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Morocco: To March or Not To March on February 20?

Washington, Morocco Board News-- The debate around the February 20 march is heating up on line, in the written press and in cafes around Morocco. To march or not to march? That is the question many Moroccans have been pondering.  In the last two weeks the pro and anti March camps have been locked in a fierce social media battle to explain the reasons and goals of the march for “the pro” camp and to dispute and challenge the motivation of the elements behind this event for “the anti” camp.

The two factions that have been pushing their agendas on Facebook, Twitter and blogs, are only a minority of the Moroccan public. The largest slice of the Moroccan society is in fact the silent majority that has not had a chance yet to express their views on the March. This silent majority will be the defining factor in the success or failure of the February 20 event.  

In a country where it is hard to conduct polls on certain political subjects, it will be tricky to gauge the feeling of the Moroccans toward the March and the demands of the people and political and civic groups that have endorsed. However, judging from the chats on the Web and on the street, the March and its organizers are controversial but their demands are universally endorsed by that silent majority. Demands to end corruption and nepotism, end the economic monopoly of the connected few, reforms of the judicial system and open the political field for all to participate are “old” demands that need to be instantly addressed in a transparent and a genuine manner. After Sidi Bouzid (Tunisia) and Tahrir Square, the era of window dressing and empty rhetoric is over and done with.

In a way, the February 20 march has already achieved a major goal by bringing to the forefront the major social, political and economic demands that the Moroccan people have been pleading with the higher authorities to implement and execute for years now but with limited success. The question at this time is whether the Moroccan officials will act on these demands in an effective, sustained, transparent and expedient manner. In the aftermath of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts, no leader can afford to ignore or delay reforms. The consequences of postponement and delay are disastrous if not dangerous.
The matter of reforms to the Moroccan constitution is not a new topic for some Moroccan political activists. The subject, as touchy as it is, was previously discussed and debated during the first Social Government of Prime Minister El Youssoufi. It is indeed time to revisit the issue but using a different venue rather than a protest.
The anti-March campaign has been ugly, furious and downright dirty. Despite the Moroccan government official approval of the  February 20 rallies, many elements inside and outside official circles have been challenging the origins of” the leaders” of the march, their true motives and their allegiances. In fact, there are a considerable number of ordinary Moroccans inside and outside the country (Moroccans living overseas) that are adamantly against the March for fear of violence, bloodshed and hostility.
If the call to protest on February 20 was slow to get off the ground, it gained momentum in the last few days with the endorsement of the banned Islamic movement “Al-Adal wal Ihsan”. According to the Moroccan press, the February 20 march is endorsed by Moroccan nongovernmental organization, a coalition of “small” leftist parties and “Islamist” associations. The leaders of the February 20 movement insist on their independence, non-violence and nationalist motives.
The anti-March camp seems to challenge the manner in which the organizers of the protests go about expressing their grievances. Several segments of the Moroccan society fear that the March will be exploited and hijacked by troublemakers and anti-Moroccan elements. In fact, the issue of safety, security and law and order are the overdoing reasons behind the silence of the majority. The Tunis and Egypt looting and destruction are still vivid in the mind of the Moroccan public.
Regardless of who marches and who does not, the debate around the rationale and possible outcome of this event is a chance for the Moroccan government to address the social and political ills that have lingered away too long.

Comments (22)  

