Photo Credit: Koen Broos.
February 24, 2020. Three stories you need to read today. Compiled and broken down for you by Reporting Morocco student journalists — every day. Brought to you from the School for International Training’s journalism program, Rabat.
Source: Morocco World News
Lede: General director of Moroccan customs Nabyl Lakhdar confirmed that Morocco will continue to strengthen anti-smuggling regulations amid deep concerns from Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.
Key Background: In an interview with EFE, Lakhdar said the decision was due to complaints that the customs office continues to receive from the trade operators in the country due to “unfair competitions” caused by products from Ceuta and Melilla.
The official denied that the move was politically motivated. The statement comes after mounting concerns about friction between Spain and Morocco, especially after Rabat decided to delimit its maritime borders.
Why this is newsworthy: As the article notes, the decision to continue strengthening anti-smuggling efforts is only one factor in an increasingly intensified border situation between the exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and Morocco. The Moroccan government maintains that relations with Spain are amicable, but the autonomous governments of Ceuta and Melilla claim that Morocco is stifling their respective economies.
Source: Middle East Monitor
Lede: German authorities have confirmed that nine of the 11 dead after the far-right, racist attack on a sheesha bar in Germany are from immigrant communities including five Turks and a pregnant woman.
Key Background: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was signs the 43-year-old attacker acted out of racism: “The background to these terrible murders will be investigated down to the last detail. But there is a lot of evidence that suggests the perpetrator acted out of far-right extremist and racist motives, out of hatred for people with different background, a different religion and different looks.”
Rathjen (the attacker) uploaded a 24-page manifesto in which he calls for the elimination of Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Iran, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Philippines, according to the Financial Times.
Why this is newsworthy: It is not necessary to justify why such a hateful act of violence is worth our attention, regardless of our identities. But since Merkel’s 2015 stance welcoming immigrants and refugees into the European country, expressions of racism, anti-immigrant sentiment and Islamophobia have augmented. This specific terrorist’s drastic call to “eradicate” certain Middle Eastern (and Asian) countries is representative of such xenophobia.
Source: Flanders Literature (also reported by Yabiladi)
Lede: On Tuesday 18 February, Rachida Lamrabet was awarded the Ultima for Literature, a Culture Award from the Flemish Community.
Key Background: Rachida Lamrabet (b. 1970) writes novels, short stories, theatre texts and essays. Her work is strongly inspired by the themes of migration and identity. Her most recent novel Tell Someone is a captivating chronicle of a Moroccan soldier fighting alongside the French during World War I. It’s a story that is forgotten all too often: that of the people from the colonies who were swept up in a war that was not theirs. That alone makes it an important book, according to the Ultimas jury, one that is epitomised by ‘an authentic, imaginative style.
Why this is newsworthy: Lamrabet, a Moroccan-Belgian writer, has emerged as a distinctive literary voice, writing through themes of colonialism, inter-cultural identity, and gender. Despite the prestige of this specific award, little information can be found on Lamrabet in Moroccan news sources, perhaps highlighting a scarcity of reporting on women creatives and, more broadly, the literary arts. Not only is the content of Lamrabet’s work relevant but also her role as a Moroccan-Belgian woman challenging a simplified historical narrative of French colonialism in the Maghreb.