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February 02, 1972 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1972-02-02

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Eighty-one years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Women in Morocco: Behind the veil

4 '

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
ur the editors. This must be noted in all reprints



Tragedy in Northern Ireland

THE RECENT TAKING of 13 more live.
in Northern Ireland brings to 23
a death toll over the last three year;
which has not discriminated on the basi
of age, sex, creed, or national loyalties.
It is difficult for outsiders to under-
stand the causes for the ominously pre-
dictable violence in Ulster, and even
harder to feel compassion. Reports de-
tailing mass murder and internment
coupled with pictures of innocent victim
-often children-at the moment of their
deaths, has served to foment a genera
opinion that the one-and-a-half million
Protestants and Catholics living in Bel-
fast, Londonderry and the rest of North-
ern Ireland are collectively mad.
Yet the greatest misconceptions which
exist about the strife in Northern Ireland
are that it has confined itself to a rela-
tively recent period and that it is wholly
due tp a religious conflict of such fana-
tical proportions that it is nothing less
than a Holy War in modern times.
In fact, however, the violence and ter-
rorism that has become the accepted way
of life in Ulster has grown out of a bitter
historical feud of bloody nationalism that
began in the, Middle Ages-and a solu-
tion to the conflict, if there is one to b
found, must recogrize this element.
can be traced back as far as the 12th
Century, when England first attempted tc
conquer its neighbor to the west. In th
1600's, Protestant England succeeded in
its conquest and by 1700, the Irish Catho-
lice majority owned only one-seventh of
the land. By decree of a British Parlia-
ment, Catholics were excluded from po-
litical life, forbidden to have their own
schools, and could not buy back -land
from the Protestants.
In 1800, Ireland was made an integra
p r o v i n c e of the United Kingdom
Throughout the 19th and early 20th
Centuries Irish nationalists fought this
enforced union-culminating in 1916 witb
the founding of the zealously nationalis-
tic Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.).
AFTER WORLD WAR I, nationalist fer-
vor reached a high point, as thous-
ands of Irishmen clamored for indepen-
dence from Britain. At the same time
however, the Protestants, concentrated in
the North, feared the consequences of
separation from England.
In 1921, a partition established th
Irish Free State in the South, and in the
North left six counties of Ulster predomi-
nantly Protestant as an integral part o:
the United Kingdom, with its own Par-
liament at Stormont.
Modern Ireland took its present shap
in 1949 when the Irish Free State pro-
claimed itself a republic and seceded from
the Commonwealth. Soon after, Britain's
Parliament passed the Ireland Act, unde
which Ulster remains a British provinc
until it chooses to unite the six counties
with those of the South. With this act
the Protestants - who outnumber the

s Catholics 2 to 1 in the North-were able
2 to establish an iron-fisted economic, so-
s cial, and political control over the Catho-
s lies much in the same way that Southern
whites exerted control over blacks before
- the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's.
- HE PERIOD of the 232 deaths bega'n in
1968, when the Catholics began a civil
rights campaign of their own-for equal
job opportunities, better housing, and
s voting r e f o r m s. The demonstrations
' turned into bloody riots, and England
sent troops-which ironically were init-
1 ially welcomed as protectors by most
- Catholics.
Gradually, however, the indiscriminate
tactics of the British soldiers as they
1 pursued the I.R.A. served to radicalize
thousands of Ulster Catholics. For the
- past three years, the I.R.A. has claimed
- widespread support among Ulster Catho-
s lics for its campaign of selective terror.
The British troops have had little sub-
stantive success in silencing the I.R.A.,
- even with the help of laws permitting in-
r ternment without trial. And because of
t the one-sided enforcement of such laws
and the very presence of the British
troops themselves, the British army's po-
sition in Northern Ireland is- looking
more and more like our country's involve-
I ment in Southeast Asia.
D THE END OF the conflict in Northern
e Ireland is nowhere in sight.
For over 50 years, the I.R.A. has dog-
- gedly pursued a single goal: The creation
f of a united Ireland free of British con-
- trol. I.R.A. spokesmen have repeatedly
said their unified Ireland will uphold the
1 rights of all Irishmen, Catholic and Pro-
P testants alike.
If both sides persist in their present in-
l transigent policies, such a goal will never
be more than a dream, however. The
Protestant majority of Ulster has arro-
s gantly refused to allow the Catholics an,
equal voice in government and kept them
in social and economic squalor. Britain
is guilty for looking after its own selfish
' interests and for stubbornly failing' to
- modernize its foreign policy which goes
- back to the Middle Ages.
- As soon as possible, all British troops
, must be withdrawn from Ulster. The
Protestant majority must begin to give
f the Catholics their due, and members of
both religions must work together to-
e ward uniting Ulster with the Irish Re-
public, thus achieving the aim of free-
dom from British control. This is the only
f course to follow.
BUT WHILE this national end is being
e achieved, all 'people in Ulster should
- reflect on the tragic events which have
z occurred there in the name of religious
s faith and nationalism. It should become
r readily apparent to all Northern Ire-
e landers that theirs is a place with too
s much religion and not enough human-

