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[Nettime-bold] [paper] cyberspace as a new space for young urban moroccans

beyond public and private :
 cyberspace as a new space for young urban moroccans

by meghann ormond
rabat, morocco
march 2000

We look for places where we can stay for longer than a few minutes and buy
things, turn our heads and see people we know. I tell myself that I don't
know all of Rabat, that maybe there exists an imaginary world here, but I
don't know where it might be. [His best friend, 19,  interjects, "The
Internet."]  So, every Saturday, I go to McDonald's and hope that something
new opens up.
 Male, 18.

Contemporary societal mutations for urban, middle-class Moroccan youth today
have been brought into existence by many factors, some of the largest being
the destruction of the significance of the extended family unit in the last
century, increasing physical mobility, mass education, and the influence of
largely foreign mass-media that does not correspond with traditional
societal norms. These young people, representatives of the emerging middle-
and upper-middle classes in Morocco, are appropriating traditional public
spaces in urban areas and revolutionizing former perceptions of public and
private boundaries.  More astonishingly, they are establishing themselves as
the dominant population of Moroccans on the Internet, making connections and
transcending societal rules. Current Internet practices by young urban
middle-class Moroccans are facilitating societal mutations with greater
speed and potency than ever before, while offering the opportunity for
young people to essentially re-create aspects of community and culture that
they feel are non-existant, fragmented, or have proved difficult to evolve
in daily life. They are using the Internet and computer -mediated
communication (CMC) to express themselves, communicate with others, and
explore aspects of their identity as they are often not permitted to do so
in real-life.   Perhaps more curiously, they are using the Internet as a
tool to supplement and accentuate their real lives, not trying to escape to
virtuality but reconciling with reality in a new kind of space-cyberspace.
Analyzing the practice of cyberspace offers us a way in which to understand
the experiences and desires of people and how they are manifested.  Taking a
look at how young people utilize virtual spaces can give us insight into the
realities, barriers and possibilities of their lives.  As our environments
shape us, we too sculpt our environments with our own representations of our
dominant societal discourses.  This process is an ever-evolving dialogue.
Public spaces are structural expressions of human needs for socialization.
Since they are the forum for interactions between individuals and the
outside world, they-be they real or virtual-are a perfect lens through which
to identify the mutations taking place in a society that is rapidly
evolving.  With the speed of change in societies throughout the world due to
increased mobility, deracination, and exchange of information, dominant
discourses and paradigms are breaking down in favor of new ones.  These
changes are not slow enough for people to feel as if the newness has been
easily adapted into daily life.  Without a feeling of stability, people have
begun to question their identities and positions within the dominant
societal discourse, but these former norms no longer give answers
comprehensive enough.  Moroccan society is mutating to reflect such
questioning ; instead of reflecting dominant societal norms, it exhibits
polarities of values, behaviors, and actions of people who no longer feel
like norms of any sort are entirely internalized.
While this phenomenon appears quite similar to a post-modern Western trend
that is characterized by societies whose moral and physical foundations are
crumbling, I suggest that Internet practices by young Moroccans are sculpted
by cultural and geographical elements that are specifically Moroccan.  Young
Moroccans are not abandoning real life for the safety of a virtual one but
using it as another space to reconcile conflict. Internet practices are not
globally homogenous but rather geographically-specific, being sculpted by
users to treat contemporary cultural issues in innovatively interesting
ways.  However, globalization, being « the intensification of world-wide
social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local
happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa, »
makes all people reliant on the developments and actions of others
throughout the world. 1 Certainly, because of the extreme dominance of
Americans, Western Europeans, and the English language in Cyberspace, their
practices and the ensuing trends ought to be considered as an important
piece of the great cultural pastiche that makes up Cyberspace today. « 98
percent of all the computer hosts on the Net are located in countries in
North America, Western Europe, Japan, and Australia-countries that together
have only 15 percent of the world's population. The continents of Africa,
Asia, and South America are tiny islands in cyberspace.» 2 (See Table 1.)
But macro-trends should not always indicate that all users practice
cyberspace in similar ways. and the tiny islands ought not be ignored in
discussions of the Internet.
Cyberspace, considered one of the most important media for the growth of
globalization, has radically transformed the way people communicate and
conduct business, from the level of our neighborhoods to the entire globe.
The spread of the community in cyberspace has revolutionized spatial and
temporal perception. The concept of cyberspace as a global space driven by
one huge culture and society is followed more often by efficient
communication systems, which allow transferring in real time the relevant
information to the local scenes where it in fact develops the social,
political and economic action. Globalization.also leads to the rediscovery
of the local identity, to a re-territoriality, going against the dream of
the global democracy. These new processes are visible also in certain
virtual groups on the Internet... The global dimension always constructs
tension with the local one. The transnational processes create urban
territory reorganization, which it engraves also on the virtual spaces.
This is a phenomenon of the pluralistic integration among cultures, which
are placed in a dialogical relationship but respecting their own basic
characteristics. 3

The possibilities of this relatively new medium overwhelm us in the Western
post-modern world.  « The overheated language that surrounds current
discussion of computer-mediated communications falls within a long tradition
of American technological optimism.  The optimists today tend to represent
urban decay and class polarization as out-of-date formulations of a problem
that could be solved with the right technology. » 4 Post-modern Westerners
turn to the Internet as a safe-zone from a daily real life that has failed
them.  « Denied or having deconstructed the more traditional methods of
sustaining a community, users of [cyberspace] must develop alternative or
parallel methods. » 5 Western hopes of re-discovering community, where real
neighborhoods become too dangerous to walk in and families are widely
dispersed geographically, should be comtrasted to trends of those in
developing countries.  In developing countries, the optimism lies in the
potential of connections to integrate themselves into a more forgiving and
democratic space, cyberspace, in which they may be able to more easily
compete economically and culturally bear witness to their local heritages.
The Internet is regarded as a way to strengthen daily reality as well as the
future by making connections and being heard, thus bettering the conditions
of daily life.
Young Moroccans who are familiar with the Internet and computers are
creating, connecting, learning, and deciding on things that have never
before been available to them.  Given this freedom that new rules and
technology have offered to them, how are they manipulating, behaving in, and
perceiving the new space in which they are participating ?

This study was conducted in the city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco with a
current population of  1.2 million people in its metropolitan area.
Moroccan urban areas are economic, political, and intellectual centers,
attracting wealth and power, sponsoring intellectual and creative prusuits,
and their technological proximity to the ailleurs (or outside world) is
unchallenged elsewhere within the country.  The cultural and socio-economic
differences between rural and urban areas here is quite stark.  Urban areas
are witnessing a sharper increase in religious fundamentalism and
unmanageable percentages of unemployment, while rural areas remain almost
untouched by modernization efforts and most rural people are illiterate. By
2000, the Moroccan government remarked that 54  percent of  Moroccans (a
population of 30 million) live in urban areas-a great change from the time
before French colonization in 1912 when the urban population was less than
10 percent. 6 The rural to urban migration (exode rurale) in the last
century was caused mainly to a highly destructive colonial economic policy
that impoverished and rendered landless millions of people, forcing them to
seek employment in the cities that were occupied by the French.
Today, every major Moroccan city-including Rabat-is surrounded by
bidonvilles, or shantytowns, physical proof that migration did not always
improve economic conditions. The socio-economic caste system, put into place
by the French, continues to thrive today where a vast majority lives in
impoverished conditions while a small elite and emerging middle class enjoy
an aisé position of influence and wealth.   Rabat is a unique case in
Morocco, where an overwhelming percentage of its population works for the
government (stable and secure jobs) and is situated in a middle class
socio-economic bracket.  When we talk about young urban Internet users, we
are talking solely of those who have the economic ability, time, and means
of transportation to access the new technology. Rabat is home to many of
these young users.

contemporary issues for young people
Seventy percent of Moroccans today are younger than thirty years old. 7
However, « youth » , along with the free time and amount of self-exploration
it entails, can really only be enjoyed by those in a socio-economic position
that does not force them to work to support the family,  marry early, or not
go to school. In urban Moroccan society, becoming an adult means having
financial independence because everything else relies upon it.  Middle-class
educated children are financially dependent upon their families from birth
often up through their late twenties due to the unemployment crisis in the
country.  Indeed, those who even have doctorates have difficulty finding
adequate jobs with a certain amount of security and stability.  A secure job
ensures a secure future ahead, enabling the new « adult » to forge ahead
with his/her own plans and to act out the societal obligations that the
title of adulthood carries along with it.  Those plans include the making of
one's own home, marrying, and having children.
Almost all Moroccans marry.  It is unthinkable not to do so.  In 1960, the
average marriage age was 17 years old.  By 1982, it rose to 24 years in
urban areas, and 28.3 years for the urban educated population. 8 The age of
marriage (the traditional rite of passage) has risen in recent years for
both men and women, correlating with the lack of employment available to
young people. Young people that are not able to be financially-independent
are forced to rely on their families for increasingly longer times-extending
their experience of youth.  Educated, unemployed young people who are
expected to be « adult » and responsible in the outside world of political
and academic space and who see Western manifestations of independence on
television and in film are fully aware of what they are missing.  They feel
distant from their parents, and relations are often stressed between them
because they are not « allowed » to realize their individual definition of
freedom.  A great deal of frustration is engendered from this feeling of not
being able to freely act according to either traditional or Western
standards, leaving young people in confused tension with their outside
With the liberalization of gendered space, where women have in the past two
generations emerged from private domestic spaces and into work, school, and
other formerly male spaces, a sexual revolution-like that which accompanied
the emergence of women into the public sphere elsewhere-did not take place.
What this means for contemporary young people is that, despite gender mixity
in many realms, sexuality and sexual behavior has not been introduced as an
accepted part of societal discourse.  Sexuality largely remains a taboo and
highly controversial subject-evidenced by the fact that, although
handholding may be permitted in the streets, two unmarried people discovered
to be having sex can be condemned to up to a year and a half in prison.  If
marriage is the only legitimate institution not only for being recognized as
an adult but also for sexual expression in society, and marriage ages
continue to rise due to the unemployment crisis that impedes people from
gaining societally-recognized stability that allows for marriage to happen,
what happens to the young people who are affected by this situation ?
family and community relations
 Family, only a few generations ago, was the central insitution of Moroccan
society, as the source of socialization and education, employment and
business, health insurance and security. Community ties were based on
inter-family relationships, allegiances, and agreements. Today, most urban
families are nuclear in size and extended family is located in other parts
of town or other towns.  No longer is it easy to live nearby one another
geographically.  Members within the extended family see each other less and
less as a result.  Bennani-Chraibi traces such destruction of the family to,
not surprisingly and rather correctly, economics and general education.  «
The static construction and emergence of a new economic order have largely
occurred outside of this social structure. School socializes, produces,
distributes titles and licenses and therefore values, preparing for the
entrance into the working world and progressive autonomy.  The individual
begins to exist in the social field, outside of the family group. As the
educational system is in crisis and the employment field closes, social
mobility is blocked. » 9 The family is resorted to for security when outside
societal promises fail, but reverting to the family structure which has also
significantly changed is awkward.
  To find a certain amount of sympathetic understanding, young people often
surround themselves with friends of similar ages, social and economic
positions as themselves.  Most young people interviewed do not feel as if
they can discuss issues important to their lives with their parents.  One 18
year-old male said, « There's a proverb that says you can't choose your
family, but you can choose your friends. »  Many often avoid telling their
parents what they do at night, how they do in school, and with whom they
are.  In some cases, they confess to lying to their parents out of fear that
their parents would not approve of their decisions and take freedom away.
Friends and siblings seem much more reliable and understanding than parents,
offering compassion and support in one's best and worst times-while parents
are often left in the dark about their children's lives.  Friends' schedules
are often based around one another and they support one another in almost
any circumstance.  Friends are no longer just from one's local neighborhood
or members of the extended family but represent the physical and mental
mobility of middle-class young people in Rabat, coming from academic
settings and specialized interest groups that share a certain sport, hobby,
or talent.  Friends have not only become more specialized but oftentimes
more geographically distant from one another, spread throughout a variety
areas of Rabat, perhaps living in Casablanca, or even studying in another
 Community, once defined by family interrelationships, familiar neighborhood
interactions, and religious practices, is increasingly a conglomeration of
people from different areas representing shared economic or social traits,
not necessarily shared geographical ones.  Neighbors, often having uprooted
themselves from their formerly established geographically-based communities,
now know each other less.  Indeed, they are suspicious of one another
because uprootedness and increased mobility have permanently distorted
former definitions of community.  Interestingly, Rabatis-whose contemporary
remnants of the indigenous medina somewhat reflects the way people used to
live, in extended familial clusters with evolved visual architectural
barriers guarding inhabitants of individual as well as semi-communal spaces
from intrusion from the « outside »--continue to, albeit perhaps
subconsciously, construct barriers that separate the « inside » from the «
outside ».  Such is characteristic of pre-colonial communities throughout
the Muslim world.  The high walls built around residential villa compounds
occupied by nuclear families are not so different from the walls around
traditional urban communities whose great gates closed at nightfall. The «
outside » is the untrusted and lonely unknown that may exploit, steal, or
challenge what happens « inside » if allowed to enter.
 The « inside » is a psychological social space comprised of perceived
family, friends, and partnerships that increasingly span across physical
space and beyond blood-lines today but nevertheless continue to exist as an
important part of young people's lives. In contrast to its high walls and
iron gates, the typical middle-class Rabati home is often left unlocked when
someone is inside-availing close friends and family members easy access into
the inside space.  Home is not only the nuclear family's territory but also
the second home for « insiders » who can stay from several hours to several
days without being asked to leave. Most people pity those who live alone and
must manage live by themselves ; similarly, they are suspicious of loners
and those without connections to others.  Culturally, it is considered
extremely important to be surrounded by one's « insiders, » people that are
stable, caring, and helpful.  Today, although having such people is
important, those « insiders » do not have to be blood-related or
geographically proximate.  Young people are looking for « insiders » that
share similar life experiences outside of their homes, families, and

relationship to the outside world
Bennani-Chraibi, in her study of Moroccan youth, focused on the educated
population because she believes that they measure the extent to which
multiculturalism exists in the literate population [where roughly fifty
percent of Moroccans are illiterate] and measure the integration of these
people due to free general education for all, which she refers to as an
idealistic motor for social mobility that was largely unsuccessful. 10 While
the first post-independence generation, to which belong most of today's
young people's parents, was guaranteed a job with the government (with
tenured stability and assured retirement) if they finished high school, this
is not at all the case today.  Young scholarized people, unable to join the
already bulging bureaucracy and without help from the largely undeveloped
and inacessible private sector, have few options in the job market.  The
unemployment crisis has made many rethink the value of their education, as
they are often forced to take jobs that are not challenging enough or are
not well-paid enough for their level of education.
[The young person] detaches himself from the group.  He rethinks more and
more his inherited values and drives as an individual.  The collective dream
of post-independence of an ascending social mobility realized by education
for all has crystallized this individualism.  Due to the mode of teaching,
he is shaped, examined, and graded so that everything wtih which he deals,
faced with finding a place in society, is based off of a hierarchy of values
based on merit.  After fifty years of investment in a failing academic
system, a shift occurred from the hopes that drove families to trust their
children to schools in the first place to the negative results of
educational politics, the unintegrated have three options : escapism, revolt
against a system that does not keep its promises, or paying the costs of
reverting to former ways of social insertion. 11

