- SARAH ZAAIMI
I have seen opportunists surrounding [king's Friend and current head of PAM Party] Fouad Ali Alhima -who was still the second man of the Ministry of Interior at that time- in nights where alcohol marries miniskirts and hypocritical laughter.
I have seen checks signed by Moulay Hisham for Corrupted Journalists for whatever conspiracy he was planning against the monarchy.
I have seen these same journalists becoming national heroes, professors in the Journalism Institute and famous newspapers owners.
I have seen the former Minister of Communication ordering to put a tape of his belly dancer sister on the news right after the Friday Prayer led by the king.
I have seen arrogant political leaders like Liazgui insulting me and saying I am a cheap bitch, a miserable journalist that he can destroy easily just because I was too honest in my questions.
I have seen the money of the City of Rabat spent on festivals and private parties in villas where Fatima Makdady sings half naked and drunk on the table surrounded by a disgusted Marcel Khalifa and applauding journalists.
I have seen honest journalists living with 200 € a month and still believing in social justice.
I have seen other journalists happy with the free mobiles, the 100 € in an envelope or the weekend in Marrakech offered by strong companies to write a nice article about their lousy press conferences.
I have seen young and honest entrepreneurs like Ali Anouzla and Aziz Koukass fighting to keep a neutral independent newspaper running, while the advertisers deprives them from any help.
I have seen opportunists like Badie and Niny selling millions of copies with stories full of defamation and against journalistic ethics.
I have seen TV presenters sexually harassing interns and earning a huge salary without even working.
I have seen Samira Sitael slapping a journalist in the face, tearing the hair of another and drawing her hot coffee on the face of a third.
I have seen secret services contacting me in order to share my information “for the sake of national security”, and others trying to recruit me because I was a promising journalist.
I have been threatened of death, of prison, and my parents interrogated because of the boldness of their daughter.
I have seen production companies exploiting young correspondents and blocking the market.
I have seen young journalists in the Journalism Institute (ISIC) full of dreams of building a better journalistic environment and becoming famous one day.
I have seen and I have seen… and you know what it was too much to take for someone who was 18 to 21 years old. The years other people spend dating, partying and shopping carelessly, I spent them locked in an editing room, correcting an article on a A3 or under the rain covering a strike.
Yes I have interviewed prostitutes and learned the codes they use to catch men.
I met Tazmamart detainees and witnessed the reconciliation process with them and their families.
I have infiltrated an evangelic mission and had prayers and meals with the beggars who converted to Christianity for a monthly salary.
I have investigated on Franc Massons in Morocco, met their great leader in Casablanca, and revealed their lodge.
I have interviewed from Driss Bassri to Plontu to Tindouf detainees to the poorest worker wanting just peace and a load of bread.
I have met the totally veiled wives of the Casablanca terrorists who were asking me why they should trust a girl in halve sleeves and jeans like me, to the atheist socialists who believe in gay rights and constitutional reforms.
I have seen the body remains in the mortuary of the Casablanca terrorists where the flesh and blood of the suicide bombers was melting with the flesh and blood of their victims.
Yes my life was exciting, challenging and full of adrenaline. I was getting pocket money from my parents to continue doing what I do. I was happy with my little name on a paper or a news feature on the TV and my miserable salary because I was believing that I was making change in my country. I felt no one can break my pen or burn my tape, no one can corrupt my ideals or steal my dreams. Yet, I wasn’t strong enough to continue fighting. It was becoming too heavy for my soul to see all the double standards and having to cope everyday with different levels of people as if I was a machine with many masks not a human being. I needed to shout my anger and my refusal, but the chains of neutrality and subjectivity were holding me quite and smiling. Until one day in August 2006 when I faxed my resignation letter to the Moroccan channel 2M, which symbolized for me resigning from the whole field once for all. The same night I started my blog “Words for Change” where I could finally say what I think, what I see and what I feel.
My last thoughts are for the brave colleagues who worked with me or studies with me and who are much more courageous than I am, because they chose to continue the battle in a country still in democratic and social transition. I would like to thank you for all what you are enduring on our behalf to get fresh new everyday while sitting on our offices. For my part I work now in Development which I believe will help me making a little change, and which is not that innocent of clean as you may think. But let’s leave that for another note.