Blame It On the Chergui

TALIM Drissi cropped WeatherOnline gives a great description of Tangier's crazy wind called the chergui.  Crazy, in that it blows in over the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, laden with desert sand.  Figure that one out.

Crazy, in that sometimes, like yesterday, it blew low towards the west, while up above the wind from the Atlantic Ocean blew towards the east.  The "birds" that I saw flying in the city lights last night were in fact plastic bags, which didn't know which way to go.

The chergui is also blamed for odd human behavior.  For some, it can be enervating.  Someone told me that when he's getting out of bed, he knows when the chergui is blowing.  And he just wants to stay in bed (some people don't even need the chergui for this).

Others have been observed displaying unusual facial tics, twitching in the chergui.  Still others, quite the opposite of enervation, get overexcited and agitated.  I'm sure certain crimes of passion, and maybe some quite unpremeditated violence, happen during the chergui.  It occurs to me that some defendants in other windblown places – maybe the mistral in Marseille or the scirocco on Stromboli – may use the weather alibi.  Here, it might be "the chergui made me do it."

In the biannual, bilingual arts and writing review Mediterraneans Méditerranéenes, Moroccan writer Maati Kabbal imagined "the Year of the Chergui," where foliage and brains were fried.  A police commissioner intones "The people accuse you of spreading the Chergui in the city… as sorcerers, you are destined for hell…"  Wow.  Guilt by Chergui.

I don't know if Moroccan artist Mohamed Drissi, who has an art gallery named after him in Tangier, was depicting a chergui victim in this poster of one of his works pictured here.  But it surely is a phenomenon.

But when the chergui drops, and the barometer steadies, we can perhaps forgive and forget the erratic behavior committed under its influence.

Your Honor: I rest my defense with the chergui weather report.

Gerald Loftus

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