Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Morocco and Then Some

I'm a Morocco expert. This is my chance to chew your ear off.

20
1940

Click here for proof I’m a Morocco expert—3 million Moroccans can’t be wrong!

I tuned in to Wisconsin Public Radio yesterday. Lest you think I’m a masochist…well, you’re right! It’s excruciating, and I keep doing it, so…but let’s not go there.

Lame excuse: I’m a red pill pundit. I can’t do my job without knowing what the blue pill people are talking about.

And now they’re talking about Morocco. The public radio hosts were explaining how to make harira, a spicy lamb-vegetable-chickpea stew that all of Morocco consumes each evening during the holy month of Ramadan. Every square centimeter of Morocco, plus the dozen or so closest downwind countries, smells like herira for a whole month every year.



If you didn’t like herira, that would be almost as unpleasant as listening to public radio. Fortunately, almost everyone likes harira. There are definitely worse things to smell like. I won’t bother to list them for you.

Since I already know how to make harira (obtain spices, lamb, vegetables, and chick peas, and give them to my wife) I changed the station. WORT-Madison, a Pacifica affiliate that’s basically a bunch of boomer pseudo-leftists pretending to be “alternative” (which they actually were 50 years ago) was talking about Morocco too.

Then I got home, turned off the radio, checked my email, and found The New York Timesand Washington Post daily digests. Both had lead stories about…you guessed it…Morocco.

Being a shrewd and perceptive analyst finely-attuned to the subtlest nuances of current events, I pondered the data and deduced that Morocco is currently experiencing its Warholian fifteen minutes of fame.

For me, that’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m an academically-trained Morocco expert. My Ph.D. dissertation compares medieval Moroccan Sufi miracle stories to contemporary personal experience narratives of similarly miraculous events. So I’m not just an expert on Morocco, I’m specifically an expert on Moroccan miracles. I’m the guy everybody should be asking the obvious question: How in the world did Morocco’s underdog soccer team make it to the World Cup semifinals?

Unfortunately I can’t answer that question, beyond the obvious “it’s the will of Allah,” since I know next to nothing about soccer. I did coach a soccer team for a couple of years when my kids were little, but my four-year-old players understood the game better than I did. I was too thick, or too American, to grasp their explanations of the offside rule (among other fine points of the game). As Groucho said: “It’s so simple a four-year-old could understand. So bring me a four-year-old—I can’t make heads or tails of it!”

Pressed to explain Morocco’s success, I would draw a comparison with another sport I don’t know much about: boxing. The Moroccan team’s approach to soccer reminds me of Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope gambit in the Rumble in the Jungle with Foreman. Like Ali, the Moroccans hang back defensively and let the supposedly more powerful opponent flail and pummel to his heart’s content. When the powerful opponent eventually wears himself out, the Moroccans, like Ali, skillfully execute just enough offense to get the job done.

So why is the whole world in love with Morocco’s rope-a-dope overachievers? One obvious reason is that everyone loves a lovable underdog. And the Moroccans are not just big-time underdogs who’ve been consistently beating heavily-favored teams. They’re actually pretty lovable, as professional athletes go. They value teamwork. There are no prima donna celebrities. They’re down-to-earth, seem like genuinely nice people, conspicuously lack the egomaniacal narcissism that afflicts many star athletes—and after each game they kneel down humbly and give all praise to God, then run around the field waving Palestinian flags. If you’re Arab or Muslim or African or just non-Western, that probably strikes you as pretty cool. And even if you aren’t it’s still kind of refreshing.

The Palestinian flag-waving is actually a major statement. A few years ago, Morocco’s government was one of the handful of regional regimes that reluctantly “normalized” relations with the Zionist entity. The Zionist-run US made an offer Rabat couldn’t refuse: We’ll accept Morocco’s claim to the Sahara if you recognize Israel. So even though the vast majority of Moroccans loathe Israel and love Palestine, nudging the world down the path of recognizing the Moroccan Sahara as Moroccan was judged important enough justify nominally recognizing a regime that virtually nobody in Morocco accepts as legitimate. (And by the way, the Moroccans are right about the Sahara.)

