In the shoes of others

Morocco is peaceful man, we love people!

- Well, I would like people to understand and not to discriminate and judge people from their countries or where they are from. When people ask me « Where are you from? » and I say « From Morocco », some of them think of camels and Sahara and big men with big knives and that we control women and marry four of them and beat them up, you know, or that if you want to go to Morocco you have to wear five scarves if you are a woman... they have a very small mind and don't know anything about what we have or not, there's a big misunderstanding here...

- So, how are things in Morocco?

- Morocco is peaceful man, we love people. Anybody is welcome in the country. They can come and do business, they can live there. We don't have hatred, we don't hate, we love people. We love to learn about people from different places. It's very different from Europe or the UK.

- Why do you think there's such assumptions about the way Moroccan people live?

- Well, people watch wrong stuff on social media, you know... or even in TV series and movies or cartoons, if you watch Aladdin, they're always trying to make Arabs look bad and dangerous and stupid. Or like they steal, they kill and everything. So that's why we have a lot of misunderstanding from people, because kids grew up with that, you know, like « Don't trust Arabs, don't trust foreigners ». But we don't have that in Morocco, we trust anybody.

- There's a French TV program [called "J'irai dormir chez vous" - meaning "I am going to sleep in your home"] where this guy went to so so many countries, with the aim to have dinner and sleep at people's place. He meets them in the streets, talks a little and tries to get invited to sleep at their place just to get to know them and how the locals truly live. He's done that in South Korea, Peru, Ghana, Cuba, ... in like, many, many countries. And during an interview he was asked « Amongst all the countries you have visited, who were the most friendly people? » and he was like « Morocco, a hundred percent! », adding that Moroccans are the most welcoming people, that they will offer you food and smile...

- Oh, that's nice to hear! And definitely, we're open, and that's why we speak a lot of languages, because we listen, we like to communicate, we like to learn about people from different backgrounds, cultures and things. So that's what it is, you know?

- It sounds so appealing! How is the feeling for you when you tell people « I'm from Morocco », and they assume those different things?

- Well, I don't care much, just, I feel sorry for them. They are people who don't travel. They are scared to travel, they say « Oh, we're gonna go to Dubai, but it's dangerous, they have very different rules and stuff », or « I want to go to America, but they have gangs with guns » or « I want to go to Morocco, oh, it's dangerous, they will rape me ». Some people are like mentally formatted to think like that. That's why they don't travel, they are always scared. « I don't want to go alone, no, if I go alone it's dangerous, I have to go with a group ». The big agencies are making money from that, they want a group of people to go, so they can make more money so they also send this message of « You have to go as a group, don't go alone ».

- It's quite sad... all the people I know who have been to Morocco are like « Just rent a car and explore the countryside alone, you will meet Moroccans and they are so so friendly! »...

- Definitely man!

- Is it a conversation you've had with Moroccan friends in Morocco, like on how Moroccans are perceived by foreigners when traveling?

- Yeah, we had this conversation many times, even with people from here. Some people understand and some people think they understand but they don't. And sometimes they fake it like « Oh very nice to meet you! » but it's fake. Moroccan people will know who's fake and who's real, we will know straight away if someone's is being friendly-fake or is a serious and good guy.

- Have you ever met someone who was like that at first, kinda fake and full of assumptions, and then after talking you became good friends?

- No, no, no, no, no, I avoid those people. Because you can't change people in one minute. Well, sometimes, some people will change, but it's difficult and I don't have time to be everybody's father.

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