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Sign the Petition Against Anti-Semitism at the Rally this Sunday in Casablanca

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Demonstrators-execute-fake-ultra-Orthodox-Jews-at-pro-Palestinian-protest-in-Morocco-430081

https://www.change.org/p/a-messieurs-les-ministres-de-la-justice-et-de-l-int%C3%A9rieur-marocains-pour-la-condamnation-des-appels-au-crime-contre-les-juifs-au-maroc?recruiter=24849165&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

Yesterday in my city of Casablanca, thousands of demonstrators attended a rally that has gone viral, where people chanted for martyrdom, held guns to the backs of people dressed up as religious Orthodox Jews, who then proceeded to smash a model of the al-Aksa mosque before being pretend-stabbed and shot. I am not surprised by this but for the few Jews left in Morocco that I have run into, many are shaken by what they heard and saw, as there is no separation between apparently being a Jew and deserving to be executed. While most protests are shut down in Morocco, these sorts of displays are more than welcome. A petition has been set up at Change.org to ask the government to respond to the anti-semitism displayed at the rally.

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Beni Mellah - Filming

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Beni Mellah – Filming

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Hag Sameach Happy Hanukkah from Casablanca!

My daughter was the queen of Kabalat Shabbat at school yesterday which meant we brought kosher doughnuts and drinks for her class to make the kiddush and brought a friend to sing to the class with her harp. Everyone afterwards lighting the large classroom hanukia.

I was so excited for her that in the cab ride to school beforehand with my arms full of doughnuts and gifts for the kids I thought: This must be what is feels like before a huge life event like a marriage or a wedding proposal when you hope all goes well and you are overwhelmed with excitement and joy.

I felt nervous and anxious and excited and giddy and thrilled all in one. As soon as I saw my daughter all was forgotten and it was just pure joy and silliness.

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Hag Sameach Happy Hanukkah from Casablanca!

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Casablanca, family, Israel, Life, living abroad, Morocco, Travel, Uncategorized

Falling In Love With an Israeli Coffee Can

I shared breakfast with my Israeli neighbor across the street from me in Casablanca who has become like a sister. We both have daughters the same age and are alone in this country without our families. She is a striking woman who is direct and straightforward just like I adore women to be. Over the last week her entire Moroccan-Israeli family came to visit from Tel Aviv and as a good Jewish family would, they tried to set me up with the single son of the family who worked for the foreign service and as a diplomat. The whole family reminded me why I love Israelis and Moroccans more than anything else in this world.

When we entered her kitchen today to make some breakfast I saw her can of coffee on the counter and my heart instantly burst out from my chest the way it does when you see a memento from home after living in a foreign country for years without any word from family or friends. Those who have lived abroad for years know what I mean when all it takes is a little item from home to bring back all those feelings of love linked to your friends and family and all those intimate times.

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I grabbed the can smiling as it brought back memories of home and love in kitchens across Israel. I smiled lovingly at it, not having done anything like this in the last five years in Morocco to anything because Morocco is home. My friend must have seen my expression and said, “You can take it. I bring enough back home every time I go. Go ahead take it.”

I held onto it as I remembered fragmented happy memories of holding a coffee cup as the sun poured onto me laying naked in bed or sitting in a t-shirt in the kitchen, either taking it from the hands of someone who loved me or making it myself in silence before anyone woke, across from smiles and over great conversations and horrible fights.

That little red can with bright letters in Hebrew announced something I didn’t know before this morning, which is that I have a new home now even if Morocco has been home. This homesickness made me realize that home has shifted and I don’t know how or when this happened but this morning I missed my home and my loved ones there desperately through this coffee can that I held in my hands.

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Blog, blogging, Childhood, children, Courage, Essay, grief, Hurt, Life, Memoir, nostalgia, Personal, Philosophy, Photo, rape, reflections, sexuality, slavery

Daily Prompt: Release Me

Freedom is a strange concept.

Most of the time if asked: “What is freedom?”

It would be answered as if an obvious notion: the ability to do and say and act as one wants and pleases exactly how and when one likes.

If this were entirely true then the freest people on earth would be Lindsay Lohan and the entire celebrity culture of the West.

I question freedom because for the poor, or for the working mother or for the young person who can’t afford to travel freely because of debt or job obligations or lack of money this definition of freedom as physical mobility leaves a lot of disenfranchised from the concept of freedom.

For those who live with the threat of violence or retribution for speaking out openly about their opinions or about their sexual orientation or political beliefs, then living in the frame of “public” would leave most of us outside of the West also outside this concept of freedom.

What is freedom then for those of us who can’t define ourselves as free by these standards?

This is a question I ask myself often as I asked myself often as a child because I was raised in an environment where physical mobility was limited, expression of opinion was impossible, and we lived for others and not for ourselves.

