I came to one conclusion after my repeated visits to Tunisia; that is when a Tunisian meets a Moroccan, he will tell him seven stories.
At first, he tells him that his mother is Moroccan, or his roots are Moroccan, or that he has an aunt who is half-Moroccan. If there is no Moroccan element in his family, he will tell him that his neighbors are Moroccan, or perhaps his best friend.
The second story is about his wonderful trip to Morocco, especially to Marrakech – the red city. For him it’s not red just because of the color of its houses, but also because of its red nights. Even for those who have never visited Morocco, they’ll tell you about their dream to visit this land. For them, Morocco is Marrakech – the red city with its red nights!
The third is the “good service” that he has been offered during his stay in Morocco; the nice behavior of the waiters there, the behavior that made him feel that he is a lord, as the Moroccan saying goes: “The client is a sultan.”
Some Tunisians explained to me that, “the workers union in Tunisia is very strong. For this reason, waiters are not nice enough to serve their clients, and they do this job with big pride.” Others told me that, “the Tunisian mentality doesn’t accept to serve others as a servant who does his job – but as a servant who does a favor for the client!”
The fourth is the word Tabouna; for Tunisians it means bread, but for Moroccans it’s a swearword indicating a woman’s genital organ. So, be ready when you meet a Tunisian who has already been to Morocco to listen to his story about the day when he went to buy bread, and he pronounced the word Tabouna.
The fifth is in itself several stories about the Moroccan hashish; the first taste, the first unforgotten experience. Some would tell you jokes about hashish smokers – real jokes that are inspired by true stories of daily life experiences.
The sixth will be a question asking you which is the best – Moroccan couscous or Tunisian couscous… Before answering, be ready to accept that very few Tunisians will agree with you if you answer that the Moroccan couscous is not only the best, but also the most famous in the world.
The seventh, and final story is a chat about football. They are convinced that they’re the best football team in North Africa, and in fact, even Moroccans believe in this conviction. In Morocco we say that, “in football, the Moroccan team is the complex of Egypt’s football team, but the Tunisian team is the complex of the Moroccan team.”
The views in this article are the author’s own and do not neccessarily reflect those of Your Middle East.