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MENA: Kuwaiti Cartoons Cause Moroccans Offense

A popular Kuwaiti television programme has upset some Moroccan viewers, who say it depicts Moroccans in a negative light. The cartoon, called Bu Qutada wa Bu Nabeel, portrays Morocco as corrupt and its women as greedy, as they try to entrap the Kuwaiti male characters into marrying them.

Several clips are available on YouTube. One, below, shows a scene in which Moroccan police attempt to elicit a bribe from the arriving tourists, while another shows the Moroccan female characters practicing witchcraft.

The show has created a rift between Morocco and Kuwait, and an online spat, prompting a quick apology from Al Watan for the offending cartoons, reports Al Arabiya.

Moroccan blogger Mouad wishes to start a cross-cultural dialogue about the cartoons and the stereotypes they depict:

Other topics was treated by the 2 “special Morocco” episodes such as the naive nostalgia of some in Arabophone world to reconquest the Andalus in a way that it could be considered as against Arabs & Muslims if makers weren't Kuwaitis. Personally, I appreciated the way it mocked the behavours of some Khalijis which make them rich dumbs in the eyes & mind of people abroad. Needless to say that conceptors didn't pay any attention for details of cities or behavours of Moroccans.

So, I think clichés from both people of Gulf & Morocco & other Arabophone world the opportunism of some are the main problem. Maybe it's time to sit and discuss. I wish other bloggers from Gulf and Arabophone world join to it and to talk about this topic.

Waiting for what? Let's go!

Writing in Arabic, Kuwaiti blogger Frankom notes:

وها قد بدأت ردة فغل المغرب الشقيق تجاه الكويت بسبب هذا البرنامج (بوقتادو وبونبيل) على يعرض على قناة الوطن (الكويتية) بسبب عرضهم لحقات مسيئة للشعب المغربي … نعم يحق لهم ان يكتبوا مايريدون فلقد أسأنا اليهم بحق، هذا هو اعلامنا الحر وهذا هو حقنا بالديموقراطية .. أن نتطنز على شعب ونرى أنفسنا أننا كاملين والكمال لله !! واذا واحد تطنز علينا سارعت قنواتنا واعلامنا  الى قطع العلاقات معهم … ياسبحان الله
And the reactions of our brothers in Morocco have started because of this programme (Bu Qutada and Bu Nabeel) which is being broadcast on Al Watan, who have shown scenes which painted the Moroccan people in a bad light. Of course, they (Moroccans) have the right to write whatever they want because we have really wronged them. This is our free media and this is our democratic right – to make fun of other people while considering ourselves perfect even though perfection is a trait of God! And if anyone dared poke fun of us, our media and channels would immediately cut relations with them. How strange!

This short post attracted around 120 comments so far, with reactions ranging from those who don't blame the Moroccans for their outcry to those who see no harm in the cartoon and characters it depicted.

Q8PING writes:

ماينلامون
They cannot be blamed

While Sara says:

اللي انعرض هذا الواقع ومايزعل وأتمنئ الكويت والله تقطع علاقتها مع اللي يسئ لها جان الدول حسبتلنا ألف حساب

What was shown is the reality and no one should be upset. I really hope Kuwait would sever its relations with all those who wrong us so that they consider the consequences a 1,000 times before they do so.

Candle, who is just back from Morocco, disagrees with the way in which the Moroccans were stereotyped saying:

انا توني يايه من المغرب شفت عكس اللي نسمعه خلق و تعامل راقي ونظافه و نظام ،، سافرت ١٠ ايام ماشفت حتى طرار الا مره واحده بالرباط ومالزم كلش :) ولا احد طلب رشوه ! ومشت اجراءات المطار من أحسن مايكون ،، بوقتاده وبونبيل تعدى مرحله كونه برنامج ساخر فيه نقد بناء ،، مستواه منحط ينشر الفتنه ويقسم الناس فئات حتى ان بعض كلامه ولقطاته اباحية !! اتمنى يمنع هالبرنامج
I have just returned from Morocco and it is the exact opposite of what we hear. They enjoy great manners, provide good treatment and the country is clean and organised. I travelled there for 10 days and saw only one beggar in Rabat. And no one ever asked me for a bribe there! The airport procedures were seamless. Bu Qutada and Bu Nabil have exceeded being a sarcastic show, which presents constructive criticism. It is a low level production which aims to create sedition and divide people into categories. Even the language and scenes are pornographic in nature. I really do hope this programme is shut.

