Sunday, April 6, 2008


The King graced Tangier last week. The Socco outside of the CdT was lined with metal barriers and hoards of men, women and children behind them, waiting for him to pass on his way to Friday prayer in Jama’Al Kabir. Bus loads of people from all over town steadily built a healthy crowd. Officers were posted every few feet to keep us off the streets and keep us from taking pictures of the square. In practice, most of them turned a blind eye, although they were especially adamant about every window in every building of the Socco remaining closed. Personally, if I were being cheered for, I would delight in the little window explosions of arms and heads and laundry. Maybe it is a security issue? It was so sad to see them all retreat into the darkness of their homes and offices.

We waited well past prayer time, in anticipation as the multiple prayer calls overlapped each other into one brilliant howling. I can only assume they delayed prayer until his arrival. It seems like something you might do for a King. Men in djellabas distributed miniature Moroccan flags and pictures of the King looking uncomfortable in his pink cushioned chair. The moment I held these free items in my hand I felt a surge of national pride run through me, and could hardly keep from waving them like a child.

His passing was announced by a handful of tiny black cars, speeding in circles as though the controlling of hand of a giant three year old was guiding them. The King sighting consisted of one arm, waving.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey there: This past December, I was in the south-east of Morocco, headed home from the desert, when the King was passing through. I was travelling in a grand taxi, and every ton or village we hit, we had to stop, as the King's security was there and made everyone pull over and wait until the King drove by. Somehow, we would hit another town, and he would be behind us again, so we had to stop. It was actually quite entertaining, and like you, I felt happy to be a part of such a neat event. People certainly were enthusiastic about the King, and clearly he has done a fair bit in terms of liberal progress, particularly where women's rights are concerned. However, I think people could truly be sincerely happy about their king if poverty in Morocco were not such an issue.