The publication L’amour fait loi (Éditions Le Sélénite, 2020) materialised from the collection of materials — articles, letters, manifestos, illustrations, images, works of fiction — created by a group of writers, artists and activists, both anonymous and in the public eye, to condemn the rise of violent acts against the LGBTQI+ community in Morocco during lockdown. The book has become at once a poetic display in which to express and celebrate love and bodies that do not adhere to rigid legal and social margins and a collection of proposals of other narratives of desire which, despite always being in operation, have remained concealed or outlawed.
The conflictive relationships between the social mask and the intimacy of ties, which are interwoven despite moral conventions, have also come to the fore through the manifesto Outside the Law, signed in 2019 by hundreds of Moroccan women. The manifesto is a text in which women declare themselves “outlawed” for having violated “obsolete” laws in their country with regard to individual freedoms such as abortion and sexual relations outside marriage.
This encounter sees feminist illustrator Zainab Fasiki (Fez, 1994), writer Abdellah Taïa (Salé, 1973) — both participants in and advocates of L’amour fait loi — and writer Najat El Hachmi (Nador, 1979), author of the novel On Monday We Will Be Loved, discuss the protests that have arisen in Morocco through the increasingly frequent actions in defence of sexual rights. They also look at the need for other accounts and imaginaries that reflect the complexity, diversity and richness of Morocco’s intimate territory and its diaspora, habitually accounted for and represented with the simplification and reductionism exuded by the colonial and exoticizing gaze.
Najat El Hachmi (Beni Sidel, 1979) is a writer who grew up in Vic with her Muslim family, moving there at the age of eight. She holds a degree in Arabic Studies and has been a cultural mediator and worked with refugees. Her female universe unfolds in award-winning works such as The Last Patriarch (2008), The Body Hunter (2011), The Foreign Daughter (2015), Mother of Milk and Honey (2018) and They Have Always Spoken for Us (2019). She is also a regular contributor to El País.
Zainab Fasiki (Fez, 1994) is a self-taught feminist draughtswoman and illustrator who received an Industrial Mechanical Engineering degree from the Casablanca National School of Electricity and Mechanics. Her first comic, Omor. Only between us (2017), explores the difficulties facing women living in Morocco. In 2019, following a residency at Madrid’s Matadero, she put together Hshouma (Taboo), a website and comic on taboos in Moroccan society with a significant social and media impact in her country.
Abdellah Taïa (Salé, 1973) is a writer and film-maker. Since 1998 he has lived self-exiled in Paris. His books examine his life as a homosexual in a homophobic environment and reflect, from autobiographical grounds, the social experiences of a generation of Moroccans who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s.