fertahi (Mly Slimane University), Mohamed Chtatou (International University of Rabat) and Driss Bouyahya (University Moulay Ismail, Meknes), reviewed the evolution over the years of Amazigh cultural action and its different phases of transformation.

A dozen concerts at the historical site of Bab Makina set the tone for a colourful event! The varied programming attracted lovers of Amazigh and popular music.

Dounia Batma
The great artist Aicha Maya and the Faisal orchestra gave great concerts on the prestigious opening stage of the Festival. The second evening featured the great artists Fatima Tachtoukt, Sami Ray, and the group Ahidous Oulmès. For the Sunday closing, the Catalan band Marea Flamenca, the great artist Houssa 46 and the star of the Moroccan song Dounia Batma performed in marvellous concerts with their unique talents. The festival was pleased to honour the latter singers.

The International Forum, another strong aspect of the festival, it was a platform to discuss the Amazigh culture and the future of democracy in North Africa. The discussions focused on the importance of democratic culture and intercultural dialogue for human development, peace and social cohesion.

In parallel, theater, writing, and painting workshops, as well as poetry readings, art and book exhibitions and Amazigh carpet exhibitions were on the program.

Tahar Ben Jelloun, "the man of the year"

During the festival, the organizers paid a warm tribute to the writer Tahar Ben Jelloun. Born in Fez, the winner of the Goncourt prize (in 1987 for "La Nuit Sacrée") was chosen "man of the year" by the Amazigh festival. In a testimony, Mohamed Kabbaj, founder of the Association Fes-Saïss, returned on the paths crossed with Ben Jelloun. "Although we are both native of the medina of Fez, a few hundred meters, I have known you through your writings, novels, and articles," Kabbaj said. Prix ​​Goncourt in 1987 for "La nuit sacrée" (translated into 43 languages), Tahar Ben Jelloun is the glory of Moroccan writing: Arabization made him leave his post of teacher of philosophy in 1971, but opened him an international career. He is the most translated French writer in the world. He is the author of fifty books, poetry and novels. Writer elected member of the academy Goncourt (since 2008), he is the author of many novels including "Harrouda", "The scars of the sun", "The reclusions solitary", "The prayer of the absent" ... until to "A country on the nerves" and "Punishment".

Among the big names, writers, poets, and journalists who participated in this festival: Driss Mdaghri Alaoui (Morocco), Nouzha Skalli, Hassan Aourid (Morocco), Jean-Marie Simon (France), Noha Bakr (Egypt), Johan Goud ( Holland), Tarik Mira (Algeria), Juliane Tauchnitz (Germany), Mino Vianello (Italy), Youssouf Amine Elalamy (Morocco) and many others!

In the end, the 14th edition of the festival released the following recommendations:
1) Emphasise the central role of the Amazigh language and culture as vectors of universal values of democratic culture and living together.
2) Strengthen respect for gender equality and the preservation of social integration.
3) Sensitize individuals, especially young people through education, to the values of democracy, modernity and peace.
4) Encourage democratic culture in the family, school, community and cities, at local and national levels.
5) Encourage self-criticism and critical thinking, and work on mentalities as a way to prevent conflict.
6) Separate religion from politics, and consolidate the separation of powers.
7) Strengthen the values of social justice and freedom, and strengthen cooperation among North African countries to achieve democracy and sustainable development.


World Class Water Park and Hotel Opens in Fez

The province of Moulay Yacoub, known for the virtues of its thermal water, is fast becoming a destination of attractions and recreation. Developer, Hassan Belamkaddem, has invested more than 140 million DH for the construction of a gigantic water park, "Rim Aquatique", on the road to Meknes, not far from the centre of Ras El Mae

Spread over an area of ​​6 hectares, the project includes three swimming pools, an artificial beach, 46 luxury suites, two restaurants with a capacity of 600 seats, a go-kart track, a garden, a playground, in addition to a park with trees.

"As I am originally from this province, I wanted to make a big investment to create an economic activity and offer work to young people," says Hassan Belamkaddem (pictured left). The centre provides for the creation of 500 jobs.

While the structural part is completed, the finishing of the guest rooms is in full swing. "We have imported Egyptian showers, Russian children's games and other equipment, such as water slides, from around the world. The "Rim Aquatique" project required 4 years of research, work and realisation.

"Its goal is to attract domestic and foreign tourists, "says Belamkaddem. The challenge, he says, is to build a modern recreation centre that meets international standards, especially in terms of safety. The project dedicated to families is the first in the region.

"We have a large pool, a learning pool with sledges, static waves, a play lagoon, a Jacuzzi, changing rooms, toilets, an infirmary, as well as administrative, storage and household complex," underlines the management of the project.

The opening to the public was on Saturday, May 5, 2018, a few days before the start of the summer holidays.

See more video here: Rim Aquatique


Saturday, May 19, 2018

New Flights Between Marrakech and Vienna

Air Arabia Morocco has announced the opening of a new route next winter between the cities of Marrakech and Vienna

This is the sixth line operated by Air Arabia Morocco from Marrakech to Europe, the company already serving Frankfurt, Montpellier, Pau, London and Paris.

The Marrakech-Vienna flight will be operational from 29 October 2018, with two weekly flights on Mondays and Thursdays, and will be operated by Air Arabia Maroc's fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.

