Let's start a conversation

In 2010 I wrote about Hamid Qabbal's novel of dissent The Spirit of a City, which is set against the background of the celebrated Gnawa Festival in Essaouira, Morocco*. Hamid Qabbal teaches English at a lycée in Essaouira, and when I returned there recently with my wife he invited us to participate in an English conversation class with his pupils - see photo above. I only wish that the malcontents who lurk on social media and post caustic comments every time Muslims are mentioned could have been there with us. Not only do we have nothing to fear from these young people, but we can also learn a lot from them.

* Hammid Qabbal's latest novel The Road to Mogador fuses the two themes of political unrest in the Mahgreb and the continuing marginalisation of women in Moroccan society. Unfortunately, despite written in English - as is The Spirit of a City - the book is very difficult to buy outside Morocco.


Pliable said…
It is clear from the photo that the classroom environment is not exactly up to Western standards. But appearances are deceptive: during the first part of the lesson the Moroccan youngsters read out their English assignment. This was a letter to a newspaper proposing how the migration of talented professionals from Morocco to Europe and North America could be stemmed. The quality of the pupils' English - idiomatic as well as technical - would put many native English speakers to shame.
billoo said…
Thanks for that, Pli. Your openness is a breath of fresh air in these times of narrowing horizons. An under-grown path, I'd say.

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