The 2022 World Cup in general, and the Moroccan players in particular, have exposed the utter vacuity of the so-called Abraham Accords—a name that is blasphemously insulting to the beloved prophet Ibrahim, peace upon him. By shunning Israelis, telling Israeli reporters to get stuffed and that there is no such country, and waving Palestinian flags at every opportunity, World Cup participants, led by the Moroccan team, have emphatically informed the world that whatever their (utterly unrepresentative) governments may say, the people of the region and the world overwhelmingly oppose Zionism and avidly yearn for the complete liberation of Palestine.

Okay, enough about the Moroccan soccer team! Enough about the World Cup! I am a Morocco expert not a soccer expert! So instead of going on and on about the Moroccan footballers following in the footsteps of the Almoravids (al-Murabitun) and conquering Spain and Portugal en route to France, or gushing about how this is the first time an Arab or African team made it to the World Cup semifinals, or rambling endlessly about how the Muslim world is triumphing over the Western idiots who hate Qatar because it frowns on alcohol and sexual deviance, or speculating about whether Morocco’s “nobody scores on me” goalie Bono will become not only more famous than Cher’s mobbed-up ex-hubby Sonny but maybe even surpass the WEF-hobnobbing Irish songwriter of the same name, I will instead tell you about the pickled-lemon-and-chicken tajine that my wife made to celebrate the victory over Spain.

That pickled-lemon-and-chicken tajine was really, really good! I do have to warn you, however, that it takes about six months to prepare. First you have to pickle the lemons, which involves finding the right kind, Meyer lemons. (When I started typing that into Google up popped Meyer Lansky—you definitely don’t want that.) Anyway, you basically just leave the lemons in salty water for six months and let them ferment. You will find that, unlike Meyer Lansky, the Meyer lemons don’t become disgustingly rotten and putrid. (Yes, I know he was disgustingly rotten and putrid even while alive—but if you think that was bad, you should try digging him up sometime.)

After leaving the lemons in salty water for six months, you…you…well, I think I’d better let my wife explain how to make it. And since I actually don’t have that particular recipe right here with me, I’ll give you her apricot chicken recipe instead, which is somewhat similar except it involves apricots.

Tajine Djej Bil Mashmash
(Chicken With Dried Apricot)

Ingredients

1 whole chicken or chicken parts

1 onion grated

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp turmeric powder

dash of ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground allspice

½ tsp saffron

10 ounces dried apricots

1cup water

1 cup toasted blanched almonds

Method

Marinate the chicken in the rest of the spice mixture for about 2 hours in the fridge.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat, add chicken and stir fry for about 10-15 minutes. Add water and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes or 1 hour if you’re using whole chicken.

Meanwhile cook the apricots in a little water with cinnamon and let them simmer until soft. Add the apricots to the chicken pot and let everything simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm topped with toasted almonds.

This is the tajine with lemons and olives, not apricots. It is not traditionally served with soccer balls. I added those to make it an “altered for creative purposes” image so the cookbook publisher I stole the rest of the picture from can’t sue me. I considered photoshopping in some apricots too, but my lawyer and my culinary consultant both advised against it.

If you like that recipe, there are a whole lot more in my wife’s book Moroccan Cooking for Diabetics. Unfortunately, when some people hear that title, they think: What is this, a cookbook full of desserts and syrupy mint tea? Is just looking at this book going to give me diabetes? Thinking about all that chebakia (sesame cookies with honey) and cornes de gazelles (ground almond pastries) washed down with the national beverage, sugar-saturated mint tea, is making my blood glucose level explode!

Well, actually, it’s the opposite. The book is designed to ameliorate or even cure diabetes if you have it, and prevent it if you don’t. As Fatna wrote in her introduction:

“In this book, I am going to try (Insha’allah—God willing) to offer delicious, bright, soulful recipes for diabetics. Non-diabetics are also welcome to try them. It will only make their lives healthier Insha Allah. In fact, eating this kind of healthy, delicious food may help prevent diabetes. It is better to manage diabetes with diet than to attempt to cure it with drugs. And it is an even better idea to try to prevent it in the first place, by following a diet and exercise regimen that keeps the body and spirit in balance and avoids overloading the endocrine system.”

