This will be a brief post in two parts.
Part 1: Language
As I've noted before, the local language is strange. We currently have a friend who grew up in Casablanca visiting. As a native speaker, he too, is confused. Things are a bit different. We've got a strong Algerian Arabic dialect influence and, when you throw in the old people speaking mountain language, which has a completely different historical development from Arabic, you get some interesting stuff.
And sometimes, it sounds funny.
Personal favorite so far: hak-a-dak, yak? ::: "Like this, right?"
A fairly common combination of ideas.
How about: MuDub-bub ::: "foggy" (this term arises all across Morocco)
Old favorite: tg'Adu g'A ::: "everybody stand up"
In the previous phrase, the g'A is for گاع . If you don't read arabic, that sounds somewhere between a duck quacking and the sound you would make when expressing extreme disgust over rotten food.
New one I just made up: tGdGdu hta mdgdga ::: "knead it until you're exausted"
Combined with some modern standard Arabic old favorites: ("milf"=folder, "FuQit"=only, "Kunt"=corner), you end up with a fairly hilarious language.
Part 2: Uh-oh?
Yesterday, Krista and I were teaching English at one of the youth centers. Most of our students opted to go to another event that was scheduled for the same time. The event was led by a Saudi Arabian man, in full Muslim dress, who was giving some sort of 'human development' talk. The seating was separated for men and women/boys and girls. It is not often that I see this in Morocco. I have no idea what the talk was about, but you can bet your ass it was some religious stuff.
This reminded me of something I had just read in one of Friedman's books. He says, essentially, that the US has been giving tons and tons of money to oil dictators/ royals in the Middle East by relying so heavily on their oil. This means that, over the last couple of decades, there has been a lot of money coming out of the places that practice a more austere, 'desert islam'. These places have been flooding other countries with money, whether it's through building religious schools that often serve as bases of terrorism, or to more open islamic countries like Morocco. A good local example of this is rich Saudi businessmen buying the major grocery chain in Morocco and banning alcohol in a number of those stores. Because of this trend, radical, desert islam is beating back more moderate, urban islam you may see in more cosmopolitan places like Casablanca or Cairo.
An interesting case to look at, from this perspective, are the recent evens in Mali. Radical islamists from the desert, with lots of heavy weaponry, sweep into Timbuktu and establish their interpretation of Shariah law, which includes chopping people's hands off if they steal, and destroying centuries-old Sufi marabouts. Of course, the people in Timbuktu are muslim as well, but of a more moderate variety, who were horrified by this- so when the French president triumphantly swept into the city yesterday, after beating back the islamists into the desert, he was greeted by the Muezzin wearing a kufia in the colors of the French flag.
Basically, what I'm saying is, Did I just lose my English students to a Saudi-style Islamist?
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, nor any other governmental or non-governmental organization.
Nor is anything written here necessarily drawn from my own views, opinions, and observations. Please consider all postings and pictures complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality. For legal purposes, please additionally regard the author as utterly imaginary.
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, governmental or non-governmental organizations.
Nor is anything written here necessarily my own views, opinions, or observations. Please consider all pictures and texts here to be complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality, this one or any other. For legal purposes, please additionally consider the author to be utterly imaginary.