Greetings from Oujda, Morocco, the City of Mosques
Morocco "spiritually survived" COVID. Did we?
Note: I made the above video earlier today as a shout-out to False Flag Weekly News Fundrazr donors, but also feel grateful for my Substack subscribers! (Watch FFWN with E. Michael Jones tomorrow after 1 pm Eastern at https://kevinbarrett.heresycentral.is/2023/03/ffwn-flatten-the-truth-with-e-michael-jones/ .)
I last visited Morocco six years ago.* I wasn’t planning to wait that long, but a series of bizarre mishaps,** not the least of which was COVID, interfered with earlier travel plans.
COVID hit Morocco hard—not so much in terms of deaths (16,000 in a total population of almost 40 million) as economic hardships. Morocco is still roughly 99% real economy, 1% bullshit jobs. In the USA you can almost reverse that ratio. (Okay, I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean.) Very few Moroccans do work that could be done online. A relative handful work in corporate offices. Capital management and investment—Wall Street style vampire squids—don’t suck all the lifeblood out of Moroccan main streets. The service economy here is far from bloated; lawyers, accountants, PR specialists, and other rule-setters and bean-counters and propagandists and cyber-dabblers play a relatively minor role in Moroccan society. Most folks build and repair things, grow and transport and distribute food and other useful goods, and generally work in the real world. A very high percentage work for themselves; corporate culture is relatively undeveloped, walhamdullilah.
In the USA, privileged, parasitical people did relatively well during COVID, materially at least, while working stiffs got stiffed. To a certain extent the same is true here. The difference is that there are fewer privileged, parasitical people in Morocco than in the USA. So the vast bulk of the population took a big economic hit—especially since Morocco’s two biggest sources of foreign exchange, tourism and remittances from Moroccans living abroad, were flattened along with the rest of the COVID curve.
The richest Americans who own the leading corporations made out like bandits during COVID. It was the biggest reverse-Robin-hood transfer of wealth in human history. With so many small and medium-sized businesses shuttered or hobbled, the big boys ate everything in sight. The Americans who make good money moving bits of information around in cyberspace got to work from their relatively lavish homes, while underpaid real-world workers got COVID, got laid off, got their hours cut, or all of the above.
Though Moroccans took a bigger economic hit from COVID than Americans did, the spiritual damage seems milder. Morocco did close its mosques for awhile, but re-opened them fairly quickly. Unlike in the USA, where churches were shuttered while liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, brothels, and porn purveyors all thrived, Morocco emerged from COVID with its traditional religious identity, the central pillar of its culture, stronger than ever.
Virtually all Moroccans are somewhere between bemused and horrified by stories like “Clueless Twitter tries to convince Arabic speakers that gender is a preference.”
Of the world’s nearly 400 million Arabic speakers, there may be one or two who got kicked in the head by a donkey and think gender is a mere preference. The other 399-plus million think the West has gone insane.
There is, of course, a propaganda war on Islam that aims to convince Muslims to worship sexual deviation instead of God. London’s schools, for example, are trying to turn Muslim kids bisexual.
But only a minuscule lunatic fringe entertains such notions here, and nobody would be crazy enough to try to push it in the schools.
I prayed Friday prayers today in the Firdaus mosque. It’s on the east side of Oujda, the “city of mosques” in northeastern Morocco next to the border with Algeria. Oujdis are proud of the fact that that their hometown has the most mosques per capita—or is it mosques per square kilometer?—of any city in the world, with the possible exception of someplace in Turkey with an evidently forgettable name. One of the best ways to check out Oujda’s mosques is to spend the entire Night of Destiny (Lailat ul-qadr) mosque-hopping—walking all over the city praying supererogatory prayers in as many mosques as you can. The one who prays in the most mosques wins bragging rights. But since in Islam we are not supposed to brag, that and ten dirhams will buy you a very good, very small cup of coffee.***
While chatting in the mini-souq (open-air market) outside the mosque, the local café, and my in-laws’ houses and cars, I’ve heard talk that the COVID depression is ending and things are starting to pick up. I haven’t met anybody here who’s aware of alt-COVID views on vaccines, but statistics show that only about half of Moroccans ever got vaxxed and hardly any got boosted. Mandatory masking was apparently never as heavy-handed here as it was in the States. (Hardly anything is.) And since so few people do white collar work from home, and since Amazon deliveries are few and far between, the authorities couldn’t really lock down the country even if they’d wanted to. And why should they, when people buy their food, and most other things as well, at open-air markets?
In short, it seems that COVID drove America even crazier than it was already, while Morocco just suffered through it and is still…well, Morocco.****
*For a spine-chilling (or should I say spine-shocking) account of how I nearly died last time I was in Morocco, check out “The Moroccans Who Saved My Life.”
**Including a mysteriously disappearing passport and a severe knee injury.
***When I last spent the Night of Destiny mosque-hopping around Oujda 23 years go, I believe I racked up about fifteen mosques—not enough to make this footnote much of a brag.
****Some people think Morocco is crazy, but they’ve been influenced by the Orientalist emphasis on the dark side of the culture, as I explained a few years ago in a Quora answer that has now been viewed more than four million times.
Greetings from Oujda, Morocco, the City of Mosques