ISBN 9789954494080
Pages 208
Dimensions 320mm x 260mm
Illustrations Colour Illustrations and Colour Photographs
Published 2009
Publisher Senso Unico Editions, Morocco
Format Hardback

Eclats de memoire

Les Italiens au Maroc

by Roberta Yasmine Catalano

Terre d’accueil pour les candidats marocains à l’émigration dans l’histoire récente, l’Italie a longtemps été une grande pourvoyeuse de main-d’oeuvre qualifiée, pour les États-Unis mais aussi pour le Maghreb, qui représentait alors l’espoir d’une vie meilleure pour les laissés-pour-compte du sud de la péninsule ou pour les Juifs italiens rejetés par le fascisme. Travailleurs et courageux, ces candidats de la seconde chance, souvent d’origine modeste, ont contribué par leur savoir-faire à l’édification d’un Maroc plus moderne. A travers récits et témoignages, le livre rappelle aussi les douloureux moments de la Seconde guerre mondiale, où il ne faisait pas bon être italien sous protectorat français. De cette chronique douce-amère de la présence italienne au Maroc — dont il n’a pas été facile de rassembler les fragments d’une mémoire éclatée — se dégage l’image d’une communauté « laborieuse, aux manières simples et respectueuses de l’élément local ».

A brief reminder of some major moments of Moroccan history and of the commercial and political relations between Morocco and Italy during the last centuries, together with a glance at the first Italian travellers in Morocco such as Edmondo de Amicis, and their travel notebooks complete the picture of the Italian presence in Morocco from the end of the 18th century up to today. Italy, which is a host country for thousands of Moroccan emigrants nowadays, has also known mass emigration for decades and provided a working force to North and South America mainly, but also to the Maghreb. These countries represented the hope of a better life for the have-nots of the Peninsula South and, later on, for Italian Jews rejected by fascism. Brave and hardworking, these second chance applicants who came from an impoverished background contributed to the building of modern Morocco with their know-how. Through touching personal stories this book also recalls the distressing period of World War II, when it did not feel good to be Italian under French protectorate. From this bitter-sweet account of the Italian presence in Morocco, and despite the difficulties of gathering fragments of a shattered memory, emerges the picture of an «active, simple mannered and respectful to local traditions» community.

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About the Author

Roberta Yasmine Catalano

Roberta Yasmine Catalano born in Rome in 1975, lived in Morocco for fifteen years, then returned to Rome where she graduated in Comparative Literatures at La Sapienza University. She has carried out researches also on Italian emigration to Tunisia and published reviews and essays in several Italian literary magazines.