Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Thoughts from the West*

Back from Morocco I am and for the very first time touched by the realization of the big gap that, culturally and socially speaking, the strait of Gibraltar is, narrow in measure, though.

It has been my first piece of travelling outside Europe & USA, what it is commonly known as the Western World, despite differences that may be in the East and South of Europe (my beloved Balkans).

First of all, I feel my desires to the Asian trip greatly renewed, but at the same time deeper thoughts have rooted, ones that make me doubt about my own way of viewing the world.

I have always considered that I had a fairly neutral point of view (I'm not Christian, for instance) regarding some aspects of cultural identity, but now I feel ashamed of having let myself too much into the Western mainstream, whose main focus and pulling engine is of course USA.

I have been trying to develop a common European identity, but if I fail to understand the societies of our very Islam-Arab neighbours, I'm afraid that this effort is condemned to have no success at all in setting it apart from the American way of life.

I have been trying to understand the American criollos too, sure, and this obssesive tendence of Europeans to imitate them, creating a worldwide whirpool that actively seeks to achieve what the USA has, everywhere regardless of their own root cultures.

Sometimes I feel that we Basque people are just Western citizens playing to be indigenous people, but in the end we're just too deep into the civilization mud.

Anyway, I have had some adventures in this trip, but not big ones, and what disturbs me the most is seeing myself as just another mean rich westerner walking through the mazing streets of the Third World, given that what I really appreciate are people's cultures and not their economical status which I deem in no way related to their way of life, but to other socio-economical pressures and historical international affairs (post-colonialism).

How could we improve the welfare of people everywhere without spoiling the local culture, and getting people anywhere to know that every culture is equally worth, no one is better or worse solely based on its monetary achievements.

Talking about the US, it's customary actually that I meet US travellers anywhere I go, and needless to say, they're awesome individuals (maybe especially the ones that travel far and alone).
I met a guy from Florida, of Sardinian descent, and I told him about my plans in Asia, then he said 'wow, man, you should write a book'.
Even such an experienced traveller acknowledged that what I will have to say could be worth printing.

I had a couple of threads more to write here (about muslim culture and travellers in Morocco), but I choose to write them down on a next post.


After I wrote most of this on the bus from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate, I was conned and then food poisoned for more than one day, so the end of the trip was a bit more tricky, but fortunately I was restored just hours after the "con", and the TD "only" lasted some 24 hours, but anyway they're warnings of what I can expect in underdeveloped countries next year.

By the way, I finished reading the last book of Stephen King's Dark Tower saga, and once again I was taught that taking oneself too seriously can lead to disastrous consecuences.

* Morocco in Arabic is called Al-Maghrib, which means "the West".

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