Tuesday, November 17, 2015

From the balcony of the Four Seasons Hotel in Casablanca, life looks
normal.
(All Photos: Paula Froelich)I"m sitting on the balcony of the Four
Seasons hotel in Casablanca overlooking the beach and watching a group of
teenagers play soccer.
Women and children stroll by, and off in the distance
you can see a surfer catching some waves.
It all looks normal.
But it"s
not.Two nights before, eight roaches slipped into Paris and, in an
orchestrated attack, killed 129 people and terrorized millions around the
globe.Morocco, once a French colony, went on high alert.
Their king was in the
city at the time of the attacks.
A day later, the king was back in Rabat, but
the nervousness still permeated the country.Related: Go Now: The New Seventh
Wonder of the World — That"s Empty
Riding around Marrakech in the sidecar of a motorbike, filming the city from
an angle few ever get to see, courtesy of the fine folks at Insiders
Experience.I was in the country to speak at a conference and film my show, A
Broad Abroad, when the attacks happened.
At my hotel in Marrakech, people were
glued to the television in the lounge, showing scene after scene of horror.
It
is not the first time I have been in a country after an international
terrorism attack has occurred.
I was in Jordan after the Tunisia attacks and
in Mali when the civil war started.
But this time was different.
This time the
attack was considered "fluid" (possibly orchestrated with the attack a day
earlier in Beirut, which killed over 40 people and wounded 200 more).
This
meant there could be another attack, anywhere at any time.
Morocco was of
special concern as not only is it a former French colony, but it has had
several citizens join ISIS in Syria, and the worry is those citizens could
have returned and were going to sync up attacks with the ones in Paris.
It
pains me to leave Morocco — an Arab, Muslim country in North Africa but
still considered part of the Middle East — not just because Morocco is
a lovely, safe country, but because I"m playing out the ISIL playbook.That is
what they want us to do — to hide; to cower in our homes, afraid to
come out; to become xenophobes who are scared of anything different.
For
travelers to stay home so the countries whose economies are supported by
tourism can fall into disrepair and chaos… making it easier for them to
recruit.
They want us all be afraid of different religions, because they have
coopted what is a peaceful one and forcibly given it a new face of a
monster.But this is not the face of the country (and other countries in this
region) I have experienced.
Let me tell you the stories of the people I
met.There"s the 17-year-old surfer girl, who surfs every day because her
brother, whom she was close to, died at sea.
Every time she surfs she feels
like she is with him.
And her parents, who are conservative Muslims, give her
their blessing, as they just want their daughter to be happy.Related: The
Ultimate 10-Day Trip Through Morocco
Kati Roumani is a historian who oversees the Marrakesh synagogue.There"s the
head of the Jewish society in Morocco, who practices his religion freely,
without harassment and is friends with the king.
There"s the woman who
oversees the only synagogue in Marrakech, who helps uphold of the 2,000-year
history of Jews in Morocco.
Noor, on the left, is a transgendered woman who is a famed belly dancer in
the region.There"s the transgender belly dancer — the Caitlyn Jenner of
the Arab world — who struggled for acceptance and to get her gender
changed on her passport so she can one day marry.
She is alive, well, and
celebrated.
"Related:"This Woman Cross-Dressed and Hitchhiked Her Way Across
the Middle East There are the women of the argon oil coop in Altima Sens in
the Atlas Mountains, who work so they can support their family and not have to
get married just to survive." Kathy Krider, a former diplomat in the Clinton
and Bush administrations, now owns and operates Rick"s Cafe in Casablanca."And
then there are the American expats who have moved here because they love this
country so much and they can do business here without harassment.These are the
stories of Morocco and the Arab world.They are not the ones that the
disenfranchised, psychotics of ISIS would have you believe.
Theirs is a myopic
story of hate, of misogyny, of a warped dream — and they alone rule.
The sun sets on the road from Marrakesh to Casablanca.It is a nightmare that
I reject.
It is one that 99.99999 percent of the world (including the Muslim
world) rejects.
And now is the time to put on your big girl pants, walk out
your door, and stand up to this.Morocco, I will be back.
Sooner rather than
later.WATCH: How to Go Full Local in Jordan Let World traveling club Travel
inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram, and
Pinterest."Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad."For
more on World traveling club Travel"s travel policy, click here.
Two nights before, eight roaches slipped into Paris and, in an orchestrated
attack, killed 129 people and terrorized millions around the globe.
Morocco,
once a French colony, went on high alert..But this is not the face of the
country (and other countries in this region) I have experienced.
Let me tell
you the stories of the people I met.There"s the 17-year-old surfer girl, who
surfs every day because her brother, whom she was close to, died at sea.
Every
time she surfs she feels like she is with him.
And her parents, who are
conservative Muslims, give her their blessing, as they just want their
daughter to be happy.Related: The Ultimate 10-Day Trip Through Morocco
Kati Roumani is a historian who oversees the Marrakesh synagogue.There"s the
head of the Jewish society in Morocco, who practices his religion freely,
without harassment and is friends with the king.
There"s the woman who
oversees the only synagogue in Marrakech, who helps uphold of the 2,000-year
history of Jews in Morocco.
Noor, on the left, is a transgendered woman who is a famed belly dancer in
the region.There"s the transgender belly dancer — the Caitlyn Jenner of
the Arab world — who struggled for acceptance and to get her gender
changed on her passport so she can one day marry.
She is alive, well, and
celebrated.
"Related:"This Woman Cross-Dressed and Hitchhiked Her Way Across
the Middle East There are the women of the argon oil coop in Altima Sens in
the Atlas Mountains, who work so they can support their family and not have to
get married just to survive." Kathy Krider, a former diplomat in the Clinton
and Bush administrations, now owns and operates Rick"s Cafe in Casablanca."And
then there are the American expats who have moved here because they love this
country so much and they can do business here without harassment.These are the
stories of Morocco and the Arab world.They are not the ones that the
disenfranchised, psychotics of ISIS would have you believe.
Theirs is a myopic
story of hate, of misogyny, of a warped dream — and they alone rule.
The sun sets on the road from Marrakesh to Casablanca.It is a nightmare that
I reject.
It is one that 99.99999 percent of the world (including the Muslim
world) rejects.
And now is the time to put on your big girl pants, walk out
your door, and stand up to this.Morocco, I will be back.
Sooner rather than
later.WATCH: How to Go Full Local in Jordan Let World traveling club Travel
inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram, and
Pinterest."Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad."For
more on World traveling club Travel"s travel policy, click here.
Two nights
before, eight roaches slipped into Paris and, in an orchestrated attack,
killed 129 people and terrorized millions around the globe.
Morocco, once a
French colony, went on high alert.

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