Monday, 13 October 2014

Jamal Wald Nass: Whatever Happened To Him?

An Englishman, Ray Cole, and a young Moroccan, Jamal, are walking in the streets of the Gueliz district in Marrakech. They are not doing anyone any harm.

Some passing police think otherwise: they arrest them and accuse them of homosexuality. A judge then sends them to prison. The proof of their “crime” is the text messages and private photos that the police found in their mobile phones, which show their intimate relationship.

This scene, which might shock people in some western countries, is commonplace. It happens several times a day without the media taking any notice.* What changes everything is Cole’s nationality. He is British. And Britain is not just any country. The image of Morocco, a land of tolerance and generosity (according to the advertising slogans), is very much at stake here. There is danger in sight: a disaster for the emerging tourism sector.

Quick, quick, let’s cover it up, let’s release the Englishman, we’ll deal with the Moroccan later, he’s not so important.

The Moroccan authorities took a while to react. And that they eventually did so was because Cole’s family and friends rallied round strongly on his behalf and began to create a fuss about his case in the international media.

And Jamal, the young Moroccan? What’s happening to him? 

Abdellah Taïa, Guardian Online.

* Be interested to hear if anyone has evidence of this sort of thing.

1 comment:

  1. '... young Moroccan?'

    Hmm? How young. Cole's nearly seventy.