Educated young people are often disillusioned and look outside of Morocco
for viable options.
The ailleurs, or the world outside of Morocco, is largely physically
inaccessible except to a small percentage of the population.  Traveling
remains a priviledge today. In Bennani-Chraibi's study, only 11 percent of
her interviewees had ever travelled outside of the country. 12 Morocco is in
close proximity to Spain and the rest of Europe ; a simple ferry ride takes
people across the Strait of Gibraltar.  However, attaining a visa to travel
is often difficult and oftentimes involves a coup de piston (knowing someone
influential or bribing someone).  Those who can travel are either of high
socio-economic status, are part of a higher cultural/intellectual level that
can speak French or Spanish fluently, are or have been students abroad, or
they have family members living abroad that they can visit.
Approximately one million Moroccans live abroad, 1/30th of the population of
Morocco.  « Moroccan emmigrants are a part of the mental universe of young
Moroccans, they come back once a year in their nice cars with foreign
license plates full of proof of their prosperity abroad. » 13 For most
Moroccans, having the opportunity to leave the country is a dream. Most
families have at least one member who lives outside of the country. These
members are envied and admired by those who continue to live in Morocco ;
they are physical extentions of Morocco in the world, offering an outside
connection and a source of inspiration.  Every year, the United States holds
a lottery for immigration-almost every family in Rabat has sent in their
letters of appeal at one time or another, in hopes that their children will
be able to escape the perceived economic dead-end that is the sitution today
in the country.  One 27 year old male has two siblings and his mother in the
United States.  He has sent a letter every year for ten years to the lottery
but has had no success.  Leaving Morocco consumes him, but because he is
unemployed and barely able to support his sister and himself, he has no
other chance to leave besides taking his chances in the annual lottery.  For
years, he thought he would be able to join his family so he kept on
postponing his studies, expecting to leave.  He takes seasonal work around
the city and curses Morocco every chance he gets.
Recognition of the outside world plays a fundamental role in the development
of the self in Morocco. Situated in the crossroads of Europe, the Middle
East, and Africa, the country itself is economically, poltically, and
religiously tied to and reliant upon global trends and others' whims.  « The
ailleurs abundantly penetrates the thought space of young Moroccans. Borders
are constantly reformulated, keeping young people in a continual process of
redefinition and finding within such change a sense of belonging.  This
space is desired because the image of self is broken and the traditional
system of values ceases to respond to all questions generated by the
conflicted young person. » 14 Young people tend to separate the ailleurs
into two different parts, the Western and the Arab worlds. Bennani-Chraibi
notes that, amongst her interviewees, those who desired to visit other Arab
countries were largely religious females of a modest socio-economic
background who preferred speaking Arabic instead of French. 15 The appeal
that the Arab world has for young Moroccans is often tied to their desire to
recreate ties to their religious community ('umma).  A person dealing with
social mutations either chooses to identify or be contrary to what is
exterior of him/her because the inner assurance of traditionally
unchallenged norms of social behavior no longer exists.  Re-identification
with the Muslim community has been a popular trend amongst many Muslims
living in countries that are suffering due to economic problems like those
in Morocco today. Colonialism and Western models of modernization seemed to
only make the rich richer and the poor poorer, break up families and
communities, and mock the social rules of Islam. Disappointed with the
manifestations of many Western ideals, some have chosen to reject them and
find justified refuge in more strict interpretations of Islam. Rejection of
Western imitation is not a boycott of all things Western.  Positive parts,
like work methods, technology, and scientific discovery, are accepted.
Rather it is the « futile behavior », like clothing, rampant consumerism,
and morals, that is cast away or fought against. 16 However, religious
practices are largely considered in urban areas to be the choice of the
individual practitioner as all Muslims, as it is believed, will be judged in
the same way by Allah. Although, one must not forget that Morocco is a
Muslim state operating under the Shari'ah, the comprehensive Islamic code of
social law.
Seated next to a young bearded and djellaba-clad student intégriste on a
public bus is a young man dressed in expensively-labelled clothing that
mimicks the style of his favorite rap star that he saw on German MTV this
morning thanks to the satellite dish sitting atop his apartment building.
Just as there are people who reject the West, there are those who heartily
accept it and desire to appropriate its perceived values, modes of
expression, and its trinkets.  They seek to find refuge in the idea of a
place that reconciles the emerging individual with the community. The
internalization of the ailleurs is a way in which to express the
frustrations of the individual who has been distanced or detached from
his/her family and social groups because of contemporary societal mutations.
Atomized and insecure, many young Moroccans denounce their own society.  The
West offers the image of a place where anyone can participate and become
something, representing the progress of humanity and the myth of
development, and seemingly reconciling the individual with groups of other
individuals. Sharp criticism of contemporary Morocco and its problems
accents young people's frustrations of feeling helpless and unable to
reconcile their goals with their perceived daily realities.  Bennani-Chraibi
notes, « It seems that relations with the family help to construct a group
of young people-avoiding an asocial derivative-and impedes the making of an
anomic mass in total rebellion. [However,] the project individuel is not
sufficiently achieved to detach those still intrinsically reliant upon their
families for survival. Individualization is advanced enough so that these
situations of dependency grow into irreconciliable tensions.  The ailleurs
is perceived as the only way to escape. » 17 Young people are consuming
idyllic depictions of the outside in hopes of finding more control over
their spaces, relationships, and activities.
the role of media
 In traditional Moroccan society, oral traditions were extremely important
in all areas of life.  Children were taught from a very young age to
memorize the Qur'an verse by verse in school.  Traders and business people
exchanged news and stories as well as goods from their travels outside of
the former Empire, connecting one another with valuable information and
insight into a world perceived to get bigger and smaller due to verbal
exchanges.  Moroccan friends refer to such exchange as the « Arab
telephone, » where information gets passed along from one person to another
until-in a stunningly small amount of time-everyone is more or less aware of
what is happening with friends, neighbors, ennemies, and in distant
countries.  Such tradition survives today in different ways ; not only is
information passed on in face-to-face interactions but over the telephone
and in letters, in television and radio broadcasts, and over the various
forms of communication available on the Internet.
Audio-visual media has had a huge impact upon linguistic and cultural
practices in Morocco.  Television was introduced in 1962, after the Ministry
of the Interior decided that it could no longer buffer the Moroccan people
from its impact and created RTM Channel 1, the only official station in the
country until 1990.  Some middle-aged Rabatis have mused about how they
loved summer growing up because of the clear skies-not for the beautiful
weather but for the fact that Spanish television channels could be picked up
without as much interference and they could see images they did not normally
have access to.  In 1990, 2M joined RTM as the second Moroccan channel.
2M was a subscription-based cable channel that required a cable box and cost
1600 Dh (160 USD) per year.  When the channel company finally caught on
that, instead of every family buying access, the cable would be bought by
one family and split for use by up to eight families, the channel became
national and was able to be accessed by 70 percent of Morocco in 1997. 18
Now, 5 Dh are added each month to the bill of every user of electricity in
the country to pay for 2M.  RTM's programs have always tended to be more
conservative and propaganda-filled than its younger counterpart.  2M is
currently extremely popular amongst the vast majority of Moroccans because
of its variety of programming that appeals to all age groups. However, in
the beginning, it was greatly criticized by many because of its reliance on
Egyptian programming that was difficult to understand and on French-dubbed
programs that brought questionable images into the homes of viewers.  It was
originally broadcasting 75 percent of its programming in French and 25
percent in Arabic in 1990. 19 Today, there is a greater balance of Arabic
and French programming.
Eighty-nine percent of Moroccans had a television by 1995. 20 The television
 became the central object in people's houses.  In fact, televisions became
more important than refridgerators in the great bidonvilles, or shantytowns,
surrounding cities.  The popularity of the television in even the poorest of
areas should come as no surprise because the television is a tool used by
some to escape a reality that is almost impossible to live from day to day.
Satellite dishes have been available in Morocco since the early to mid- 1990
's. Any household that can afford a parabole, or satellite dish, will do it
to gain access to the hundreds of channels throughout the world and release
themselves from the shackles of propaganidizing RTM Channel 1 and 2M.  In
fact, forty percent of Moroccan households have satellite dishes today. 21
One can see them sitting atop tin shacks in shantytowns like half moons,
perched on the small terraces of apartments in quartiers populaires, or
slowly positioning themselves on the roofs of the wealthiest villas.
The television remains on throughout much of the day in the homes of Rabatis
and functions as a regulating pulse to daily activities.  Its flashes of
images and sounds accompany cooking, housekeeping, meals, important
conversations, and visits from friends and family.  It maintains a central
position in people's homes, always located in the séjour or the main room in
which various activities-eating, homework, cooking, and sleeping-may take
place. It is here where the family unites for receiving information,
entertaining themselves, and participating in a community that is
simultaneously receiving the same stories and images.  Today, Moroccans turn
to the television as the main source of stable and constant information,
news, inspiration, and insight in their daily lives.  They have scheduled
their lives around their favorite programs and televised sports events.  In
her observations of Casablanca, Ossman notes, « Television now plays an
important role in connecting Casablanca to other places, other times.  In
turn, these images of elsewheres situate local and personal experience
because they draw contrasts between what one lives and what one observes.
The magic box fulfills a function that orders the movements of the city.  By
simply assuring that people will be sitting in front of their televisions at
given times, it helps create a  certain social predictability. » 22
Television has brought with it a never-ending stream of images and issues
that, before its use, had never been previously seen or discussed in the
private, familiar realm of the Muslim home.  Images are now, with the
satellite dish, streaming into Moroccan homes continuously.  Gender mixity,
violence, sexuality, and multiple conflicting political opinions, among
thousands of other issues are presented daily before Moroccan audiences
undoubtedly leading to great inner confusion and questioning about issues
that may never before have seemed unsure or questionable.
A group of young men who love the American sitcom, « Friends, » begin to
discuss what it would be like to live with friends instead of with their
families and dream of an atmosphere in which young men and women can meet
without the social taboos and pressures of their own society.  A Muslim
sister, or intégriste, chooses to turn her head when she hears the music
which indicates that a man and a woman are going to kiss during her favorite
Brazilian soap opera dubbed in French.  Her mother, watching the same soap
opera, sees a character decide to have an abortion and takes the opportunity
to tell her daughter that abortion is morally wrong.  A family eating dinner
and watching television is suddenly accosted by a screen full of naked women
: the father lowers his eyes, the children leave the room, and the mother
rushes to change the offensive channel.  Viewers are confronted by images
that they have little control over ; their morals and world-views are
continually thrown into question.  Oftentimes, viewers are confronted with
questionable images without anyone or anything to help them understand how
those images fit into their lives and who they are. Their options are to
either turn off the television or change the channel. however, Moroccans are
not choosing to turn off their magic boxes.
« Young people live the fragmentation that has been lived by preceeding
generations resulting from a gap between modernity with a permissive base
and a traditional life characterized by multiple taboos separating the
sexes.  That young people content themselves to live in an imaginary world
of forbidden things while feeling uncomfortable in reality is a form of
frustration that has no available equilibrium. » 23 In essence, the
television offers a sense of community and sociability that may have been
destroyed or unavailable to those choosing to participate.  Young Moroccans
that have grown up with the television as a family member are often
inherently connected with it, because their personalities have been shaped
by this medium and the messages it is offering.  The tension between
television and real life is assuaged not by participation in reality but by
participation in the world of television where the panopoly of images,
actions, and philosophies do not need to be reconciled as they might in
Dissatisfaction with tha national channels' television shows led to the
popularity explosion of the VCR in Morocco in the early 1990's.  When young
people watch videos, unlike the television, it is an activity that most
often takes place outside of time in which the family is together.  They
will either watch films alone or with friends of similar economic and moral
background.  This time, it is they who are in control of the images and
stories that they will watch.  A study of young people's video practices in
Tunis, Tunisia, is helpful to understand practices here in Morocco because
the two countries are quite similar in terms of development and access to
technology.  Of the 155 interviewees that had televisions, 136 of them had
VCRs and only 43 had satellite dishes. 24 The volume of film rental should
not be underestimated ; interviewees rented between two and ten films per
week.  Renting videos gives people more choice and control over what they
were going to watch.  Oftentimes, video stores have the same access to films
that local cinemas do because of the lag time spent in translation and
getting to the country, so there is no real advantage to the cinema in
regards to new releases.  And, as is the case in Morocco, going to the
cinema is more considerably more expensive than renting a 5-13 Dh (0.50-1.30
USD) film, when 30 Dh (3 USD) is spent on a single ticket and at least 6 Dh
(0.60 USD) on transportation costs for a film in Rabat.
In centre-villes of Moroccan cities, Bennani-Chraibi notes that half  of the
videos in rental stores are usually French-dubbed Western films and half are
Arabic films (usually Egyptian). 25 This changes in higher socio-economic
suburbs, where most films available are in French and Western.  The more
educated and wealthy a Moroccan is the more likely that s/he will rent a
Western (typically, American or French) film.  The Tunisian survey noted
that young people, between the ages of 14 and 25, chose films that had
actors they preferred, that were suggested by rental store employees, or
whose advertisements they saw.  The smallest influence on film choice came
from the film renter's family, indicating viewing practices not involving
the family and desire to have personal control over the choice of the film.
As we see here, young people are not turning away from foreign images but
wanting increasingly more control over what they choose to see.  Thus, they
are choosing with what community of consumers they want to participate and
have shared experiences, even though such experiences are isolated and
passive ones.
Escape, intrusion, or forum, television and video in Morocco are « places of
fabrication of images of others and of the self-often the occasion to
confront oneself, to advance or pull back from the mobile borders that
separate the individual from the group. » 26 Such desire for control over
consumed intake is intensified when it comes to Internet usage, as we shall

