What it means to be ‘Amazigh’ in Morocco

By JP KEENAN

This story was published by Global Post on January 24, 2014.

The ethnic group indigenous to North Africa calls for national observance of their new year, and many say recent reforms haven’t reached rural communities.

RABAT, Morocco — Berbers young and old clenched balloons and flags last week as they gathered outside Parliament calling for a national observance of their new year.

The Berbers, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa also referred to as the Amazigh, predate the Arabs of Morocco, but historically they have been left out of the political process. 

Read more

Moroccan Farmers Would Benefit From Insurance

By GRANGER TRIPP

Photographs by JP KEENAN

Rachid Lazaar, 26, needs only a steady flow of water and a small hoe to flood his entire field before the next crop is planted. He carves countless narrow valleys into the barren land to funnel the water exactly where he it needs to go, it seems more a work of art than fieldwork.

With the hottest and driest part of the year over, watering his land like this is a relief for Lazaar. Drought is a dangerous reality for small, rural farmers in Morocco and it appears he has escaped it, at least this year.

Read more

A Family Celebrates Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha, known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is a one of the most important Muslim holidays celebrated throughout the Muslim world. It commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his first-born son Ismail to Allah. Because of Ibrahim’s unwavering faith, Allah intervened and presented him a sheep to sacrifice instead. Every year it’s custom in Morocco for families to slaughter a sheep or ram in memory of this event. The Mhamdi family, pictured here, is performing the annual ritual together. After three days of feeding and taking care of their ram inside their home, the festival is about to begin.

Read more