All the dumb things

A cautionary tale in development

Florists as cultural barometers in Morocco

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 6, 2007

When I was in morocco back in 1982 I was struck by the broad cultural differences there were in the population.  There were some Moroccans that looked like they’d just stepped from the medieval period through some kind of time warp into the present and there were others that were thoroughly modern and urbane, with every variation in between.

The florists seemed to be more in the “modern” camp, probably because of the French colonisation and the market that the French decorative taste created. Even the florists had their differences in how much they embraced the more modern western lifestyle.

These pictures reflect, to a small degree, how Morocco is in transition culturally. This first pciture was taken in Fez which is a traditional city and although the florist is wearing a western style jacket his is also wearing a turban and slippers. 


This next photo was taken in Casablanca and it shows a more utilitarian approach to western dress.


This last image was taken in Rabat which is the capital and by far the most western of the cities in Morocco.  The guy in this shot isn’t just wearing western clothing to be modern, he actually exhibits some bold style. He looks like he’d fit right in, on the Côte d’Azur.


It seems strange to me to think how much cultural diversity there was in Morocco considering it is a basically monocultural country (in comparison to multicultural Australia for instance). Here in the west, people seem to living fairly homogeneous modern lives without much thought about the past, whereas in Morocco there is still some sense of the past still being manifest in the way how some people dress. I guess one of the big issues in some of these emerging countries is how much to westernise and how much of the old culture to keep.

As for me, I like to see some diversity and I don’t want to see the whole planet becoming totally homogeneous and bland. 


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