The Suq

by

The Suq (Market) resides inside the Medina (old city) of every city. The dusty stone streets give way to a sea of traditional clothing, rugs, teapots, and so on. Shops shoved into the nooks and crannies of the centuries old market walls display handwoven Jellabas and leather slippers of every color. Moroccan men stand outside their shops encouraging tourists to come see their one-of-a-kind rich Berber rugs. Intricate tiled home decor and pottery of blues and yellows and reds charmed onlookers.

I expected this. I read about the Moroccan Suq and all it’s elaborate and exotic trinkets. What I didn’t expect was that next to all the traditional items would be an off-brand fashion shop or an electronics store. Halfway from our hotel to the Medina was a McDonalds and Pizza Hut. Corner stores offer Snickers and Pringles. I made the mistake of asking a young person if they had facebook (because that is one way we could connect, but I wasn’t sure if people did that) and they laughed and exclaimed, “everybody in Morocco has facebook!” Having never been out of a Western country and being full of ignorance and naivety, I was surprised by all of this. I just had never thought of the extent of globalization. The designer sunglasses and clothing almost look real, too. I read an article on Globalization in Morocco, written by Shana Cohen and Larabi Jaidi, and they argue that Globalization is creating a new job market for people. “These young business men/hackers/technicians”, they write, “manage to bring electricity into the area without infrastructure. More importantly, they overcome unemployment by creating jobs, however illegal, for themselves” (1).  Access to Western culture and its products is actually aiding the population in some way. The government isn’t making it easy for employment so the people found a different way. However, it takes a lot of charm and creativity to lead illegal businesses of any kind, which still leaves plenty of room for the Arab Spring revolution to continue it’s protest for economic rights.

1. Shana Cohen and Larabi Jaidi, Morocco: Globalization and it’s Consequences. NY: Routledge, 2006.

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