Yesterday I watched a pick up game of soccer while we were at the beach, just outside the capital of Rabat. A group of eight shirtless teenagers were playing, a few of them barefoot on the cement basketball court. There were three or four of these courts by the beach, but no soccer field, even in this soccer-mad town. So the kids had just used one of the basketball courts for their game. They’d divided up the teams by having four of them play with their shoes on and the other four with their shoes off. The kids in shoes were winning.
Like that game of soccer, Morocco is divided between the haves and the have nots; the mansions with their marble arches, and the shacks with their corrugated tin roofs held down by rocks, only a mile away; the westernized to the point of mimicry and the traditional to the point of extremism; the 9-to-5 workers and the jobless who sit in cafes, watching them come and go; the bikini-clad girls and those who flaunt their scarves instead of their breasts.
As I was getting ready to leave, the barefoot kids scored. I jumped up to cheer them, but they were too overjoyed to notice.