Blue Jeans, Blue Passport, and the Blue City

It's taken a bit of time to write this next reflection. Lots to chew on. And to be honest I'm digesting all that has happened in the three weeks being away from home, away from America, here in Morocco. 

I smoked enough to cigarettes in Casablanca I don't think I can safely say "no, I don't smoke" with any honesty (don't worry ma, no more). I gave my only other pair of pants to a sleeping vagrant on the morning commute with Khalil. So my blue jeans have had a few more washes than they would have got back home. But hey, that's what Levi's are for, no? I'm surprised I wasn't questioned more in the ritzy train station "Casa Port", where I plugged into free wifi, with my somewhat ragged look. I guess my foreign look and assumed blue passport act as a shield. My friend joked, "a blue passport is to cops like crosses are to vampires." Of all places I didn't expect to listen to so much hardcore, punk, anti-folk, punk folk, whatever the hell they want to call it as I did in Casablanca. And damn, what a trip. 

Never before did being American feel like something I owned, that was truly mine, and defined by my own experiences. Experiences of being different, of being a bit (and maybe a lot) of an outsider. Something that made me feel right at home with the righteous (or perhaps heretical) rebellious amigos I had in Casablanca. I wasn't born under a king, I don't have to fear state violence (necessarily) denouncing the state, in fact most servicemen and women fight to protect that right, at least nominally. I was born with the right to own my mental autonomy in the realm that we call faith or religion. 

( I can't put my figure on it yet, still digesting, but there was more. Things that for whatever reason gave clarity into moments and feelings of home, of Michigan, of the Midwest, or America, I can't speak to it much yet. Maybe next log I will. )

But back home what can I call the happenings at Standing Rock reservation and the Red Warrior camp anything but a continuation of tyrannical colonization? And if you are not informed about the fight for clean water against the Dakota Access Pipeline, no fault of your own, but google it. Please. While there is a right to free and critical media the citizenry has a duty to inform themselves. That's a core difference between a democracy and a autocratic theocracy.

The strives to leave that I mentioned in my last post, which are held by so many of the young people I met only reinforce my desire to stay in the U.S and to work where change can happen. Despite the odds of making the state and society more just, the privileges of a blue passport merits such a challenge. 

Blue jeans, blue passports (as opposed to the Moroccan green), and now I'm in the blue city. Chefchaouen. 

Goodbyes always suck, nothing more to say about that. The road out of Casablanca offers a change from grey, dust, smoke streaked buildings to dry golden hills and dusty stretches of earth. Eventually the hills become more undulating, growing into mountains that remind me of northern New Mexico, grey, red and auburn tinged rock spotted with pine. My stay feels much more removed from the people and the city. I'm staying in a guest house in the old city, the medina. Narrow and winding streets curve up staircases populated by storefronts and homes (Oh yes, and it's blue). Sheeps bleat, perhaps knowing it's their last night on earth. I joked with folks back in Casa, "one day they will have their revolution" "they just need their own personal Jesus." Kids shout the chorus to a Moroccan remix of an American hip-hop song "all the way up", the Darija refrain sounds like "Fuk chawaya". I was told it translates to something about barbecuing the the guy who's supposed to be your enemy. I shout it with them as they run past on my first ascent towards my guest house. They scream with laughter and continue to jump and shout, "Fuk chawaya." 

The mountain air is needed. Combined with cigarettes, the exhaust from millions of cars, the port, the smokestacks, shit and whatever else wafting in the Casablanca air had started to give me a hack in my chest. 

The last few mornings I've woken up before dawn and hiked up the foothills east of the city walls towards an abandoned Spanish Mosque. It's a beautiful view. Clouds roll over and down the rocky peak that the median is backed into as the sun rises slowly. Nothing eventful. Which is nice, sleep, reading, mountains. Change is good.

7 days left in Morocco, flight out of Tangier next Wednesday. Dakar, Senegal is up next. Then the South Asian subcontinent, after that, we shall see. 


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