That's me in front of one of the Legation's many doors, or doors-within-gates. Only it's not in the medina of Tangier, but in DACOR Bacon House, the HQ of Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired.
DACOR has a small but wonderful museum, open to the public. But why this massive artifact from America's oldest diplomatic establishment? From the DACOR Bulletin:
When the Legation building underwent renovations in the 1980s, the gate was removed and was about to be discarded. Ken Rogers, U.S. Consul General in Tangier 1980-1985, recognized that the distinctive gate was too important to be abandoned. He obtained approval to salvage it for eventual donation to an appropriate U.S. location. Fortunately for DACOR, Ken has decided that the perfect location would be among the Foreign Service artifacts in the new Art Museum.
When I first learned of this piece of the Legation in Washington and told some Americans and Moroccans in Tangier, some thought that the gate should really be back "home" in its original medina location.
I am not so sure. First of all, the Legation has many such doors, though I wish they were as well preserved as this one at DACOR. As Ken Rogers found during the Eighties restoration, there wasn't any place for it, and I think that could still be said.
Along with the State Department's US Diplomacy Center, DACOR's display of memorabilia shows visitors – Americans who might not know much about diplomacy – that their country has a rich history of engagement with the world. "Engagement" not in the short, sharp battle sense of the word (though American history is replete with that too). But engagement of the type still practiced at the Legation in Tangier.
TALIM, in the heart of an Arab medina, is a low-key way of daily engagement with its neighbors, whether they are women learning to read and write in Arabic or students touring the TALIM Museum.
We'll take care of showing people around in Tangier. If DACOR can open a few American eyes to the world of diplomacy by showing people our gate, then I say keep that door open.