Once upon a time, you didn’t exist
when I came here, to Holland (thirty years ago)
.
You didn’t yet exist here then
(your fathers did, but they were different).
You didn’t exist yet
As ‘The Moroccan’
,
as a specific group
,
as a concept
,
as a subject, as a picture
,
for every newspaper, TV and magazine column
(I was not an ‘allochtoon’ yet
 and neither were you)
.
But when you came
so did the attraction and the fear
.
You, the Mediterranean type
,
the physiognomy of the Latin lover
,
the Arab on the white scooter
,
the lover boy, the rapper, the Palestinian brother…
And the Dutch daughters fell in love
.
And their fathers grew confused
.
And called all Turks Moroccans.
(all Moroccans are named Mohammed, Rashid or Ali
,
all the Dutch boys are named Piet or Jan)
.
Her new Turkish boyfriend said
‘your father and I have at least
one thing in common:
neither of us likes
Moroccans.’

 


Pretty Boys. First published in Respect! Forms of community – Contemporary art From the Netherlands, (cat.), Marrakech, 2005; and included in Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings. Notes and Texts, second edition (revised and expanded) Koenig Books London, 2014.