HOTEL DES NEGOCIANTS, MARRAKECH 21.3.39

Yesterday the Sultan made an official visit and drove through the town, which had been previously decorated  with flags etc. and several thousand troops to line the streets. Obviously this was intended partly as a loyalty-parade in connection with the present crisis. It is evident that the people, ie. Arabs, here have a great feeling of loyalty to the Sultan.  There was much enthusiasm even in the Gueliz where normally there is not a large Arab population. Great numbers of the  petty chiefs and their retainers, forming  a sort of irregular cavalry, all armed with muzzle-loader guns. Evidently the French are not afraid to allow these guns (good up to 2 or 3 hundred yards  in all probability) to be freely scattered about the countryside. The Arabs’ loyalty to the Sultan, who is completely under the thumb of the French, makes things a lot easier for the French.  Madame V. told me that Arabs will even make signs of obeisance when hearing the Sultan’s voice over the radio.  The Sultan is a small, not very impressive-looking man of 30-40.
Senegalese troops when seen in the mass look very good. Saw a detachment of the Foreign Legion march past. Contrary to my earlier impression, physique and carriage very good.
More attention being paid to the war-crisis this time. French people refer to it spontaneously, which they did not do last time. Even Arabs talk about it, eg. our servant Madhjub Mahomed,  who informed us that there was “going to be war” and that it was the same as last time, ie. against Germany. Madhjub evidently fought in Europe in the Great War.  He cannot read any language, but has some ideas of geography, eg. he  knows you have to cross the sea to get to Europe.
E. remarks that Arab children have no toys whatever. This seems to be the case. In the Arab quarters no toys of any sort are on sale, no dolls, kites, tops or what-not, and the very few toys (sometimes a ball) one sees in Arab children’s hands are of European manufacture. In any case they don’t seem to play much. Great numbers are working from the age of about 6 onward, and most seem to know the value of money almost as soon as they can walk.
Soldiers in the Foreign Legion are not allowed into chemists’  shops (because of drugs and poisons) without a special permit.

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14 Responses to HOTEL DES NEGOCIANTS, MARRAKECH 21.3.39

  1. How sad about the children.

  2. Hotel of the Traders

  3. Holden Caulfeild says:

    wars and toys
    Legionaires and drugs

    Sounds like a great place to be an idle voyeur…

  4. Steve says:

    On his way home?

  5. There are two current(?) images of the hotel’s exterior here.

    I’ll bet the balconies have witnessed some interesting sights on parade or sheltered in their shade.

  6. edwebb says:

    Has some ideas,
    Fought last time, sees this coming,
    And still has no toys

  7. Dominic says:

    Prescient about the next imperialist war, but without seeing the irony of European imperialism in North Africa.

  8. Alpujarras says:

    What a great thinker – can’t read but knows you have to cross the sea to reach Europe. Should care more about the children, they are our future.

  9. art brennan says:

    Madhjub, who could not read, has taught us something about the man who wrote Madhjub’s name. Madhjub fought in Europe. He spoke more than one language. He knew much more than “you have to cross the sea.” I want to hear more from Madhjub.

  10. “Senegalese troops when seen in the mass look very good.”

    I will forego asking, “Mass of what?” and simply ponder the inference that these troops look less than very good when seen out of the aforementioned “mass” .

  11. Madhjub has his ear to the ground. Obviously much better informed than Britain’s long-suffering general public.

  12. “Soldiers in the Foreign Legion are not allowed into chemists’ shops (because of drugs and poisons) without a special permit.”

    For some reason, I don’t think it is true that [any of] the aforementioned soldiers were named Hyde; Spencer Tracy agrees with me wholeheartedly, no matter what Fredric March says.

  13. Pingback: 3rdBlog from the….. » Blog Archive » At Sea with Mr. Backtome

  14. Those Arab children don’t really know what it means to enjoy life like a child if they even don’t anything to play with. So how do they enjoy themselves?

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