Just wanted to get some questions answered here for folks back home. I don’t have a whole lot of time this morning, as I am at a volunteerism workshop in Ouzzane, which is close to Chefaouen until heading out to Fes soon. But I know you’d been wondering, so here is the skinny:
Yes, there was an apparently “remotely detonated bomb” (so not a suicide bombing) that went off in a popular cafe in Marrakesh (popular meaning, yes, I have friends in the Peace Corps who frequented that cafe, though no volunteers were there or hurt). I live some eleven odd hours away, have not gone to Marrakesh yet, and am not expected to go there until June.
Yes, some people are suggesting that the bomb can be linked to Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), suggesting that it looks similar to their work. I, personally, think that’s a drastic claim when it seems like AQIM would want to take responsibility for it, and so far, no one has.
Yes, almost every news article I come across goes from talking about the bombing to then immediately blabbing on about the “peaceful protests” that are happening here in Morocco, like the rest of the Arab world (Sundays protests are expected to be huge), but I find this to be media hype. Whether someone thought there was or not, I see no connection between Moroccans protesting peacefully for a better government and Al Qaeda wanting to harm foreigners.
Yes, the French are taking especially sharp aim at what happened, going as far as claiming that French people were the primary targets. Leave it to the French to think it’s all about them.
Here is a link to the article that I found most interesting and helpful.
I guess the two biggest things I want to say are this –
First, Peace Corps is taking really seriously our safety. Although, the truth is, a suicide bombing here or there, and it’s still more likely I’ll blow myself up on accident cooking with buta gaz. It’s still more likely that one of you will, statistically speaking, get mugged walking down a street in a big, American city than it is that anything would ever happen to me. I’m making a point to be vigilant and to be prepared whether we should need to consolidate (it’s not looking like it will come to that currently) or not.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, I don’t want the message back home to conjure up negative views of Morocco, to suggest this country is unsafe or that these people are not the loving, kind-hearted people that they are. Moroccans are as devastated by this as anyone else, and they are committed to fighting terrorism. Unfortunately, no matter how committed a country can be to fighting terrorism, terrorism still happens. There are still bad people out there. Oh well.
To make a long story short, I’m safe and still happy as ever. I think the part of the country I am in right now is some of the most beautiful parts of Morocco I’ve seen thus far. I’ll try to get you more information as it comes my way.