destructions imsouane

Imsouane demolitions in January 2024

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Imsouane demolitions : between traditions and tourist development

Historically, Imsouane was a village inhabited by the Amazigh people. These Berber tribes, whose traditions and way of life were closely linked to the land and the sea, have left their mark on the culture and identity of the village. For centuries, Imsouane was a humble fishing village, its economy primarily dependent on the sea.

In recent decades, Imsouane has experienced a gradual tourist boom thanks to the discovery of its legendary waves by the international surfing community. Small surf camps began to emerge along the coast, offering travelers an authentic surfing experience and immersion in the local culture. With its rustic charm, warm hospitality, and preserved natural landscape, Imsouane captivates travelers seeking authenticity and adventure.

What happened in january 2024

Unfortunately, in January 2024, parts of the village were demolished. Indeed, along the country’s coast, from Nador to Sidi R’bat, authorities conducted a vast operation of “liberating the maritime public domain.” As such, on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, residents and merchants with structures built on the maritime public domain were ordered to vacate the premises (approximately 1000 people affected). These individuals did not have property titles, and most leased the land from the municipality; some had managed to legalize their activities, while others had not. While the residents of Imsouane knew that one day they would be asked to leave, they did not expect to have so little time to do so. Within 48 hours, bulldozers arrived and began to destroy all the dwellings in the historic village, despite residents’ efforts to resist demolition.

The connection between surfers and Imsouane runs deep, and when news of the destruction reached them, it deeply affected them. This news spread rapidly through social media, sometimes without providing all the details and information about what was happening locally, leaving the impression that Imsouane would be wiped off the map, leaving behind only memories and an emptiness where a once vibrant community stood.

The magic bay is still magical

Imsouane demolitions areas held significant cultural, historical, and economic value for both residents and visitors. Among them, Tasblast (facing the Cathédrale spot) stood out as one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods in the village, steeped in tradition and charm. Similarly, the coastal areas, the central square with its narrow streets, and its numerous essential shops (groceries, bakery, supermarket, café, and restaurant), as well as the area overlooking La Baie (the bread oven, O happy Bay and the famous “Blue passage”). These many demolished houses and businesses were not only centers of activity but also essential elements of the village’s identity/economy.

After a few days or even weeks of a gloomy and sad atmosphere, village life resumed. The residents showed resilience and are now looking towards the future with their characteristic optimism. Imsouane is who we are. The Magic Bay is still magical! Imsouane remains an authentic village where time stops, making way for “good vibes,” good humor, encounters, and sharing!

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