introducing the internet
Internet access has been officially available since the end of 1995 in
Morocco.  By July of 1999, 30,000 Moroccans were using the Internet. 27 The
French Embassy in Morocco listed 62 cybercafés and Internet providers by
location in 1999.  This figure is one year old and does not represent the
amount of cybers and providers currently operating but nevertheless is
useful in giving us an approximate idea about who is receiving access from
where in the country. 46.8 percent of users were accessing the Internet in
the Casablanca metropolitan area. 27.4 percent were in the
Rabat-Salé-Kenitra area. 13 percent were in Northern Morocco
(Tangier-Tétouan-Oujda). 9.7 percent were in the Southern region of Morocco
(Marrakech, Agadir, Settat). 6.5 percent were in the Fès-Meknes area.
(Ambassade français)  Logically, these figures make a great deal of sense.
Moroccan Internet make up a population that is overwhelmingly urban in
origin. Casablanca is an economic and industrial megapolis, with a
population of 2-3 million people.  Rabat is the political and academic
center, with 1.2 million people in the environs. The small percentage of
users in other areas (whose urban areas are comparable to the size of Rabat)
within Morocco highlights the lack of technological development and access
outside of these two great urban magnets who, combined, make up two-thirds
of the Internet-using population.. Because Internet access remains a middle-
and upper-class priviledge, we can correctly assume that the concentration
of wealth and power in Morocco reside within these two cities.
The high cost of access at the beginning was very restrictive for most
people.  In 1998, home and business access cost between 400-500 Dh (40-50
USD) per month with a subscription for 15 hours on-line.  This price did not
include local telephone charges, ranging between 8-15 Dh (0.80-1.50 USD) per
hour. In 1999, the access prices went down considerably to around 200 Dh (20
USD) per month with an unlimited number of hours on-line, not including
local telephone charges. The great price reduction was due to the fact that
Maroc Telecom (Itisslat al-Maghrib), the then state-run telecommunication
company that had a powerful monopoly over the entire country, was going to
face a great deal of competition in the beginning of 2000 with  the Spanish
company, Méditel, and the French Maroc Connect.  The price reduction was
part of a larger ploy touching all realms of telecommunications in Morocco
to attract and keep customers with Maroc Telecom.  Recently, Wanadoo, Maroc
Connect's internet provider, announced a one-year subscription for 990 Dh
(~99 USD) with an additional free month, again not including local phone
charges.  Certainly, as this new offer shows, prices will continue to drop
because of the new competition between telecommunications companies in
 However, home and business Internet access is not even a viable option for
most middle class Moroccans who are aware of and interested in using the
Internet simply because most people do not have computers at  home, school,
or work.  The prices of computers in Morocco are similar to those in the
United States, but one must take into account that the monthly income of
middle class Moroccans is most certainly less than that of middle class
Americans.  Computers in the home remain rarities here ; they are most often
found in the homes of the upper middle class and upper class, university
professors, and less frequently students in the sciences and engineering.
Buying a computer has become a fad amongst many Moroccan elite, another
expensive trinket to show off to friends. And, even if computers are in some
homes, often they are not used efficiently because most people receive no
assistance or training unless they are willing to spend a great deal of
money, like the 900 Dh (90 USD) price tag for 14 hours of instruction at
places like Génération Multimédia in Casablanca.
 The less-fortunate who do not have computers at home, work, or school-the
category in which most Internet users in Morocco fall-- frequent one of the
numerous cybers, the French slang term referring to cybercafés and spaces,
located in every major Moroccan city.  In 1996, the price for one hour of
Internet access was around 30-50 Dh (3-5 USD).  With the explosion of
cybercafés in recent years, prices dropped in 1997 to around 20-25 Dh
(2-2.50 USD), in 1998 to 15-20 Dh (1.50-2 USD), and in 1999 to 10-15 Dh
(1-1.50 USD).  In areas where cybers compete for business, the prices have
gone down as low as 8 Dh (0.80 USD) in March 2000.  This trend will continue
due to the new telecommunication competition in the country, making
connections more affordable for the cybers and for people to access the
Internet at home ; reasonably, the prices will continue to go down at cybers
so that customers will stay with them instead of going home for a
connection.  Today, it is still cheaper to access the Internet from a cyber
than from home because of the accompanying local phone charges, however that
may soon change.  Generally, people will move from one cyber to another when
better prices can be found and do not restrict themselves to going to cybers
in proximity to their homes.  Cybers, because they provide affordable and
easy Internet access to all, are extremely popular urban spaces and will be
discussed in further detail below.
The Moroccan government, in a positive move towards technological progress,
recently announced that, by 2004, every academic institution in Morocco will
be equipped with computers.  Computer classes will be required in
institutions of higher education, and 75,000 governmental functionairies
will be trained to use the computer. Prime Minister Youssoufi announced, «
Morocco must go through substantial reforms in education and training so
that it will be able to catch up in the technological information revolution
and follow the technological develoments in the course of the years to
come. » 28 Human Rights Watch notes that practically no Arab state wants to
look as if it is anti-Internet (translated as « anti-progress »).  Morocco's
30,000 Internet users help to make up the one million users in the Arab
states (excluding Libya and Iraq who currently have no services). 29
Morocco is one of the handful of Arab states whose government does not at
all restrict access to information on the Internet. 30 Internet providers do
not have to furnish names or identifying information of their customers to
the government.  Customers of Moroccan providers do not have to sign any
contracts about the nature of usage.  This allows a great deal of freedom
and the possibility of anonymity on the Internet.  Furthermore,  the
Moroccan government is much more tolerant of what is published on the
Internet in regards to what are often referred to as the three main taboos
that are often not allowed to be freely discussed in written and broadcasted
Moroccan media : the Western Sahara issue, Islam, and the King and his
family.  This is evident to the extent where access to sites concerning the
Polisario and the Amazigh movements, such as L'Echo du Polisario and the
Website of the World Amazigh Congress Tamazgha, are not restricted for
Moroccan Internauts, while in the printed and Moroccan televised media they
are all but ignored. 31 However, with the 9 November 1999 « departure » of
Driss Basri (the former Minister of the Interior who was perceived by many
to be the real power during the reign of Hassan II) and with new policies of
Hassan II's son, the new King Mohammed VI, freedom of speech has been
significantly enlarged for Moroccans, evidenced by his release of political
prisoners at Tindouf and invitations for those exiled by his father to come
back to the country like Serafy.  It appears that this trend in Morocco will
continue with the increase of accessibility to information thanks to the
Internet and relaxed governmental policies on expression. Like television
and video, the Internet is a source of connections to the world and all of
its conflicting messages. It offers a seemingly infinite variety of stories,
images, and sounds to the user.  Internet users are more active,
participatory, and have a great deal more individual control in comparison
to the other two forms of media that we have discussed.  Users have greater
freedom to information, ideas, and images that they have never been able to
explore until now.
Cyberspace is a general term referring to the Internet and computer-mediated
technology (CMC)  Discourse about the new technology has been chosen to be
expressed through a three-dimensional metaphor, likely because spatial
metaphors are the most intimate and vivid ways in which we understand
reality.  Bruns suggests that the power of the metaphor ought not be
underestimated, quoting cognitive linguists Lakoff and Johnson, « The way we
think, what we experience, and what we do everyday is very much a matter of
metaphor. [because] metaphors serve to organize and interpret experience. »
32 Thus, we can understand cyberspace to be « the social and the spatial are
inextricably realized in one another; conjuring up the circumstances in
which society and space are simultaneously realized by thinking, feeling,
doing individuals and also conjuring up the many different conditions in
which such realizations are experienced by thinking, feeling, doing
individuals. » 33
Temporally, websites, virtual communities, and audiences can appear and
disappear at any time, unlike cities and buildings that are comparatively
much more permanent and difficult to modify.  Cyberspace is accessible at
anytime and the same information can be accessed from almost anywhere
(excluding countries that have censored certain parts of cyberspace from
their real-life citizens, like Iran for example).  This new space is an
ever-evolving space whose size is constantly in flux and borders are
undefined, with hyperlinks and social connections creating accessible
frontiers that may have been previously unknown.  Familiar sites and users,
bookmarked or address book-ed, seem virtually right next door, while unknown
information must be hunted for on search engines and seems comparably
distant.  However, what is distant can be immediately moved next
door-challenging our familiarity with space as we understand it in a
three-dimensional physical world. We make our own perceived geographies in
the constantly fluctuating cyberspace, our own navigation and exploration
practices modified this fluctuation.
Cyberspace offers a poignant manifestation of post-modern space.  Because
cyberspaces force us to reflect upon the structures of our real-life spaces
and our positions within them, they offer us a vantage point from which to
understand society's real conditions that are represented in cyberspace but
at the same time challenged and overturned. 34 This sort of reflection
allows us to more clearly identify and treat the fragmentation of our real
lives because of the extraordinary freedom we have in cyberspace to express
and explore.  The medium is new, an « other space, » that sits just beyond
the borders of nations, societies, and preceptions of space, encouraging
exploration and sponsoring-- in the case of young Moroccan users-- a space
in which to treat issues that have no space in real-life to be treated.
In a space where written communication is the dominant mode of expression
and basis for interactivity, people who fail to communicate with one another
through shared languages and symbols also fail to participate in the virtual
world.  Words, as programmed lines, or interactive discourse, are
transformed from communication structures to the basic architectures that
define the spaces in which we interact.  Internet Relay Our choice of
words-as dialogues, nicknames, addresses, messages, etc.-clue others into
who we are or who we want to be perceived to be in today's
verbally-dominated cyberspace.  Already, in physical reality, « our
buildings, neighborhoods, and cities are cultural artifacts shaped by human
intention and intervention, symbolically declaring to society the place held
by each of its members. Logically, those who have the power to define their
society's symbolic universe have the power to create a world in which they
and their priorities, beliefs, and operating procedures are not only
dominant, but accepted and endorsed without question by the vast majority. »
35 Although infinitely more malleable than physical space, virtual space is
no different.  Computer users themselves, as designers and participants, are
the virtual equivalent of real-life architects and planners. 36 The space
within which we interact when we use the Internet is constructed on the
values and priorities of those who make it.
The perception of space crucially depends on understanding the relation
between lengths, heights, depths, and locations ; but in cyberspace, the
lengths, heights, depths, and locations depend on one's perception.
Websites seem extensive or small to use depending exclusively on how much of
them we've explored-largely, this is because there is never anyway to view a
site in its entirety, simply because there is no vantage point within
cyberspace to do so (we're already immersed in a site, looking within, or at
an unknown distance from it, unable to see without-but never just close by
where we might survey the whole site).  And our perception of relative
location depends entirely on the available hyperlinks were are aware of.  37
Moroccan Internauts on the World Wide Web are often lost when it comes to
navigating through the seemingly infinite amount of sites available.  While
some take advantage of this disorientation, others seek ways in which to
orient themselves in the new space and visit « places » they would never
before be able to access.  Spatial familiary is revolutionized as
information and connections that are unknown (outside of perceived space)
can immediately become familiar and brought within one's control. The nature
of this new medium is « vast, unmapped, culturally and legally ambiguous,
verbally terse, hard to get around in, and up for grabs. In this silent
world, all conversation is typed.  To enter it, one forsakes both body and
place and becomes a thing of words alone. It is of course a perfect breeding
ground for both outlaws and new ideas. » 38
E-commerce will prove difficult to adapt to present conditions in Morocco
because of the strict regulations on audio-visual equipment and technologies
that are allowed in the country.  Taxes on merchandise entering the country
is prohibitive to many who might pay more import tax for something they have
bought than the worth of the product.  Free trade will affect the country
only in 2010, so until then taxes will continue to dissuade people from
material consumption on the Web despite the fact that music and
technological products are extremely difficult or impossible to find in the
country.  Those craving such items are continually reduced to accepting
whatever comes into the blackmarkets of Northern Morocco from Spain.
Finally, all but the élite are generally unable to have bank debit or credit
cards so that they might be able to buy on the World Wide Web.  It is not
surprising that some young Internet users are exploiting cyberspace to be
able to have access to what is offered within it.
Hundreds of years ago, Rabat was known for piracy.  Today, it is no
different.  The lack of an established Internet policing system in Morocco
has allowed Moroccan hackers and so-called Internet pirates the ability to
do a certain amount of damage with the use of fake credit cards and stolen
credit card numbers to traffic a certain amount of merchandise into the
country under the noses of customs officials.  A recent report on Médi-1, a
Moroccan radio station, says that such piracy activity totalled
approximately 1,000,000 FF (200,000 USD) last year. A Rabati informant has
been buying audio-visual equipment and software from Internet sites with
fake credit cards for the past  year.  He goes to the customs office to pick
up his merchandise and pays the high tariff on imported goods, saying that
his brother is sending him the merchandise from North America.  Internet
pirates can go to hacker sites and download programs that create credit card
numbers. They then try the card numbers on major credit card sites to see if
they already exist, and if they do they go to e-commerce sites and use the
generated numbers of totally unsuspecting card holders.  One Rabati hacker
receives credit card numbers from a hotel desk employee at a hotel in France
who does credit card transactions.  The difficulty and confusion involved
with tracking hackers in countries whose Internet practices are not greatly
developed allows Internet pirates a certain freedom to play up the
weaknesses of others in a new space.
In Moroccan society, the issue of sex is very hot and controversial
especially as conflicting practices-due to media, modernization, and
increased mobility-- are challenging traditional morality.  All audio and
video recordings are subject to strict governmental censors once they
physically enter the country, and customs officials confiscate «
questionable » materials without warning.  The National Center of
Cinematography in Rabat burns all of the films that do not pass its tests
for being acceptable for the Moroccan viewing audience every few weeks.
Pornographic films and printed matter are available only only the black
market and are often smuggled in from Spain.  However, as there is no
governmental censorship of the Internet in Morocco, many people are
exploiting the opportunity and coming to cybers or accessing the Internet at
home to visit porn sites.  On the World Wide Web, access to porn is not only
much cheaper than it is in real-life but also better quality and choice
expands almost infinitely.
While male interviewees who I have known for a reasonably long time have
confessed to having had explored pornographic sites, other interviewees who
I did not know as well denied visiting such sites entirely.  One interviewee
says, « If he's a Moroccan male and he's used the Internet, he's visited
porn sites. »  Perhaps, if I would have been a male asking such questions,
telling the truth might have been less uncomfortable for interviewees. Being
caught looking at a porn site is terribly embarassing and bordering on the
realm of societal hshuma (shame) because of the importance of modesty and
strict sexual rules in Islam.  I have observed young men looking at porn
sites, all the while having the mouse positioned on the button that closes
the window so that, in case of an emergency, they could quickly get rid of
any evidence with the click of a button.  Precautions are taken by porn
viewers so as to be as discreet as possible by choosing computers whose
screens are out of the direct view of others.  Indeed, if one looks at the
Microsoft Internet Explorer's website log in the tool bar, « Historique, »
that remembers every site visited by  users for the last three weeks of use,
one can immediately see that such computers hidden from sight are places of
higher pornography site visits.
Sites that are most often visited tend to be sex-related words that are
written with a « .com » or « .fr » (indicating a French site) added to the
end. 39 Perhaps porn site visitors are embarrassed to actually research for
sites specific to their interests on search engines or that, since
pornography access is relatively new to the public, users are not familiar
with the wide breadth of sites available.  Most likely, it is a mix of the
above reasons and the fact that most users' English skills are not advanced
enough to be able to accurately specify for what they might be looking.
Although such sites offer a freedom to explore a societally taboo subject in
relative privacy, users themselves exhibit a certain amount of uncertainty
about playing in a field that is outside of their real-life experience.
 As can be seen from these examples of social deviance, Internet users are
taking advantage of the newness of the space to challenge real-life
restrictions and inadvertently bring into question why they must use
cyberspace to have access to products, images, and interactions that they
want.  But they are also « travelling » to « places » they would not
otherwise realistically be able to visit.  Users are visiting websites of
universities in Europe and North America to initialize their dreams of
finding jobs and success, believed to be found abroad.  Two friends who will
receive their license (equivalent to American bachelor's degrees) are
planning on doing their MBA in the United States or in Canada  next year.
For the past few months, they have been going to the cyber regularly to
explore websites of universities and directly request information to be sent
to their homes.  They, like other students wanting to study abroad, have
more power than their predecessors in choosing where they want to go and
having direct connections to those with information.  Oftentimes, students
will base their decisions entirely off of the website presentations
available to them because of the impossibility to visit the physical sites
 Similarly, in real life, Moroccans are often subject to lengthy and
bureaucratic processes, waits, or delays.  Accessing information or getting
recognized by « important » people is usually a process surrounded by a good
deal of pomp and circumstance, usually requiring some sort of coup de piston
(bribe or connection) to make it happen in a timely fashion.  Where
information has formerly oftentimes been a commodity for profit, the great
access to a wealth of different kinds of information democratizes what used
to be a series of hierarchies.  People are now able to possess knowledge
about almost anything they please.  Young people say that they are using the
French Yahoo ! site more than any other search engine for information and
most seem pleased by it. 40 However, others who are able to navigate in
English have the ability to use search engines that are currently much
faster and more comprehensive than the French Yahoo!   They prefer Google
for its speed and directness.  In the last month, a Moroccan search engine,
Wanadoo, came into existence and offers for the first time a very
comprehensive lisiting of Moroccan sites. 41 Search engines are being
created that respond to the needs and interests of their users.  The
creation of Moroccan engines offers a localized anchor to people's
navigations that treats contemporary issues and avails people to information
pertinent to their lives.
 People are using these engines to access a wide breadth of sites, as can be
seen in each computer's site logs (Microsoft Explorer's History or
Historique) that remembers all sites and pages seen within the sites
accessed. One can see web-based email and chat services, academic inquiries,
current events inquires, personal interest/hobby inquiries, and travel
inquiries.  Their explorations allow them to cross national, cultural, and
linguistic boundaries with one mouse click. Interestingly enough, a great
volume of websites visited by Rabatis tends to be web-based free email
 Increasingly, when a young techno-Moroccan meets a girl on the street or in
school, instead of asking for her phone number, he asks for her email
address.  Not only is this supposed to impress the object of his affection
with his technological knowledge (indicative of a socio-economic position
that avails him to such knowledge) but it offers a viable solution to a
contemporary problem for young people who are interested in one another.
Even today, it is considered disrespectful to her parents for a young woman
to receive phone calls from young men unknown by the family.  Such instances
can indicate to parents that their daughter is « permiscuous. » Sometimes,
boys will get their own sisters or other female friends to place the call
for him to the girl he is interested in and, once the girl is on the phone,
the boy takes the receiver and begins to talk to her.  So, exchanging email
addresses is considerably more comfortable.  The girl also has more personal
control than she might in a real-life meeting or a phone conversation,
having the ability to compose her thoughts and feelings, and exercise her
will in the situation by choosing whether or not to write back to him.  In
email correspondence, both parties control whether or not they wish to
respond and when they do if they choose to do so.
Email is the most popular and accessible form of computer-mediated
communication (CMC) available today.  Electronic mail lets users send
messages to one another, either bilaterally or in the form of mass email
lists which reach several people at one time.  By nature, because this form
of communication is asynchronous, it does not require that users be on their
computers to receive the messages but allows them to access it whenever they
want.  Messages can be created and received at any time, allowing users to
take their time in thinking about and responding to messages.  Email is
closest in relationship to letter writing in that it is text-based and
asynchronic.  However, because one does not have to pay postage costs or
wait days or weeks for the message to be delivered, it is more timely and
efficient. Email allows the written (typed) word to reach others quickly,
cheaply, and meaningfully.  Sent messages can be stored and infinitely
reproduced ; words can easily become immortal.
 Email practices among interviewees were concentrated on correspondence with
friends and family members, within and outside of Morocco. To a lesser
extent, emails were written to virtual friends or to people they had never
physically met before, but it could be concluded that communcation with
virtual friends was mainly an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) practice.
Interviewees tended to be rather serious about email.  They spent a great
portion, if not the entire time, writing emails while they were at their
cybers. Rabati users are expected to write one another back and maintain a
virtual correspondence that supplements their real-life interactions with
one another.  A typical situation is one in which a friend writes an email
to another friend.  Immediately after sending the email, s/he goes and
visits the friend to whom s/he has sent it, saying, «  I sent you an email,
write me back. »  Writing email is not done instead of seeing the receipient
but done in addition to it. Virtual greetings are thoughtful reminders that
although the person is not physically nearby, s/he is remembered and
considered even in one's interactions in cyberspace.
The vast majority of emails that friends will write to one another in Rabat
consist of only a handful of lines that are imbued with salutations and kind
wishes. This tends to mimic the ingrained systematic greeting practices of
urban Moroccans.  Whether a Moroccan sees a member of his/her family, a
friend, a colleague, or even an acquaintance, it is societally unacceptable
(or hshuma) to pass by silently or ignore them.  The greeting usually begins
with a handshake and/or cheek kisses for both men and women, then
salutations are exchanged.  After personal greetings and well-wishing, each
person asks how their respective parents, spouses, children, and friends
are.  This is what I refer to as « leh besse-ing, » as leh besse (literally
in Arabic, « no harm ») is asked for each person involved, often even
lisiting off names, and the reply are the same words, leh besse, indicating
that each person is fine and healthy.  (The result being a continuous line
of the same two syllables being repeated again and again.)  Regardless of
whether this practice is done sincerely or not, it is an indispensible part
of greeting people within one's own social network.  It is done every time
people see one another, sometimes several times in one day.  Maintaining
connections between people in Morocco is a vital activity to maintain
friendships and positions in social networks. This is just another proof
that although young people are more mobile than ever before, they
continually reinforce connections to a community of people that are
meaningful to them.
One male admitted to being rather frustrated at the fact that an American
friend of his ad not written an email message to him since she left Morocco
three months ago.  He noted that she had sent email to other people within
his social circle in Rabat, but his In Box remained empty of her messages.
Over the past months, his opinion of her has declined and he wondered about
the sincerity of her friendship to him.  He noted, « She could have simply
sent a quick hello, at least ! » Perhaps the situation above had to do with
different cultural definitions of interconnectedness.  In this case, such
differences manifested themselves through the medium of electronic mail.
Currently, there exists no globally understood Netiquette for social
interactions on the Internet although there are groups who sponsor the
creation of such customs on the Internet, as is the case for the Association
démocratique des femmes du Maroc who published a website on acceptable
etiquette. 42
 Since public educational institutions do not provide access for students
and the private and public sectors are slow to provide access for their
workers in Morocco, those wishing to have email accounts typically use
web-based domains. All interviewees had email accounts on web-based domains
; the most popular were,,, and
Interviewees often had more than one email account.   Having more than one
account is pragmatic in that it allows users to be able to have the maximum
amount of space that they might need for messages and images.
Internet-based domains restrict the amount of space available to users,
often 2-5 MB.  Also, many times web-based domains get slower at peak-times,
making it difficult to access email quickly.  Having multiple addresses
offers users the option to check their messages  in other accounts while
they are waiting for a certain account to finish downloading.  Certain
interviewees used their multiple accounts for specific functions.  One 21
year-old male has an account that he uses for formal correspondence with
businesses and academic institutions, another account for email from both
real-life and virtual friends, another for receiving messages from certain
news groups and porn sites, and an account that he uses for correspondence
with his girlfriend.  He has given her the password to this account so that
she can survey what he is doing, read his messages, and not feel like he is
hiding anything from her.  In reality, she has only been clued in to one
part of his many compartmentalized identities on the Internet.
 The great freedom email users have to create accounts with providing only
minimal personal information allow users a certain amount of anonymity.
Such anonymity encourages experimentation into certain aspects of one's own
identity and greater, freer self-expression.  The young man described above
allows certain parts of his identity to be catered to, separating these
aspects into different virtual territories and effectively privatizing them
from those with whom he wishes to share or not to share these aspects.  Each
aspect of his persona that he has separated has a corresponding virtual
place, complete with a personalized eletronic address for each account.
Each account is journaling and archiving his discoveries, feelings, and
progress as he evolves over time.
internet relay chat (irc)
« IRC is a virtual meeting place where people from all over the world can
meet and talk; you'll find the whole diversity of human interests, ideas,
and issues here, and you'll be able to participate in group discussions on
one of the many thousands of IRC channels, or just talk in private to family
or friends, wherever they are in the world, » so goes a mIRC advertisement
of the joys of Internet Relay Chat. 43 Internet relay chat (IRC) is
different from email in two main ways : it is syncronous and multi-user.
IRC does not store messages but transmits one user's typed message directly
to the screens of one or more other users who are on at the same time and
participating in the same channel. Created in 1988 by the Finnish Jarkko
Oikarinen, this form of CMC is less widely-available and practiced today
than email and news lists (usually academically-related mass email lists).
To understand IRC behaviors and practices, it is important to be able to
understand the framework in which users are operating when they participate
in IRC.  Reid has written a very clear and all-encompassing descripition
that will be included here to familiarize the reader with this new form of
communication. 44