If I, like many others, am not able to travel, or unable to express myself on the street or on TV or in any public way, then what is freedom to me? If I as a woman can be violated as I have been violated, if I can be repressed as I have been repressed, if I, like millions of others today have lived or are living as slaves as I have lived as a slave without choice, without option, without worth except for what I can do or give…then what is freedom? If everything outside of me can be attacked or taken away…what is freedom?

My freedom was and is still silent resistance of thought in the face of violence where ever it finds me. However even more than my resistance to anyone or existence counter to anything is the definition of my freedom as my interior life beyond who I am physically and what I have. My interior is mine and in its quiet is also my freedom. My feelings in my sexuality are also my freedom despite a history of violence. My choice to love inside my soul has been my freedom. My prayers with closed eyes and clenched fists or open hands are also a part of my freedom. My mind reaching beyond itself is freedom. Keeping secrets have also been freedom for me. My eternally loud smile is my freedom as my tears falling unexpectedly while hearing others tell their secret stories is also my freedom. Emotion is freedom for me. Feeling is freedom. Living is freedom.

I am one of the lucky ones that can move where I wish these days but this does not define my freedom. Public display of life does not make me free even if I  express myself in many public ways, I know that I live in a country where many things are limited, journalist are jailed and teenagers go to prison for kissing in a photo posted on Facebook. I live in a world that is deeply limited and repressive to women (because of danger lurking behind every corner and lack of faith in us as a people) and by that default also limiting to the possibilities of man as well, but I still feel free because I redefined what freedom is to me even if tomorrow my hands can be tied and my body dominated or my movements blocked but as I learned early in childhood, no matter what is placed in front of me, I am free with my quiet infinite spirit.

Medina walking away

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/daily-prompt-free/

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dating, Life, Lifestyle, living abroad, Loss, love, marriage, Morocco, Musings, relationships

A Few Signs Your Neighbors Are Separated

My neighbors include a young man, his son, their nanny and the woman of the house.

In the four years I have lived in this Casablanca apartment I have seen the wife less then 5 times. She never appeared at first so I thought for almost a year that the nanny was in fact the woman of the house because I saw her each and every day (and much more than I would have liked). My daughter even thought the nanny was the mother and wife of the house and I decided not to correct her because then I would have to explain why we never saw the son’s mother with her kid, not even on off days or the weekends. My daughter would have asked me some questions I would feel uncomfortable answering while remaining neutral or free of judgement.

In the last few months there were signs that life had started to change next door. Loud parties and music echoed out of the house at all hours of the day and night. I didn’t think much of it but my daughter of course did. True to her Moroccan roots my daughter asked why there were parties taking place which I of course considered to be their private business. That didn’t stop her from asking the father (in his late 20s) when he once exited his apartment at the same as us, “Why is there so much loud music all the time?” He smiled and was gracious in his usual fashion but I was mortified and answered for him to my daughter that dads were also allowed to have fun too. I excused us and didn’t think much about it again.

I didn’t even notice that I had all together stopped seeing the nanny. Months after I still just chalked it up to extremely good luck at timing my anti-social behavior and thought perhaps they took the nanny on an extended vacation minus the father.

I credit myself at both respecting my neighbors private life and being a complete failure at paying attention to small details. It took months before I realized that I had all together stopped seeing the neighbors son until one day on a weekend I spotted him outside with his dad. He had grown up so much I was startled and realized that it had been many months since I last saw him or his nanny or his mother.

I finally added up all the signs. No nanny. No son at home except once on the weekend. A new man living in the house with the father. Parties until late and during the day. I realized my neighbors had separated and I had been completely unaware for nearly 6 months.

Now it made sense why my neighbor was coming to my defense whenever possible and even fighting on my behalf with the housing staff which was unexpected and unusual. His door was open late into the night when he would try to strike up conversations and there were those few extra seconds at the end of every ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ as if a longer exchange was welcome and waiting. I kept our exchanges short because conversations with married men can be read as infidelity here. I had missed all the clues that he was now single and was trying to say “Whatzzz UP!!! Party time! Want to join us next door?”

I wondered how I could have missed something so obvious happening next door to me. Partly I realized it is due to the classy nature of the family. Their separation didn’t include yelling or fighting or loud stressful violent encounters with the furniture or their partners. I had gotten used to this style of separation after living here all these years and it made me happy to know that there can be civilized separations.

Now I glance over at his apartment and pose the question to myself: if he offers would I accept an invitation to join him at home one night…I remembered my wild days post separation when I ran through people like kleenex and although it was fun it was also a necessary messy stage I am not willing to repeat. So it’s probably a no but never say never until you walk through those doors.

door

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