Idriss El Jay “Climbs the High Atlas”

The Moroccan Association of Researchers in Travel and Rukaz Publishing House in Jordan (2024) have released a new translation from German by Moroccan researcher and translator Idriss El Jay, who resides in Berlin. This is for the book “Traveling through Morocco and Climbing the High Atlas,” which documents the second journey of the German Gerhard Rohlfs to Morocco and was originally published in 1869. This follows his first book on Morocco, “My First Stay in Morocco,” published in 1873, which was also translated by Idriss El Jay and released by the Narratology Laboratory Publications at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Ben M’Sik, Casablanca (2018).

In the translator’s introduction to the Arabic text, it is stated: “There is no doubt that Rohlfs’ writings about Morocco, North Africa, and later about some African countries bordering the Sahara, shed light on many aspects of Moroccan, African, and North African life in the 19th century. However, it is certain that these writings were not intended to benefit the Moroccan or African people in general with the valuable information he collected.”

Moroccan researcher and translator Idriss El Jay added in the same introduction: “From the outset, this information was directed towards specific entities that were engaged in gathering data for the benefit of the colonizer, broadly defined to include investors, contractors, and producers. These groups were primarily interested in seeking raw materials for industrial development driven by the Industrial Revolution and capitalist competition to find new markets. These entities required a scientific team, such as geographical societies and forums focused on Africa, who in turn recruited people ready to collect this information. The ultimate goal was to collectively benefit from the resources of new colonies.”

The new release by researcher and author Idriss El Jay enriches the Moroccan and Arab literary collection, offering interested readers a German outsider’s perspective on Morocco. It captures the lives and affairs of Moroccans as observed by a German traveler, whose travels and interpretations of Morocco continue to raise many questions.

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