Morocco has begun a public relations offensive aimed at African Americans, as evidenced by a January expenses-paid trip accepted by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, partial sponsorship of a National Association of Black Journalists event and a meeting there by the National Bar Association. But a story by Suzanne Daley Thursday in the New York Times reports that relations between Morocco and other blacks — those arriving from elsewhere in Africa — are tense.
"It is easy to pick out the new arrivals at the shelter for immigrants here on this tiny patch of Spain in North Africa," Daley reported from Melilla, Spain. "One man limps by on crutches with a plaster cast on his ankle. Another has a bandaged arm in a sling. Abbdol Cisse, 19, had stitches on his face.
"'The police in Morocco were throwing stones at us, at our heads,' Mr. Cisse said recently, explaining his injuries. 'They had metal bars, and they hit our legs while we were climbing.'
Daley also wrote, "For most of the men, the assaults on fences represent the final push to get to Europe after more than two years of traveling or living in the hills behind Melilla, on the outskirts of the Moroccan city of Nador, in desperate conditions.
"In the Moroccan woods, some of the men sleep in caves or under sheets of plastic, searching for food in the garbage cans of Nador. On a recent visit, five of the men appeared to have broken legs, and three had broken arms from encounters with the Moroccan police, they said. They asked for visits from the Red Cross.
"But few had any idea of going home. 'I have spent two years traveling by land from Cameroon to here, and almost two years more hiding here in the woods,' said Musa Bankura, 36. "My family has spent all their savings. I can’t go back home now with nothing.' . . . "
"Experienced minority journalists have until March 24 to apply for the intensive seminar on opinion writing May 1-4 at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee," the Association of Opinion Journalists Foundation announced.
"Participants explore the nuts-and-bolts of writing opinion in a 'boot camp' environment and hear presentations from nationally known speakers, said program director Tommy Denton, retired editorial page editor and past president of the Association of Opinion Journalists Foundation, which sponsors the highly successful seminar in partnership with the Diversity Institute.
"Veteran members of AOJ lead simulated editorial board meetings and oversee and critique the writing of two opinion pieces during the seminar.
"The seminar also features presentations by nationally known speakers including Val Hoeppner, a digital journalist who will discuss social media skills in today's communications world. . . ."