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Published: October 8th 2012
So we decided to go to Casablanca on Saturday, which was really cool. It was definitely a highlight to be in Starbucks again...There is a huge mall there, but it's pretty expensive so we did not spend much time there. We went to the biggest mosque in Africa and it was absolutely breathtaking, probably one of the most beautiful things I have seen in my life. The street vendors were pretty good, for such a huge city with a lot of draw for tourists, they did not try and up the prices for us, which often happens to us since we do not look Moroccan. I tried to focus on using more Arabic than French, because I only have two more months here and I really want to better my Arabic, since this is an excellent opportunity, and there are no more Arabic levels at Villanova.
Everything is going very well, however I am getting kind of nervous for the October Eid. I know that sacrificing sheep is a part of the culture, but watching a sheep be killed with a knife, and the helplessness of it was really awful. As most of you know I am vegetarian, and as much as I advocate for a change in the meat industry, and believe it's a terrible thing, you really don't know how terrible it is until you see it in person. I honestly think it's natural to eat meat, and that killing your own food and using all of the parts is the most respectful way to do this, but even seeing that done was really heartbreaking for me. It's made me a lot angrier at the American meat industry because I know how inhumane it is compared to what I witnessed here, and I can't even fathom why nothing is done about it. Vegetarian, vegan, or omnivore--NO ONE agrees with the slaughter methods being inhumane. I think it's just not spoken about because people know it's terrible, but not talking about it doesn't make it go away, it just perpetuates the system because people want to reap the benefits without acknowledging the awful truths of it. Using animal products should come with a respect for the animal, which is definitely something that is inclusive to the Eid here. I just have a hard time seeing a life end, and an especially hard time watching the people I know and have come to love take a life away. But the thing is, the relationship that people have with animals here is completely different than what Americans are used to. In Morocco, animals are used to benefit the family, there is no reason to keep pets. Pets are expensive, require extra food, and are kind of a luxury if you think about it. Here, donkeys are kept as pack animals, cats wander the streets and and if you show affection towards them it looks weird, dogs are only used as guard animals. Affection towards animals just isn't a part of the culture; people are not attached to these animals because they are viewed more as a means than as family members. Obviously it is very abstract for those of us who keep pets to understand. I really want to be immersed in the culture, but I think I'm going to have to find an alternate activity for the weekend of the Eid...
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