A personal critique of the current world via a FILM!

By Ali Boukind

 

Hello everybody, Ali Boukind here and today, I’m going to write about film that is really personal for me: My Neighbor….The Jew. Why is it so important to me? First of all, I’m Moroccan and this film is talking  about a part of my culture: the Jewish culture of Morocco. A lot of Moroccans may ignore Jews but back in the days, there were Moroccan Jews! This documentary shows this past experience in a very interesting way: it shows the Moroccan-Jewish culture from the eyes of people who lived this experience, people that are the most qualified to talk about it : Moroccan Jews. Which aspects does it show of the Jewish experience ? What aspects are highlighted in this documentary but what aspects are not included ? What is the message of the documentary? Who is its audience ? And while answering these questions, we will see its strengths and its weakness? Let’s find out. Enjoy the reading.

Youness  Abeddour  shows a lot of aspects of the Jewish experience using the people he interviewed (a really classical skill found in documentaries such as The Echo of the Mellah, by Kamal Hachkar : simple but effective).  He interviewed experts who talked about the history of Moroccan Jews, the traditions and the relationships and similarities between the Jewish and Muslim communities in Morocco.

But, there are some aspects of Jewish culture/History that are not included; like a description of the religion and the Holocaust. Perhaps the producer wanted to  focus on the fact that religion isn’t important to the exploration of the relationship between Moroccan Jews and Moroccan Muslims. Their cultural similarities are the key to the peace enjoyed by these two communities. Perhaps this is the lesson from the relationship of Muslims and Jews in Morocco: do not focus on something you’ll argue about, but rather on things you both love.

While I don’t know what exactly producer wanted to say; I might have some clues. Why was there peace between Arabs and Jews  while now we see so much tension between them ? It would seem that because nowadays, their goal is not peace. Even countries who aren’t a part of the conflict want to benefit from it.  It’s difficult to have allies, but having enemies, I guess that’s easy. It’s easy to think this: We have differences ? Let’s be enemies ! Not the same religion ? Let’s be enemies! But it’s hard to move on the differences and find solutions so we can be friends to find peace.

It has been a pleasure to write this critique, specially to talk about something I like and I am interested in. So, Jew, or not, Muslim or not, you all have a place on my heart dear readers!

 

Review « Moroccan Judaism : A culture in danger » – Youness Abeddour

By Wissal Serhir

“Hell is still better than oblivion” once said Albert Camus. How can a nation forget a culture, a whole part of its history? Jewish migration and the Diaspora have played a huge role in many communities of the world, particularly here, in Morocco. Together with Muslims, many Jews emigrated here and created the fabric of the history of this country, creating shared tradition and culture. However, this fact is being forgotten by  Moroccans which is unacceptable. And so it is important to take actions to break this forgetfulness. I recently had the chance to watch a documentary that Youness Abeddour, a Moroccan from Fez. Youness holds a master’s degree in cultural studies. He presented his documentary to us during our class at the British Council.  “Moroccan Judaism: A culture in Danger”,  is a great example of action, indeed it shows the actual state of Jewish culture in Morocco and the way they integrated the history of the country.

While the quality of the video isn’t perfect, as it was a student production, it is adequate. despite the sound and video quality which leave something to be desired, the creators used music, pictures, film clips that get our attention and captivate us. The transitions help us in picturing the events while films and images show events and share with us their emotions..

First of all, the information is evoked simply to be understood by every viewer. It is also a really great synthesis: it really pin points the essentials. Abeddour chronicles the exodus, the expulsion from Spain, the Mellah (Jewish Neighborhood), the issue of language or the integration. One very interesting question is posed: is this population considered as Moroccan Jews or Jews from Morocco? He also takes the time to define and compare the two terms “Zionist” and “Jew” that create a veritable controversy. Another aspect that caught my attention is the revealed this information: with interviews from various professionals and citizens, Abeddour humanizes his subjects. However, there is a lack of some historical facts: Abeddour doesn’t include for a long time, the French protectorate, which is a major period of the history of Morocco or the Europeans AIU schools that also have a real impact on the Jewish people in Morocco. The protectorate is mentioned briefly during the discussion of the exodus, however in my opinion it should have had a bigger importance in the documentary.

Finally, the documentary shares with us a message and emotions. First, the visual and the auditory contents, as I said before really make us feel the emotions of the Jewish population back then. Then, the use of interviews from citizens in the beginning shows us that even the Moroccan people aren’t aware of the presence of the Jews in their History and in their country currently. It testifies of the danger of the disappearance of the Jewish culture from Morocco. In fact, it makes us feel kind of shameful as Moroccan citizens and invites us to pay attention to this culture to overcome ignorance.

In conclusion, despite little oversights and technical imperfections, the message and the historical contents of this documentary remains extremely interesting especially from a student. It engenders a desire to know more about the subject and too look into it more in details. I particularly recommend this film to every Moroccan and every history lover.

 

Moroccan Judaism: A Culture in Danger

By Salma Benidir

Moroccan Judaism: A Culture in Danger is the title of a documentary film  I watched recently in the British Council. This documentary was filmed and produced by Youness Abeddour. This film talks about Moroccan Judaism as a hidden culture, most of the Moroccan people don’t know about it.This can be seen clearly in the beginning of the film because most of the people were confused when they were asked about the Jews in Morocco. This documentary discusses a wide variety of topics. At first, it starts with defining some key terms such as Zionism and Judaism. The information was presented through many interviews with a people such as Simon Levy, the director of the Jewish museum in Casablanca and Vanessa Paloma, a scholar of the music of northern Moroccan and Spanish Jews, Dr. Armand Guigui and a lot of other academics and researchers. The documentary focuses on the history of the Jews in Morocco. It talks about many things such as the first time the Jews came to Morocco and the creation of the “Mellah”.The statements and explanations given by the people in the interviews are very informative. Then it starts talking about the life of the Jews in Morocco among the Muslims. What some Jews said about their neighbors the Muslims was really interesting. The most important question was: “What is the difference between a Moroccan-Jew and a Jewish-Moroccan?” The last thing the documentary talked about was the Jews leaving Morocco. Why did they leave? It was really interesting to hear a Moroccan Jew who lives in Israel talk about it. In conclusion, the documentary is made to remind and teach the Moroccans more about Moroccan Judaism as a part of their own culture that should be protected and preserved not forgotten and hidden the way it is today. Should this ignorance persisit, Morocco will be letting go of a very important part of their culture.