This is Morocco’s flag. It’s rich in symbolism: a green star for Islam, peace, and hope; a red field for the royal Alaouite dynasty, bravery and valor. But there’s a much simpler meaning, and to understand it you only have to hop in a car and drive.
On our fourth and fifth days in Morocco, we passed over the Atlas mountains towards the town of Tinghir (pronounced “Tin-R-irr”). The further east we went, the drier it got. Between towns there was nothing but stony desert, the occasional walled farm, and the mountains in the distance. The dominant color was rusty red, the color of iron-rich soil.
Every valley has its river, splitting the low ground between the distant peaks. A few hundred feet on either side, palm trees and rushes form a narrow belt of green that brings to mind the delicate star on the Moroccan flag.
Nearly all the villages, towns, and farms in this part of Morocco exist in this narrow margin where growing things is possible. Red and green, desert and water, death and life.