And His asks:

How would we react if another country made cartoons about us?

Similar sentiments are being echoed in Kuwait's popular online forums. On the Salmiya Forum, Awhaam says:

مافيه اي اساءه للمغرب

مجرد ان ثلاث متزوجين يريدون الذهاب الي المغرب وتلحق بهم زوجاتهم وتحصل بعض المواقف الطريقة بالمطار

والقناة اللي عرض الي فيها هي قناة الوطن الخاصة مالها علاقة بالحكومه الكويتية

It didn't have anything which wronged Morocco. It just showed three married men who wanted to go to Morocco and whose wives would follow them later on, and the funny things that happened to them at the airport. Also, the channel which showed the programme is Al Watan private TV station, which has nothing to do with the Kuwaiti government.

On the same forum, Amal Al Haifa disagrees saying:

بصراحة انا كـ كويتية اقول اي نعم اساءو ومصخوها
ولو انعرض شيء من هذا القبيل عن ديرتي اكيد بتضايق وبزعل
Frankly, as a Kuwaiti, I admit that they are wrong and have exceeded their limits. If something like this was shown about my country, I would be upset and angry too.

The reader continues to explain what the serial showed:

انا شفت الحلقة وكانت عبارة عن ثلاث اجزاء
اول شي قصدهم ان المغرب بلد الخراب والدليل ان لما سافرو الحقوهم حريمهم كأنهم خايفين من شي
ومن بداية المطار واهما يتكلمون عن الفساد بالمغرب عن طريق شرطتهم اللي مايمشون امور السائحين غير بالرشاوي ..
وبعدين بنات المغرب اللي قاعدين يتصيدون لرجال الكويت من المطار بدافع الطمع والزواج منهم
وبعدين ياخذونهم عالبيت ويسوونلهم سحر .. وبمجرد انهم يعرفون ان هذيل الرجال يعانون من ديون وقروض علطول يروحون يفجون السحر يعني كل هدفهم فلوس وبس
وبعدين يورونكم شلون شعب المغرب ميت على فلوس الكويت وكل شي الكويتيين يقدرون يشترونه بفلوسهم
بصراحة من الاخر مسخرة .. حتى لو هالاشياء فعلاً موجودة بالمغرب او بأي بلد ثاني مو لازم يعرضونها بهالصورة خصوصاً وان المغرب دولة شقيقة واحنا مو ناقصين ناس عرب ينشحنون علينا
I saw the episode and it was in three parts. The first thing they intended to do was show that wrong things happen in Morocco, which is why they went there first and asked their wives to come later – as if they were afraid of something. Then, from the beginning, at the airport, they were discussing corruption in Morocco and that their policemen ease the procedures of tourists after collecting bribes. Then there are the Moroccan girls sitting at the airport and trying to entrap Kuwaiti men, in order to marry them out of greed. Then they take them home and perform magic on them. After they discover that those men are in debt, they break the magic and try to get rid of them as their only goal was their money. The episode then shows how the people of Morocco are dying for the Kuwaitis’ money and everything the Kuwaitis can buy with that money. In reality, the show is ridiculous. Even if these things are really found in Morocco, or any other country, it shouldn't be presented on TV in this manner, particularly because Morocco is a brotherly country and we don't want the Arabs to bear ill thoughts about us.

Meanwhile on Facebook, several groups calling for an end to the series have been formed, attracting a few thousand followers.

One of them is Egyptians and Moroccans Calling for an End to the Kuwaiti Series which Hurts Morocco (Ar), which has attracted more than 2,200 ‘fans’ so far, and another is  Together for Calling for an End to the Abu Qutada and Abu Nabil Series and a Kuwaiti Apology for Moroccans (Ar), which has so far attracted just over 1,000 members.

In retaliation, Moroccan hackers allegedly hacked the official Kuwaiti Amiri Court website, replacing its content with derogatory content targeted against Kuwait and its people, according to Kuwaiti online news site Alaan.

This post was co-authored by Jillian C. York

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