Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ex-Pat Blues

(A slightly self-indulgent retrospective)

On the epiphanic ladder of personal revelations, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that when you leave your home - your community of friends and family - and move far far away, people move on with their lives. And for the most part, you're no longer part of that. It's not that you're forgotten per se, but there is an element of 'out of sight, out of mind' that, although friends would readily deny, nonetheless exists. E-mails that were once exchanged daily become less frequent; I may not be completely out of the loop, but now the scraps that are thrown in my direction are headlines, rather than details, of their lives. Perhaps my life is viewed as unconventional and people don’t want to bore me with their quotidian.

Consequently, I don't fear that I am losing touch but that I am being released.

Such are the ex-pat blues.

So with the recent spate of suicide bombings in Casablanca (most recently on the weekend), Mr. Cat in Rabat and I both anticipated an inundation of e-mails (maybe even a few calls!) from concerned love ones inquiring about our state of mind, expressing concern about our well-being and safety. After all, this time the suicide bombers (SBs) had 'targeted' (or perhaps more accurately played blind man's bluff using TNT) American installations: they blew themselves into Kingdom Come near the US Consulate and an American English language school. As it turned out, our time waiting for our inbox to fill up & the phone to ring would have been better served watching paint dry. Finally, frustrated I began contacting people. Did you hear about the 2 SBs who blew themselves up this weekend? It was the third incident in a month! Five SBs dead in five days!

No one had heard about it. Not a one.

To be fair, Morocco’s incendiary enthusiasts pale in comparison to Israel and Iraq’s SBs who seem to know how to get the job done. And yes, perhaps if I were the individual in charge of deciding what gets aired on the CBC’s National news, I too would give a nod to the dozens dead in Iraq rather than the 2 nutjobs who only managed to blow themselves up and ruin their mother’s – oh yes, they were brothers – life. But since I'm here (rather then in Iraq) a not so tiny part of me thought - or more accurately hoped - that somehow, my friends & family might somehow still be in the know of what was going on in my world.

So for those of you who just haven't gotten around to asking how I feel about the bombings, let me tell you: I am not happy about them.

· Foremost, I am concerned by the Casa SBs’ inability to do much damage beyond charring some concrete and sending themselves into the welcoming arms of their celestial virgins. This situation will not remain this way for long.

· I don’t know who they’re targeting. Perhaps they don’t know either. SBs who are loose cannons are doubly troubling.

· Although I don’t work in Casa, I do work for an American English language school. If an SB wanted to make a whole lot of noise, Rabat would be an ideal location and there are a handful of American schools & installations here. Businesses in Rabat are scrambling to hire wand-wielding security guards and I for one certainly hope that they’ll be a notch above the ones that you often see napping against the walls of the doorways they 'guard'. I have set off the bells & whistles of many of Rabat's security scanners and no one has yet to ask me to step aside in order to search me. So while there is now a guard at Pizza Hut, nobody has actually seen him use his metal-detecting magic wand. Perhaps he’s on the watch for the Bearded SBs (BSBs).

· Saturday's SBs were not bearded. A very clever disguise, this. Isn’t there some code of conduct that states that SBs have to look like Islamic militants? This is a very dirty tactic on their part.

· The Casa slum of Sidi Moumen, where our SBs once called home, is a breeding ground for would-be SBs and BSBs. If anyone (assuming that this hasn’t already happened) decided to step in and mastermind a concerted war of terror against Western interests or Western sympathizers in Morocco, his work would already be half-done.

Do I personally feel threatened? Not really. A psychic once told me that I would live to a very ripe old age; however, he also said that Mr. CinR would become a masseuse in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. But, no, I'm okay. Really. And thanks for asking …


Anonymous Cath said...

Unfortunately, the Casablanca suicide bombers most often receive mention in stories about SBs in other countries, eg. Iraq and Algiers. One assumes it's because those SBs are successfully blowing up more than themselves. To be fair, the Toronto Star ran this headline on Apirl 11 and I missed it: 4 terror suspects killed in raid; Morocco 'suicide squad' had ties to bombings in 2003.
My concern for your welfare is much greater now that your blog has pointed out possible Rabat targets to SBs with explosives but heretofore no clear purpose.

2:03 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Thanks for your concern and I really do highly doubt that they'll make it to Rabat. I'm hoping that the King's hometown will retain some sort of sacrosanct veneer - or that the SBs won't be able to afford the train ticket from Casa.

2:19 p.m.  
Blogger taamarbuuta said...

I didn't get any concerned e-mails either. When I told my mother it happened near an ALC (I assume you and I are distant colleagues), she said "well, it's 3 hours away."


2:35 p.m.  
Blogger cory said...

ditto. one friend asked me if i had heard about "some bombings over there". umm, yeah, i heard about them.

5:24 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Honestly, these things tend to fly below the radar over here. The six Canadian soldiers that died in Afghanistan last week, that, on the other hand, was huge...

But, sewercide bombers in Morocco is seen as Them killing Them, and not much of a worry over here, I guess.

9:23 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

I guess most of us thought that since US installations appeared to be their targets, maybe - just maybe - it would make the evening news.

9:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Cath said...

If they want to make the evening news in the U.S., they're gonna have to target Don Imus.

12:07 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Would that be a bad thing?

9:56 a.m.  
Blogger woman wandering said...

Hey I didn't hear about this either ... although I've been a mite distracted lately.

8:35 a.m.  
Anonymous ByronB said...

I don't think the average intelligence of a suicide bomber is very high - I mean, believeing the fairy tale that lusty virgins will be waiting for you in heaven!

These thickos were probably just having a practice run before taking part in the real thing...

ps glad you're OK :)

2:04 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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11:42 p.m.  

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