Sachi Kuhananthan, MD wrote in his introduction to the book:

“Traditional diets were nutrition-dense and prevented the occurrence of chronic diseases in those societies. The Moroccan diet is one such traditional diet. Fatna Bellouchi has studied this diet over the years and has written this book of healthy traditional Moroccan recipes. I enjoyed her spicy Moroccan food on a few memorable occasions, and even thinking about them makes my mouth water!

“Fatna’s traditional Moroccan cooking offers numerous health benefits. First of all, olive oil is primarily used in Moroccan cooking. Butter is also used liberally. Goat meat and lamb are not only healthy foods but also very tasty in a curry form. Moroccans also value the intake of green leafy vegetables and fruits.

“Turmeric is widely used in Moroccan cooking. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and several studies show its usefulness in controlling pain in arthritis. Turmeric is also beneficial in blood sugar control in diabetic patients. Heart attacks occur when a clot forms in the coronary artery. It is becoming clear that the inflammation in the endothelial lining initiates this clot formation. Therefore, turmeric is probably useful in preventing heart attacks.

“Since we have learned about the key role of inflammation in so many ‘diseases of civilization’ Fatna’s turmeric-heavy dishes, and her use of nutrient-dense non-inflammatory foods, should offer health benefits to all, not just to diabetics.”

So now that it has been established that I am an expert on all things Moroccan—especially miraculous things like the success of their soccer team and delicious things like the dishes my wife cooks to celebrate it—there is nothing left to do but scream “GO MOROCCO!” and drop you this offer:

If you subscribe to my Substack at the $210-per-year level, and have a US mailing address, email me at TruthJihad(at)gmail[dot]com and we’ll send an autographed copy of Fatna’s book, with its 100+ delicious Moroccan recipes, to that US mailing address. (Sorry we can’t do it for non-US addresses.)

 

 

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20 COMMENTS

  1. buzzwar said
    “This is historically wrong. the Almoravids came from present-day Mauretania and occupied present-day Morocco and founded Marrakech (which later was translated into morroco). the Almohad state was founded by Abdelmoumen, born and raised in the Hammadid kingdom ( present day Algeria).
    Is the question ….who gave birth to who… the stronger “arabic” force….. when do borders crystallise….when do you start the equation…prior to the muslim invasion/occupation…?
    Or as you would wish….
    Barrett..
    ”So anyone who cares about the people of North Africa should support all efforts to unify North African people—whose dominant religion is traditional Islam and whose first language of education and high culture is Standard/Classical Arabic”….

    Poland was an huge empire …reduced to zero in less than a month when hitler invaded and the russians helped…..and…. (lol) …..england went to war against germany…but not against russia!
    So whilst your information has bearing and appeal it doesn’t crystallise the “should-be” borders.
    And …curiously this quote…
    “you cannot say that “because X group speaks a different language from the variety spoken in Rabat, or has slightly different genetic features, it shouldn’t be ruled from Rabat

    In fact you are promoting the EU of north africa

    Mr barrett……bin there….done that.

    What do you think is happening right now in ukraine…it’s

  2. well done buzzwar….
    you have a handle on the facts….

    the author of this article should be in the cooking section of VT…..
    whatever dissertation he did on morocco to getta Phd……its not evident here.
    Mr Barrett…your quote at the top “I’m a Morocco expert” …dragged me to read it.
    So far you have sadly displayed shrimpton delusions….

    CrownJules….is correct…
    “I love Morocco. Can’t go to Essaouira anymore though. Small hats, big noses everywhere…”

    Perhaps mr barrett….its the khazarians!
    enjoy.

  3. Some historical details are needed. You attribute the foundation of the Almoravid and Almohad states to Morocco and morrocans. This is historically wrong. the Almoravids came from present-day Mauretania and occupied present-day Morocco and founded Marrakech (which later was translated into morroco). the Almohad state was founded by Abdelmoumen, born and raised in the Hammadid kingdom ( present day Algeria). His army made up of members of his tribe defeated the Almoravid state and occupied morroco. Local people have never founded one single state or kingdom. All dynasties that ruled morroco were foreign dynasties. It’s as if you were to say that the native Indians founded the US, or that the Iraqis founded the Abbasid Empire or the Spanish founded the Muslim kingdom of Cordoba. I don’t understand this article which praises the second most Zionist country after the USA.

