By Robert Dozier
RABAT, Morocco – Jackie Zappa, is an artist from the Ivory Coast — one of an estimated 30 thousand migrants from Sub Saharan Africa. A painter and sculptor, Zappa says he lived in Tunisia and Algeria but his art was not appreciated in those countries. Communities of migrant artists, musicians and performers are flourishing in Rabat and Casablanca.
“Morocco is the only place in Africa where I can improve my talent,” said Zappa.
Last year alone, more than one million people migrated to Europe, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, according to the International Organization for Migration.
By Simeon Lancaster
SALE, Morocco – Cracking a smile, Mohamed Chakhmane, 32, kicks a pebble into a muddy hole in an old concrete foundation next to his home in Sale’s Sehb El Kaid slum, as he recalls his participation in pro-democracy protests in 2011. His demands included improved housing and an end to corruption a struggle that Chakhmane first got involved with 13 years ago.
At that time, he turned to the Moroccan Association of Human Rights for help.
But these days, Chakhmane prefers to stay away from the Association, which is facing a campaign of harassment and intimidation by the government such as blocked meetings and denied operating permits.
By: SUSAN SKAZA
RABAT, Morocco – Zineb Belmkaddem, 29, cynically credits the government for her newest job as an English teacher at Euromediterranean University of Fez, a recently established university in Morocco.
“I know the government has something to do with this job,” she said. “They want me off the street. I mean, off everything. My boss told me.”
Due to her outspoken criticism of the local regime, Belmkaddem says the government is trying to restrain her by keeping her busy at the university. In a country where freedom of expression is limited, this Muslim feminist is one of the last prominent human rights activists left in Morocco.
By JACOB AXELRAD
This story was published in The Christian Science Monitor on November 30, 2013.
On the main drag in Oujda, a border city that most Moroccans have never visited, a neon sign hanging from a balcony reads “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas.”
But for thousands of migrants who wash up here, life is anything but fabulous. One of them, a Ghanian who calls himself Afro, sits in a restaurant called Mr. Smith, under the neon sign. Sipping water, he talks about life as an undocumented migrant in Morocco.