IRC differs significantly from previous communication programs. Fundamental
to IRC is the concept of a channel. 'Talk', 'chat' and 'voice' had no need
of such a concept since only two people could communicate at one time,
typing directly to each other's screen. On IRC however, where two or three
hundred users is the normal population, such a system would create chaos. It
was therefore necessary to devise some way of allowing users to decide whose
activity they wanted to see and who they wanted to make aware of their own
activity. 'Channels' were the answer. On entering the IRC program, the user
is not at first able to see the activity of other connected users. To do so
he must join a channel. Channels are created or joined by users issuing a
command to the IRC program to join a channel. If there is already a channel
of the specified name in operation, then the user is added to the list of
people communicating within that channel; if such a channel does not exist,
then IRC opens a new channel containing the name of the user who invoked it,
who may then be joined by other users. The user can issue a command
requesting a list of the users connected to IRC and which channels they are
attached to. IRC keeps track of who has joined which channels, and ensures
that only people within the same channel can see each others' typed
messages. IRC can support an unlimited number of channels. Channels can have
any name, but generally the name of the channel indicates the nature of the
conversation being carried out within it.... The user who initially invokes
a channel name is known an a channel operator, or 'chanop', and has certain
privileges. He or she may change the mode of the channel - may instruct IRC
to limit usage of the channel to a certain number of users, may limit entry
to the channel to people specifically invited by him or her to join, may
make the channel invisible to other users by specifying its exclusion from
the list of active channels that a user may request of IRC, may kick another
user off the channel, or confer chanop privileges on another user.
IRC supports numerous other commands. Once a channel has been joined,
everything that the user types will be by default sent to all other
occupants of the channel. It is possible, however, to alter that default
setting by issuing commands to direct a message to a particular user, users,
channel or channels. A number of other commands - the ability to send
messages to all users or to kick a user off the IRC system entirely - are
reserved for IRC operators, or 'opers', the people who run and maintain the
IRC network connections. Opers also have access to special commands related
to the technical implementation of IRC.

Rabati users tend to connect to the IRC using mIRC, one of several client
programs written for Windows serving IRC written by Khalid Mardam-Bey. 45
Although web-based chat programs exist and are regularly used by Rabati
users, like and, we will not examine them
here. Their architectures are different from those of mIRC and, thus,
different sorts of interactions take place within them because of their
design.  Most interviewees who chat use mIRC.   DALnet-serving 45,000 people
globally at any given time-was the preferred main server by interviewees.
DALnet is one of the larger main servers ; it surpassed its smaller
siblings, Efnet and Undernet, handle 15,000 and 10,000 users respectively at
any given time. 46 Within DALnet, the smaller servers, and, offered the fastest, most populated, and most stable
connections according to interviewees.  Choosing a specific small server
within DALnet avails users to be able to participate in the channels that
exist on it. Certain channel names exist throughout IRC, but the number of
participants in each of these channels changes because participants can
seemingly only interact with those on the same small server (i.e., a user on cannot communicate with a user on  The
smaller server is either referred to by the city in which it is located
(i.e., « hebron » for Hebron, Indiana) or by a server nick (i.e., «
liberty » for Parsippany, New Jersey, or « sahara » for Fremont,
California).  A user does not need to connect to servers that are located
geographically closest to him/her in reality. The vast majority of servers
exist in the United States, Western Europe, Israel, and in Australia.
Choosing a big server (i.e., DALnet or EFnet) is a matter of connection
speed normally, while the important social factor is choosing the correct
small server on which friends are and possible relationships are perceived
to be.
It appears, from observation and interviews, that most IRC users in Rabat
are learning how to use IRC from their friends or siblings who are passing
on their IRC practices. This is evidenced by the volume of channels that are
Morocco-related (i.e., #maroc, #agadir, #rabat, #casa, etc.) which are used
by Moroccans themselves and people interested in Morocco throughout the
globe.  Most users have been clued in by others that the greatest majority
of Moroccans are on the small servers, and
Also, we can assume that Moroccan users are learning from others who are
knowledgable about IRC because of the small amount of participants in
Morocco-related channels that have no individualized nickname and appear as
« Guest # » on the list of channel participants. (See Table 2.)  Those using
« Guest# » nicks are often teaching themselves how to use IRC and are alone
before their computers, without someone to advise them.  Thus, where
Moroccan IRC users are guided in the beginning, they appear to continue to
frequent in the future, creating a loose, semi-stable cyber community as
witnessed in the great Moroccan populations in the Moroccan-related channels
on and

« Learning your way around IRC is a lot like learning another language,
finding your way around a new town, or playing blind man's bluff. » 47
Besides learning basic commands, there exists a certain etiquette that one
ought to learn if one wants to interact successfully with others in the
Morocco-based channels.  In Western-based channels, like #AllNiteCafe, users
tend to interact in English-often asserting English-only policies in the
channels-and have a rather large amount of interaction in the
common-public-space that is manifested as the channel's main screen, where
users are listed in a scrollable column and where the verbal interactions
and information about who is entering and leaving the channel constantly
change. By contrast, in Moroccan-based channels, the common-public-space
screens for the channels tend to remain rather blank with the exception of
the automatically evolving list of comings and goings and a small amount of
random advertisements with which commerical users, floating from one channel
to the next, spam the screen.  My first attempts at socializing in
Morocco-based channels were pitiful.  I tried to apply the same etiquette
rules from the Western channels and established myself on the
common-public-space screen of the #casachat channel with a friendly
greeting, this time speaking in French instead of English.  When no one
replied or wrote anything on that screen for several minutes, I received a
private message from one of the channel creators. He immediately located me
as a first-timer, and said that if I was interested in talking with people I
needed to do it privately.  People on Morocco-based channels prefer talking
in private to participating in the common-public-spaces.
Private messages manifest themselves in mIRC as windows separate from the
common-public-space of a channel.  Just as users can participant in a
countless number of channels, they can do the same with private messages.
Such messages can be sent to anyone on the small server at the time.  All
one needs to know is the nick of the person they want to chat with or click
twice on their nick that is on the list of participants in the certain
channel in which the user him/herself is also. Private messages are only
available for two users at one time and create certain amount of private
space that cannot be threatened or accessed by others. This aspect makes
them the most popular way to interact with others on Moroccan-based
channels.  Users have total control over whom they choose to communicate
with and are able to momentaneously switch from one conversation to another,
from private interaction to public as well.
« There is no way to interact with IRC without being a part of it.  It is
interaction that creates the virtual reality of channels and spaces for
communication. » 48 Channels (such as the regulars-- #maroc, #casablanca,
#cheers, or #AllNiteCafe-- on are socially-made public
spaces whose existence relies upon the interactions of their users.  When
the space is empty of users, it ceases to exist until it is re-entered.
Some channels exist (like multiple Brigadoons) only at certain times, like
weekends, when more people have time to be connected, as have been the
recent cases of #agadir and #sale, both actual names of cities in Morocco,
on Private message interaction, however, do survive beyond
membership to the channel in which users have met one another.  For
instance, if users meet on #maroc and begin to interact privately, they do
not have to continue to interact in #maroc to continue their private
conversations.  Still, interactivity is what makes public and private spaces
work on IRC.
IRC is, today, the only place where Jones's definition of virtual
settlements can occur.  A virtual community's cyber-place is a « virtual
settlement ».  The four conditions of a virtual settlement are
1. A minimum level of interactivity, where « a number of persons who
communicate with one another often over a span of time, and who are few
enough so that each person is able to communicate with all the others, not
at second hand, through other people, but [one to one] » ;
2. A variety of communicators, where there are more than two individuals who
write their messages in the common-public-space ;
3. A minimum level of sustained membership, where members are rather stable
in their participation ; and
4. A virtual common-public-space where a significant portion of a group's
CMC interactivity takes place, where « social relationships [are] forged in
cyberspace through repeated contact within a specified boundary or place
that is symbolically delineated by topic of interest. » 49

However, in terms of the interactions that take place on Moroccan-based
channels, such channels do not surfacely appear to be virtual settlements
because of the seeming avoidance of the common-public-space that is
fundamental to points 2 and 4 in the above description.  It may be, in fact,
that Jones's requirements for a virtual settlement may be Western-based
because of the assumption that common-public-spaces are required for
higher-level interaction to take place. It may not be taking into account
the practices of public and private spaces in non-Western environments where
private « inside » interactions are often more powerful and important than
public « outside » ones.  Certainly, as one can see today, the notion of «
public » space maybe not be a utopic democratic forum but mass dispersion of
information through the media.
 The often strong connections to certain Moroccan-based channels are founded
because of a feeling of alliance with them, where people from similar
real-life geographic areas can arrange themselves together in cyberspace.
Do they necessarily have to interact in a channel's common-public-space for
them to feel as if they are allied to the channel, connected to the virtual
space of the channel ?  If private relationships are forged because of
belonging to a channel, they may not have been able to happen otherwise.
Moroccan-based channels are frequented by regular users, their names
appearing on the scrollable lists daily or weekly.  They are choosing to
belong to a channel but not to actively participate in its public sphere.
Such interaction in public space that to Jones constitutes a « settlement »
assumes a certain amount of democracy where all voices are able to be heard
; this is not the case for daily interaction in urban Moroccan life where
the vast majority of public discourse comes from those situated in élite
hierarchical positions.  Perhaps many young urban Moroccans are simply not
familiar with the notion of democratic interaction in public space because
it is not available to them in reality.  Perhaps even virtual public space
is too chaotic and uncomfortable.  Young people are choosing where they are,
what they choose to consume, and with whom they choose to interact as
evidenced by their appropriation of physical space in Rabat itself.
 It is not surprising that young people, assaulted with conflicting images
and philosophies in daily life seek that specialized « inside » that has
been denied to them due to the societal mutations of the past few
generations. Young people, familiar with their power of choice due to their
familiarity with mobility and consumerism, are practicing a deal of
selectivity when it come to trying to find places where they can create a
community of young people with « experiences similar » to their own. « The
restlessness of young people. is shaping their needs.  We don't want to
relive the story of our grandparents.  Before the community was a big
family- which means one is limited by place.  We want a community not of
blood but of spirit, » said one 18 year-old male.  An example of this in
Rabat is the growing number of young people attracted to Agdal who live in
the middle and upper middle class areas of Hay Riad, Soussi, and within
Agdal itself.  These young people have left their own areas to participate
in, or selectively consume, an urban public space that fits into their
ideals. A 21 year-old male acknowledges,
When I go to the centre-ville, I just pass through. if I have something to
do there, like buying something, I go but I wouldn't stay in a café there.
Usually, it's Agdal-it's more lively, younger and there's less traffic than
in the center.  Maybe it's because that here [in Agdal], there are young
people.  In the center, there are some young people but they come from Salé
and I don't feel at ease with people from Salé.  It's education, I think,
the majority of people in Salé aren't educated, or are but in a very popular
manner.  Most of the time, they seek out arguments.  I don't want that.

