By Ahmed Assarrar
By Ahmed Assarrar
Morocco World News
Mekenes, Morocco, January 27, 2012
After the speech of King Muhammad VI on March 9, 2011, the concept of identity in Morocco has been transitioning on political, social, and cultural levels. Previously, Moroccan identity had been defined as fixed and resistant to outside influence. The Arab Spring brought challenges to traditionally accepted identity. The political, social, and cultural transformations allowed previously voiceless identities to be heard, creating a new hybrid and pluralistic Moroccan citizen.
First, consider changes at the political level. Democracy, traditionally rejected by radical Islamic and anti-democratic parties, is now being accepted. Most of these Islamic and anti-democratic parties and associations understand that the nature of the post-Arab Spring historical moment urges the implementation of democracy as way of governing, and that this concept has gained widespread acceptance among the masses. It is also worth mentioning that even though liberal Islamic parties were thought to be undemocratic, this has proven to be false: these political parties have been supportive of the shift towards democracy and could be considered a major force behind the Arab Spring itself. What is more, some leftist political parties, the party of Progress and Socialism for instance, is participating hand in hand with the Islamic party of Justice and Development (PJD) in the current coalitional government, and so create a new political identity wherein lines of differences between left-leaning and right-leaning political parties are diminished.
At the social level, Morocco has seen heated debates on issues like equality between men and women, the role of youth in leading social change, freedom of speech, the right to protest, and the right to work. The powerful role women played in the protests of the February 20 Movement paved the way for equal rights between men and women in the new constitution. Freedom of speech, the right to work, and the right to protest have also been guaranteed in the constitution. In addition, the perception of youth as careless, irresponsible, and immature is changing. Youth have proven to be mature and capable of a unique and essential power of leadership.
As far as the cultural domain is concerned, one can argue that post-9/3 Moroccan identity has become more pluralistic and hybrid than before. In fact, the Moroccan culture has always had this potential, but identity was defined in a way that was reductive, lopsided, and biased toward the majority. In the pre-9/3 epoch, the Moroccan constitution defined the kingdom as an Arab and Islamic country par excellence. This definition does not reflect the cultural diversity in the real world of Morocco, which includes people who are Amazigh, Hassani, and Arab, those who adhere to Judaism as well as Islam. By contrast, the new constitution in Morocco has defined the Kingdom in a way that allows the different identities (Amazigh, Hassani, Arabic, Jewish, and Islamic) to co-exist harmoniously.
To sum up, the Arab Spring was like a real spring in Moroccan society: flowers’ colors are seen in all domains of life, in all shades. What had been fixed and stable has changed and become flexible; transformation is all-around.
Edited by Jasmine Davey
Ahmed Assarrar is a student of the master program “Communication in Contexts” at Moulay Ismail university in Meknes, Morocco.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
© Morocco World News