 
riffi
0 #1 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Morocco: To March or Not To March on February 20?riffi 2011-02-16 23:50
I think this march in morocco is more about the freedom of religion than politics.I just came from morocco a month ago,I met some friends of mine from the 70's who were christians and still are,those friends are fed up of the governement hypocrisy concerning the freedom of religion,they are stating that the governement slogan is always moroccan culture and religions are islam and judaism why not christianism.I surfed a lot the web and I found out most of it is leading to the religion than any other thing.something to meditate.
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Bonifas
0 #2 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Morocco: To March or Not To March on February 20?Bonifas 2011-02-17 04:11
What happened in Tunisia and Egypt will NEVER happen in Morocco. Very simple. For every marcher, you will see 2 cops in civilian clothing.
Morocco is the exception, we let everyone do their things and we do our own. This time we know that things are moving in the right direction, if only the king can rid himself from the crooks, We have Naciri who broke the law and getting his son away from the law without any consequences, How can the King look good when he accepts people like these are his ministers?
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Bladchange
0 #3 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Morocco: To March or Not To March on February 20?Bladchange 2011-02-17 05:56
My question to you all, why is this taking place on Sunday, why not Monday or Friday?
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Robert
0 #4 Wa si Hasan!Robert 2011-02-17 20:07
"In fact, there are a considerable number of ordinary Moroccans inside and outside the country (Moroccans living overseas) that are adamantly against the March for fear of violence, bloodshed and hostility." What’s your source for this claim? Survey results? Overwhelming volume of calls you received? Is it your assumption? Could you please substantiate this claim? Overall, I really liked your attempt to discuss the pro- and the anti-march campaigns stating arguments from both sides but injecting this sort of claims in the middle of the article, unfortunately, discredits your objectiveness. I fully understand that Moroccan government would stand firmly behind your claim and rightly applaud this kind of analysis but is it really our role to appease our "dear" government when it's time to press them hard on human right, freedom of speech and true democracy issues? I assume that you live in the Land of the Free. How does it feel? Are our countrymen less human than Americans? Do we deserve less freedom and social justice than western citizens? Why not fight for the same ideals in Morocco? When is the right time to do such fight? Another 50 years? I’m appalled to read some people who repeatedly try to distance the king from the "crooks" around him or some people who think that criticizing the king and his policies is anti-Moroccan! As soon as the king assumed the political power, he should be ready for all sort of criticism because that’s how the political game is played everywhere and Morocco is certainlky not the exception. Our king can not, and should not, have it both ways. In addition, it’s wrong to think that Morocco = king. I understand that our indoctrination through Attarbia AlWatania, while growing in Morocco, made us believe that sovereignty in Morocco is indissoluble from the monarchy but in reality, and this is what February 20 movement is fighting for, sovereignty of Morocco must be embodied in the People (citizens at this time not subjects anymore).
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Dan
0 #5 Your futureDan 2011-02-17 20:48
Moroccans have two choices change the course for better future or keep supporting a corrupt government.
You make the choice?
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zizou
0 #6 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Morocco: To March or Not To March on February 20?zizou 2011-02-18 02:05
i am very sure that in morocco people are ok and our poor still manage to put food on the table and take vacation that is a reality whether we like it or not there are certain things that need to change for example employment : a lot of key jobs are only given trough connections and that limits the people with real qualification and experience the opportunity and eleminate equal opport between everybody. i now that luck of money and other things bring hate toward every thing and everybody but uder this circumstances we should take a step back and think before saying and doing anything its a hall country that may suffer for some one comment. last thing our king is an honnest and hard working king
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Moroccan for life
0 #7 What is your motive . . . . .?Moroccan for life 2011-02-18 02:36
Before marching, Moroccans need to know the objectives of this march and who is behind it. I think the main goal for this march should be change which what everyone is seeking. By reviewing the last decade, change was the only constant thing in Morocco and our country headed by our king is doing an amazing job in promoting change.
We should not forget that our king has been in power only for 10 years compare to Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Bahrain leaders. So far under his leadership, our country is in the right track to success and prosperity. It is worth noting, that for a leader to be a successful one he will need the support of his countrymen, at the end it is our country and we should assist in its development not to destroy what has been accomplished.
In addition, our government should be observing what is happening in other countries and open a dialogue with its people via media and try to implement additional changes to avoid any crisis.
I strongly believe that my fellow Moroccans will act rationally and peacefully. They will think for the future of Morocco and support our king as its leader so he will continue on his development and I wish he will get rid of some corrupted government officials around him.
I urge all Moroccans who will be marching on February 20, 2010, to have a peaceful march and get their points cross with any violence. And if they see someone trying to stir up this march toward rebillion, they should stop him/her as part of their citizenship responsiveness role.

Allah, alwatan, almalik

RO
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ApacheChe
0 #8 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Morocco: To March or Not To March on February 20?ApacheChe 2011-02-18 04:41
Morocco For Life,

I would like you to list out for me the progress that was accomplished in Morocco in the last 10 years. And please don't give me chi3arat. I need numbers, before and after comparisons, basically the type of evidence that the private sector uses to measure success.


Thank you
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mraissam
0 #9 to march or not to march :) good questionmraissam 2011-02-18 07:29
let's clarify this question :-)

To march : against corruption , against the power inheritance , against any negative thing that affect our country ?

or

No to march : support everything that goes wrong in the king's regime ?

