Respect the Children

I had been told that, to generalize, Moroccans treat children with a level of reverence and adoration you don’t see as often in the US. I’m not saying all Americans don’t treat children well or that all Moroccans abide this rule, but I don’t think I’ve seen too many exceptions first hand. I’ve been riding the train in Morocco, while a baby was crying nearby, just to see the toughest, meanest looking motherchucker in the car come up and start making faces, trying to calm it.
At Sidi Ahmed’s house in Zawiyat al Hansal, lived two girls in his family, around 3 and 4 years old. I decided to observe their treatment. Over the week, the girls were bouncing off the walls nonstop. They would stay up in the courtyard, playing until midnight (later than I often went to bed) and not once did I see them scolded. They weren’t doing any harm and there was certainly plenty of room to be bouncing off the walls, but I’ve seen children back home scolded arbitrarily many times.
That also brought to mind attitudes towards life. In Morocco, I have observed a respect for all life, unlike what one sees in America. Cats are a good example. There is an abundance of stray cats and unlike home, they do not seem to be treated as pests. On the contrary, people frequently leave bowls of water and milk for them, butchers will toss cats their scraps, restaurants will hardly mind cats wandering in and napping under the tables. You certainly won’t see sadistic kids tying bottle rockets to cats tails or anything like that.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve even seen a Moroccan kill an insect. At one point, my friends had chewed me out for stepping on a cockroach. Now I can hardly swat a fly without feeling burdened with guilt. Sure, I received a lot of flack for being vegetarian, but at the least the meat they eat was killed much more humanely than what you typically get in the US. With some sort of dignity even. So that’s something to ponder.

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