Monday, September 29, 2008

Abdellah Taïa interviewed

Today's online number of Publico presents an interview with Abdellah Taïa, Moroccan writer born in Sale in 1973, and the first one in coming out of the closet via Tel Quel magazine in January 2006. Abdellah has been pictured in Tel Quel's front page. Over his picture there was an only word: "Homosexual".

The interview, in Spanish language, describes briefly his coming out process, his family feelings and an overview of Morocco in regards to homosexuality. Some excerpts:

What about your family?

They thought I couldn't be a good Muslim, but they didn't reject me totally. They feared about me, my personal safety. My younger brother couldn't go out to the street.  [...] When I came back home, my mother cooked a lot for me. It was so tender, but also a way of not speaking about my sexual condition. Morocco is in the stage of denial of homosexuality: we don't want to name it since naming it means recognize its existence.

Homosexuality is present in Moroccan popular culture.

Sure; those men in women disguise in Jmaa el Fnaa (Marrakech) and nothing happens; there's been a wide tolerance, traditionally. Privately, Moroccans are a very free people. The problem is society's control. [...] Even the Islamist party will tell you "You can be homosexual, but you can't show it". There's no problem as long as you hide, however, there'll be some point in which you'll be socially compelled to get married.

Are you optimistic about Morocco's future?

Sometimes I am: nowadays, newspapers are criticizing the King, but there's an economical impasse. For many Moroccans, there's a daily struggle to find food for today. You can't achieve sexual freedom when you live in such conditions.

For those of you able to read Spanish, here's the link to the full text.

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