Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Girls Night In

Back when Cat in Rabat was ready to leave the family litter and enter the hallowed halls of academia, her parents felt it a sound option to send her into residence. The dormitory life would act as a natural transitional period between leaving the nest and building her own (I'm mixing up animal metaphors here, I know) - minimising the endless nights that the parental units would have to stay up late, gnawing at their claws, in fear of what she might be up to.

So off to residence I went & I enjoyed it enough to stay in various dorms over 3 years. I "socialised", (maybe even caroused a bit), drank myself into staggering stupours, and passed countless margarita-enduced nights during which my girlfriends and I jumped up and down on our beds, engaging in pillow fights wearing only frilly panties and flowery bras and pink bunny slippers. Wait - no - that's my husband's phantasy (sorry honey: we really did have them!) Anyway, it was a great deal of fun, and I even managed to learn a few things along the way.

So, I must confess that my job smacked the floor when this e-mail, drawn from the front page of the Assabah, was read to me; I reproduce it here (italics & pretty colours are mine) for your reading horror pleasure:

Amongst the wonders of this wonderful Morocco is that at a time when the Kingdom of Morocco was elected member of the UN Human Rights Council, one of the basic rights of humans was being trampled in Rabat. I mean the right to sleep. What happened on Tuesday night in Souissi University Campus is really disgusting. Girls were sleeping safely in their rooms when all of a sudden the horror forces - because they do not deserve to be called security forces - raided the rooms ...

Ahhh, surely this is a panty raid? Harmless co-ed fun, no?

... and started to indiscriminately kick innocent students. They broke the arm of one girl. Others suffered injuries in all parts of their bodies. Girls were expelled out of the dormitory in their pyjamas. Others were sexually harassed in bathrooms. Their mobile phones and digital cameras were stolen. A girl lost her PC that had her post-graduate research paper on engineering. One student was thrown out of the window and she is now in the intensive care unit in a hospital. They destroyed everything they found on their way like vandals. This is (the) Morocco that has been elected member to the UN Human Rights Council.

Wow. Makes my frosh week pale in comparison. Climbing back into my time machine, I can safely say that there were no incidents of violence, sexual harassment, theft, or - for lack of a better word - terrorizing behaviour. Visits to the hospital tended to coincide with slightly dangerous levels of alcohol. But liquor can't be blamed - this is a nice respectable Muslim university where parents send their daughters to be educated and to be safe - not to be paraded out of doors in their nighties, or to be thrown out of windows. By campus security.

I think back fondly to my old beau, Crazy Scott (I believe I've mentioned him elsewhere in my blog) who himself was a campus security officer. To the best of my knowledge, Crazy Scott (who didn't become crazy & institutionalised until we broke up) never laid a hand on anyone (male or female) unless excessive amounts of alcohol were involved in conjunction with the singing of any or all verses of Stairway to Heaven. Even so, he was never violent. He broke no bones. He had a commanding presence but was as gentle as a lamb. But these cretins, these subhumans, should be expelled and criminally charged. Odds are they'll graduate with honours and enter Morocco's secret police force. Grrrrrrrrrr ... I am swallowing a potent cocktail of particularly nasty expletives (lots of f's and c's and mf's) as I tippity-type this posting; nice words cannot express how furious I was reading this - how furious I still am "sharing" it with you.

So what happened that night - or rather, why did it happen? I don't know. I invite anyone who has more information to post here. I can only speculate that perhaps the campus gestapo unit (clearly Not Nice Men in training) of sexually-repressed misogynistic
Untermenschen raided the dorm on suspicion of male visitors or alcohol - who the hell knows - and not finding anything, went beserk. I have no clue. Worse yet - and even I'm not willing to entertain the thought - maybe it was planned thus from the beginning.

All I know is that if I were a parent of one of these girls, I'd be hauling them out of residence, sending them to a shrink, calling my lawyer, and speaking to every journalist that I could lay my hands on. Funny thing is, I'm having problems finding anything written about it in the English or French press. Go figure, eh?

I think I'm having a week-long Bad Morocco Day.

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