Friday, September 22, 2017

Shisha Crackdown in Meknes


The Mayor of Meknes has made a bold move in his struggle against the growth of  hookah cafes which have sprung up around the city. For now, tourists may find it difficult to find a venue for enjoying shisha.


In the latest raids 100 shisha cafes have been ordered to close their doors until further notice. Crowds of local people were astonished to see, not only the closing of their favourite cafes, but also  the arrest of many customers, managers and waiters.

The businesses targeted were all located in the city centre in the busy area of ​​Al Hamria. Other areas of the city have been told to expect similar raids as officials want to eradicate the shisha industry in Meknes.

Other cities in the country may be less keen to follow the example of Meknes as the smoking of shisha is popular with tourists. However, Meknes authorities are resolute in their drive to wipe out shisha as they believe it exposes adolescents to crime and prostitution and to a significant and dangerous trend of out-of-school education.

Tourism operators are not concerned and offer the shisha experience to their clients. Many tourist websites claim shisha is part of the experience of Morocco. Some have guides to the etiquette of shisha smoking.
"When visiting another country, engaging in some of the more unique local practices is something you should try out. While in the mystical city of Marrakesh, taking part in a shisha-smoking session will let you experience an ancient communal event and appreciate the culture of Morocco a little better." - Canadian Traveller.com

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

This Friday - Have a Happy Islamic New Year 1439!



The Islamic New Year or Hijri New Year (Arabic: رأس السنة الهجرية‎‎ Raʼs al-Sanah al-Hijrīyah) is the day that marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year, and is the day on which the year count is incremented. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar.

The first Islamic year begans in 622 AD with the emigration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. All religious duties, such as prayer, fasting in the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage, and the dates of significant events, such as celebration of holy nights and festivals, are calculated according to the lunar calendar.

Morocco's Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs says the new year of Hegira 1439 will be Friday, September 22

To all our readers - Happy New Year!

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"Starting School" - Photography Session



The ALIF-ALC Photography Club will be documenting the beginning of the school year with primary school students.

Starting School will focus on the photography of children and exploring their world. After photographing local students and their environment, the American Language Center will provide free prints as gifts to the future generation.

As always, everyone is welcome to join in.

Starting School
Saturday, 23 September at 10:30 AM
Meet in front of Batha Fountain

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"The Fall of the Angels" Exhibition in Fez

The painter Hanae El Ouadghiry's exhibition  is showing at the French Institute in Fez until the end of September. It is well worth a visit

The artist's exhibition, entitled "the fall of the angels", ventures through a skilful mixture of forms and colours in a quest for a dream world that settles on the canvas.

The colours printed of her pictures are traversed by brutal gestures and sometimes by the sweetness of an unacknowledged wound, a bitterness retained.

A certain bitterness which comes back in the artist's words, which confers that the choice of "the fall of the angels" as a title assumes, of course, a purely figurative meaning, but nevertheless refers to "a departure, a sadness, a bitterness, a wound hardly concealed in works."
"I claim the silence of the work to the violent contact with the sounds of this world" -Hanae El Ouadghiry.
The round form of her paintings, a dozen in total, refers, according to her, to time and the vagaries of life's sensations.


Christophe Steyer, director of the French institute in Fez,  says that "even if the artist says humbly that she has nothing to say, she expresses so many feelings. Her pictorial work has many things to express through the explosive nature of works, by this very violence of the gesture that it transmits to us."

After participating in exhibitions both in Morocco and abroad, "the fall of the angels" is the first of Hanae El Ouadghiri at the French institute of Fez. It took two years of work to produce.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Portugal to Fez with TAP


Starting today TAP is adding flights to yet another destination in Morocco to its route network

The city of Fez is located in one of the most exotic and attractive parts of Morocco, with the added advantage of its proximity to tourist hotspot Meknès. It is now the fourth Moroccan city the Airline flies to.

Commencing 30 October, TAP will offer six weekly flights to this destination during the IATA winter season, with daily flights by summer 2018.

Direct flights between Lisbon and Fez will run using ATR-72 aircraft with a capacity for 70 passengers, Monday to Saturday, leaving Lisbon at 14:00 and returning from Fez at 16:35, with daily flights starting from the 2018 IATA summer season onwards.

