poker face

October 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Perhaps to cast a subtly somber ambience, my Women’s Studies professor would invariably wear a black shirt to class. The balancing forces of nature would inevitably undermine her attempted serious demeanor; she was always one button off in aligning her blouse and by the end of class would always be decorated with chalk dust. Though I wasn’t wearing black today, I made a clown of myself after being too somber. I had devoted today to my report detailing my thoughts on the Moroccan family code. Since I am to submit it to the Chair members, I wanted it to be good. I wanted to appear as stony-faced and pensive. I spent the entire morning composing my masterpiece at the CCCL library before they closed for the traditional 3-hour lunch break (Friday is an Islamic holy day, AKA the day everyone goes home at lunchtime to eat couscous). After my midday meal of couscous and 7 vegetables,  I packed my materials and headed to “The Arab Café”, one of the centre-ville’s few coffee shops with wi-fi.  Over black coffee (which I forgot means a straight shot of espresso), I crafted a most eloquent, most serious report. Tipsy on caffeine and self-congratulatory thoughts, I absentmindedly ERASED MY REPORT. Further proof that if you’re too preoccupied with your grim facade, you’ll wind up with your cover blown. I’m terrible at bluffing.

There was not much I could do except brew some green tea and start over with a more jovial, dare I say more genuine, countenance.

Here’s an excerpt from my report, the second time around:

It is not the prerogative of women to be inferior, subservient, and immobile. It is imperative that laws ensure equality rather than gender discrimination.  Truly, the new Moudawana is a progressive breakthrough for women’s rights. However, implementing new reforms in a conservative society coupled with a lack of an effective court system and substantial illiteracy is arduous. Beyond legislation, Moroccan society must continue to evolve as information reaches the minds of both men and women. It takes time to achieve this change in mentality, especially in a society with longstanding notions of gender roles.  Increasing women’s knowledge of their rights under national and international law develops their individual and collective capabilities to defend these rights. The implementation of the reforms to the Moudawana serves not just as a step toward women’s emancipation in Morocco, but also as inspiration for regions in the African continent and Arab states with similar obstacles to gender equality.”

Next on the to-do list: translating my report into French and translating a French article on citizenship for women into English.

Tomorrow I might go to a rural village in the north.


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