Your choice :-)

oh yes , let me add one more suggestion : Or to Stand by the wall and Cry like a lil girl

Thank you
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Rod
0 #10 Morocco foreverRod 2011-02-18 08:06
Not bad, over the last 10 years Morocco experienced a GDP total growth of 41*/. , a progressive ground breaking family law (Woman rights), Literacy rate increased from 41*/ to 56*/ , vast public infrastructure program ( Tanger Med, Highways, Plan d'azure, Plan Maroc vert, Amazigh tv station...).
Of course there is a long road ahead including real constitutional change, fight against corruption, low literacy rate, amazigh rights....but these grievances should not be taken advantage of by a group of pro Polizario/Alger ia agents to manipulate the Moroccan population, we know that they will the same tactics they used in Laayoune, they will engage the police, start fights and put them on YouTube in order to influence international opinion against our rights in our land the sahara, they don't care about Moroccans, remember what they did to us in Laayoune.
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man en blanc
0 #11 YOU WANT CHANGE? START HERE : man en blanc 2011-02-18 08:52
Fouad El Himma, who heads the Party of Authenticity and Modernity, and the man in charge of the king's secretariat, Mohamed Mounir al-Majidi.

Need more? Diplomatic cables feature one former US ambassador to Rabat condemning "the appalling greed of those close to King Mohammed VI".

It's so damn easy! We know the criminals BY NAME! And yet, it's all hunky dory as far as the reformer-in-chi ef is concerned!

Will Sunday be a Tunisia? An Egypt? A Bahrain? A Libya? A 1982 Morocco?

Let's pray for a 1989 Gdansk!
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man en blanc
0 #12 YOU KNOW THAT OLD JOKE? VOTE FOR CHANGE! REELECT ME!man en blanc 2011-02-18 09:14
Unless the blood-sucking varmints surrounding OUR KING are paraded, tarred and feathered, in front of Moroccans. The credibility factor shall remain elusive, and hopelessness will rule the day to a disastrous future I fear.
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Rod
0 #13 Morocco foreverRod 2011-02-18 19:27
I see a lot of Polisario and right wing spanish people/agents with their computers IPs stationned in Spain working hard to push for this march for the "benefit of the Moroccan people"...oh yeah..they really care for Moroccans!!! you can't fool us.
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Morcelli
0 #14 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Morocco: To March or Not To March on February 20?Morcelli 2011-02-18 23:11
Morocco has to be careful not to fall into an Algerian trap here, all it takes is couple of anti Morocco sahraoui students to sacrifice themselves.

It may sound silly when you read me saying this, but not in the eyes of the Algerian secret service.
They succeed to stir things up in Laayoon, they will not hesitate a second to screw Morocco.

Marchers should march to ask for their rights but should also be on the lookout for Algerian paid intruders.

Moroccans should know that the enemy number one is not the Moroccan government, El hima, el fassi and what have you. The enemy is Algeria plain and simple.

We are at war with Algeria for 35 years and it would be NAIVE to think that Algeria is sitting and watching without stirring the pot. Anything Algeria can do to divert attention from the radars of the world and Aljazeerah is a win win situation for them
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JohnKing
0 #15 Give King Mohammed VI a chance!JohnKing 2011-02-18 23:37
Change has been the driving force and an ideal goal for centuries. But what kind of change are we talking about? Nobody would say no to positive and constructive change that a whole society can reap benefits from. But before anyone can change anything, they have to have a better and clear alternative, a vision that suits the socio-religious -historical fabric of the society in question. Democrary and human rights are age-old virtues the whole of humanity has been yearning for. And again, when beneficial to a particular society with ITS particular and unique needs and aspirations, democracy and human rights are noble targets to fight for. But, for Morocco, an Arab-Islamic country, can we just import these ideals from the West, apply them to our needs and hope for the best? To a large degree in Morocco we seem to be impressed by them and somewhat certain that they are the panacea to our socio-economic problems.

Good change in Morocco has been going on for eleven years now under our committed and concerned king, and we should be grateful for that. Some neighboring countries are jealous of us, and we should be aware of that. Of course there are many more changes that are needed for the country, but it is impossible for any ruler to achieve everything at the same time and very quickly, especially since we in Morocco are not blessed with the oil that most Arab countries enjoy.

Give our king a chance to build and serve our country and let's all be realistic about the change. He's on the right track, and he needs our support and patience.