- From Marrakech to Vienna
Monday - Thursday: departure at 14:10; arriving at 19:20

- From Vienna to Marrakech
Monday - Thursday: departure at 20:10; arrival at 23:30

In April 2018, the Kingdom's airports recorded an air traffic volume of 2 million passengers, an increase of almost 10% compared to the same period in 2017. The Mohammed V airport in Casablanca produced 40% of total traffic, or 869,063 passengers, against 839,924 passengers for the same period of 2017, up 3.47%. Two other airports, Marrakech Menara and Agadir Al Massira, also continue their growth withinceases of 16% and 24% respectively.

Domestic traffic accounted for 239,908 passengers, a sustained growth of 14.7%. International traffic increased by 8.86% to 1,766,111 passengers, or 88% of overall traffic. The change is mainly due to the continued growth recorded by the Europe segment (10.37%). This is also the case for the Americas, up 10.03% for North America and 22.88% for South America. Markets in the Middle and Far East and Maghreb countries experienced growth of 4.22% and 0.87% respectively. The African segment, for its part, has posted a slight decrease of -1.84%.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fighting Corruption in Morocco

This week the Moroccan prosecutor's office launched a hotline dedicated to exposing acts of corruption  The public can now call a toll-free number - 0537718888 - and make complaints about acts of corruption

The implementation of this phone service is part of the national strategy to fight against corruption, which aims to promote the values ​​of integrity and transparency, to ensure the effectiveness of interventions of government departments in the field linked to the fight against corruption, in accordance with the principles of good governance as stipulated by the Constitution and Moroccan law.

The phone line reinforces the other mechanisms for denouncing acts of corruption, which are placed at the disposal of the citizens, the aim being to denounce these acts at the precise moment and with the necessary efficiency to control the cases of corruption or blackmail and inform the public prosecutor and the judicial police of the facts.

To this end, a call center under the authority of the Public Prosecutor's Office, which oversees the online processing of all calls, has been equipped with all the technological means of handling citizens' calls for transmission to the judge in charge, after have made sure that they relate to a crime of corruption. The judges in charge of these cases have the task of coordinating with the public prosecutor and the whistle-blower of these acts in order to arrest the suspect, in "flagrante delicto".

In an address delivered on the occasion of the launch of this new service, the Prosecutor of the King at the Court of Cassation, President of the Public Ministry, Mohamed Abdennabaoui, stressed that this new service is dedicated to the denunciation of acts of corruption or blackmail to which citizens may be exposed in public administrations and public services, aims to encourage citizens to denounce such acts.

Given the important role of citizens in the fight against corruption, Mr. Abdennabaoui said that the whistleblowing procedure will be conducted in anonymity to preserve the identity of the whistleblower, explaining that the independence of the judiciary ensures the perfect coordination between government departments and public services.

The Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of Reform of the Administration and Civil Service, Mohamed Benabdelkader, for his part, noted that the launch of this hotline to denounce corruption is an "important step" in the process of building the rule of law and transparency and as a key mechanism in the implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy.

In parallel with the launch of this issue to denounce corruption in its various forms, an advertisement of about 48 seconds has been aired to publicise this new service to the public.

In its first two days, the direct telephone line dedicated to the denunciation of acts of corruption was quick to bear fruit, allowing the arrest in the flagrante delicto, of several individuals in three different cities.

Since its launch on Monday, the hotline has received some 355 calls, and allowed arrests in three cases of corruption in Fez, Sidi Bennour and Inezgane.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ramadan Kareem

We wish our readers a very happy, prosperous and peaceful Ramadan.


Morocco Weather Alert

A special bulletin from the Directorate of National Meteorology (DMN) warns that heavy thunderstorms are expected from Wednesday, May 16 at 14:00 to Thursday, May 17 at 12:00, in several provinces of Morocco

The stormy showers, which will be accompanied by gusts of strong wind and hail, and may be locally very strong especially in the provinces of the Middle Atlas and northern High Atlas and the provinces  of Chichaoua, Al Haouz, Marrakesh, Azilal, Taroudant, Ouarzazate, Tinghir, Errachidia, Fquih Ben Salah, Beni Mellal, Midelt, Khenifra, Khouribga, Ifrane, Taza, Guercif, Taourirt, Boulemane, Figuig, Jerada, Oujda and Berkane.

On Thursday from 00H00 to 12H00, these showers will be experienced in the provinces of Oujda, Berkane, Nador, Driouech, Al-Hoceima, Ifrane, Taza, Guercif, Jerada, Fquih Ben Salah, Beni Mellal, Khouribga, Khenifra, Khemisset, Midelt, Boulemane , El Hajeb, Fez, Meknes, Sefrou and Moulay Yacoub.

The bulletin also indicates that locally moderate thunderstorms will hit on Tuesday from 15:00 to 24:00 in the province of Figuig, with gusts of wind around 60 to 70 km / h on Wednesday in Tangier. Stormy showers in the Upper and Middle Atlas provinces are expected during the afternoons of Thursday and Friday, according to the MND.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rolling Stones in Morocco - 1989

An interesting video that includes a conversation between Mick Jagger and Paul Bowles as well as the Master Musicians of Joujouka. On the 30th of June the Master Musicians Of Joujouka will give a rare live performance in Marrakech (see details here)