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Transparency

The internet is a tool that brings about transparency. And transparency is what is needed to transform a closed society into an open one. Unfortunately, transparency in Morocco is still in the early stages, despite the great strides of the past few years.

Part of the problem is cultural reluctance. People are shy, even hostile to too much transparency because it means airing their dirty laundry in public. Who wants to talk about young mothers begging in the streets, or children as young as eight spending their days in a trance from sniffing glue? Who wants to talk about the blind leading the blind in religion, or children working menial jobs when they should be in school, or wife abuse, child abuse, prostitution, drug dealing, and all the other signs of poverty and ignorance?

Let’s go a step further. How much of this is the result of a corrupt system? Maybe the police and government officials know perfectly well who the criminal bosses are, because they see their own faces in the mirror! Transparency can be dangerous, because it means breaking the rule of silence that protects crime in high places. In Sicily back in the 1980s, courageous journalists worked with uncorruptable judges to put Mafia bosses in jail. But before that happened, many heroes were killed. Judges died in explosions. Journalists were shot in the street.

Another thing working against transparency is that Moroccans want to present a good image of their country, for the sake of tourism and investment. And of course, they want to believe this image themselves. They don’t want to think, “I live in a society with problems.” After all, aren’t other societies worse? Didn’t Algeria just climb out of a long civil war? Isn’t Mauritania one of the poorest countries in Africa? Haven’t people in Europe and America lost their religion, their sense of community, their moral center?

Like your grandmother, they say, “If you can’t say anything nice, it’s better to keep quiet.” They criticize Mohamed Choukri because he told the truth about his life. He talked about domestic violence, prostitution, adolescents who steal, poverty and its effects on the spirit. For this people say, “He is a vulgar writer. He uses the language of the street.” But telling the truth is the sign of a healthy society. Before we can solve our problems, we need information. We need to look at the situation from all sides, and put our heads together in debate.

In the U.S., our president has tried to avoid responsiblity for his acts by suppressing the truth. He has tried to hide the trail of lies that persuaded so many Americans to support an immoral war. He has tried to hide torture, secret prisons, and illegal spying. All of this was revealed by courageous journalists and citizens demanding the truth. Then he accused the truth-tellers of “helping the enemy,” calling them traitors, bin Laden lovers, terrorists. Fortunately, the internet is like an echo chamber. Once the information came out, it couldn’t be put back again. Fortunately, too, despite our problems, the U.S. has a culture that values transparency. We are used to it, and we have laws and independent judges who believe in protecting it.

In Morocco, the process is just beginning. The limits of freedom are still being tested. Maybe the process will go smoothly. Some societies have had “velvet revolutions” where everything changed overnight. The Czech Republic, South Africa, and Chile are just a few examples. Yet to reach that point, those who fought for freedom made real sacrifices. They paid with their freedom, their reputation, even their lives. This was the case in all of the nations I just mentioned. Criminals in power won’t give up easily. What are they without their power? What are they when they stand before a judge? If they’ve spent their lives using harsh methods to protect their position, they will do it again.

What’s different this time is that people are watching. The criminals are naked in front of everyone. Journalists, bloggers and ordinary citizens are there to say, “Look what happened! Look who did it!” Truth and justice are like a magnet that attracts allies. Only a few will be brave at first. But once they get started, it becomes easier for the rest. Soon everyone is talking, and there are no limits to the truth.

Comments

Comment from Massir
Time: November 24, 2006, 19:36

Je suis d’accord avec le début de ta note. D’ailleurs, tu peux remplacer Maroc par Tunisie.

Mais pas la fin: ici, nous allons vers la censure. De plus en plus.

Comment from eatbees
Time: November 24, 2006, 21:03

Je suis optimiste parce que sans optimisme, la condition de l’être humain est insupportable. J’ai un grand espoir que le monde en général marche vers la liberté, même si le chemin est parfois dur. J’ai l’espoir pour le Maroc parce que j’aime le Maroc, un peu bêtement je le confesse—plutôt le peuple marocain, qui méritent vraiment mieux.

Même la censure ne peut pas empêcher les gens de parler entre eux. Après avoir gouté la libérté, cela ne se retire pas facilement. J’espère que ce que tu dis est un point de vue particulier, ou bien, qu’il y a une solution. Aux autres…?

Comment from Massir
Time: November 26, 2006, 17:37

Sincèrement, je ne sais pas s’il y a une solution.

Mais il est certain que chez nous la censure bat son plein. Bien plus qu’au Maroc. Il suffit de lire les journeaux marocains et les journeaux tunisiens pour voir la différence.

Il suffit aussi de voir la censure implacable sur internet en Tunisie.

Et cela va de mal en pis.

Malheureusement.

Parfois, j’ai l’impression d’une énorme cocotte minute qui pourrait exploser si on n’y prend pas garde.

Je ne suis vraiment pas d’un tempérament pessimiste. Mais la réalité est là.

Comment from eatbees
Time: November 26, 2006, 17:58

Ah d’accord, tu es tunisienne…! Alors je comprends, malheureusement. J’ai vu ton blog, d’ailleurs je l’aime bien, mais dans la blogoma on ne peux pas toujours préciser au premier coup d’oeil.

Je suis d’accord que le Maroc est plus heureux sur ce plan-là. Espérons que l’un des pays arabo-musulmans, soit l’Egypte, soit le Maroc, soit…? sert un jour comme exemple incontournable pour les autres.

Pour l’instant je vous lance, toi et tes compatriotes, des pensées solidaires.

Comment from Massir
Time: November 27, 2006, 15:43

Eh oui, 100% tunisienne!

L’Egypte n’est pas un bon exemple. Il y a une apparence de liberté, mais ce n’est vraiment qu’une apparence.

Lorsque l’on voit les films égyptiens récents, c’est certain, il y a une certaine liberté. Mais lorsque l’on voit ce qui est arrivé à Kareem ou au Ministre qui s’est prononcé contre le voile….

Comment from eatbees
Time: November 27, 2006, 16:57

Oui c’est drôle (?) cette question de voile — ou de foulard plutôt — on veut démontrer au monde qu’on est moderne mais on ne comprend pas que la base de la modernité est la tolérance, et le choix.

Mais la France a fait à peu près la même chose, n’est-ce pas? Ce que je n’ai jamais compris….

Comment from Kenza
Time: November 28, 2006, 15:10

j’ai eu une discussion ce week end avec des amis tunisiens et marocains sur le voile et je me suis rendus compte que la question est beaucoup plus complexe et difficile à cerner que ce qui parrait
J’ai bien envie de faire un post la dessus même si y a quelques semaines à peine je me refusais de rentrer dans ce débat pour des raisons bien évidentè: il est bien trop complexe pour prendre une position juste là dessus…

Je vais tenter le coup quand même :) dès que j’ai un moment

Comment from Massir
Time: November 28, 2006, 18:41

@ Eatbees:

Je t’invite à lire mon post à ce sujet.

Et si tu as le temps, j’en ai écris d’autres au sujet de l’islamisme et des islamistes.

Je comprends parfaitement la position de la France.

La France est un Etat laïque. Que ceux qui veulent y vivre se plient à ses règles.

Choisir la laïcité ne veut pas dire refuser les religions. Mais celles-ci doivent rester du domaine du privé et ne pas interférer dans tout ce qui publique.

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