INTERVIEW WITH AHMED ABOUTALEB, MAYOR OF ROTTERDAM AND PRESIDENT OF HONOR OF THE SEVENTH EDITION OF THE FICMEC

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In this short interview, Ahmed ABOUTALEB, mayor of Rotterdam, talks about his cultural orientation, his belonging to the Rif region and his joy of been chosen as Honorary President of the Nador Film and Memory Festival. The son of Nador greets the festival which will reach, this year, its seventh edition

For ABOUTALEB, Nador is rich, but poor on the cultural level. Hence the question of the role of the actors and activists who are supposed to contribute to the financing of the different activities at all levels to promote the cultural life of the city

ABOUTALEB bring to the fore the achievements made by Morocco, particularly in the north and particularly in the Rif region. However, he highlights the difficulty of distributing wealth in a fair way, which generates claims

Finally, as a Muslim living in Netherland, ABOUTALEB talks about his habits during the holy month of Ramadan

You are chairing the seventh edition of the International Film and Memory Festival. What are your feelings

It is a great honor for me being from this region, to have been named president of the next edition by the organizers of the festival. I love my hometown and also like cultural events that aim at awareness and social development

How do you rate the festival, especially since it is the only Rif cinema festival and the only regular festival in seven years

This is an exceptional and unique festival in the north-east of the country. Nador, or Rif in general, is an economically rich region, but at the same time culturally poor. Sincerely, it is a strange situation

In Western countries, businessmen and economic actors participate in the realization of cultural projects and finance, on their own account, cultural meetings

I hope this situation will change in the near future because culture represents the soul and identity of a society

Netherland is the guest of honor of the seventh edition. Is this the prelude to future cooperation, in different areas, between Nador and Rotterdam

I am very proud of this cultural connection between Holland and Nador. I have contributed modestly to the development of the idea and hope that this cooperation continues, especially since Morocco and Holland are linked by half a million people who have a dual feeling and are proud of their two cultures

How do you see the cultural life in the Rif region and the development it has experienced in recent years

On the economic level, it seems to me that Morocco has made significant investments in previous years. Part of this wealth has been well invested in the north. Whatever these projects are, demand is still strong and the ambitions of citizens are growing

In the political field, the equitable distribution of the wealth of a society is a very delicate operation. In this context, the citizen must not limit himself to the role of a spectator who waits for the state to approach him and realize all his wishes. It must be at the heart of the initiative to contribute itself to the development

The further away a city is from the center and the weaker the decentralization is, the more difficult it is to communicate to the central government its economic and cultural needs. Visits to the region by the King in recent years have been part of major projects, including road construction and Marchica Med

How do you live Ramadan in Netherland? Are there special provisions

The holy month of Ramadan in Netherland is a month of work and fasting in a country where you do not feel what I feel as a Muslim. I work twelve hours a day and I always want to come home when the fast breaks. I try during the weekend to spend some time with my family and friends, and go to the mosque to pray with the fasters

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