Courtesy Reuters

Morocco Between East and West

IN EASTERN eyes, Morocco, the Maghreb el Aqsa, is nothing more than the most westerly of a long chain of states which, from Indonesia to the Atlantic, live according to the same religious, political and social laws, revealed by the Almighty in Mecca 1,300 years ago. Because its civilization is Arab, it is part of the domain claimed by the Arab League. Easterners, therefore, feel that, like 'Iraq and Egypt, it should immediately be given complete independence, and foreign interests there left to the guardianship of the Moroccan Government.

Most westerners are inclined to take a different view of this question. Morocco, along with the other North African lands, seems to them to belong to the special strategic and economic area of the western Mediterranean defined by the coasts of the three Latin countries. It has participated for 2,000 years in the great historical process of intermingling that has given western civilization its richness and particular character. The entire Mediterranean world was unified by the Romans; then Berber Islam overran Spain, Provence and Sicily; and since 1830, 2,000,000 Europeans have settled on the shores of North Africa. The resulting fusion of races and interpenetration of cultures have many aspects that cannot be expressed by the too simple word "colonization."

France, with whose national life Morocco has been closely associated since the beginning of the present century, hopes that this country will join the French Union, at the same time retaining its own many-faceted personality. The east, on the other hand, dreams of reconstructing the Arab Empire of the Middle Ages, sometimes expanded in imagination to embrace the whole of Islam. It is pursuing in Morocco the reconquest of all North Africa and, at the same time, preparing to advance into the interior of the continent.

While these two theses are in sharp opposition, an examination of the facts suggests possibilities of accommodation.

II

Morocco has the greatest number of Berbers of any of the Moslem countries. Moroccans of Arab blood number barely 10 percent of the [i]

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