 « The coexistence of heterogeneous elements and different levels of life
make the centre-ville a place where social distinctions are not clearly
displayed » and renders the space chaotic and even threatening to those who
do not feel a sense of cohesion to a community or social group within it.
« Meetings in the public space correspond to a sociability between
'strangers' where the exchange in uncertain and fluctuating. »  50 Young
people that were interviewed craved places to go that were more secure and
offered alternatives to the anonymous and "uninteresting" mix that is the
centre-ville to them.
 They perceived Rabat to be separated in specific geographical areas most
often perceived by them as « Soussi, Hay Riad, Agdal, and 'the other
quarters.' »  This perceived geography indicates their subconscious practice
of socioeconomic spatial segregation.  They know that they do not feel
comfortable in areas like centre-ville but cannot fully express why.
Instead, they resort to stereotypes and generally sweeping statements to
explain at least surfacely the sources of their discomfort, as is the case
with the interviewee who reasons that the centre-ville is not a good place
to be because of the presence of the « uneducated » and « argumentative »
people of Salé.
 In their appropriation of urban space, young people have adopted a new
center of town geographically as well as socio-economically closer to their
own homes.  Those interviewed preferred what is referred to as « High
Agdal, » or the area along avenue Fal Ould Omeir, between avenue France and
place Ibn Sina.  An 18 year-old male explains :
Everyday, it takes me five minutes to get to the center of town. the center
that I have created, that we've created.  The youth has changed it from the
traditional one with the grand avenue Mohammed V.  That is no longer the
center, no, the new one is on avenue Fal Ould Omeir-that's a Saudi Arabian
prince!  Before they named the street whatever because they didn't think it
would be important, and now everyone knows it.

The thriving physical monuments to youth culture in Agdal, McDonald's and
the Macarena café, are the landmarks most commonly used amongst friends to
orient one another when giving directions and the like.  A quick glance at
McDonald's at 5:30 on a Monday night, where thirty young people of both
sexes were standing outside socializing, reminds a passerby that this is
where the young people are.  Sitting in one of the five cafés clustered
together on the corner of avenue Fal Ould Omeir and ruelle Bou Iblane on a
late Sunday afternoon, surrounded by numerous fashionably Western-dressed
students and young adults, participants in this space are clearly aware that
they have a community-- be it as it may a community of consumption.
 However, this phenomenon of Agdal as the new centre-ville for middle class
youth is relative to time.  If one was to pass through Agdal during the work
day or late at night after the buses have stopped running, one might find it
odd to note that these very centers of youth culture once again belong to
the traditional keepers of public space, adult men. Perhaps, in the near
future, this trend will change and move toward a greater presence of youth
as the power of their consumption is realized.  Those interviewed receive
pocket money generally whenever they want and, in fact, it seems as if these
young people are actually looking for places to spend their money.  Handing
over 40 dirhams for a combo meal at McDonald's (where 3 dirhams can buy a
bowl of harira and bread in the medina) seems like no big deal to them.
 Agdal was once a sea of villas for the upper middle class.  By the late
Sixties, people from the area began to move to Soussi and in the direction
of Hay Riad, leaving Agdal to be developed into a new sea of four story
white apartment buildings whose rez-de-chausses became public commercial
spaces.  It has the possibility to change its image yet again as those who
consider it an acceptable and respectable place to see and be seen revisit
it. « The importance put on objects in Morocco translate into the birth of a
society of consumption and, much more, the emergence of the individual.
Free time, cultural practices, and social spaces constitute a field of
experimentation, fabricating social norms for the self. » 51 It is
interesting to note the construction of luxury apartments, the incidence of
expensive Western clothing boutiques (i.e., Chevignon and NafNaf), the
presence of Western chain restaurants (i.e., McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and
Dairy Queen), and the explosion of cybercafés into the area.
When a user enters IRC through mIRC, s/he must respond to and fill in a
series of blanks (Name, Email Address, Nickname, and Alternative Nickname)
before s/he can truly enter.  The nickname and alternative nickname blanks
are the only information needed to allow the user to become an IRC citizen.
Giving one's name and email address allows them to be traced by anyone
wishing to know more about them.  Because IRC is largely an anonymous space,
users are not very willing to provide identifying information unless it is
necessary.  All of the information given in these spaces stays there unless
the user deletes it when s/he is finished.  Most do not erase their
information.  I have only witnessed one instance where someone, a female in
this case, actually used her real name and email address.  The vast majority
of observed users simply type in an unintelligible stream of letters to fill
in the blanks.  Furthermore, once connected to an IRC server, one can easily
change one's nick in a matter of seconds.  IRC, to a much greater extent
than email, is a strucure in which anonymity can take place.
 « IRC enables people to deconstruct aspects of their own identity, and of
their cultural classification, and to challenge and obscure the boundaries
between some of our own most deeply felt cultural significances. » 52
Information that is usually available to us in face-to-face interactions,
such as sex, approximate age, skin color, and even socio-economic status, is
out of reach in IRC.  Because one cannot see the speaker or obtain even
minimal information, the nickname, or « nick » in IRC slang, is the critical
way we introduce ourselves in IRC. One interviewee logged on to IRC,
entering the nick that he has used for the past two years, « le_dragueur »
(« the flirt »).   He was shocked to discover that someone was using his
nickname.  As a rule in the IRC program, no user can have the same name as
any other user currently using the system.  Using a quickly-chosen and
meaningless nick, he logged on to DALnet to immediately begin searching for
the user who was using his name. A few weeks later, when he wrote an email
to one of his virtual friends that he met on IRC, he told her, « I will be
using another nick from now on.  Somebody stole mine. »  Bechar-Israeli
explains IRC culture as being one « with a strong affinity for technology,
which develops in relation to, and despite objective anonymity.  It is a
culture which provides freedom in abundance to engage in identity games
through the use of nicknames. However, most people tend to keep to one nick
and one identity for a long period of time, and to become deeply attached to
it.  Thus, although  IRC provides its participants with the freedom to play
with identities, people usually prefer the social attributes of a permanent,
recognized identity. » 53
To compare Moroccan-users to Bechar-Israeli's findings on Israelis and
Americans, we shall list a quick study of nicknames that was done on 24
March 2000 on the Moroccan-based channel, #maroc, on (See
Table 2.) Of the 170 users in #maroc, their nicks were classified as such :
first names and variations on first names, 42.9 percent ; self-descriptors,
27.1 percent ; names of famous people, place and things, 11.2 percent ;
names related to sex and love, 6.5 percent ; objects, 4.1 percent ; unknown
origin, 4.1 percent ; word/sound play, 2.4 percent ; unpersonalized, 1.8
percent.  Bechar-Israeli found in her study that 6.9 percent of users were
using first names ; 46.2 percent were using self-descriptors ; 6.9 percent
were using names of famous people, places, and things ; 1.9 percent were
using names related to sex ; 12.4 percent were using names related to
objects ; 10 percent were using names related to word/sound play ; and 11.2
percent were using names of unknown origin or were unpersonalized. 54
Comparing findings, one is immediately struck by the high volume of first
names appearing in the Moroccan-based channel, #maroc.  This could indicate
a lack of playfulness on the part of Moroccan users or a desire to be
recognized as being a Moroccan, Arab, Muslim, and a specific gender by other
users because of their assumed familiarity with such names.  One can never
be sure that these first names and identifiers are actual descriptors of
real-life users, however, because of the ability to create one's identity on
IRC.  But the sheer number of first names indicates that many users are
often logging on to be attractive and recognized by others.  Often they
indicate their age or sex with their names to desrcibe themselves more
fully.  Only one user indicated his geographical wherabouts/alliances in
Morocco.  We can assume that the reason for this is that most users are
either going to the channels that are specific to their geographical
whereabouts/alliances (i.e., a Rabati going to the #rabat channel) or that
the question of geographical location is cleared up almost immediately with
the first private exchanges between users when each user asks « a.s.v. ? »
(age, sexe, ville -- age, sex, city) to orient themselves to one another.
Self-descriptors were often flirtatious and geared towards being attractive
to other users.  The utilization of famous people, places, and things
indicates to other users one's interests and how one chooses to see oneself
in IRC. Western music- and film-related words were the most popular in this
category, indicating that interest in Western things is an attractive
attribute.  Love- and sex-related names were direct invitations to others
that they were interested in some sort of romance, be it real or virtual.
Object names were often symbolic and in English or French, while no Arabic
words were used.  Word play was a small category that one might think would
have been bigger because of the playfulness of IRC.  And, finally, nicks
(« Guest# ») that were unpersonalized were comparatively smaller in
percentage than in Bechar-Israeli's study, perhaps indicating-as before
mentioned-that users tend to learn how to use IRC from others and actually
want to be identifiable to some extent while on IRC.  In the case of
nicknames on Moroccan-based IRC channels, it appears that users are not only
protective of their nicks but also using nicks that refer to parts of who
they are in reality.
« Chat programs deal in a form of synchronous communication that defies
conventional understandings of the difference between spoken and written
language. » 55 Reid explains that until the development of the IRC
structure, physical contact was assumed to be a necessary part of meaningful
human communication.  (We shall ignore here official business and other
kinds of emotionally-distant situations in which meaningful communication
does not require physical contact.)  Even alternative modes of
communication, like letters and telephone calls, were and remain largely
between people who have physically met each other before.  With IRC and
computer-mediated communication (CMC), this is no longer the case.
 The virtual world is a room of mirrors and one can never be sure if the
reflections of people they see within them are distorted or real. Innately,
our understanding of what is real is connected to our senses.  For some
people, escaping the physical form plays a fundamental role in their
attraction to virtual reality.  A few times a week, a crippled, unmarried
young woman in her mid-twenties comes to a cyber in Agdal, a more upscale
area of Rabat popular for young middle- and upper-middle class young people
« to be seen. »  She cannot walk without her crutches and, even with them,
she has a considerable amount of difficulty moving.  Her clothing smells of
urine, as if she is unable to wash herself properly and is not being taken
care of by her family. She chats on IRC for one to three hours each time she
comes. She can entirely escape being judged by her physical form by
participating in a structure of communication in which she can be entirely
anonymous or create an identity corresponding to who she wants to be,
because « in cyberspace, you are a figure of your own creation, existing
nowhere and everywhere. Unrestrained by the physical body, 'movement'
becomes both unnecessary and undesirable for participation and
interaction. »  56 This young woman and other handicapped Moroccans, without
the aid of anti-prejudice legislation that helps the physically-challenged
in the United States, likely deals with unfair treatment daily  because she
is in Morocco.  It is only in the virtual realm that she can transcend that
which is held up against her.  Though be it escapism, she is able to
experience a « virtual social mobility » that would never be available to
her otherwise. 57
amour virtuelle
Like the young woman's ability to escape her physical disabilities and
render them pointless in cyberspace, young people are interacting freely in
cyberspace in ways that real-life society disables them.  This manifests
itself most strongly in the arena of love and sex for young people.  «
Morocco's peculiarity is that the vast majority of internauts connect only
for finding amorous relationships.» 58 This should come as no real surprise
when, in Moroccan society today, girls (benet) are expected to remain
virgins until they get married. A traditional Muslim marriage was not
complete until the night of consommation where the groom deflowered the
bride and proof of her virginity was displayed to all the next morning as a
bloody rag.  Although this practice today in Morocco is almost entirely
reserved for rural people, a young wife who is discovered to not have been a
virgin by her husband before her wedding night can still legally be
immediately repudiated by him.
For males, this is not at all the case.  Young men are socially pressured by
their peers to become sexually experienced in order to become « real » men.
Society at large silently accepts this reality, claiming that young men are
naturally sexually-charged beings that need to satisfy themselves somehow.
Consider the case of a female teenager who has been dating her boyfriend of
the same age for a couple of years.  Nothing beyond hand holding and kissing
has happened between them.  The girl fears a situation where her boyfriend
will ask her to have sex with him.  If she does not, he might be angry.  If
she does, then she is « ruined » and he may leave her because she was not
strong enough morally to hold out until marriage.  When she discovers that
her boyfriend has been going to a prostitute regularly for the past year,
she does not feel betrayed but elated that he cares for her and has enough
respect for her so as to not pressure her into having sex. Of the males
interviewed, all of whom had sexual experiences, only one did not have his
first sexual experience with a prostitute.  Many are comfortable with having
sex with girls before marriage but expect that their future wives be
virgins.  They differentiate good or serious girlfriends from girls they
find just to have sexual relations with and then quickly abandon-one type is
marriage material, the other is primarily perceived as a prostitute.
In urban middle- and upper-class Moroccan society, it appears that sexual
practices are slowly changing. Shows of physical affection, like
hand-holding, are becoming more common practices in the streets.
Bennani-Chraibi found that 65.3 percent of urban females had had some sort
of non-penetrative sexual relationship by the time they were 19 years old
and that 38.6 percent had had sex by the time they were 21. 59 This figure
is somewhat surprising, given the intense societal stigma about feminine
sexual purity.  It indicates that while young women are choosing to be
somewhat sexual, they remain obsessed about the preservation of their
hymen-the physical symbol of innocence.  Young women are caught between
wanting to have sexual experiences and wanting to respect their family and
their religion.
 Finding private space for intimate encounters is a big problem for young
people when they decide to have sexual experiences.  They cannot be with one
another in either of their homes and it is practically impossible to get a
hotel room for young Moroccans without proof of marriage.  The alternative
is using a friends' houses while their parents are not at home, the friend
whose house it is guards the couple from « intruders » into their encounter.
Friends tend to help each other out in this arena.  In fact, the desire for
private space is so strong that some young men interviewed are planning on
renting an apartment together, sharing all the costs equally, so that they
might be able to have a place to bring girls back.  All of them are
financially dependent on their parents and have no other ways to finance
this venture-- but they are seriously planning to do it as soon as they can.
What it all boils down to is the fact that the great confusions about sexual
expression is heightened by the rising age of young people living at home
until they get married.  Moving out of the family space would allow them to
experiment in this realm. The anonymous qualities of cyberspace allow
meetings and situations to exist for young people of both sexes that would
never be able to take place in their homes or neighborhoods. « Adolescents
coming to terms with their sexuality in the 'real world' find that the
freedom of 'virtuality' allows them to safely engage in sexual
experimentation, » such as flirting, gender role reversals, and so-called,
« compu-sex. » 60
Mourad, a 21 year-old Rabati, was rather shy around girls.  He had never had
a girlfriend and hated hearing his friends' stories about their encounters
with girls.  Two Ramadans ago, he was chatting on Internet Relay Chat with
people from throughout the world in a chatroom called, #maroc.  There he,
nicknamed « l_amoureux, » met « bambina, » a 19 year-old girl in Lebanon.
At first their conversations were playful flirtations ; then it got much
more serious. At one point, they were chatting everyday on the Internet
Relay Chat and he was spending all of his pocket money on their cyber-dates.
Each one confided in one another and a great intimacy developed despite not
knowing each other in real physical life.   When I first met him six months
ago, they had been cyber-dating for almost a year. Their cyber-dates were
pre-arranged times that they would meet on a specific channel on IRC and
create a private discussion room.  They talked about the events of their
daily lives, debated about philosophical issues, dreamed of their future
together, and even fantasized about making love to one another.  They shared
everything. She « met » his brother and his close friends on the IRC,
growing friendly and familiar with members of his real life. At one point in
our discussion, he sincerely referred to her as « the other half of his
being » and claimed that no one could understand him as well as she did.
« Safety of anonymity can 'reduce self-consciousness and promote intimacy'
between people who might not otherwise have had the chance to become
close. » 61 Mourad noted that he had always been more able to better express
himself in written form than face-to-face, it was only then that themes and
pieces of his daily life began to make sense and were allowed to be
verbalized. Talking with « bambina » offered him a certain amount of free
expression that was unavailable in real life. Turkle asks a poignant
question in « Life on the Screen, » when she asks, « Is the real self always
the naturally occuring one ? » 62 When the distinctions between the real and
virtual become hazy, « do we gain a better understanding of our real
emotions, which can't be switched off so easily, and which we may not even
be able to describe ? » 63
A few weeks after our first discussion, his mood had entirely changed.  He
was brooding and pensive.  They had been exchanging phone calls for a long
time, and he had regularly been scanning in photos to send to her. However,
she refused to send a photo of herself.  One day, after months of him
begging her to do so, she sent one.  The photo portrayed a beautiful girl,
almost model-like.  He was elated !  He was in love with a not only mentally
but physically beautiful girl !  A few days later she wrote him a short
message, explaining that she had lied-the photograph was not her.  She
simply did not feel comfortable sending a photo of herself.  He was deeply
hurt by this identity game she played with him and, as a result, he cut
communication with her entirely for a month or so.  Meanwhile, he met a girl
in real life and began to date her, claiming that he was ready to give up
virtual romance for good in favor for the real thing.  Meeting a real-life
girl and being disgusted with the identity games, he broke up with «
bambina. » However, after some reflection on the importance of her in his
life, he recommenced a friendship with « bambina » weeks later because their
friendship meant so much to him.  To this very day, he has often expressed
the extreme frustration about not knowing what she looks like.  In July, he
will be able to find out.  She will be visiting Morocco for three weeks this
summer. and staying with her new cyber-boyfriend who lives in Casablanca.