In 2016, TAP carried approximately 110 thousand passengers to Morocco – Casablanca, Marrakesh and Tangier – while between January and June this year it has enjoyed an annual growth thus far of more than 200 per cent over the entirety of Moroccan routes. By adding Fez to the route map, TAP foresees an increase its capacity to Morocco of around 20 per cent.

If your final destination is neither Lisbon nor Porto, passengers can also take advantage of the Portugal Stopover program on their way out or during their return flight, stopping in Portugal for one, two or three nights for no additional charge to their fare. Since its launch in summer 2016 until the end of last July, almost 70 thousand passengers have already made the most of this offer provided by the Airline, and with these new destinations numbers are expected to rise even further.

The addition of Fez to TAP’s route network is expected to consolidate its strategic positioning on the African continent, which continues to be one of the major investments of the Company. Now with flights to Fez, TAP will fly to 17 destinations in 11 African countries, four of which in Morocco. In total, TAP’s global network includes 85 destinations in 35 countries.

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Fez Tourism On the Increase Again


Tourism activity in Morocco has maintained the pace of growth that began at the beginning of the year, with an increase of 8% in arrivals of tourists at border posts during the first seven months of 2017. Fez has done particularly well

Chinese tourist numbers have grown by 406%

The Ministry of Tourism reports that the volume of foreign tourist arrivals increased by 13.5% while Moroccans resident abroad increased by 3%.

The main markets of the Kingdom continue to show strong growth, particularly Germany (+ 11%), the Netherlands (7%), Spain (+ 6%) and Italy (+ 6%). Emerging tourism markets also maintained their upward trend with + 406% for China , + 46% for Japan, + 44% for South Korea, + 23% for the United States and + 47% for Brazil.

The same positive trend is reflected in the number of tourist nights spent in classified tourist accommodation establishments which was up 17% compared with the end of July 2016 (+ 21% for non-resident tourists and + 9% for residents). This rise in overnight stays has affected all destinations in the Kingdom.

Fez has done particularly well with an increase of 38%. Tangier tourism showed a growth of 26%. Marrakech and Agadir maintained their development and recorded an increase of + 20% and + 16% respectively.

Similarly, foreign tourism receipts reached DH 34.4 billion at the end of July 2017 , an increase of 4.3% compared with the same period of the previous year.

The  number of Brazilian tourists is set to increase due to exposure on Brazilian television. The GNT channel has just finished filming a documentary in Fez. One of the producers told The View From Fez that it will be shown early next year.

This filming was assisted by the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) and supervised by the Agency for the Development and Rehabilitation of the City of Fez (ADER), as part of the tourism and cultural promotion of Morocco's spiritual and cultural capital.

The hour long TV programme,  Pedro Pelo Mundo, examines the tourist attractions, culture, traditions, customs and gastronomy of various international destinations. It has an audience of more than 13 million Brazilian homes and more than 32 million viewers.

A Sufi Ceremony was also filmed

The Brazilian television team filmed the Chouara tanneries, the Jnan Sbil gardens, the Mellah, the Al Attarine medersa, the Al Qaraouiyine library, the Mérinides necropolis and Bab Boujloud. In addition they filmed a Sufi performance at Riad Zany. (See story here)

Besides the tourist sites, Brazilian viewers will discover local aspects of the art of living, gastronomy, music and the genius of Fez's master craftsmen.

Presented by a famous Brazilian journalist, Pedro Andrade, the show has already covered a number of international destinations, including Egypt, Iceland, Greece, Denmark, Cuba, Singapore, Oman, Japan, Germany, Portugal.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Tangier - Drum and Dance Performance


A fascinating duo for a dancer and a drummer will be performed on the evenings of September 22nd and 23rd in the Beckett Room at the French Institute in Tangier
A choreographic piece by Tess Blanchard with Amaury Blanchard on drums

This is a special collaboration for the dancer and choreographer since the musician was not chosen at random: he is none other than her father, the famous French drummer Amaury Blanchard. This idea emanates from the resemblance between the two interpreters, felt by the choreographer: "I was often surprised when I noticed that my attitudes and expressions on stage were similar to those of my father. We have an energy and a common strength. "

The piece is made up of three elements: the dancer, the drummer, and the drums for only set and musical support; a unique situation where the musician is at the forefront, a real dance partner.

