Moroccan locals participate in world-wide social experiment

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By Kayla Dwyer, photos by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

RABAT, Morocco — “You felt weird vibrations between you and the other person,” said Bouchra Zidaoui, 30, pictured above left. “We don’t usually look at each other’s eyes.”

But Zidaoui, of Rabat, did just that — for one uninterrupted minute with 19-year-old Basma Boujendar, right, on the grass outside the Comedy Cafe off Mohamed V Avenue in the center of Rabat, Morocco’s capital. Nearly 100 people joined her on October 15 in Rabat for what’s being called “the world’s biggest eye contact experiment” by The Liberators International, a social movement that organizes public events encouraging people to connect. Liberators International estimates that over 105,000 people from 143 cities including New York City, Madrid and Hong Kong. In Morocco, Fez also hosted an event.

Nearly 100 Moroccans gathered outside the Comedy Cafe on Avenue Mohammed V to participate in the eye contact experiment.
Nearly 100 Moroccans gathered outside the Comedy Cafe on Avenue Mohammed V to participate in the eye contact experiment.

“Where has the human connection gone? Share 1 minute of eye contact to find out…” said signs at the event. Accordingly, people sat two-by-two in chairs or on blankets, some barely containing laughter while others held intentional gazes. Many embraced after the experience.

“It’s not interesting to do it with your friends,” said Louay Baba, 24, one of the organizers in Rabat. “You have to do it with strangers you meet.”

Baba took pictures and recorded video of the interactions. The Liberators affiliate in Perth, Australia, plans to edit the global video footage into one video. Battoul Didi, 18, of Rabat, says the experience was enlightening.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen people do something like this in Morocco,” she said. “Finally, people are connecting.”

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