Archive for 'Morocco'
I want to express my intention to do something different, and strike off in a new direction. And in this, I hope you will help me.
The argument about the special legitimacy of kings is one often heard in Morocco, when explaining why Morocco has known comparatively little unrest since the Arab awakening began. However, the recent controversy over the bay’a, or ceremony of allegiance to the king, might be saying something different.
Morocco shows a modernizing face to the world, with its high-speed trains and five-star hotels, but urban shantytowns and rural poverty are a stubborn reality behind the façade.
The excluded class at the bottom is frustrated and angry, but they are the victim of years of social engineering designed to teach them passivity and resignation. February 20 activists will have their work cut out for them if they want to connect with this group, but it represents the only potential for February 20 to expand its base and become a majority movement.
In light of the constitutional reform proposal of King Mohammed VI, perhaps it would be useful to take a look at this recent article about Jordan, which calls it a “liberalizing autocracy” gifted at creating the illusion of change.
The Arab Spring with its revolutions and uprisings opened a window in Morocco, for a frank and open exchange of views on all the essential questions. With a proposed new constitution in which things change only to remain the same, I fear that window is closing.
When a society is in flux and its conditions are changing, the old adaptations no longer work, and it is likely that those at the fringes, the outcasts and eccentrics, will discover qualities that had previously been shunned….
At times the February 20 Movement in Morocco has been criticized for not having a coherent leadership or a clear set of demands. A few observations from Syria may provide some encouragement.
My latest essay for Talk Morocco is up, on the theme of “Moroccan identity.”
Is it possible that the recent wave of criminal prosecutions is, paradoxically, a result of greater freedoms? Perhaps they are growing pains as journalists and bloggers test the limits, and the state struggles to define its new boundaries?