Main menu:

Site Search


Recent Posts

Similar Posts

Most Popular

Recent Comments



Nothing Has Changed

Fez, July 3, 2009. Click image to see a larger version.

If I had to pick a single image to sum up what I’ve seen so far in Morocco, I guess it would have to be this one.

A young man rests on his bicycle, overcome by fatigue or even despair in the middle of his route. People pass by, indifferent, no doubt consumed by their own problems. The nowhere quality of the place just underlines the theme.

Fortunately no nation, culture, or people can be summed up in a single image. However, since I’ve returned to Morocco after being away for three years, I keep hearing the same message from most of my friends. Nothing has changed, and since things were dysfunctional to begin with, that means Morocco is slowly sliding into an abyss of futility and defeat.

A friend in Essaouira who was active in reformist causes, labor activism and investigative journalism has given up writing after suffering personal difficulties and the intense opposition of local authorities.

A friend in Fez who is in his third year of law school lost an entire year of studies after conflicts between students and the administration led to the cancellation of midterm exams.

Other friends have been more fortunate on a personal level, but they still see a society with no middle class, no effective system of public education, no electorate ready to defend its rights, no politicians willing to risk their privileges in the fight for reform, and a state committed to a bread and circuses strategy of keeping the youth entertained with festivals rather than investing in the long-term economic development of the people.

To be honest, I was reluctant to return to Morocco because I thought I might be saddened in this way. Coming from a nation where everything works despite having just suffered a major economic crisis, it’s difficult to undertand a society that remains stuck despite the enormous inventiveness, curiosity, motivation, and native intelligence of the Moroccan people.

When I was here in 2003–2006, there was a feeling that despite all the obstacles of an underdeveloped nation, change was in the air and the future would be brighter. It was easy then for me to explain what I loved about Morocco, a nation reaching for democracy and opportunity while holding to the best of its traditions. Today I have a harder time answering that question.

I’ll have more to say on this later, but for now I pose the question to you, dear readers. Is Morocco stuck, and why?


Comment from Wydadi
Time: July 15, 2009, 12:29

The answer is yes and the reason is crystal clear,there would be no change without the very essential reform wich is a political reform.As far as i’m concerned i believe the first step onto the path of reform should have been a constitutional one but you may have noticed that the regime is dead against any form of political change because of its pathetic fear of it.So here we are trumpeting the same ol’propaganda about “the most beautiful place in the world” but in the end the photo you published is the opportune answer to that same propaganda.

Comment from eatbees
Time: July 17, 2009, 09:24

Wydadi, I’ve been saying for a long time that constitutional reform is crucial, so why haven’t any of the major political parties been pushing for it, or the people voting for it? It seems there’s a failure of communication somewhere, or a failure of will.

Until the Moroccan people demand change it won’t happen, but they aren’t demanding it because their spirit is worn out.

Write a comment