morocco01In the Moroccan Arabic dialect called Dirija, hshuma (pron: h'shoo-mah) translates as the sense of being shamed before others, which leads to a loss of pride and honour.

"There is nothing worse than for a Moroccan man to be shamed before his friends or peers. The most valuable commodity for a Moroccan is our honour. Hshuma means that any insult must be settled, if necessary with blood."

Ali, local café owner, Agadir [he makes the best almond milk anywhere]

The consequences of hshuma can be far-reaching. If someone is deeply shamed, they can be ostracised by their family or community. To avoid hshuma, many Moroccans will say or do things publicly - which to a westerner seems like an act, or a performance, but for them it is a safe-guard - there is no shame in looking good.