Interzone : Tangier’s Hedonistic Years

Interzone : Tangier’s Hedonistic Years

I made the journey to Interzone from Tarifa across the 11 mile stretch of Atlantic where, in the distance, the Rif mountains stood in a coruscating haze of a bright September day. Interzone is an area where sea, ocean and cultures collide.

Tangier was an International Zone from 1912 to 1956 and became the destination for many European and American spies, writers, artists and musicians. It enjoyed a reputation for hedonism where any pleasure was readily available. Indeed author William S. Burroughs who lived for long spells in Tangier, wrote, “Tangier is one of the few places left in the world where, so long as you don’t proceed to robbery, violence, or some form of crude, antisocial behaviour, you can do exactly what you want.” (more…)

Qurbani

Qurbani

It was almost 2 years ago that I was in Morocco on the occasion of the Muslim celebration of Eid al Adha,  more commonly known as the Feast of Sacrifice, a celebration of significant importance in the Arab world which marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

I had crossed into Africa by ferry from the Spanish port of Tarifa and completely by accident found myself at the beginning of the preparations for the festival in Tangier.   Sheep and goats were herded through the city streets,  loaded into cars and busses and chased through the colourful narrow streets of the medina.  Adults and children were excited as the animals neared their own homes,  children rushed to greet them and local families keenly watched as sheep and goats were tethered outside in the medina.  Residential areas became temporary livestock quarters.   In the Muslim cemetery adjacent to the strikingly green Marshan Mosque hundreds of feted but fey animals grazed on the grasses between gravestones,  shepherds watching and ensuring their short term safety.  Walking back into the city, the spinning wheels of grinding machines noisily announced the incipient celebration as men queued with knives at the roadside hardware shops lining the Avenue d’Anglettere.

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