"A Sensuous Fall and Peace to Y'all" JamalMorelli's Profile

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Enjoy yourselves, enjoy each other...
pray for peace and justice...
pray for ecstasy and light...

Moroccan Arabic learning, pass one

Learning Moroccan Arabic was as simple as leaving the United States, moving into an area of Morocco whose distance was furthest from Anglophones and then becoming so sick that the only way of getting better would be to speak the demotic language.

I tried to learn Arabic before leaving for Morocco; writing songs using Conversaphone Arabic phrases, copying the Quran by hand, picking up a few phrases from Moroccan American mates. These methods kindled the idea that I would eventually speak Arabic, while not really providing me with much more than unintentionally comedic material for my Moroccan audiences. The times in which accelerated learning took places were in the moments I couldn’t escape the language. When I lived in the bidonville-like area of Fes Jedid, my neighbors and growing group of friends had no English or French in their repertoire. I needed Arabic to make myself understood, and even my hand signals never seemed to mean the same things. Moroccan corner shops have all of their items behind a counter, and so are different from the stores in the West were you hand pick your items, have them scanned and leave without saying a word. Every item must be ordered with one’s voice and there are no queuing rules; you speak up or else wait all day. I think I had dysentery, so the race to being understood was on. I finally managed to control my sickness by learning how to order my bread, bottled water, and Imodium. I considered an extra special day when I could purchase my items at the right price. An unusual thing began to happen; at night, I would dream in Arabic. Even more unusual was that I would wake up with an impaired ability to think in English, and instead, I was thinking in some form of half-understood “daraja”, the colloquial Arabic of Morocco.

Hajj Mohamed BineBine Dies To This World

My dear friend and brother Rachid took me to his family home in Rabat one night. We spent time looking at my creative work, his creative work (you might have seen on your way into Morocco - it's the entire rebuilt, modern Casablanca Airport Terminal, Mohammed V) and his family life, which seemed rather smart - considering the amount of brothers, half-brothers, and sisters that were being taken care of in some form or another while maintaining what appeared to be an estate half the size of Rabat. It was then that Rachid told me his father, Hajj Binebine, was a teacher of Islamic law, jurisprudence to the King of Morocco. And that was all of them in recent history: King Mohammed V, and King Hassan II and King Mohammed VI.

When I later met his father, Hajj Binebine, I couldn't see that he was infirm. I saw him as virile, sharp, sensitive to all conversation, funny... even now, I can't remember that he couldn't stand up at the time. I remember his light-heartedness combined with an ocean's depth, his jolliness combined with his power.

Rachid told me one of things the King (well, all of them) loved about Hajj Binebine was that he spoke to them in the language of family, father/son, friend - in a language of equals which is a hallmark of Islam when realized.

  • Intro Updated Apr 17, 2013
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Comments (54)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2014 at 5:13 AM

    wow look at your lovely new pics! I don't know how I managed to not check your page since your updates back in April 2013! I hope you will make contact again! I finally made my long awaited return trip to Fes in July 2013 and got to see at long last the Bounania too! anyway hi from China where ive been for 5 months so far....think the subtle plan to slowly, slowly detox from Morocco is working...but I am missing my dear Morocco that I celebrated a 10 year anniversary during my visit in July 2013!

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Nov 7, 2014 at 4:29 AM

      hec i dont even remember seeing your ID pic with your children before! but your last log in date still says last year....well its a looooong time since we caught up!

  • toemayn's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Hope your birthday is filled with all the fun you can handle!

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2014 at 2:18 AM

    Jamal, I hope that you have an amazing birthday and a year filled with exciting travel!

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Seriously...its now 2010 since your last log in!!?? Anyways...happy birthday and fingers crossed....

  • sarahbaya's Profile Photo
    Mar 21, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    You are right about learning languages the quickest way is to be in the country and have no choice. Same happened for me with Japanese, I woke up one day thinking in it! Problem when I returned home I would answer english questions in Japanese. I'll follow your advice on learning Moroccan Arabic. Tks great help. sarah

  • Minceta's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2011 at 4:50 AM

    Happy birthday to you from Belgrade! Jasmina

  • Suhaima's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Happy Birthday, Jamal, May Allah always shower His richest Blessings upon you.

  • Hexepatty's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    JamJam! I hope all is going well for you, my dear man! Allah's blessing for another year to come! Peace...

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Happy birthday, man. ;)

  • sabay35's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    happy birthday jamal! great wishes.

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“A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places.”

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