I am growing suspicious of anthropological and sociological narratives about communities, particularly ones that are quickly changing and unstable. But at the same time, I can create all sorts of stories about why people in my small city behave the way that they do. One of the stories that is commonly told, and not by me alone, is that the people in this town don't know how to live in a town. They come from villages and are ill-prepared for the social contract necessary for city life. Whether or not this is actually true, I do see many things to which I could point as evidence.
People do not know how to cross the street. They simply go- no looking left or right. No doubt their parents never told them to look both ways because their parents didn't grow up with cars. Same thing goes for no helmets. Parents don't make sure their kids go to school when they leave the house in the morning. And why would they? They never went to school themselves.
There is a radically different set of rules which hold sway inside of different spheres. In family life, people are usually conservative and generous. Outside on the street, however, it is the law of the jungle. Young men behave literally however they want to.
Outside of the home, you are on your own. This means that when K confronts somebody on the street who has harassed her (an all-too-often occurrence), others stand and watch. People like to watch things and not become involved at all.
Right before departing for vacation at the end of February, I saw a young woman and a young man arguing in the street. I was biking back from the youth center when I saw her trying to pull away, telling him that he had no right to hold her captive. He started to smack her in the face. There were other people on the street- a couple of adult men nearby and some young teenagers riding around on bikes. They all stopped to watch, making no movements toward the pair to stop the abuse. I stopped and yelled at the "man", telling him I would call the police. He told me to mind my own business. The boys on the bikes came nearer and followed the couple as they walked away, towards a busier part of town. All I did was make sure they reached a more well-lit area, but there is no reason why the woman was safer in that space. It was terrible and I felt awful for not having done more.
I should have gone to the police.
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.