Long live King Mohammed VI for our beautiful and eternal Morocco!
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Rod
0 #16 Morocco foreverRod 2011-02-19 01:07
John king,

I'm for keeping the pressure on For real constitutional change, I believe in a Morocco where our affairs are ran by elected people with term limits and checks & balances, I believe that our constitution is outdated and does not reflect our aspirations.
on the other hand I strongly believe that Polisario, Algerian and right wing Spanish groups are working over time to take advantage of the uprising in north Africa and the middle east, too many ip addresses out of Spain pushing for this Sunday's march, we know what their up to.
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man en blanc
0 #17 DREAM ON !man en blanc 2011-02-19 01:49
There is no doubt that the overpaid Mkadem Bouteflika and the glorified merdas he calls generals, would love to see chaos in Morocco. Anything to distract the oppressed Algerians is fair game for that bande de salopards.
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Rama
0 #18 Relatively speaking..Rama 2011-02-19 02:04
Me myself, I dont live in Marocco. But I do originate from my country and hold it close to my heart. Every year I try and visit, and do get an idea of how badly our youth has it.
University students cannot get a job, hell.. nobody can get a decent job unless you know the right family. Wages are low, and the lower class is great in numbers.

But I think when you compare this financial and corrupt turmoil to Algeria and Tunis you will see that we are as "Morocco forever" stated, doing good.
And our King, is doing a good job in trying to pull us into the 21st century.

Quote:
over the last 10 years Morocco experienced a GDP total growth of 41*/. , a progressive ground breaking family law (Woman rights), Literacy rate increased from 41*/ to 56*/ , vast public infrastructure program ( Tanger Med, Highways, Plan d'azure, Plan Maroc vert, Amazigh tv station...).
Now I dont know much about this planned march tomorrow ( thanks for showing up in google Hassan Masiky ) but seeing the circumstances we live in today.. I do not think its a good idea. A peacefull march against corruption and for better jobs I can agree with and would support. But not in this time. Wrong time, wrong place.
The signal this march will send to the world could have a really bad impact.

And do people even know what they would be marching for or against?
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Sebt Al Had
0 #19 how aboutSebt Al Had 2011-02-19 02:40
What will it take for the 20th feb marchers to change their mind?

Can the King interven tonight to avoid any chaos that might result from the march tomorrow?
Can the king just dismantle his "appointed"gove rnment that most people are so angry about?
Can the king give a speech tonight and appoints a committee as of tonight to go after all the corrupt elements withing his government?
Can the king arrest those corrupt elements as of tonight since the public already know who they are?
Can the king tell us how much he much money he spends on tax payers dollars(don't care for his personal wealth)while some Moroccans can't afford a decent living?
Can the king call for an investigation in ALL government asset sale(privatizat ion)during last 20y?
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united
-1 #20 Moroccan Americans to protest in front of the Moroccan Embassyunited 2011-02-19 09:03
There was no prior plan for this event; few Moroccan Americans will bring the march closer to the US, in front of the Moroccan Embassy in DC.

Time: 10 to 12 PM.
Place: Moroccan Embassy, DC

If you choose to come and show your support, bring your heart and if you wish a sign that speaks your conscious.

This is the first note on this event, and is by no means organized or meant to be organized by any body. If this speaks to you, by all means do show up.

Thanks
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Jamal Mouhtadi
0 #21 God Bless our King and our Kingdom Jamal Mouhtadi 2011-02-19 13:02
I love my country , I care about my King more than anything else, the Party Listiqlal is and will always be the reason for the disfunction of the Kingdom, if I have to choose I will throw under the bus the Fassi Fihri gang.
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HAJJ Hicham
0 #22 We need only time for to build our countryHAJJ Hicham 2011-02-27 16:45
Hi to every morrocan,I'm morrocan 38 years old living in europe.
I beleive that every one want to get a confotable life, i'm sure that can happened with our King, since His Excellency start governing I always read about all his work, realy he's actif more than you can imagine, sure His excellency need time for to cocreat all the projects that our country need, like every big project, Mooroco is like a big compagny with a lot of projects, somes takes more times than others, I beleive with 10 years more we will be ready for to manage a social-life for all our comunity, why not before, cause ther's something to do before to start this project, please step by step,at the end...I'm hapy to be morrocan leaving in europe, i can tell about my 15 years experiences in differentes country, Wallah we have somthing in morroco that i never seen any where, the friendly.ship life, wallah we are the best, GOD BLESS ALL MORROCAN and our KING
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