A WOMAN'S life in Morocco or Algeria,
or any Arab-Moslem society, isn't
exactly roses. She spends her life literally
under wraps - the traditional Arab robes
and veil.
She can't pause for a cup or int tea
in a cafe, or stroll through the town chat-
ting with friends - unless she's walking
to and from market, she'll be marked
as a whore. She can't dine with her hus-
band, but eats leftovers in the kitchen.
It's unthinkable that she'd work, but if
she does, she must surrender her wages to
her husband and natal family.
If women are second class citizens in
America, they're scarcely persons in Mo-
Women are things: they give their hus-
bands sex, babies, a clean home with clean
linens, and delicious food. Arab women are
delicious cooks.
THIS NEW WAY of looking at women
(or not looking at them, since they pass
like timid shadows) slaps me suddenly my
second night in Morocco. I'm sitting in a
cafe in Tetouan, sipping sugary Turkish
coffee with Mohammad, whom I met on a
He wears an elegant slim-cut suit and
custom made shoes, a gold wristwatch -
very elegant, very worldly, the kind of
outfit Europeans seldom wear but foreign-
ers in Europe always do. He's one of the
lucky few Moroccans who got past the
border with working papers in his hand,
found a good job with 'a shipping firm
in Copenhagen, and struck it rich. He's
back for a few weeks, visiting his family.
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL Moroccan night, too
hot to be indoors, sumptuous breezes out-
doors. The townspeople are throbbing
through the cafes, couples are strolling
through the square, walking arm in arm,
holding hands, it could be Italy or Spain,
except - townspeople? It's the town's men.
Where are the women?
"A woman cannot leave the house, ex-
cept to go shopping, or perform o t h e r
errands," Mohammed says. A lone woman
on the streets . . ." he smiles. "That's
something else." He doesn't know me well
enough to be frank.
His first wife was Belgian. "We divorced
after four years, after she lost her, liveli-
ness," Mohammed tells me. He' shakes his
head sadly - he should have known that
a man from the Arab culture can't be satis-

fied with a woman who wants a life of
her own.
Now, he's married to a Moroccan woman
from his birthplace. When they live in
Copenhagen, she dresses in western cloth-
ing, talks with him and goes to cafes and
"Where is she tonight?" I ask him.
"She's at home," Mohammed tells me.
"This is Morocco. Her liberation is ove."
IT'S DIFFICULT to trace the historical
origins or sexual roles in any society, but
Moslems say they're just obeying the sac-
red Koran, which dictates, "Man is the
master of the woman."
Man is master -and you can see his
women serve 4him like slaves. I enjoyed
many Moroccan dinners, but only w i t h
men. I seldom met or even saw their
wives; occasionally, they would greet me
silently, then fade into the kitchen. The
master of the family and the adult sons
would entertain me in rooms hung with
tapestries and softened by fat cushions.
The daughters and little boys bring great
silver urns of water and soap, and bathe
our hands. They serve us as we eat.
IN A SOCIETY where women are silent
robes, forbidden to join men in day-to-day
social life, sexual roles as Americans
know them don't exist. Try to imagine a
daily world where men and women don't
talk, don't walk together, can't meet each
other - can't even acknowledge that one
another exists.
Not that you don't see plenty of physi-
cal affection in Morocco. You do - but
between men only. They stroll arm in hand,
embrace each other while sitting, rub each
other's knee, clasp hands while strolling
through the marketplace. Once I saw two
uniformed policemen patrolling a street
side by side, holding machine guns in their
outer hands, intertwining fingers in the
I told Lotfi, a young student in Fez, that
if I held hands with my male friends in the
United States, people would stare at us
uncomfortably and type us as "queer." He
couldn't understand. "You mean, you never
hold hands with your friends?" he asked.
"But - isn't that a profound racism?"
SEX BETWEEN MEN and women be-
fore marriage is taboo, of course (a man
and woman can't even meet and talk as
friends, until the man has decided he
wishes to marry her and pays a visit


