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Viva Morocco

Letter to the editor

To the Editor:

The message Jonathan Bing attempted to convey in his April 10 Daily Variety article (“There’s no place like home,” Locations special issue) is slightly inaccurate.

Although I did say that American casts and crews would be reluctant to film in Morocco in a time of war in Iraq, I did not suggest that Morocco would be unsafe. I certainly understand their stance, but quite honestly, it is somewhat of a “myth,” in the sense that the media likes to present things as black or white. Unfortunately, the media and others seem to suggest that because Iraq is predominantly a Muslim/Arab country, and so is Morocco, therefore, filming in Morocco is dangerous and should be abandoned. That kind of thinking is simply ridiculous.

Furthermore, the King of Morocco has issued strong statements against all those who participate in any type of terrorist, or even anti-American activity. To date, the King’s speeches and declarations have been thoroughly respected.

As far as tourism is concerned, it is important to note that Morocco is one of the few countries in the world that has not been affected by the war in Iraq. In fact, due to the spread of SARS in Asia, tourists have found a safe haven in Morocco. In your article, you seem to put Morocco in the same “foreign travel” category as the Asian nations that are affected by the disease. That implication is gravely misleading

In fact, Morocco has become one of the safest places to travel to and live in during this time of war, or rather post-war by now. According to some leading analysts on the French television network, LCI, Morocco is the safest country to be in this period of war and incessant threats; safer than England, France, and the United States, among other more civilized nations. They also suggest that due to the war, many Europeans have shifted their travel plans from countries like Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia to Morocco, because Morocco is rightly perceivedas being so distant not only geographically, but also politically and culturally from the turmoil in Iraq.

We, speaking on the behalf of the people of Morocco, love and admire American culture – we welcome American filmmakers. We recognize the talent that these fine people have, and we understand that they bring great things to our country, both economically and culturally.

Today, I can firmly state that American film crews face no risk in their endeavors of filming in Morocco. One should just ask Oliver Stone, who has been scouting locations in Morocco during this entire war in Iraq!

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