Morocco: Hajj and Vodka, Fez the Time Warp, and the Top Ten Reasons Why Maroc Telecom Censors

Although the wave of posts on censorship following YouTube's censure has mostly subsided, the topic is still alive and well in the blogoma. Moroccan blogger xoussef (fr/en) exclaims:

Depuis avant hier, Livejournal est tantôt accessible, tantôt censuré. Par contre, Google Earth est de nouveau libre d'accès…Pour combien de temps?!

Since before yesterday, Livejournal is sometimes accessible, sometimes censored. On the other hand, Google Earth is again freely accessible… For how long?!

As it turns out, MoTIC (fr) has created a “Top Ten” list of reasons why Maroc Telecom blocks access to Livejournal and Google Maps. The list, available in full here, includes:

Raison n°10: Maroc Telecom le fait à la demande de la MAP, parce que celle-ci pense que Google profite de sa notoriété en appelant son service Google MAPs.

Reason no. 10: Maroc Telecom does it at the request of MAP*, because the agency thinks that Google benefits from its notoriety by calling its service Google MAPs.

*MAP or Maghreb Arabe Presse is Morocco's state-run newspaper, available online in Arabic, French, and English.

Raison n°9: Dans le cadre de la réforme de l'administration marocaine, Google Earth a été sélectionné comme nouvel outil pour les mqadems qui seront bientôt dotés d'ordinateurs portables. Il n'est pas question de laisser le public accéder largement à un outil de l'administration.

Reason no. 9: Within the framework of the Moroccan administrative reform, Google Earth was selected as the new tool for the mqadems* who will be equipped soon with portable computers. There is no question of letting the public widely reach a tool of the administration.

*A mqadem is a person whose job it is to report to authorities the goings-on of the neighborhood in which he lives, as well as advocate for such things as new gardens in the neighborhood. He can also provide a certificate upon request that proves a particular person has been living in the neighborhood.

Raison n°7: Maroc Telecom le fait à la demande du Ministère de l'Éducation parce que l'opérateur n'a pas l'autorisation du ministère pour donner des cours de géographie.

Reason no. 7: Maroc Telecom does it at the request of the Ministry for Education because the operator does not have the authorization of the ministry to give geography courses.

Maroc Telecom was not the only butt of this week's jokes. Moroccan weekly magazine La Vie Economique made an interesting faux pas this week, captured in an amusing post by Laila Lalami:

Over the last few years, Moroccan requests for visas to go to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage have consistently outnumbered the quotas set by the Saudis, so the Moroccan government has been forced to set up lotteries for prospective pilgrims. More than 32,000 applicants will get a chance to win one of 7,700 spots. Such news, of course, makes local headlines, as you can see below from this scan of La Vie Economique. Now notice the ad accompanying the article.

Hajj and Vodka

Larbi, who originally posted the image, said:

On reste dans le spirituel. Un fac simulé d'une page de l'hebdomadaire marocain « La vie Eco » paru la semaine dernière. Tout le monde est servi !

We remain spiritual. A scan of a page from the Moroccan weekly La Vie Eco published last week. Everyone is served!

Everything Morocco
also analyzed the media this week, criticizing journalists who prefer to see Morocco suspended in time. The entire post is worth a read, but this particular quote stood out:

Fez is evidently caught in a time warp that people are able to move in and out of at will and that's the big attraction – it's located in something like an alternate dimension or a parallel universe?

The last blog in the roundup for this week is El Hafa, who shares with us the news of Virgin Galactic, Virgin Atlantic's new “spaceline.” The blogger says:

You can book your flight to space just from the Virgin Galactic official web site. All you need is $200000 and a minimum refundable deposit of $2oooo. Virgin Galactic is planning to propel its first astronauts by 2009. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie already made their reservations.
Even Paris Hilton is planning to go.. i don't know if she is going to bring her puppy with her this time….you never know…

Credit for the image goes to Larbi, who scanned it from La Vie Economique.

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