Being American In Morocco
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Feb 16, 2012 5:12 PM Last Post By: IntrepidGee
Feb 13, 2012 4:26 PM
Being American In MoroccoMy couchsurfing contact in Morocco suggested that I pretend to be Canadian or Australian since Moroccans can't distinguish accents and ended it with :D . Since I wasn't sure if he was joking, I asked him. He sent me the following response:
I´m sorry Sir but it not a joke at all. Nowadays American people in Arab countries aren't seen as friends because of the recent wars and the Israeli issue. I understand the difference between being a citizen from USA and being the government of USA , but there is a lot of people that don't.
How prevalent do you think this attitude is in Morocco and will I really need to raise the Maple leaf to protect my star-spangled bum? I've been in Arab and Muslim countries before, but it's been a long time since I had to deny my citizenry and I don't want to walk into a place where I must constantly be on my guard.
Thanks in advance.
Feb 13, 2012 5:45 PM
I've bumped into many Americans in my many travels in Morocco over thirty years, and "on the ground" I've never heard them talk about any safety concerns while they were travelling in the country.
At this moment of time you will discover that the average Moroccan citizen you meet as a tourist will be more interested in the flexibility of your wallet than your nationality or anything else about you.
Morocco is entirely different from other arab countries and has been for a very long time due to its proximity to European Spain and France and unique historical relationship with both these countries.
The perception of danger is, in my experience, more daunting than any real risks on the streets, which just operate normally in everyday life, largely oblivious to the sensationalism of newspaper and television reports of arab spring and any other conflicts.
My bar room contacts in Chefchaouen assured me that King Mohammed has recruited many more police to deal with any problems which could threaten financial income from the country's all-important tourist industry. In Chefchaouen itself there are plain clothes police everywhere, even on the remote hillsides with binoculars and two way radios and, of course. they are all armed.
So forget the spurious "prophets of doom", an American or anybody else will be welcome in Morocco, I'm going back next month and all the regular beer hustlers of my acquaintance are always very pleased to see me again.....happy days.!.....Miguel.
Feb 13, 2012 6:45 PM
2Yep, I agree with Miguel. The flexibility of your wallet is of far more interest to the average Moroccan than your nationality. And Morocco is well used to Westerners as it's almost touching Europe. Plenty of Americans make it to Morocco and have a fantastic time.
I've never read of any particular government antipathy toward America either, in fact relationships seem very cordial, even friendly.
Feb 14, 2012 12:01 AM
3There is a small riad near my place here in Tamraght. I recently met an American who was holidaying and having a great time surfing and mingling with locals.
He was well treated and people liked him.
None of the stuff you talk about was in evidence!
Feb 14, 2012 1:55 AM
4From MoroccoBoard, "One thing that is striking about the recent revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain is the absence of any anti-American slogans..."
There's been a long history of good relations between Morocco and the USA ever since the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship of 1786. The US was a strong supporter of Mohammed V during the quest for independence from France. The American Peace Corp continues to do good work in the country.
Even if someone is anti-American, outside of the bidonvilles of Casablanca I doubt this would be a strongly held resentment. But I'd worry about your couchsurfing contact, sounds like he's either stating his own views or trying to set you up in a controlling situation. Lots of bad reports about CS hosts in Morocco who don't appear to embrace the CS concept and instead see it as a way of extracting money.
Feb 14, 2012 8:51 AM
5I have never lied about my American nationality, even in places where you'd think it might cause problems. In fact, in those places I find that people tend to be the most welcoming. I think the vast majority of people understand the difference between a person and his/her government. If someone is not going to like you or cause problems for you, they will find a reason.
In fact, in travels to 53 countries I've only run into 1 instance of personally directed anti-Americanism - and it was in The Netherlands of all places.
Specific to Morocco, I never had any problems whatsoever.
Feb 14, 2012 9:17 AM
Feb 14, 2012 11:40 PM
7I'm in Egypt now and considering heading over to Morocco for a few weeks. I use to pretend to be another nationality, but that was during the Bush era. Since then, I've not had any problems at all. Here in Egypt, they LOVE Obama. And LOVE America. I can't tell you how many people just want to talk about America, what's it like in California as they have a relative there, etc.
As mentioned above, they are more interested in your money (most from a sincere, biz point of view) than your nationality. You're a walking wallet to them.
It's a great time to be an American again...finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was in Kenya when Obama was elected. I felt like a celebrity traveling around!
Feb 15, 2012 7:12 AM
8The only anti-USA sentiment I have ever heard in Morocco (in quite a few years of visiting, including during the Bush era) was from a cop who had just pulled us over for speeding (on the nice new motorway from Mara’ to Agadir). He gave us the ticket, which we accepted without moaning, and started to chat with him, when he said to us “You English are so polite and friendly. You never complain about getting a ticket. Not like those Americans….they always complain and try to get out of it….they can be rude. And Bush is the devil!” From what I could deduce, the cop with a beef against the USA was only basing it on Bush and a few angry yanks that had disrespected him, so if you don’t look like George “Dubya” and you aren’t rude to cops I think you’ll be fine! I really do think that the only American the world really has an issue with is Mr Bush.
I strongly advise against Couch Surfing in Morocco. I have heard quite a few disturbing stories (first hand) about it, mainly involving guys who offer a couch, then it turns out they still want cash, and some got nasty with it. Some issues don’t come to light until you’ve been there a few days so you feel obliged to pay up etc. Please avoid this method of getting a free bed. Best to pay a few quid for a place on a terrace in a hotel/hostel rather than risking it.
Feb 15, 2012 7:28 AM
9Thanks for the insight Kate. I have heard about the couch surfing issue in Morocco, Kenya & Mali. It's unfortunate because although it does save me some money, I do it to meet people since I travel alone. The problem you mentioned is why I didn't do it in East Africa except for 2x and one was with an expat.
Feb 16, 2012 5:12 PM
10Have never had a problem being American anywhere in Africa, including North Africa. Also, never in the Middle East, including Syria, Lebanon & Jordan.
Have never tried to deny/cover up being American.
Most everybody is always pleased to meet an American. It's a good chance for you to dispel bad impressions of Americans and the USA that people get from the media and jealous other nationalities.
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