being female
 Increasingly, Moroccan women are going out into the workforce, into
universities, travelling abroad, and establishing themselves into what
was-even a generation ago-cultural space reserve for men.  Many traditional
rules have been broken and new ones are in the making.  But while these new
rules are evolving, there exists a gray area for people today in relation to
gender issues.  Indeed, one could note a strong similarity between the
struggle of women and the struggle of youth to be recognized as important
players in Moroccan society.  Certainly, identity crises of young women in
this society ought no be surprising when women are bombarded by so many
double standards practiced daily in the homes, workplaces and streets
surrounding them.
 Despite the push for girls to be educated in schools, their experiential
education in the classroom of the outside world is often quite limited.
Girls are, more often than their male counterparts, restricted to the home
and nearby familiar surroundings from very early childhood right up through
the time they get married out of fear that they and their honor [translated
as virginity] will be threatened by strangers.  Familial and societal
institutions instill fear into girls from the very beginning that the
outside world is looming with threats that they themselves cannot control.
Kanes-Weisman notes that this encourages fear on the girls' behalves of
travelling alone and of unfamiliar places.  « Women are taught to occupy but
not control space. » 64 Without a sense that they can control their
interactions, women are rendered as visitors to public space and permeable
to others' whims.
 This manifests itself in many ways.  Although women are participants in
public space, their participation is limited.  While women are increasingly
present in the work and school environments and even in the streets to more
limited extent, they are oddly absent from areas of leisure time activities
in public space, like the beach or cafés.  Oftentimes, it is women
themselves who choose to avoid these places because of associations they
make with them, thanks to popular societal perceptions.  A woman can be
perceived as something she is not because of the anonymity of public space.
« In the streets, » one interviewee says, « there are prostitutes and then
there are others. sometimes all women look the same walking out of a
restaurant at 10:00 pm. »  In a society in which sexuality is one of the
most sacred, private, and restricted manners of expression, the vast
majority of Muslim women perceive the preservation and impermeability of it
to be one of their greatest sources of pride.  The avoidance of places in
which they perceive their sexuality [pride] to be threatened or in question
makes a great deal of sense when seen through this lens.
 « Armed with society's tacit approval, men can turn allegedly public
streets into a private male jungle where women are excluded or. stalked like
the tame pheasants who are hand-raised and then turned loose for hunters to
shoot, an activity called sport. » 65 Because of the responsibility to guard
one's sexual honor lies in the hands of women, men are free of the
responsibility themselves.  Traditional seclusion and covering practices by
Moroccan as well as a great deal of Muslim women elsewhere were enforced
upon women to protect themselves from the eyes of strange men but also to
protect strange men from the perpetual seduction of womanly ways.  The
traditional segregation of private space as feminine and public space as
masculine allowed bother communities to escape the fear and supposed
temptation of one another.
 But in these past couple of generations as the barriers segregating space
have lessened, women emerge into the space long reserved for men.  Men,
shaken perhaps by the new element, try to re-establish « their » territory
from time to time.  This re-establishment has most commonly taken the form
of harassment in the streets, where men physically follow, make comments or
sounds, and stare at the « gazelles » that they are passively or actively
pursuing.  « They are reminded that they are women and deserve
compliments, » says one 23-year-old male.  In fact, this kind of behavior
reminds women that they are unable to control their own privacy in public
space are often left feeling startled and humiliated.  Men look at women and
women watch themselves getting looked at. 66
 Women, however, are finding ways to create their personal boundaries when
they enter into public space.  The adoption of the hijeb (head scarf which
covers the hair and shows only the face) by some women is a very
illustrative case.  Women today have adopted it as a symbolic visual
proclamation of their morals as well as a barrier to the disrespect they
have found in their participation in public space.  Indeed, ever man with
whom I spoke felt that it was wrong to flirt with a woman wearing hijeb in
the street.  « She has made the choice not to participate, » says the same
23 years old man.  Thus, the presence of mobile private space guarded by
physical barriers functions despite its defensive foundation.
 The practice of public space by women is changing the way in which they
perceive their environments and themselves.  The creation and
re-appropriation of public spaces that correspond to and affirm women's
changing practices are, even if very slightly, in the works.  Davis-Taieb
notes that the McDonald's restaurants in Casablanca and Rabat are becoming
frequent hang-outs for women, young and single or married with children. 67
Because of the "familial" nature of the restaurant with play areas for
children and staff that is trained to be friendly, women feel comfortable
spending time there with their children, alone or with friends.  She counted
more women than men in the Agdal restaurant-a situation unheard of in any
other kind of public leisure-time establishment besides the cyber,
interestingly enough.  Consuming a bite of American McCulture also offers
the experience of an entirely different system of ordering and eating from
that of a traditional Moroccan setting or establishment, as well as to
experience a place that is associated with Western ideals and values.  In
this case, a new public institution, McDonald's, offered an alternative to
existing public spaces in architecture, food and philosophy.  Women have
been able to find comfort and a sense of security here that they have not
been able to find in pre-exisiting institutions.
 Young Moroccan women are similarly able to experience a type of freedom
never before possible when participating in cyberspace. « In contemporary
reality, even if females in our society are starting to make an important
place for themselves in public space, in school, and in work environments,
gender mixity is still not a wide-spread phenomenon.  The Internet plays a
role in hazing the separation between men and women. » 68 In cyberspace,
women have unchallenged freedom to explore what they wish and when they wish
to do so.  They effectively are able to escape a huge amount of societal
oppression in cyberspace.  A woman is equal in cyberspace, able to have
equal access to information and interactions in cyberspace as any other
user.  Virtual spaces are places of resistance to the many forms of
alienation and to the silences that are imposed upon women daily in the
country.  Such power should not be underestimated.
A recent article in L'Economiste, a Moroccan weekly, discussed new
opportunities available to women because of the Internet.  Two million
women, or 32 percent, of the French Internet population are women, an
inspiring figure to many Moroccan women who look to France as a significant
model to aspire to. « The Internet brings with it a dimension of community,
favoring exchanges between women and allowing direct responses to their
questions. » 69 Moroccan women, who are permanent minors according to
Moroccan law, are unable to apply for visas without the consent of their
male guardians.  Women on the Internet are experienceing a trans-national,
trans-societal, trans-gendered space that allows them to make connections
and relationships that might never be available to them otherwise.

mutations of language
The official State language is classical Qur'anic Arabic, or Fus'ha. Despite
a camapign of Arabization started in the late 1980s, the majority of
official government discourse continues to be either in French or in both
French and fus'ha. Governmental functionaries have been retrained in Fus'ha
so that they may entirely switch over to the langauge of the state in the
workplace.  The Moroccan baccalaureate exam was modified in 1988 to place
more emphasis on the apprehension of Fus'ha by students and most classes in
public schools are taught solely in this language.  An uninitiated observer
might conclude that this seems entirely reasonable because the first
language of most Moroccans is Arabic. well, not entirely.  Every Arab
country, indeed every region, has its own dialect of Arabic.  Fus'ha is the
holy language of the Qur'an, and its can be likened to Shakespearean English
for Anglophones. The television news broadcasts, weekly sermons in the
mosque, and all print media are in Fus'ha.  Although media in Fus'ha exists,
only a percentage of it is really understood by normal Moroccans that have
not gone to a Qur'anic school or been specifically trained in the holy
Despite every Muslim's familiarity with the Qur'anic text and, thus, with
classical Arabic, they speak dialects derived from the language that are
often mixed with the earlier languages of the people that had originally
lived in the region before the Arabs came and converted people to Islam.
Such is the case in Morocco where darija, the Moroccan dialect, is a
regionalization of Arabic that has been blended with words of Berber,
French, and Spanish origins over time.  Darija is not a language that can be
easily learned through memorizing grammatical rules but is a constantly
evolving language that varies from city to city.  Every country has its own
dialect ; the most recognized dialects of the Arab world are those of Egypt
and Lebanon, sources of the majority of popular films, music, and television
shows in the Arab world.  Moroccans can often understand these dialects
because of the frequency in which they are exposed to them, but it would be
very rare for Egyptians or Lebanese to be able at all to understand Moroccan
darija.  If two Arabs from different countries meet one another, most often
they will resort to speaking with one another in the language of their
colonizer, French or English.  Such is the extreme case of two Arab
university students in studying in Spain, a Moroccan and a Palestinian--one
whose country was colonized by the French and one by the British-who speak
to one another in Spanish.
Forty percent of the Moroccan population speaks one of the three main Berber
dialects as their first language. 70 Those who speak one of these dialects
are most often located in rural areas throughout the country or are recent
immigrants to the cities.  It appears rare for children of immigrants from
the countryside to the city to be as fluent in their parent's native
language.  Berber is not only spoken but has a written script as well.  In
recent years, many Berberist movements throughout the country have been
pressuring the government to teach Berber in schools.  However, it is
doubtful that this will ever happen.  With the Arabization campaign
underway, many people refuse to consider themselves Berber at all and choose
to connect with their Arab identity even though almost all Moroccans are
able to trace their ancestors back to both Berber and Arabic roots.  To deny
the Berber identity is often to deny one's ties to rural areas and villages,
areas perceived to be « backward » by people seeking to ascend the urban
socio-economic class ladder.  As a result, only five minutes of daily
broadcasted news time is devoted to the large population of monoingual
Berber speakers who are only familiar with Fus'ha because of the Qur'an and
not at all familiar with French.
Morocco was colonized by the French for 44 years.  Within a year of the
establishment of the Protectorate in 1912, all official governmental,
social, and juridical business was conducted in the language of the
colonizer.  Schools taught exclusively in French and observed the dominating
coutnry's system of education.  Forty-six years after the end of the
Protectorate, the importance of the French language has not dissipated
despite efforts by Arabists.  French language instruction begins in the
third year of public school for children, and ability in the language is
tested in the baccalaureate exam that terminates high school for Moroccans.
71 However, all other subjects in school besides French and the three-year
foreign language requirement are taught in Fus'ha. Unless a student
regularly has people with whom to practice French, his/her ability in the
language often goes into decline despite the ample amount of French that can
be heard on television, on the radio, in the printed media, and accessed by
the Internet. Although most subjects are taught in Fus'ha in public school,
students wishing to enter university must be prepared to study almost
entirely in French.  An example of this are fourth year economics students
who study only one of their five subject areas in Fus'ha, the other four are
in French.   In 1980, 26.6 percent of the population was French-speaking. 72
This population is almost entirely urban.  Utilization of the French
language is largely a practice of the socioeconomically priviledged in
Moroccan society.  As explained above, those who daily use French are either
the French-educated elite, those who have reached the level of university
education, or those in frequent direct or indirect contact with other
Francophone populations or sources.  This translates almost exclusively into
the educated middle and upper-middle classes.  Naturally, French-speaking
Moroccans have an advantage because they are enabled to communicate and
participate in a bigger linguistic community that spans the globe.
The three-year foreign language requirement in Moroccan public high schools
avails students to choose English, Spanish, or German.  In recent years,
English has not surprisingly been by far the most popular language because
of its being a lingua franca of business and technology throughout the
world.  Those with monetary means wishing to ameliorate their language
skills can go to the American Language Centers available in every major city
in Morocco for classes.  Recently, certain governmental Ministries have
begun to pay half of the course cost for children of governmental
functionaries, indicating that knowledge of English is recognized as a need
to be able to participate in the promised global future.  Spanish is to a
lesser extent practiced by Moroccans but nevertheless existant, especially
in Northern Morocco as it once belonged to Spain and is in such close
geographical proximity to it.  Those who take Spanish in school are often
preparing themselves to be able to begin their university education in
Language ability is largely individualized.  It is based upon one's age,
wealth, family origins, geographical location, level of education, and plans
for the future.  As Bennani-Chraibi notes, even « a family is far from being
culturally or socially homogenous. » 73 A young, university-educated urban
female may peruse the Internet in English, study in French, read the
newspaper in Fus'ha, watch an Egyptian soap-opera on television, speak with
her friends and parents in darija, and switch to Berber with her
grandparents all in the course of a day.  Language practices in Morocco
rapidly adapt to certain people, spaces, and situations.  In daily
conversation with someone on the street, one can move effortlessly from one
language to another or blend words from perhaps three languages to express
oneself most optimally.  Many Moroccans pride themselves on their capacity
to learn new languages in relative ease.  Multilingualism is a way of life
in Morocco, a part of its great cultural pastiche.
Despite the growing number of Internet users who speak their own native
languages throughout the world, English, Spanish, French, Japanese, and
German remain the most popular languages used, forcing a large amount of
global users to revert to the languages of their colonizers or to learn
entirely new languages. Apply the multilingualism of young Moroccans to the
Internet today and we are able to see that this population, already daily
bathed in multiple languages, has been able to adapt their multilingual
abilities rather quickly to this new technology.  Moroccan users are
reading, writing, and chatting in French, English, Spanish, and-- to a
lesser extent-in Arabic.  Despite being able to physically have access to a
site, those without the knowledge of the site's language are effectively
excluded.  Should one language prevail in cyberspace or should places in
cyberspace become multilingual ?
Global Reach, an Internet marketing company that surveys global Internet
usage, published on-line figures about who was accessing the Internet and in
what language.  They claim that 10.9 million people world-wide access the
Internet in French (only 3.9 percent of the Internet population), however,
thay said, « We will not count the French-speaking users in Africa, although
there are a good 7 to 10 million Africans who speak French there.  Internet
access is simply not readily available in most African countries. » 74
Indeed, this is currently the case ; but ignoring a developing user
population in statistics only makes this population more invisible in the
eyes of developers of the Internet who are creating telecommunications
architecture that will thus inherently not respond to all of its users.
Global Reach refers to a survey by DIT Net that counted 945,000 Internet
users in the Arab world, to which Morocco with its 30,000 users belongs in
this study.  Egypt had 207,000 users, the United Arab Emirates 204,000,
Lebanon 132,000, Saudi Arabia 113,000, Kuwait 63,000, Oman 40,000, Bahrain
33,000, Qatar 28,000, Tunisia 15,000, and the Yemen 6000. Only 0.11 percent
of the Arab world is on-line. 75 Because of the lack of widely-available
Arabic software and the relatively small number of people who natively speak
the language in the world, it appears that most Arab Internet users tend to
access the Internet in the language of their former colonizers, namely in
English and French.  Computers that are « Arabic-enabled » are starting to
be more wide-spread in cybercafés throughout Rabat.  However, it appears
that the system software and hardware (dual-script keyboards) are most often
used for word processing and rarely for material on the Internet.
Although a great amout of French-language sites exist, Moroccans who are
able to speak in English have the easiest time accessing information.
English is the lingua franca of the Internet. It is not only the language
most used on the World Wide Web but it is the language used for most
software, like IRC.  IRC's terminology and commands are all in English.
Moroccan users are left to se débrouiller with what knowledge of English
they have or to play around with IRC until they are able to connect specific
English words to the functions they signify.  The government is beginning to
realize just how powerful knowledge of the English language is in the global
sphere.  One recent effort comes from the Ministry of Finance in Rabat who
has offered to its employees an incentive to get their children to learn
English ; they will pay one-half the cost of tuition for English lessons at
the American Language Center or at the British Council located within the
city.  Knowledge of English is believed to ensure that young Moroccans will
have a place in the future, enabling them to interact in the global setting
of tomorrow.  Moroccan darija reflects such trends with the adoption of
English words into daily vocabularies when discussing technology, business,
and aspects of globalized popular culture.
Furthermore, email and IRC have engendered a new linguistic genre, combining
written and oral aspects of language.  Verbal interactions in cyberspace are
ones of « linguistic virtuosity on the one hand, and of contempt for the
rules of language on the other. » 76 Lower-case letters and shorthand are
commonly used, languages are mixed , and punctuation rules are thrown to the
wind.  In the realm of French expression, pourquoi becomes pkoi, qu'est-ce
que c'est becomes qsq, and tout simply becomes tt.  Written words are
shortened to make conversation faster.  Confusingly-spelled words (where
words which are not confusingly-spelled are the exception in French) become
simplified, often written as they are actually spoken.  The Academie
française, in this realm, has no control over the evolution of the French
Although the Arabic script itself may not be used or available, only hinders
people slightly from using their native language when writing emails and
chatting.  They simply write it in the Roman alphabet. This process of
changing scripts is a somewhat labor intensive one, so Arabic often finds
itself used in religiously- and culturally-imbued traditional greetings
while chatting or in email openings and closings instead of being the main
language of communication. The use of Arabic can become a novelty in some
cases, allowing people to play word games in a relatively exclusive language
almost only understood by other Moroccans. Take the case of a subject whose
email is , literally « I am him at» in
techno-Arabic.   To the uninitiated, his email address is a series of
letters without significance. To a select group of others with a similar
linguistic background, he is showing his wittiness.
Oral and written communication is affected in both virtual and real life,
and will constantly evolve.  Young Moroccans already familiar with
multilingualism will no doubt adapt very quickly to linguistic changes and
will probably play a part in making that evolution happen.

