5 january 2013, morocco

Probably the most interesting stop on our cruise was morocco, where we learned casblanca has over 5 million people, and visited agadir and taroudant, a genuinely non-tourist walled market town. I was complimented when told I could be a moroccan, which quickly got us on to the topic of moroccan jews, which all the guides mentioned in passing. There was a big community there once, around 250,000, but they all emigrated after the war, leaving perhaps 5,000. Most went to israel in a noted "aliyah" of zionist yore immediately before moroccan independence, as that part of the politics of that part of the world were fundamentally altered by the creation of the state of israel in 1948. Our host made much of a bargain with france to "let the jews go" in return for independence, though the facts don't seem to bear that out. The population faced intimidation and fear before leaving, and now-famous prejudice on arrival, as the ashkenazi establishment treated them as poor and ignorant and used them to populate new development towns in the south. There seems disagreement where the next wave went, which is some combination of mainly france, canada and again israel, where with around a million descendants, morocco is the most common lineage after russian. Our host also talked about emigres still owning property and coming and going, which is certainly common in the russian experience. This is a part of the world I know far too little about and this fleeting glance was enough to spur me on to learn more before I become an argaze awassare. Salam !