to her father). Overt homosexuality is also
forbidden. When men get horny, they find
a whore. Women better not get horny or
they suffer.
My friends were surprised and dismayed
when I told them that my women friends
and I sleep together, like many young
"But, who will you marry?" they wanted
to know. "Where will you find any vir-
Once an Arab sleeps with a woman, he
loses respect for her.
In fact, any woman who comes from
behind her robes - and - as they see it -
flaunts her sexuality, doesn't deserve re-
spect. That's why American women in
jeans, or short dresses, and tee shirts
(especially without bras) hate Morocco.
Arab men pinch their breasts, rub against
them and stick their hands in their crotch-
es. "They're asking for it," one fellow
told me.
In some of the big cities, they say the
revolution's coming. In Casablanca, which
looks as if it was built in France 60 years
ago and plopped into Morocco by heli-
copter, and in Rabat, the capital and cul-
tural center, young women throw off the
robes and veils, wear miniskirts and blous-
es, set their hair and wear makeup. It's all
show. Underneath, they're as traditional
as can be," says Mohammed Raamouch,
a Moroccan who attended the University in
Ann Arbor for a year. Since King Hassan
II wants his kingdom to be western (he
gets most of' his money from the Ameri-
can foreign aid program), he says his
women should be western too. He calls him-
self "promoter of the emancipation of the
Moroccan women. "He even addressed the
opening conference of the Union Nationale
des Femmes Marocaines, the National Un-
ion of Moroccan Women in May, 1969. Guess
who's the president? His cousin, Princess
Lalla Fatima Zohra.
IN MOROCCO, says Hassan, "the concep-
tion of the word 'woman,' associated until
now with feebleness, physical and intel-
lectual incapacity, is recovering itt just
significance." The way Hassan sees it
(in 1 public appearances, anyway) "t h e
woman by ignorance or lack of maturity,
has abandoned the rights which Islam gives
her." Some avant garde Moroccans have
picked a saying of the prophet Hadith: "Wo-
men and men have the same responsibili-

So, in Morocco, women theoretically can
make contractural sales and purchases
without their husbands; of course, neither
their husbands nor shopkeepers would let
What does King Hassan II propose to do
about all this? He doesn't really say. One
Moroccan woman, a European trained law-
yer, had some ideas of her own and form-
ed a militant women's liberation group,
but Hassan outlawed it.
I WONDERED eagerly what kind of
life Algeria offers to women, now that
the revolution is over. After all, didn't
Frantz Fanon write about the crucial roles
women played winning the homeland from
the French? It was women who blew up
the MiVV Bar' in the Battle of Algiers. They
smuggled guns and ammunition to FLN
soldiers, they spied upon French police.
Nothing has changed. The women in French
Algiers have the same modern wrappings
as in Casablanca and Rabat. That's all.
The newspapers talk about women's eman-
cipation. I even read a big article one
day which declared that women must ac-
cept their responsibility in the revolution,
come from behind the veil and contribute
to the productivity of the nation. The
menfolk don't like it.
I spoke with one Algerian schoolteacher
whose father and brother-in-law fought
with the revolutionary forces, and were
tortured. He pontificates enthusiastically
about socialism, factories, increased steel
output, and health care. But about women,?
"You know what I dislike most about
American life?" he asks. "I see in your
films, the woman controls the man and
the family. If the wife says 'no' and the
husband says 'yes', it's 'no', " he declares.
I remind him of the revolution, of lives
lost, of government pronouncements, of a
rosy future where Algerian men and
women work side by side as equals. He
looks disgusted. "I'm against it," he says.
Above us, the linens of ten thousand men
flutter from clotheslines strung on the
flat roofs of the Algiers casbah. "All us
men are."
Daniel Zwerdling, Daily Magazine
Editor in 1970-71, currently writes for
the New Republic. This is the fourth in
a series of six articles he is writing for
The Daily on contemporary life in
North Africa and the Middle East.





Fast foods, french fries, and efficiency

The Presidential primary

THE AVERAGE VOTER in Michigan will
find hid political voice a little louder
under the terms of the new state presi-
dential primary, approved by the State
Senate Monday.
The primary scheme will allow the
electorate to vote directly for Demo-
cratic and Republican presidential hope-
fuls. Each candidate will then receive a
proportion of the state's votes at each
party's national convention equal to the
percentage of votes he received across the
state. For example, a Democratic candi-
date collecting 30 per cent of the state-
wide primary vote would receive 30 per
cent of the 132 delegates the Democrats
will send to the national convention in
Miami Beach.
Unlike many primary states, where the
presidential candidates handpick their
delegates to the national convention,
Michigan voters will elect precinct dele-
gates who will then - first through
county conventions and then the state
conventions - choose the national dele-
gates pledged to each candidate.
The new' primary is particularly sig-
nificant for the state's newly enfran-

chised voters, who would otherwise have
been completely excluded from the dele-
gate selection process.
Previously, unpledged precinct dele-
gates were elected two years before each
national convention. Because no candi-
dates are visible two years before a presi-
dential election, few members of the
general electorate took notice of these
delegate elections, and as a consequence,
those elected were normally loyal party
workers under control of the party
THE PRESIDENTIAL primary bill now
goes to the House where it is ex-
pected to pass with only minor altera-
tions-perhaps a date change from May
9 to May 29. After that, it is up to the
individual. voter to make use of his in-
creased electoral muscle.
THE SUBVERSIVE Activities Control
Board has found something to do at
last. Under the power conferred on it last
year by President Nixon to take charge

THIS COUNTRY'S mood is one
of accelerated efficiency. The
emphasis is on accelerated. The
American consumer wants goods
now, wants them relatively inex-
pensively, and is willing to sac-
rifice quality, to these ends. The
industry which perhaps satisfies
the customers most in this way is
the fast foods industry.
Fast food establishments, spe-
cializing in hamburgers, roast beef
sandwiches, and other gastronomic
delights, have built economic em-
pires on this tendency of the Amer-
ican public. In the process, the
quality of life in our society has
beengreatly devalued, not mere-
ly for the buyers, who can blame
no one but themselves, but for the
unfortunates who must staff these
Jobs in the fast food industry
fall to three groups of people:
first, those planning a career in
fast foods, who learn the business
from the bottom up; secondly,
those unable to find work else-
where - for the most part high
schoolers, but older and better
educated people in prohibitive job
markets; and third, the unin-
formed unfortunate who stumbles
blindly into the job. Persons from
the third category are the first to
seek employment elsewhere, and
others may follow suit quickly. It
could be said that the turnover
rate is very high, both for food
sold and people employed.

dollars is divided among the em-
ployes, and subtracted from each
employe's check. One manager
expressed reservations over the
legality of this, since he was leg-
ally responsible for this action. He
solved his dilemma by refusing to
deduct' from the paychecks. He
now requests the employes to pay
him in cash. Anyone with reser-
vations is excused from further
employment due to a "bad atti-
Although the work itself is, not
difficult, one is required to keep
forever busy, even is there is
nothing to do. Counters and tables
are sponged off constantly, in
readiness for a rush of customers
whose orders will be filled in re-
cord time. Some places claim to
fill any order within a minute,
others think customers will tol-
erate a few minutes wait before
complaining about the service"and
driving off to a competitor.
A CLASSIC, but unfortunately
typical, example of the atmos-
phere of a fast food firm took
place at a different local eatery
recently. One of the employes was
putting french fries into their wax
paper wrappers when a manager
walked by. "You're filling them too
full," he said. The employe mull-
ed this over for a second, when
another manager happened by.
"You're not filling them full
enough," he said. Whereupon the
disgusted wage earner tore off his

image of uniformity and sterility.
Thus, a new worker must pur-
chase black pants and shoes
(which will cost 15-20 hours pay,
or $20-$30 at $1.65 per hour), and
be outfitted with a company shirt
and chef's cap, and perhaps a
button recommending the hot ap-
ple turnovers. It is easy for an
individual to get lost in the crowd

HAVING BEEN accepted for
employment, the new worker is
told that his most important asset
is his attitude. A member of the
team must always smile, be cour-
teous as he takes money, and
obey orders unquestioningly. This
is a buildup. The employe is then
told that he will work for four
hours without pay as a training

be docked two hours pay. Recently,
someone was naive enough to sug-
gest that this was against state
and federal worker protection
laws. He was reprimanded for his
bad attitude, and was asked how
much he valued his employment.
THE EFFICIENCY of this type
of operation is beyond belief. The


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