the cyber : a link between the real and the virtual
 Hargraves, in Culture Shock: Morocco, listed participation in the « café
society » of Morocco as one of the finest leisure time activities in which
to partake.  He explained that while Moroccan men like to go alone or with
friends, women do not go to cafés.  Although, he notes, foreign women can
« fortunately » enjoy this « pleasurable » activity as long as they are
prepared to deal with harassment while they are in the cafés. 77 Traditional
cafés are dotted with old men who orient themselves towards the street and
sit for hours, nursing their singular drink, passively watching the action
going on in front of them. The popular perception of the café, inspired by
the centuries-old French model, is an intellectual refuge and community
space for creativity, inspiration, and discussion.  Although the
architectural model is French, Moroccan cafés do not have this idyllic
atmosphere.  Indeed, traditional Moroccan café-goers rarely even speak to
one another outside of daily pleasantries, and going with friends does not
mean that any kind of sharing occurs.
 The traditional café legitimizes the presence of a man in public space.  In
effect, buying a drink is the equivalent of buying a ticket to watch the
street in a space in which it is respectable for men to be as often as they
please.  Becoming a regular at a café and familiarizing oneself with the
waiter and other clientele is a way in which men actually create a
comfortable yet public second home. Being at a café is a way in which
practitioners of the space can legitimize their idleness by being somewhere.
People tend to perceive men who practice the traditional café as
representing the problems in their country, unemployment and laziness. 78
« The person who goes to a traditional café is one who has no real sense of
time, he just has a desire to watch people, very passive. He is watching
others move and absorbing their activity.  I feel that is a very negative
image, » says one 18 year old male interviewee.
 According to those interviewed, the traditional café is dépassé.  Most
educated, middle-class young people will physically avoid even being near
cafés like those described above out of discomfort with the way space is
practiced there. Some interviewees feel trapped by the traditional attitudes
associated with the institution.  Fortunately, some cafés are opening up
that correspond to the level of comfort and interaction they desire.  An
example of this is L'Entr'acte in the « Café Row » of Agdal, an area where
more than 20 cafés fill a few blocks of space.  There is no outside seating.
The windows are protected from views of the street, and instead the windows
open out onto a pedestrian walkway around which are situated other cafés and
bouquinistes.  The seating is a variety of comfortable chairs and sofas
arranged around one another to encourage intimate social interaction in a
respectable setting.  Waiters are younger than the average found in other
cafés.  The clientele is young and upper middle class, at whose pockets the
prices on the menu reflect.  The development of cafés such as this is
encouraging to the many young people like those who flock to L'Entr'acte.
However, the development feels slow to those who continue to feel
unsatisfied.  A recent addition to the entertainment scene in Rabat has been
the opening of Rock Legend, a Moroccan-owned spin-off of the Hard Rock Café.
The place itself is a visual mix of a night-club and the McDonald's down the
street.  Every night of the week, there is some sort of musical
entertainment to be found. The idea for the place is wonderful : live
entertainment geared towards a young crowd and inexpensive food.  .However,
there is a catch-instead of offering free entertainment to customers, they
charge 50 Dh (5 USD) for watching. this price is largely out of reach to
young people to do even once a week.  In effect, the place-so promising an
idea-is failing because of their refusal to lower prices for the
entertainment.   There are few socially-legitimate public places for young
people to meet one another, unless they pay the high price of admission for
participation. An 18 year-old interviewee proclaimed several times
throughout his interview that there was "just no place to go!"  He avoids
traditional spaces because of the associations he makes with them and is
frustrated that he must create things to do,  « We look for places where we
can stay for longer than a few minutes and buy things, turn our heads and
see people we know. I tell myself that I don't know all of Rabat, that maybe
there exists an imaginary world here, but I don't know where it might be.
[His best friend, 19,  interjects, "The Internet."]  So, every Saturday, I
go to McDonald's and hope that something new opens up.»
Cyber (pronounced si-berre) is a general term that signifies the variety of
cyber cafés, clubs, and spaces that are encompassed by the term. The only
requirement for a place to be a cyber is for it to have computers available
for use by a paying public or a subscribed group.  Unlike the cybercafé
phenomenon in the United States and other developed countries whose
populations have ample computer access, a Moroccan cyber does not
necessarily need to serve drinks and food to attract clientele.  The cyber
may be partnered with a téléboutique or book store, have a café or snack
bar, or be a one-room physical component of an Internet provider.  Moroccans
go to the cyber first and foremost because they do not have Internet and/or
word-processing access at home, work, or school.  Because information
accessed on the Internet is the same everywhere, people are not limited to
one certain cyber.  Those who come from certain areas of Rabat, like
Souissi, are financially more able to have home access to the Internet than
those coming from other parts of the city.  Although home access prices are
decreasing steadily, they still remain out of reach for many.  Cybers are
popping up throughout the city, but there are certain areas with a much
higher volume of cybers, as is the case of the Agdal region that is-not
surprisingly-located centrally between the middle- to lower-middle class
quartiers populaires and the residential areas and suburbs of the middle-
and upper-middle to élite classes.  While the élite and upper-middle classes
likely have computers at home, one finds that their middle-school and
high-school aged children will displace themselves to Agdal to be in cybers
to play games spanning the local computer network with their friends.
Others who access the Internet at cybers are in a middle-class range and
come from all different parts of town to the cybers that they have chosen.
Choosing a cyber is often first and foremost economically-based : where is
the least expensive and fastest, highest quality access ? Cybers are often
used by people who do not live nearby the establishments.  People may
displace themselves with a half-hour bus ride each way to get to their
cyber. Many places will have specials, where a month of access is
significantly cheaper than normal, where mornings are free to those with
subscriptions, etc. Users are typically very eager to change from one cyber
to another when they see that a better price exists, correlating with a
strong cultural desire to always get the best price when buying something.
In the course of a day, several daily discussions can revolve around asking
one another about their skills of consumption : asking a friend how much he
paid for a pair of Italian shoes, how difficult the barganing process was
for a qaftan at a hanoot in the old medina, how low a man at the market who
was buying his sheep for Eid al-Kebir got the middle man's offering price
before he finally bought the animal, etc.  Getting access to the Internet is
no different.  Because of this common exchange of information and
notification of new offers, if a good deal exists it is likely that young
Moroccans will go for it.  However, this does not mean that there are not
regulars at cybers.  At a very frequented cyber in Agdal, regulars run into
each other constantly, often knowing one another by first name and always
shaking hands or exchanging kisses each time.  Regulars also tend to become
friends of the workers at the cybers who are liberal with their friends and
often give free access time « on the house. » They tend to have more and
more priviledges over time, being allowed to use certain controlled
equipment (i.e., scanners and printers) themselves.
Accessing the Internet in a cyber is not always a solitary endeavor.
Imagining a room full of computers connected to the Web, one might think
that there would be one person per computer absorbed in the activity on the
screen.  However, this is not the case in Rabat.  Often users will share a
computer with one or two friends, typically of the same sex while
mixed-gender groups also do the same albeit more rarely. They enter IRC and
all chat together on the keyboard that is rearranged to be in a more central
location for several hands wishing to type.  They talk, laugh, and exclaim
different commentary to one another about what is unfolding on the screen.
When this kind of group activity happens, it is often quite loud and
festive.  It is as if groups are watching television or playing a video game
but at the same time developing the story right then and there.  Its
interactivity makes it infinitely more humorous and exciting than watching
television, however.  If they are not using IRC, each user might take a turn
to check his/her email or coach one another about computer use or helping
each other navigate for certain sites. More rarely observed,  users may be
doing research together for a school project and surfing the Web for
information.  One of the reasons for sharing the Internet experience is
because because they only have to pay for one computer not as two or more
separate users.   Accessing the Internet with others renders it a playful
and unserious novel social event, done from time to time, and as a
supplement to daily life not instead of participation with daily life.
Clearly, the Internet is not always accessed by groups of users
simultaneously.  From observations, about 3/5 of Internet users at
CyberInfo, an extremely popular and almost always full cyber in Agdal,
access the Internet alone.  They may, however, not come to the cyber alone
but in a group of friends, each of whom takes a place before a computer and
checks email, surfs sites, and chats on IRC simultaneously.  Friends coming
to the cyber will arrange themselves nearby one another and discuss what
they are seeing or with whom they are chatting while they are engaged with
the activity on their screens.  Their level of virtual anonymous interaction
is balanced out by real interaction with physically-present friends. Such
activity again sponsors a deal of playfulness between the real and virtual
spaces in which users are interacting with one another.
Such is the case of one interviewee who went to the cyber one day with two
of his friends.  Each sat before a computer and began to engage in activity
on their screens, each one accessing IRC.  The interviewee, Tariq,  peered
over his shoulder to see what nick his friend, Ali, was using.  Tariq
changed his own nick to a feminine one and began to virtually flirt with
Ali.  Ali was very responsive to « her » overtures and he began to get very
involved in trying to seduce « her, » calling out to his friends that he had
found a real woman on IRC. The « girl » told Ali that she wanted to see him.
They arranged to meet at McDonald's in a half an hour.  « She » said that
she would be wearing a red dress.  When Ali left for the date, Tariq clued
his friend in on the situation.  They left the cyber and walked to the
McDonald's in Agdal, not far from the cyber, and there stood Ali, waiting
for his cyber-queen.  Little did he know that when Tariq arrived, so did «
she. »  Tariq never tole Ali what happened and the joke has remained one of
his favorites to tell with the other friend that went with the to the cyber.
Identity games are not restricted to the anonymity of cyberspace but easily
shift to reality in practice thanks to cybers.
Those who go to the Internet alone do so more frequently than those who go
in groups and tend to take the experience more seriously, often having
connections and friendships online that mean something to them.  One
interviewee explained that he never goes out alone except when he goes to a
cyber. It is his own personal time to explore anything that interests him
and he does not have to share with others.  Such practice allows individuals
to get much more involved with what they are doing in cyberspace in
comparison to when they are with others in the cybers.  The whole notion of
« alone time » is a relatively new one in Morocco.  Oftentimes, if someone
is alone, s/he is perceived to be mad or suspicious.  However, the action of
going to a cyber alone is not perceived as being odd because of the
interactivity that can be found in cyberspace.
Activity in a cyber is caught between the borders of real space and
cyberspace.  The cyber itself is a harbor for information and interaction
that can be found no where else.  It is the dominated domain of young people
in a society where young people have no other place to enjoy themselves
except out on the streets and in front of their television sets.  The rare
person entering a cyber thatis over thirty years old is a novelty.  In this
space, popular young music is played loudly for all customers to hear,
expression is relaxed, and chairs and keyboards get manipulated without
asking to get better access to what is found in cyberspace.    Young people
who come to the cyber infuse the place with a unique mixture of of the
Maghreb and a global culture, where societal rules are bent and a balance
between conflicting tensions might be found.

