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France vs. Morocco
The aim of this essay is to compare and contrast cultural differences of these two countries – France and Morocco. In addition, I would like to show you my personal experience that I gained during my stay in both of them.
When I was 14–year-old I visited Morocco with my parents during my summer holiday. We were staying for around two weeks at the four-star hotel in Agadir. Agadir is a historical town situated on the seashore of the Atlantic Ocean in central Morocco. It is one of the most attractive vacation spots through Morocco.
Morocco is a wonderful African country with many natural beauties and marvellous historical sights. It was a real surprise for me that tourism was slightly developed in this area. I suppose it was because of insufficient standard of hotels and their service. The staff seems to be too idle and reluctant according to Czech tourists we met there. These Czechs were also disappointed that beach is overcrowded by local people and there was no place reserved for foreign tourists.
In comparison to popular sea resorts in Greece or in France that I visited, hotels in Morocco are not too competitive and appealing for foreigners. After all, if you are not hard to please, you overcome these travel troubles and enjoy the picturesque towns and beautiful sub-Saharan countryside.
During our walks and sight-seeing tours through the town we took a view of a traditional way of life in this region that has not changed for more than 100 years. We looked through local markets and small plants where we got to know how they produced carpets, dyed textile fabrics, baked bread or traded with livestock.
It was really interesting for me to see how many brand name products such as Jeans William & Delvin, Boss, Nike or Addidas, are manufactured in local factories. These companies have chosen this country because of cheap labour and low taxes and duties. I really admired those workers for their diligence even in appalling conditions for starvation wages. I am sure that none of the Czechs would do that labour.
In addition, we visited local mosques and historical monuments such as an old fortress of Foreign Legion from 19th century. We also learnt about Islamic culture and history which collide with vain attempts of France and Spain at long-term colonization. Nowadays, we can still notice the influence of former French supremacy. Usage of French is more frequent than the official language - Arabic. Then the system of education and legal system is based on French tradition. The foreign relations and international trade between these countries is frequent and mutually beneficial in these days.
The most profound impact for me was to see how immense social gap was among local inhabitants. Let’s explain this heart-breaking issue to you in more details. The most powerful person in Morocco is the king. He appoints and recalls the Prime Minister and other member of the government and disposes of legislative and executive power. He is also the head of the church and commander in chief of the armed forces. He cannot be arrested nor prosecuted.
Moreover, he is the richest man in the whole world. Most of the biggest companies in this country are in his personal possession. He owns extensive estates, smart cars or planes too. We especially noticed his numerous luxurious residences and palaces with large gardens which are closely guarded by policemen or soldiers.
On the contrary, many inhabitants of Morocco are unemployed and without any social or health insurance or benefits. That’s why some of them try to escape to France or gain French citizenship. We often met there a lot of beggars and indigent people who live in the ground in suburbs of the town. It was rather dangerous when we appeared in this suburban district looking for big supermarket. Fortunately, we manage to escape and avoid any troubles.
I went into France for six weeks when I was 17-year-old. I was staying in French family that accommodate foreign students in Nice and studied at local language school. At the end of my stay, I was going to pass the exam of French called Delf 2. The subject of the exam was the French education system and its connection to the other sphere of public life such as economy, policy, social issue or culture. It was really difficult to learn it in short period of time but also very interesting and informative.
I made out that the main issue of current French society is immigration and social benefit. It is discussed in all medias. French are really interested in policy and elections. They think it is a way how to support democracy and liberty. On the other hand, they voted for Nicolas Sarcozy who is now president and former interior and finance minister. This person is also leader of ultra-right wing in France and urge strict immigration law based on race and nationality which is rather racist. The paradox is that he is also foreigner in origin – his Jewish mother comes from Greece and father from Hungary.
Nevertheless, I agree that situation of refugees and immigrants is serious and have to be solved quickly. There are many social and religious conflicts which threaten the stability and development of this country.
The criminality especially petty thefts and misdemeanours, is also on the high level. Many of my foreign friends who studied with me in France were robbed of their cameras, mobile phones or wallet and endanger by knife or brass knuckle. When women walked alone along the street, it does not matter if she was young or old, sex - starved Arabs offered to marry them or shouted out other sexual proposals. It was terrible.
The most interesting for me was to experience how French greet when they met somebody. If they encounter some friends, they give three or four smacks next to their ear and then start the convetsation. If they don´t want to start discussion, they only say - ´Ca va ?´ and respond in the same way - ´Ca va ´. I think I would prefer smackers. Unfortunately, we have not similar greetings in the Czech republic nor in Morocco.
Finally, I would like to say that both countries that I visited has its pros and cons. But I would prefer France to visit once more if I could.