By Moundir Al Amrani
Rabat, January 12, 2012
Morocco is a developing country that has suffered under the yoke of corruption for many years. It is still burdened by economic and social challenges that exercise enormous stress on the country’s progress and development. Until not long ago it had been in the iron grip of a rigid regime. We need to add to this the issue of the Moroccan Sahara and the other colonized enclaves that drain much of the country’s political and economic efforts and potential. These are facts that have to be noted and remembered before embarking on any discussion or criticism of the country’s current situation. It is primordial to bear them in mind if we really want to be fair in our assessment and evaluation of our country’s achievements.
Unfortunately, it has become a recurrent practice and habit to show a lack of appreciation and ingratitude to anyone for anything they have done for the good of our country, which is not fair. It also hurts so much to see and hear some of our fellow Moroccans butcher our country’s image and underestimate any efforts to make a step towards development. These are the enemy from within who are good at nothing but expressing their skepticism and casting their cynicism on us.
The first thing we need to do is to look back at the past years and remember how things had been up until the end of last century, the thing that many young people do not know or do not realize. Most of the people who take to the streets on a weekly basis demanding change and calling on the people to voice their demands are mainly young people, and it has been a defining characteristic of the demonstrations to consist, for the large part, of young people. Looking at their age, we can easily conclude that they are too young to know anything about Morocco’s past, and those pushing them to the streets have excelled in manipulating their innocence and ignorance perfectly.
Most of the young people who rally in the streets have no idea that at a certain time in Morocco one would not dare talk about politics even to oneself, and they have no idea, too, that there was a time when the lowest Auxiliary Forces private ruled the streets and frightened people just by passing by.
Those days are gone, and we live in very much different Morocco. We can all see that people express themselves openly and publicly; otherwise, we would not have heard calls for public lunch in open air while the people are fasting during Ramadan such as what happened in Mohamedia a couple of years ago. Also, we all see open calls for a non-religious state on social media with no fear, let alone similar calls for unconditioned sexual freedom and liberty. Clear evidence of the new era that began when King Mohamed VI acceded to the throne was his initiative to reconcile with the past through the Commission of Equity and Reconciliation, revealing his intentions and the kind of Morocco he sought to build. This commission was created and accomplished its mission long before any signs of the Arab Spring had been observed. We did not need to wait for Tunisia or Egypt to be ripped apart to do this.
As for the issue of development, it would be ungrateful of some of us to deny any progress or development; and we all should really start to learn how to appreciate what Morocco has been achieving. It is true that the pace of development is considered by many to be slow, but, then, we should also note that it is steady. We cannot just say there is no development whatsoever. Change and development are obvious and significant, but are we playing an active part in all of this?
This brings us to an issue that is really serious and dangerous, and bringing it up really hurts and irritates at the same time. The stance of those who think that the rhythm of development is slow can be understood and debatable, but the problem is in those who criticize anything and everything in exaggerated ways. These are the enemies from within, people with a completely different mindset. They have turned into campaigners whose sole task is to criticize in a destructive rather than a constructive way. Again, small examples can make this point tangible.
People have had different reactions to Morocco’s high speed train project as they swing between those who bless it and see it as a step into the future and those who curse it and think it is unnecessary. Those who look at the project with positive eyes are optimistic and look forward to having similar projects; whereas, those who trivialize it and describe it as unnecessary cannot see the potential it will bring to the country. As for those who are counted among intellectuals and are supposedly well-aware of the reality of life in Morocco, things get alarming when these people choose to underestimate the country’s potential. These are the ones I call pseudo-intellectuals because they just pretend to be who they cannot be.
It is unbelievable how naïve and unaware a person could be when dealing with issues that might harm our country’s image. Such people look at the initiative for high speed rail, for example, as no more than a form of saving French companies from bankruptcy by offering them projects in Morocco. In other words, they believe that Morocco has become some sort of El dorado to crisis-hit French firms. In a sense, I would agree with these people that we are still economically annexed to France and dependent on it. But what have we done to change this?
We all know that East-West relations are governed by politics and economy, but are the West the one to blame for that? What have we done to serve our country? Risk our lives crossing the Mediterranean to reach its northern shores to collect their garbage for a handful of euros then come and say that our country is worthless?
Such things can be understandable if they come from a common person whose main concern is to earn their daily bread, but what is intolerable is to find people writing all sorts of irresponsible things and pretend to be aware of our reality. Moreover, what is equally as bad is to find it written for an international readership and give them the worst false images about Morocco and Moroccans.
From another perspective, we really should stop blaming others for our own backwardness and inability to have a strong economy, despite their historical involvement in it. If we are dependent on the West and its technology, we should then confess and admit that we have never done anything to achieve our independence.
I personally have never heard of any country so burdened by its own people and so mercilessly butchered under the pretext that it has given them nothing. Is this how things should be? Who is supposed to build the other? We should be aware that we have been carried away by our own egos at the expense of our national role, and if we do not wake up soon, we will all go down and take our country down with us.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti