My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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MARRAKECH, Morocco—We dined last night with the son of the powerful old Pasha of Marrakech, El Glaoui, in a most beautiful house which is the old Pasha's house. There are several brothers, but all the married ones live in separate houses within the walled-in grounds. There is now harmony between the sons of El Glaoui and the Sultan—a good thing for this country, which needs unity, not division.

At 11:30 this morning we started in three cars for a drive into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Just outside one of the city gates was a great assemblage of about 200 camels, and our photographers stopped for that. Later, we passed a well from which a bullock was patiently drawing up water for irrigation—a slow business, but it works in many of these countries. We had a wonderful view of the village of Demnat and the mountains from the residence of the Caid, who had prepared the usual Arab feast for what we had thought would be a picnic. The feasts, I am sure, are never eaten as home meals. They are too elaborate and keep one long at table, but they symbolize the Moroccan's desire to give you his best. They are a very kind and friendly people.

When we came to the gate of the walled-in village or small town, after lunch, all the people were out to greet us. They had made an American flag themselves to put over the gate. We walked through the Jewish quarter first—poor, but the man here at the head of the community had no complaints. We were told here that it is not a law which prevents a Jew from taking up agriculture, but just a custom. I find these contradictions turn up occasionally to revise the picture one has in mind; but that there have been some restrictions is unquestionable.

I walked through many of the streets of the Moslem town, too, to be greeted in friendly fashion. Then we drove up to a vantage point to get a view of the city from above. It is believed to be older than Fez, dating back to the tenthcentury.

All the kindness to me, of course, comes from the fact that they feel my husband did a great deal for them and for their ultimate success in gaining their independence.

Recent news dispatches say there will soon be an announcement of agreement between the secretary general of the U.N. and Col. Nasser on the Suez Canal. I hope this means there is also agreement on the recognition of Israel, for the two seem to me to depend on each other. It is hard to get much news here of the outside world, for somehow the world seems remote. It is the peace of the gardens, I think, which gives this illusion. They are so quiet and so fragrant one must believe in a peaceful world.

E.R.
PNews, NSJ, 10 April 1957