  4. what mining interests does israel have in the sahara south and why are there landing strips in the middle of nowhere
    Nobody has answered the israeli question….wtf are they doing/stealing …. mining in the areas
    that are technically no-mansland.
    labels have been tacked to this area…by morocco and algeria and the polisario/local independence groups….
    Itsa resource land-grab by jews…
    there is something very important being dug from the ground if jews are there.
    your morroccan king is paid in little boys etc….
    Sami Jamil Jadallah…..respect to you …but stop glamorizing and look under the varnish

  5. I do not hide my full unconditional support of the Morocco legitimacy over its Sahara… Moroccan dynasties rules over the centuries extended to Mali. Morocco offered the best and most convincing solution to the conflict with Algeria… the Polisario is nothing but a tool in the hands of Algerian military rulers who used it to keep solid grip over power. The Provisional Self- Rule under Moroccan sovereignty is the best solution offered supported by many countries, which Algeria military rulers do not want, for selfish reasons to continue to use the Sahara conflict as an excuse to suppress domestic discontent over many failures. I am Moroccan heart and mind.

    • “The Zionist-run US made an offer Rabat couldn’t refuse…”. Sure, but you forgot to say that morroco is also Zionist-run and therefore couldn’t refuse the offer. Don’t you know that André Azoulay, the chief adviser to the king of morroco, is a die-hard Zionist . Don’t you that morroco sent about 6000 thousands nurses to assist Israeli soldiers in their fight against the Palestinian people. Don’t you know that the king of morroco is giving land to israeli zionists willing to settle in morroco, land taken by force from morrocans, don’t you know…..

    • While you’re at it, you should also not hide your full unconditional support of the israel legitimacy over Palestine. Western Sahara and Palestine have much in common. Settlers coming from elsewhere steal land and force the rightful owner out of their land. Also, Morroco and Israel have much in common. They steal someone else land. They have very close ties. Israel is a friend of Morocco and like you offers unconditional support to Morocco. They have very special political, military and security relationship. Nothing to do with the relations that israel maintains with other arab countries. So when are you going to publicly declare your full, unconditional support to Israel?

  6. To the question of the Moroccan Sahara and the Polisario. The conflict is not about the Saharan People who are Moroccan, the question is about the conflict between Algeria, wanting an access to the Atlantic for export of its oil and gaz and Morocco. With the Spanish ending its Occupation ( I oftern drive through the Wadi that divided French Occupied Morocco and Spanish Occupied Morocco). War broke out between Algeria supported by regimes such as Qaddafi Libya and Nasser Egypt ( deemed revolutionary) and Morocco ( Arab Reactionary) tens of billions wasted tens of thousands died not over territory but ideology of the time. One has to come to Moroccan Sahar to see the over $100 billions in infrastructure investments and the refugee camps run by rich Polisario leadership. Just compare the Moroccan city of Laayoun and misrable Tindouf. Hundreds of billions looted from Alegia over the years.

    • The Sahara people or Sahrawis are not and have never been morrocans. Historically, culturally and linguistically they’re much closer to Mauretania. The final ruling by the International Court of Justice stated that: The materials and information presented to it [the ICJ] do not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco. What’s more Western Sahara has been on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories since 1963. The settlement plan, as approved by the Security Council, provided for a transitional period for the preparation of a referendum in which the people of Western Sahara would choose between independence and integration with Morocco. Morroco rejects the referendum as it knows full well it will loose.

    • You need to be schooled on the geopolitics of north Africa. Algeria’s oil and gas fields are located in central Algeria and are way out much closer to the Tunisian border than to the morrocan border. Therefore your statement that “Algeria wants an access to the Atlantic for export of its oil and gaz” is a pure lie. Besides, Algeria has its own 1600 kms coastline and is in no need for an Atlantic outlet. Algerian gas and oil importers are located Northward in Europe, there’s no need to go Westward.

