Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Lesson from the Ouroboros

When the individual with whom I was involved before Mr. Cat in Rabat entered my life - let's call him Satan - dumped me for another woman and I parted company, I sought closure in fairly conventional girly ways: I burned his photographs, I cut my hair short, and I got a tattoo (see crappy photo, left). My jaunty little fuck you ouroboros - a symbol of rebirth, growth, ying & yang, and the continuity of life - was my version of washing that man right out of my hair. Then I got on with my life which, as we all know, is the best revenge of all.

This has been a week of closures in Morocco. According to an e-mail sent to our entrepid blogger at The Morocco Report, it would appear that the US Embassy - specifically its Consulate Office in Casablanca - has closed its doors indefinitely in the wake of last month's suicide bombings which occurred some 60 metres from their premises. In light of the long standing relationship between the US and Morocco, this is a rather cowardly turn of events. Hitherto the closure was deemed as temporary - here we go again with more scuttlebutt - which was predicated on finding a resolution to a pissing match stand-off between both governments over security issues. Word was that the US government wanted Boulevard Moulay Youssef closed off from vehicular traffic in an effort to safeguard itself against other self-incendiary enthusiasts, which the Moroccan government flatly rejected.

To be fair, the official website asserts that the closure is temporary although it is advising visa-seekers to apply for their US visas in other American consulates in Europe. Then again, the site hasn't been updated for three weeks. Of course, flying off to Madrid might prove problematic if you don't have a Spanish entry visa.

Perhaps more distressing, the
United Nations Refugee Office has just closed its doors in Rabat after African migrants stormed the office on Saturday. They were demanding financial assistance for accomodation and food, as well as residency papers, access to healthcare, and the right to work.

Dozens of migrants from countries including
Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Nigeria were camping outside the Rabat offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to show their desperation at being trapped in poverty in Morocco.

There are some 10,000 illegal immigrants in Morocco all hoping to peel back the wrappers of their Willy Wonka Wonka Bars and find a gold ticket to Europe. The unsuccessful ones - a.k.a pretty much all of them - can be found on Morocco's city streets, now reduced to begging to survive and to earn enough money to buy passage in the hull of a ship bound for Spain or other European ports of call, or return fare home.

Over the new year, Moroccan police violently rounded up more than 430 sub-Saharan migrants including pregnant women and small children and tried to force them over the Algerian border, rights campaigners said.

Morocco has denied any wrong-doing.

Life was much simpler when a tattoo solved everyone's problems.


Anonymous said...

Thanks - my cellphone camera didn't do it justice. You're right though - the US will cave. Probably just move their embassy site to a more secure compound or modify their rather massive facilities in Rabat.

Anonymous said...

C in R: yesterday he was just a courier, today he's the Honoured Dead...

Anonymous said...

I'm still surprised every time a black African (for lack of a better term) approaches me in Casa or Rabat, speaking perfect English, and asking me for money. When I first arrived, it was like "Where on earth did you come from?"

It seems we're getting more and more closed off here. The good news's an English paper?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they were already planning to close the embassy and the bombing made them decide to do it earlier?

The US has been busy finding/opening new locations for its embassies and consulates all over the world.
They introduced a new package of safety measures and all the embassies are affected.

So I do think its just temporarily until they find a location thats not so easy accessible and generally safer
(here in London they closed the one in the city-centre and are opening one in to the suburbs. They first tried to buy up Kensington Palace:S)

Anonymous said...

Youssef, I agree for the most part. There has been pressure on many foreign institutions to revamp their security systems - moving 50 metres away from the roadfront for instance. Having said that, I shouldn't think that the US government would need a pretext to do it. They could make the move to more secure premises transitionally or in phases - there was no need to suspend consular services. If I were a student starting school in the States in September, I'd be freaking.

Anonymous said...

I do find it odd the consulate has not re-opened. I don't think it sends a good message

Anonymous said...

They are definitley going to build a new consulate in Casablanca, as a solution for what they now see as inadequate security at the current location. A couple weeks ago a friend of mine met the foreign service officer flown in to start scouting a new site.