a new year
The NewYear's Eve of 2000 was not a very exciting event in Rabat for most
people.  For Moroccans who follow the Muslim calendar for religious purposes
and the Christian one for business and academic ones, the year could be 1378
or 2000-it did not matter all that much.  The Y2K issue, referred to in
Morocco as « La Bogue, » was no big deal because not many people have
computers. Y2K only created a curiosity for the Moroccan public who was
fascinated by the great panic that the Western world seemed to be struck by.
A cyber in Agdal, Interplanète, held a Y2K party for anyone interested in
paying 60 Dh (6 USD) for all-night Internet access-that is, if no problems
were to arise at midnight that would disturb the system.  And no problems
did arise in the end.
Perhaps more important than the fact that it was New Year's Eve was the fact
that it was a night during Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting for Muslims.
Fasting takes place from sunrise to sundown.  During the day, Muslims must
avoid food, drink, sexual thoughts and actions, as well as behaviors that
may hurt or threaten others.  The entire month is one of contemplation of
Allah, and interactions between people become a great deal more respectful
than normal because this is the month of pentinence. Images of sexual
behavior are to be avoided during the day, and young people will turn off
the television, avert their eyes, or fast-forward films to avoid seeing
things that are not supposed to be seen during the day.  Although the days
are strict and sometimes difficult to get through, the night are festive
times characterized by a great amount of social activity in public space.
Bus schedules are changed, lengthened for people's more nocturnal behaviors
during this times and cafés and special book markets are packed with people
until midnight almost every night.  Ramadan changes social behaviors and
relaxes social rules.  Certainly, if the New Year was not during Ramadan,
the event at Interplanète would not have been as popular as it was.
A group of ten young Moroccans and I showed up at Interplanète about ten
minutes before midnight.  They had spent the last two hours debating about
what they were going to do for the evening.  My plan being the only solid
one out of all of them, they all chose to join me.  We walked in the door
right at midnight and exclaimed a  Joyeuse Nouvelle Année !  to everyone in
the cyber. The place was already full of people at computer posts, sitting
on the high bar stools characteristic of this cyber.  A few minutes later,
employees gathered everyone around a long table decked out with celebratory
cakes and finger foods in the café part of the establishment.  Everyone
grabbed their food and practically ran to grab a computer post and install
themselves accordingly.  For the first three hours, everyone was engaged
with checking their email, connecting to IRC, sending electronic greeting
cards to their friends who were at the cyber with them at the time, and
surfing the Internet.
After they finished their normal Internet activity, their initial excitement
relaxed, and the first round of finger foods had been finished, people began
to wander around to look at each other's cyberspace explorations.  The cyber
changed from being almost silent when everyone was engaged in their own
activity to being a lively, festive atmosphere only a few hours later.  Some
young men abandoned their computers to get their electric guitars and
amplifiers out of their car.  They hooked up their instruments in the video
game room and played popular Western music as well as their own creations
for the next few hours.  Another round of finger foods were snatched up by
the group at the cyber, a group entirely made of up similarly-aged young
people.  While at my computer post watching the screen and the activity
surrounding me in real-life, I was reminded by the remarks of an interviewee
We look for places where we can stay for longer than a few minutes and buy
things, turn our heads and see people we know. I tell myself that I don't
know all of Rabat, that maybe there exists an imaginary world here, but I
don't know where it might be. [His best friend, 19,  interjects, "The
Internet."]  So, every Saturday, I go to McDonald's and hope that something
new opens up.

Something new has opened up, something combining all of the elements of his
ideal place.  Interesting enough, it is a cyber, a borderland between the
real and the virtual.
A few hours later, New York City passed into the 21st century, and we all
watched the ball drop in Times Square through a RealPlayer digital version
being played on someone's screen.  More food was passed around before dawn
when the fast would be resumed again, and a group of friends gathered around
my computer post to say hello to my mother with whom I was chatting.  Every
one of the ten people with whom I came to Interplanète « spoke » with my
mother who had not yet experienced the New Year in Colorado.  Her final
hours of the old millenium were spent talking with young Rabatis in their
first few hours of the new millenium on the Internet that she will probably
never physically meet in her life.  That is the power of cyberspace,
blurring time, borders, languages, and allowing people to interact when they
would have never have had the chance before.

1. Giddens, in Marian Adolf, Pietro Paganini and Roberto Ruggiero.
Cyberspace bite,
2. David Zgodzinski. 1996,
3. Marian Adolf, Pietro Paganini and Roberto Ruggiero. Cyberspace bite,
media, culture, technology,
4. Sherry Turkle. Winter 1996,
5. Elizabeth M. Reid. 1991,
6. Royaume du Maroc. July 1999: pp. 9-10
7. Mounia Bennani-Chraibi. 1995, pp.14
8. Ibid., 18
9. Ibid., 163
10. Ibid., 14
11. Ibid., 136
12. Ibid., 62
13. Ibid., 64
14. Ibid., 61
15. Ibid., 64
16. Ibid., 79
17. Ibid.,180
18. 2M,
19. Mounia Bennani-Chraibi. 1995, pp. 40
20. Ibid., 36
21. Ministry of Communication,
22. Susan Ossman. 1994, pp. 102
23. « Diversité des modèles culturels et attentes des jeunes, » Jul.-Dec.
1996 : 81-86.
24. « Les jeunes de Tunis et la vidéo, » Jul.-Jun. 1995-96 : 85-95.
25. Mounia Bennani-Chraibi, pp. 44
26. Ibid., 43
27. CyberAtlas.,1323,5911_1
28. Le Matin, 23 Feb. 2000.
29. Human Rights Watch. June 1999,
30. Ibid., June 1999,
31. L'Echo du Polisario (
Website of the World Amazigh Congress Tamazgha
32. Axel Bruns. 1998,
33. Michael Keith and Steve Pile, 1993, pp. 6.
34. Sherman Young.
35. Leslie Kanes-Weisman. 1994, pp. 9-10.
36. J. Preece. Dec. 1999,
37. Axel Bruns. 1998,
38. John Perry Barlow, in Elizabeth M. Reid, 1991,
39. For example,,, and
40. Yahoo ! France ( )
41. Wanadoo Morocco (
42. Association démocratique des femmes du Maroc,
43. mIRC,
44. Elizabeth M Reid. 1991,
45. mIRC,
46. DALnet,
47. Badgett and Sandler, in Haya Bechar-Israeli,
48. Elizabeth M Reid. 1991,
49. Quentin Jones.
50. Françoise Navez-Bouchanine, pp. 136 and 138
51. Mounia Bennani-Chraibi. 1995, 27
52. Elizabeth M. Reid. 1991,
53. Haya Bechar-Israeli. Introduction,
54. Ibid. Table 1 : Frequency of Different Types of Nicks,
55. Elizabeth M Reid. 1991,
56. Adam Dodd. Bite 2, 1998,
57. Sherry Turkle. Winter 1996,
58. Aurore Chaffangeon. Dec. 1999, pp. 50
59. Mounia Bennani-Chraibi, 1995, pp. 120
60. Elizabeth M Reid. 1991,
61. Ibid., 1991,
62. Sherry Turkle. Winter 1996,
63. Ibid., Winter 1996,
64. Leslie Kanes-Weisman. 1994, 20
65. Ibid., 67
66. Ibid., 68
67. Hannah Davis-Taieb. 1997.
68. Aurore Chaffangeon. Dec. 1999, pp. 50
69. N.B. 15 Mar. 2000.
70. Mounia Bennani-Chraibi, 1995, pp. 29
71. Those going to the schools of the Mission française are required to take
the French baccalaureate exam, not the Moroccan one.  The Moroccan
baccalaureate is considered to be more difficult than the French one, and is
often retaken until the student can receive an adequate grade to pass the
exam that is based on a 20 point system.
72. Mounia Bennani-Chraibi, 1995, pp. 29
73. Ibid., 32
74. Global Reach, 6 Mar 2000,
75. Ibid., 6 Mar 2000.
76. Elizabeth M Reid. 1991,
77. Hargraves, 1997, 223-224
78. Hannah Davis-Taieb. 1997, pp. 217

Table 1. Total of Internet Users Globally (as of March 2000,

World Total: 275.54 million
1. Canada & USA : 136.06 million
2. Europe : 71.99 million
3. Asia/Pacific : 54.90 million
4. South America : 8.79 million
5. Africa : 2.46 million
6. Middle East : 1.29 million (the category to which Morocco belongs)

Table 2. Nicknames on IRC. (#maroc,, at 9.30 am on 24 March
2000 with 170 participants)
First Names and Variations on Them (73/170) 42.9 percent
Sali, brahim, Younes, Anouar27--, HaKeEM, majdouline, amir20, chahine,
badre28, soraya33, samo21, hatim99, said28, IsAaK_, samih, BAAKRIM, houda,
sarahedstrom, Susie`-`, +DIna24, adnan-40, +l7louwa, samirsmolf, Macky,
ANTONIO__, clohee, said23, adil32, rabee1, chraibi23, asmaa21, ahmed99,
saloua, MissDaniaa, abdou88, alessandero-, ^paola^, hamis, fatiha, khalid01,
youssef30, jasmineee, kurty_, MouMouNNe, rachid32, mouna83, chakib37, hich1,
youssamine, samiro17, Niennaa, Moham23, edwarda, said, ekim_, nasser27,
wafae31, azzahra, Kas-H40, adle, Bahaa, sihame, hosna88, ricardo17, sihammm,
amal31, [s][i][m][o], joseph20, aikas33, Kurt_, coriana, abelabbas, braam,

Self Descriptors (46/170) 27.1 percent
rabat30m, {\\psyko\\}, ZoOMGuY, genius_oc, BLACK-HEART, enfant, ContreTous,
The_Artist, TheFLBoy, smi22, dally, gentille19, HommeDeCasa, canada--
m42ans, AnGeL, ReMoRsE, tres_belle, lolita_25, Rifia_Girl, LwA3R^20^,
romantic_ meriem, prety, OFFShOrE, belleza, Lumineux, TLOUP, spiritgirl,
ManManMan, volont, AMI_fidel, girl01, scapine, ayour, poete, coolmecs18,
yellow_, darkmain, le-rebel, ARTISTEESC, ambi, megagod, simou, Machghoula,

Names of Famous People and Things (19/170)11.2 percent
DJEM, Dead-Man-Dreaming, KuRt-Co`, osmos, TRAV0LTTA, ROOOOCK, scorpion_1245,
@CitiZen_X, snoop17, _LeMasque, METALLICA4EVER, karamella_2000, bon_007,
Suede, m_matrix, madmax1^^, Tonny-Montana, edhunter__, clinton-you

Names Related to Love and Sex  (11/170)6.5 percent
M^FOR^U, t_amour, Amoureuxx, play-boyX, L-Homme_A_Tout_FaiRe, Casanova2000,
le-romantique, ROMIO, amoureux23, Amoureux

Objects (7/170) 4.1 percent
sun_40, el-cuervo, dinar, cornia, flower_moon, mirror81, LEVIS524

Unknown Origin (7/170) 4.1 percent
Tifala, quenns, Tiktake, acemar, kokito, kolimor, parietale

Word Play (4/170) 2.4 percent
ps2copy,  +wzup, mmmmmm, tactac

Unpersonalized (3/170) 1.8 percent
Guest04951, Guest14100, Guest44699

printed sources consulted
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Chaffangeon, Aurore. « Amours virtuelles sur le net, » Citadine, Dec. 1999 :

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Keith, Michael and Steve Pile. Place and the Politics of Identity,
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Navez-Bouchanine, Francoise. "L'Habitat residentiel," Habiter la ville
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Journey into the Realm of Cyber Worlds, » Cyberspace bite, media, culture,

Arunchalam, Subbiah. « How the Internet is failing the developing world, »
Information Poverty : The Story, Australian
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Association de l'Internet au Maroc. « Netiquette, »

Association démocratique des femmes du Maroc. « Presentation of the
socio-situation of Morocco, » Parallel Report of Moroccan NGOs on the
Application of the Convention on Eliminating all Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (CEDAW), Dec. 1996,

Bechar-Israeli, Haya. ( « Nicknames, Play and
Identity on Internet Relay Chat, » Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
Department of Communication and Journalism,

Benkirane, Réda. « La métaphore du village global, » 24 Mar. 1998,

______. « L'Ere des reseaux, » from the Fondation de Bellerive (Sadrudin Aga
Khan) Conference : Policing the global economy: why, how and for whom?
Geneva, 23-25 Mar. 1998,

_____. « Lies and dreams about Cyberspace, »

_____. « Mégalopoles, un phénomène irréversible, » 13 June 1996,

Bruns, Axel. "The n-Dimensional Village: Coming to Terms with Cyberspatial
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Critical Art Ensemble. « Utopian Promises, Net Realities, »

CyberAtlas. « More than 30,000 Internet Users in Morocco, »,1323,5911_1

_____. « Tunisia Lacks Internet Users, » 21 Jul. 1999,,1323,5911_1

Dodd, Adam. "'The Truth Is Over There': Is There Room for Space in
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Ess, Charles. « First Looks: CATaC'98, » Proceedings Cultural Attitudes
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French Embassy. « Cyber Espaces, »

Global Reach, 6 Mar 2000,

Gomez,Ricardo. The Hall of Mirrors: The Internet in Latin America, Current
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Higley, Sarah L. "Audience, Uglossia, and CONLANG: Inventing Languages on
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______. « Morocco, » June 1999,

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Channels on the and
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Jones, Quentin. « Virtual Communities, Virtual Settlements, and Cyber
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La Vie économique, « Maroc Telecom casse les prix, »

Longan, Michael W. (longan@ucsu.colorado.Edu) « Geography, Community, and
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_____. « One Third of All Spam is Pornographic, » 3 Nov. 1999,

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_____. « Webchek: South African Teenagers Surge Online, » 12 Dec. 1999,

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O'Toole, Kathleen. « Study offers early look at how Internet is changing
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Pisani, Francis. « L'après-télévision. Multimédia, virtuel, Internet, » Le
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Preece, J. « Usability and Sociability, » Information Impacts Magazine,
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Reid, Elizabeth M. ( «Electropolis : Communication and
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Rheingold, Howard.

Sedgwick, Mark. « Marginal Muslims in Cyberspace : The implications of the
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Strangelove, Michael. ( « The Internet, Electric Gaia
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_____. « Le droit au rêve, » 29 Dec. 1999, Al Jarida Al Maghribia,

Turkle, Sherry. « Virtuality and its Discontents : Searching for Community
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useful sites and links for more information
Bubl Link.

Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine.

Cyber-Geography Research Bulletin, 1 :11, 2Mar. 2000,

L'Echo du Polisario,

Electronic Journal of Communication, The. Cultural Attitudes Towards
Technology and Communication, Vol. 8 : 3 and 4 (1998),

Geography of Cyberspace Directory.

Global Communication Internet Showcase.

Information Impacts Magazine. « Access: Where, Who, How, Why? » Dec. 1999,



Kirkwood H.P. « Internet Surveys, Statistics and Geography, » ONLINE, Sept.

M/C : A Journal of Media and Culture.

Veldof, Jerilyn. Internet Sites for Communication, University of Arizona,
Department of Communication,

The Website of the World Amazigh Congress Tamazgha,

Wheeler, J.O., Aoyama, Y., & Warf, B., (Eds.), 2000, Cities in the
Telecommunications Age: The Fracturing of Geographies, Routledge: NewYork,

Zook, Matthew.

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