Pink Djellaba At The White House: Moroccan Identity at Stake

Pink Djellaba At The White House: Moroccan Identity at Stake

nabila abdellilah benkirane morocco pm
Abdellilah Benkirane, the head of the Moroccan government, and his wife Nabila Benkirane.

To all the critics of Nabila Benkirane’s dress at the White House,

Perhaps you may think, as many have expressed on Facebook & Twitter, that the head of the Moroccan government’s wife, through her dress, did not represent well Moroccan women the way “she should have”. In this vein, I would like to bring to your attention the fact that the event wasn’t some kind of fashion-gathering like the well-known “Miss Universe”, rather it was a much more serious diplomatic meeting where African leaders were probably too busy discussing important issues and doing business. Also, if you wish to be there, as to “better represent” Morocco, as some like to think, then fasten your belts, roll up your sleeves up and work hard to perhaps one day be nominated the head of the government and take your “sexy wife” to the white house to better represent Morocco.

 Politics is a game ladies and gentlemen, and the most patients are those who wait then strike to win. Benkirane succeeded in that endeavor. He can now taste the fruits of his efforts, and pose in pictures with the heads of states the way he likes. Or maybe, they will ask him to pose with them? Well, If you think that his wife’s dress is insulting, then think of your mothers, and how Djellabas are an important feature of the Moroccan culture. Think as well of the Moroccan women with Djellabas who fought for this country’s independence. And above all, think of those tourists who come to Morocco and buy THOUSANDS of Djellabas, as they are simply “fascinated by our culture.”

Moroccan women are amazing, and surely we have seen them succeed in everything, including the most challenging fields like airspace. I strongly encourage my Moroccan friends to rethink of their definition of “Modernity”. If your definition of modernity means dressing to the letter like people of other countries (in our case that of the western world), then you really need to re-open history books. In case you forgot, I would like to remind you that Abdelkrim al khattabi wore a Djellaba and a rozza when he met Che Guevara. You may also want to revisit that page in the history book that features the late king Mohammed V meeting Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle and many other leaders with a Djellaba and a traditional Moroccan Tarbouch. You may also want “to revisit” the many pictures featuring Mahatma Gandhi wearing only a “white drape,” when meeting many world leaders.

Mrs. Benkirane is a proud Moroccan and she clearly materialized that when dressing Moroccan at that big event in Washington. I am disgusted by this complex of inferiority Moroccans suffer from. Why do we always keep thinking about what the others would think of us? Do the others care about our feelings when they do things that we don’t necessary agree with? [Certainly not, because they grew up in societies where everybody is encouraged to do what they want, and diversity is most welcome in their societies]. Today, the barrage of criticism Mrs. Benkirane received shows clearly that the Moroccan identity is at stake, literally at stake…

Nacer Arji.