By Amine Bendriss
By Amine Bendriss
Morocco World News
Meknes, Morocco, January 28, 2012
On Tuesday, Abdelwahab Zaydoun, a 27-year-old Moroccan who was protesting the country’s growing unemployment rate, died from what many believe to be suicide by setting himself on fire. There are many Moroccans taking to the streets in response to Zaydoun’s death; some want to punish those who are responsible for his death, while others say that his act was neither rational nor spiritual. That is, his act was religiously forbidden and rationally unaccepted.
On one extreme, those who support the first view claim that Zaydoun is an example of thousands of young Moroccan boys and girls who are waiting for their turn to get a job in the public sector. He exemplifies the many Moroccans who spent time and effort to finish their studies with the expectation of obtaining a job, having a family, and living a normal life as others do. In fact, many of Morocco’s youth have pursued every option necessary to complete their studies; beginning with taking loans and racking up debt, to selling their parents’ furniture.
Moroccan youth believe that having a job is their right, as given by the Moroccan Constitution. To this end, they are giving a heartfelt appeal for the mess that Morocco is in to stop. This mess, according to them, is embodied by the wasted talent and abilities now carried by Moroccan’s youth. The young Moroccans protesting today believe that Morocco should benefit from its youth, not “push” them to burn themselves. Moreover, they are emphasizing their commitment to working domestically to help Morocco in the developmental process, rather than going abroad.
On the other extreme, there has been a lot of criticism of the act of suicide. These critics say that no matter how and no matter what, our body is a precious gift that we must do whatever necessary to protect. For them, burning the body and committing suicide is never justifiable no matter what the purpose. Furthermore, they add that simply because one has a high degree or is a diplomat does not mean that they should work in the public sector.
Some of those against suicide argue that there are some countries richer than Morocco with equally challenging or worse unemployment conditions. A perfect example of this is Spain, which has an unemployment rate of over 20%. Others, in their criticism of Zaydoun’s act, go so far as to say that it serves a hidden agenda, which aims at destabilizing Morocco’s stability. They pose a critical question: how is it that he had money to buy oil to burn himself, but he can’t afford bread- the true cause of his suicide? According to these critics, others must have contributed to his suicide by bringing oil to him.
As mentioned above, much can be said between these two controversial extremes. If Zaydoun really set himself on fire, I deeply ask Allah to forgive him and send mercy on him. However, if this was not the case, which is 80% likely, I have three responses. First, I ask those who claim that Zaydoun killed himself to question their judgment, because until now, all of the videos circling on the Internet lack clarity as to how the fire was set.
Second, one video, showing Zaydoun when fire was spreading throughout his body, displays him trying to help his friend, giving the impression that if they, Zaydoun and his friend, had the intention to commit suicide there wouldn’t be an attempt to save each other. Third, before people start proclaiming what is “Halal” and what is “Haram,” they must bear in mind that they are neither prophets nor imams to offer their opinions. Apart from that, I believe that only Allah knows what happened and what will happen to Zaydoun.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
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