Tuesday, 26 May 2020 07:37

Historians and academicians discuss the image of Morocco in Europe

Sunday, 09 February 2020

The round table on the “image of Morocco and its culture in Europe: cross geographic and interdisciplinary perspectives ” took place on Sunday, February 9, 2020 and gathered Peggy Derder, historian in migration, Rahime Hajji, sociologist and professor of empirical methods at the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences in Germany, Mohamed Boundi, Doctor of Sociology and Communication Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid and Samira El Kandoussi, a graduate of the Utrecht School of Journalism in the Netherlands. The Agora meeting was moderated by Mr Mokhtar Ferdaoussi, lawyer in France and member of the CCME.

 Mohamed Boundi

In the opening intervention of this round table , Mr. Boundi, said the Spanish media played a key role in shaping the Spanish public opinion. He reiterated :”In the Spanish collective memory, the "moro", continues to exist and inflames passions. Writers after the Tetouan War found inspiration in their stereotypes used in folk tales for their writings.

This image, considered as a residue of history between the two countries, is not as important as in the past, but it’s still present in some political and media discourses. Since the green march, the image of Morocco in the Spanish media has evolved between the two countries. However, it should be stated that the media are more interested in the political and social fact which highlight specific identity traits than in culture or in the added value and contribution of Moroccan migrants to the prosperity of the host country.

Since 2008, a new era has begun, characterized by the detente between the governments of the two countries, highlighting the achievements of the rule of law, the political reforms and the modernization of Morocco.


Samira El Kandoussi

Mrs Samira Kandoussi, works in the Dutch media since more than 20 years and she says “the image of Morocco has changed in a positive way. “There are 400,000 Moroccans in the Netherlands. We often talk about the Moroccan community but in my opinion it does not exist, we are simply a group of individuals who are different, just like many other groups that make up the wealth of the Netherlands" she said.

"I have no idea about radicalism because in my opinion it is not liked to the Moroccan identity, I just know that people like Ahmed Boutaleb or Ahmed Marcouch have accomplished for their host country and other in the domains of economy and culture”, she says.

In the media it is surely less positive, in a tweet last week for example, a politician invited to be vigilant from Moroccans and save the country from the new arrivals, he then apologized but the damage was done. Moroccans are for example seen as people who harass women in the streets on their motorbikes, but we have recently seen advertising campaigns with Moroccans as an essential component of Dutch society.

As a journalist, she said “I work daily to change this image but I understood that the real work that must be carried out to raise awareness of the harassment exercised by the media and to develop our knowledge and understand that a journalist cannot be objective and neutral for commercial reasons. We have to be able to understand that what we are seeing is the opinion of the mentor behind this structure and not the reality sad Mrs Kandoussi

“My message today in this panel in Morocco is to summon all the communities to defend their culture and understand that the opinion of the other can in no way affect our reality: which is our contribution days in our host and origin countries.


Peggy Derder

For the historian Peggy Derder, the Moroccan immigration in France has more than a century and began before the protectorate. Moroccan soldiers who fought during the first World War, were sent back to Morocco in 1918 and came back to reconstruct France.
The post-1955 period was characterized by an acceleration of this immigration: young and single men who left their country for economic reasons. After the 1973 oil shock, began the family reunification and female migration to France. After 1975, more than 148,000 women arrived on the French soil.
Mrs Peggy Derder pointed out that ”The new Moroccan generations in France are now clearly better educated, extremely diverse and able to annihilate the stereotypes about the first generations of immigrants”.
The first large-scale sociological survey of Moroccans in France was only carried out in 2008, it shows that the image of the young generations has its origins since 1980 until the march of the “beurs”. It also demonstrates that the weight of colonial history remains extremely strong on the collective imagination of the French and that the Algerian War is associated with all the Maghreb communities.

According to the historian, the march for equality for the French citizenship rights of young people from immigrant backgrounds. The promotion of this dual membership has awakened far-right movements which wanted to present these young people as enemies and a threat to nationalism. This, according to Peggy Derder, "has inflamed stereotypes about immigration by associating it with crime, delinquency and school failure". Stereotypes which have a negative effect on the new generations, particularly in terms of access to housing and employment.


Rahim Hajji

The sociologist Rahim Hajji, spoke about the case of the Moroccans in Germany and said that position of Moroccans in Germany is different from the previously cited cases.
In 1963, Germany and Morocco signed a labor cooperation convention.
Today, 160,000 Moroccans live in Germany, which means that out of 1,000 Germans, two are of Moroccan origin. Men made up almost 100% of Moroccan immigrants in Germany, we note that their proportion was only 57% between 2000 and 2009.

He said: "We note that after family reunification, Moroccans are more and more educated, 40% of them are today graduates of universities and higher schools".
He also raised the problem of unemployment, "logically linked to academic and university success". There is a 7% unemployment in the general population in Germany and 23% in the Moroccan community knowing that 3 out of 10 Moroccans live below the poverty line but "the Moroccans still have more access to German nationality ".
Regarding the image of Moroccans in the media, "there are certainly some of them who have succeeded as footballers, actors or doctors but there is also the other side which presents them as troublemakers". However, he notes that "the image of women is rather better than that of men."

"In the name of the improvement of this image" the sociologist "invites Moroccan authorities to invest in civil society and the media to support cooperation between the two countries and promote their contribution in the two societies.



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