After Argana – Café Argana, Marrakech: Today

Posted on May 27, 2011


Today: Café Argana, the scene of the horrific Marrakech bomb blast on 28th April 2011, received it’s first “make-over”.

Water Seller in the Jemaa el Fna pointing out the new Art at Argana Cafe

At around 10.00am this morning 6 bespoke Works of  Art were mounted on the tarpaulin scaffold that currently shields Café Argana’s  destruction from view across the Jemaa el-Fna square.

 At the base; lay floral tributes to those directly and indirectly affected by the bombing incident.

A Floral Wreath amongst the many floral tributes at the base Cafe Argana
Steve & Sarah Shackleton, amongst many, enjoying Lunch in the Food Stalls. In the background; the Tarpaulin covering Cafe Argana can be see to the left.

From Bournemouth with Love:

Steve and Sarah Shackleton enjoying the Foodstalls next to Cafe Argana

Newly Weds: Steve and Sarah Shackleton, from the UK Holiday resort of Bournemouth, find themselves enjoying a little refreshment in one of the many Food Stalls to be found on the Jemaa el Fna , main square, of Marrakech, in the shadow of Café Argana. Steve tells me “I came to Morocco in 2008 and followed the Atlantic Coast from North to South, over 4 months, Kite-surfing with a friend. It was the best adventure I’ve ever had. So impressed that I have returned with my wife, Sarah, and we have been touring from Tangier to Meknes then onto Marrakech then further a-field”. 

 When the question regarding the Café Argana bombing incident was posed; Steve states “I didn’t give it a second thought. I would have been concerned if we were travelling through Tunisia, Libya or Egypt as they have civil unrest and I would not want to get caught up in nationalistic crossfire but Morocco is a stable country; whereas a mindless isolated attack like the Café Argana bombing could just have easily affected us at a London or Glasgow Airport”. When the same question was posed to Sarah, “We are only in Marrakech for 2 days, just passing through, I didn’t consider it necessary to remove the highlight of my tour through fear of a repeat attack”.

I pay homage to the peoples of Marrakech and the many tourists that continue to fill the square.

After Argana it's "Business as Usual" the tourists, today, fill the Main Square

It appears “Business as Usual” which demonstrates resilience from terror for both Marrakech and her vital tourism industry.

The Orange Stand in front of Cafe Argana

The Orange Stands and Food Stalls were bustling; Snake Charmers charming, Merchants selling & the Water Seller goes about his trade.

Snak Charmers … charming Cafe Argana in the background

One particular graphic Art Work caught my attention. It requires no explanation and respectfully reminds us to remain vigilant in whatever city or destination we wish to visit.

Cafe Argana Artwork which requires no introduction

Café Argana may be down – but it’s not out – as today it is the largest Exhibition of Art in the main square of Marrakech.

I applaud all involved and the great solidarity shown by the Global Community who passing by this work as I write.

Young Family enjoying their day in the Jemaa el Fna

photographs: Simon Hawkesley / Riad Laksiba