The performances start at 19.30 each evening.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Lecture in Fez - Ray Charles: The Genius


"Ray Charles: the Genius" A Lecture by John Edward Hasse. Monday, September 18 at 6 PM at the ALIF Villa Residence, 28 Rue Mohammed Diouri. Free and open to the public

Ray Charles overcame racism, poverty, and blindness to gain worldwide acclaim as a singer, songwriter, pianist, and arranger. As a lad, he had ears like a sonic sponge, absorbing everything from blues to country & western music. Infusing rhythm and blues with the fervor of down-home gospel music, he helped pioneer the genre called “soul music.” His unique voice and passionate style made him one of the most beloved musicians of our time. With his genius for fusing gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, blues, jazz, country, rock, and pop, Charles became one of the most innovative and influential talents in American music.

Ray Charles wrote such enduring songs as Hallelujah, I Love Her So and What’d I Say, and made every other song his own—popular standards (Georgia On My Mind; Baby, It’s Cold Outside), rock hits (Eleanor Rigby), crossover country songs (You Are My Sunshine; I Can’t Stop Loving You), and a stirring interpretation of America the Beautiful. Music curator John Edward Hasse tells about acquiring Ray Charles’s Ray-Bans and Braille keyboard for the Smithsonian. And Hasse illuminates Ray Charles’s unique life story and illustrates—with analysis, anecdotes, photos, and video clips—his enduring contributions to American culture.

John Edward Hasse is a museum curator, author, speaker, and leader in his field. For 33 years, he served as Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where he curated exhibitions on Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Ray Charles, and founded the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Jazz Appreciation Month, now celebrated in all 50 states and in 40 countries. He is former Chairman of Smithsonian Music. He is author of an acclaimed biography, Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington, with a Foreword by Wynton Marsalis, and editor of Jazz: The First Century, with Forewords by Quincy Jones and Tony Bennett.

Hasse is co-author of Discover Jazz and co-producer of Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology. He is a contributor to The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and eight encyclopedias. As an expert on 20th century American music, he has been interviewed in The New York Times, on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, PBS, CNN, BBC, and many other news outlets. Hasse also served as the principal advisor to the U.S. Postal Service on its stamp series Legends of American Music that began with Elvis Presley. He earned a B.A. Cum Laude from Carleton College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University, two Honorary Doctorates, and a Certificate in Business Administration from The Wharton School. He has received two Grammy Award nominations and two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in writing about music. Active in cultural diplomacy for the US State Department, Hasse has lectured on leadership, the arts, and music in 20 countries on six continents.

This lecture, organised by the ALC-ALIF Music Club, is free and open to the general public.

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Morocco Sends Aid to Rohingya Refugees


This week, King Mohammed VI gave instructions to send urgent humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

According to the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the aid sent by the Kingdom of Morocco consists of tents, blankets, basic foodstuffs and essential medicines. The delivery, carried out by air, was by the Royal Armed Forces.

“This humanitarian action aims at assisting the efforts of a brother country to face the massive influx of the Muslim minority of the Rohingya, coming from Myanmar,” said the Ministry.

Seen as a serious humanitarian crisis, the Rohingya exodus has been making the headlines around the world. More than 400,000 Rohingya, mainly women and children, have fled to Bangladesh in the recent weeks as a result of indiscriminate violence against civilian populations carried out by the Myanmar army.

Bangladesh is struggling to cope with the influx of refugees

The Muslim minority has been facing prosecution in their country for decades and the crisis has prompted the UN to call for urgent action and address the issue in Myanmar. “The numbers are so alarming,” the UN official told AFP.

On Monday the UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein called the prosecution of the Muslim minority "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” He urged Myanmar authorities to end the “cruel military operation” in Rakhine state from where the Rohingya have been forced to flee for their lives.

It has been difficult for international media to access Rakhine state to verify the horrific accounts refugees have given about the persecution conducted by the Myanmar army.

In June the monarch took another humanitarian action by giving instructions to send food supply to Qatar following the decision of four Arab countries to cut ties and impose an embargo on the Gulf state, which is depends on food imports.

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