They tended to work with one or two close friends. Their centre of gravity was both female and relatively narrow and they remained defensive in their relationships with boys, even though sometimes a duo or trio might frequent a larger group as part of a particular criminal strategy or to go to ‘parties’ devoted to drug-taking in brothels, snooker rooms, cafés, and ‘non-spaces’ (gardens, car parks, beaches). Music was essential during these ‘trips’. Ched Bidal, singing the lives of the poor, the insignificant, the rejected, would bring tears to their eyes and make them want to cut their arms with a razor blade.
On the market, they would find what they needed to manage to take the plunge. Explosive mixtures of products such as ‘maajoun’, ‘little reds’ [Rivotril], alcohol, kif and above all ‘qarqoubi’ which removes inhibitions and gives a sense of omnipotence, making it possible to to steal, hit, scream, or even kill. Indiscriminately.
With one exception, all the girls I questioned had been there.
Compared to the young Go girls in Abidjan, they seemed more isolated in their distress.
In Morocco, vulnerable girls are all the more vulnerable because they remain in an enclave of self-segregation. While this may create strength in complicity, a shared intimacy, and love, in socially deprived environments boys and girls mixing is not viewed favourably and the young women tend to be either sexual prey or maternal wombs in the face of sexually frustrated men. They have few resources to draw on in defending themselves against perceptions that deny them any human value.
While screens worldwide broadcast a certain youth fashion and encourage the younger generation to self-identify through brand names, singers, and mobile phones, the groups of youths that embody this new relationship to the self seem quite weak. This is perhaps less the case among boys, but as I didn’t work directly with them, I can only surmise this from a distance.
The girls I worked with did not belong to any broader group bringing its own language, collective imagination, and friendships, unlike in the Côte d’Ivoire ghetto where the ‘nouchi’ phenomenon is present as across the country as a whole. Whatever one might think of it, the fact it is mixed and that it represents.