    • Buzzwahr says Sahrawis are closer to Mauritanians than Moroccans. But Mauritania (“Moor-itania”) is part of Morocco too. Or one could say Morocco is part of Mauritania. Same thing. It was all ruled/taxed by central authorities in Fez or Marrakesh. Morocco (including the Sahara), Mauritania, and parts of Algeria are all part of the same larger entity, which is NOT mono-ethnic or monolinguistic. The different Amazigh groups in and around today’s truncated Morocco are as different from each other as they are from the also quite different darija-speaking groups. (I had to learn a whole new vocabulary when I moved from Rabat to Oujda.)

      Since Morocco is not monolingual or monoracial you cannot say that “because X group speaks a different language from the variety spoken in Rabat, or has slightly different genetic features, it shouldn’t be ruled from Rabat.” That would entail the breakup of Morocco into even tinier, powerless entities.

      For an exploited colonized country BIGGER IS ALWAYS BETTER so you have more power to resist the exploitation. So anyone who cares about the people of North Africa should support all efforts to unify North African people—whose dominant religion is traditional Islam and whose first language of education and high culture is Standard/Classical Arabic—into the largest possible entity.

  7. why are there two spanish enclaves…that Moroccans are rabidly climbing into?
    what religion were Moroccans before the muslim invasion and occupation?
    the Berber independence movement is suppressed…what religion are the Berbers.
    when did jews arrive and why does the Moroccan king have jewish “advisers”.
    what mining interests does israel have in the sahara south and why are there landing strips in the middle of nowhere.
    answer me those mr Barrett.

  8. Great article Kevin. I love Morocco. Can’t go to Essaouira anymore though. Small hats, big noses everywhere…

  9. Hpe my Norway can copy Morocco. I see no such hope for the Zionist entity that has even stolen the name and called the lands ancient Israël “Samaria” instead.
    But as to the rest of this article: What other evidence has the good Doctor for his klaim that the West Saharans want to be absorbed by Moriocco?

    • Rorry for the typos. Here come the corrections:
      !: Hope — not “Hpe”
      2: Lands OF ancient Israël — not “ands ancient Israë”
      Aside from this, I once served in a US weapons industru provider in Iran during the Thaansha’s time. Half a year before the Khmeiní-inspired revolt, the offices were told to re-locate to Marocco. All hands were happy, ’cause they could not stand more Shah “Tsjello Kababb” stoked doown their throats, ((“Tsjello Kababb” is a concoction of newly killed sheep broiled/stoken with raw onions and assorted unfitting breads and some rice that Irânis think is grait — cant’t be xported to other rice-eating lands.
      3: All those US hounds of war were happy at the prospect og re-locating to Marocco due to better living there. — But I believe also ’cause top local Westinghouse executives nor those of other Masters of War would not be taken out each week — which happened in Irânn as a prelude to the topping of the Shah.
      4: Once more: Marocco must be enchanting. The most-sold childrens’ book in Norway is by Thorjørn Egner and aboyt a place called “Kardemomme by” — clearly in Marocco. See also the references to Maghreb in thesongs he added to the story of “Doctor Doolittle: (Dyrene i Afrika — true songs of genius in Childrens’ literature!).

  10. Kevin, salam. My first visit to Morocco was to Tangier back in 1988 I arrived from Geneva on a private jet sole passenger to meet with two clients who were interested in making investment in the city. After two days, I traveled with the investors to Majoca, Spain where they have some big investments, then flew back to Geneva. From that date on i was tasked with several projects in Morocco including an international hotel in Tangier, setting up the first breeding and conservation center for the Houbara Bustard ( endangered speceices) in Morocco and North Africa producing and releasing thousands of these birds and training Moroccan in all aspect of breeding such species. The project was totally funded by a Saudi prince. While doing this I ran an international airline agency representing a gulf carrier with 7 jumpo jets weekly and with some 40,000 each for Omra and Haja. I left Morocco in 2014 to return to manage a similar conservation Houbara project again, releasing thousands into the wild. I traveld througout Morocco and I love the country, love the people, love the religious, ethnic and racial diversity of the country. I think Morocco can be a role model for other Arab and Muslim countries, even European

    • Salam Sami, amin to all of that! I agree that Morocco is a good role model in many respects. It’s an incredibly diverse country that has preserved its religious and cultural heritage better than most. At the center of that heritage is traditional Islam with its mystical heart still beating.

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