Larache in the summer time

A blue sky over Kalleto, periphery of Larache (Morocco).

On summer nights, in the center of Larache (a port on the Atlantic, 80km south of Tanger) stroll all moroccans that came back from Europe on vacations. New cars, european clothes, overconfident attitudes: almost every family of the city has some relative in Spain, England, Belgium, France, Netherlands. In Larache, fish abounds, vegetables are cheap, and housing is affordable. It was here that the first experience of public housing in Morocco took place, in the beginnings of the XX century: the neighborhood of Kalleto (Hay Jadid, New neighborhood), built for the slum dwellers and migrants from aroubía, rural areas. For its residents, each fight, every bad night, is felt as a shame, for it reminds them they are not in Europe, where everything is perfect: as the shikis (stuck up) of the center seem to assert, parading their pretended wealth.

Center: a spot in the Medina

Until some years ago, from the beach close to Kalleto, on summer nights, sailed the open boats that crossed the Strait. Spain, whose protectorate ended in the fifties, and whose idealization still colonizes the imaginaries of the young people, seems to be both the past and the future of this town. If the old people feel nostalgia for the spanish protectorate (few still remember how the francoist soldiers shot the “red ones” on that very beach), the young ones have their eyes fixed on the other side of the Strait: where they imagine cars, money, jobs, houses, and they don’t turn their attention to the soil they have under their feet, as Alejandro Muchada puts it. All they have to teach us, to remind us, to share with us, remains silent under this layer of illusions, built by colonialism and neocolonialism during the last century. Neither they can see us, nor we see them.

  • Alejandro MUCHADA SUÁREZ (2005) Hacia el Sur. Diary of a journey to Larache. [PDF]
  • Alejandro MUCHADA SUÁREZ (2010) “Housing without Housing en Marruecos”. Entelequía, revista interdisciplinar n. 12, pp.235-249 [PDF]. Sobre
  • Mohammed TOZY (2006) “La complejidad cultural de Marruecos”. Interview with anthropologist Mohammed Tozy, by Maria-Àngels ROQUE. Quaderns de la Mediterrànea n.6, p.105-110 [PDF]
  • On migrations, associations, recent social movements, see Pateras de la vida, Cherif Idrissi, Indymedia Estrecho, Mamfakinch
  • Jesús MALAGÓN PAREJA (2010) Migraciones en Larache. Un análisis etnográfico de los contextos de orígen. Thesis of the University of Granada, Department of Social Anthropology[PDF]