|So who was I to demand an answer to my questions?|
US-Americans make friends overseas they do so for lots of reasons, but at some
level it involves feeling comfortable with the individual and liking them as
people. However, all individuals are to some extent a product of their culture
and in the situation discussed here there is a clash of worldviews at the
deepest levels. For the Moroccan Muslim any assertion that they have personal
autonomy and can predict future actions is close to religious blasphemy.
US-American simply wants the friend to respond directly (and positively) about a
planned trip and does not initially recognize that the issue is neither simple
nor a matter of personal choice for the friend. The US-American is likely to be
thinking, “What’s the big problem?” while for the Moroccan, it is a very
big deal that involves a lifetime of religious training and social
enculturation. Even if he would like to go and wants to spend time with his new
friend, he would be reluctant to affirm the appointment without allowing for the
possibility that fate or duty might intervene.
problem is clearly cultural, not personal. If issues like these happen to you while abroad, it would be far better
if you were prepared to initially consider that the root cause of such
difficulties or misunderstandings comes from cultural conflicts and not
attribute them to personal quirks or failures in the friendship.