What would you have me say? It's a particularly American nostalgia I can't approach. The vaunted counterculture was never more than a large minority. The feeling that we were all one, or more precisely that all of Us were one against Them. That is what you'd like to recover. A coherent politics. Think globally, act locally. A consistent set of values — resist the war, protect the environment, liberate women and other oppressed groups, legalize drugs, etc. All over the world, friends recognized by their style of dress found one another and hitchhiked and got stoned and listened to the same music and fucked like bunnies as Americans like to say. It only lasted a few years. Now you've got mortgages and minivans and Windows 95-98-2000, the power of the Dark Side is strong young Skywalker!
I will grant you one thing: there was a tiny flare of equality for women. Monogamy and having children were respected but promiscuity was not equated with sluttishness. Women had healthy appetites for food as well as sex, instead of anorexia and abstinence, the family values of the ‘90s. In the ‘60s I was protected from all this in private school in Casablanca, though we danced to rock tunes in secret. But in the ‘70s I went to Europe and got into the whole scene.
Before the hippies, before Crosby Stills Nash Young rode the Marrakech Express, it was Bowles and Burroughs and Ginsburg, the Beats, who came to Morocco. But all were just the latest species in millennia of foreign invaders. You can get a French chick high, you can dress an American boy up in a djellaba, but they still have no more chance of understanding Morocco than the grub has with a scorpion.
Among my son Mohammed's three best friends, who all live in a “nice” part of Casa, two supplement their family income as street urchins during tourist season.
You see, Morocco is America's future (not the other way around). Morocco is run by the wealthy few, its great urban population a mass of low-level merchants and teeming street life clinging to the shadows and corners of once-magnificent palaces and battlements. William Gibson's world. This is where you are going, it is practically where you are, but your media keep you in the dark.
Saddam Hussein may be an asshole but it was George Bush who slaughtered a hundred thousand. We once had great murderer kings in Morocco too.