By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Es-Smara, Morocco, February 23, 2012
Sorry, either we are stupid or they are.
After the dismal performance by the Moroccan national team at the recent CAF 2012, Moroccans have justifiably requested full transparency regarding the salary of national team coach, Eric Gerets. Many rumors have circulated and alleged that Mr. Gerets, a Belgian national, receives a salary as high as 250 to 300 thousand US dollars per month. For the majority of Moroccans, Mr. Gerets’ poor record as coach of the “Atlas Lions” does not merit such an obscenely high salary. To add insult to injury, and ignoring well founded public criticism, Morocco’s Football Federation (FRMF) has just unanimously renewed confidence in Mr. Gerets. Talk about a slap in the face to 40 million loyal fans of the Moroccan national team!
This inexplicable act by the FRMF leads one to pose the following question: does the FRMF consider Moroccans to be stupid? Perhaps they think we suffer from amnesia and that we have already forgotten the pain and suffering of watching members of our national team underperform and book an early flight back to their respective clubs.
I hate to disappoint Mr. Gerets and the leadership of the FRMF, but we have not forgotten nor have we forgiven you for breaking our hearts, yet again. In addition, we are not as gullible as you may perceive us to be. Moroccans deserve to know the truth about your salary and why you merit the compensation you receive. We demand full transparency from you and the FRMF because we love our country, and want to make sure that her funds are being adequately invested to alleviate the suffering of those who lack education, food, and healthcare. We want to make sure that our money is invested in providing electricity to remote areas, to build roads and other critical infrastructure. We don’t want our money going towards your retirement fund!
So in the interest of full disclosure, allow me, Mr. Gerets, to ask the following questions on behalf of my compatriots: why do you insist on keeping your salary hidden? What agreement have you reached with the FRMF that they too want to keep your wages top secret? Why do we know about the salaries of all Moroccan coaches and yet you remain an exception?
I ask these questions because the Moroccan public has a right to be informed as citizens and loyal supporters of our national team. More importantly, our government has an obligation to be truthful, transparent and conduct itself by the highest ethical standards. What better way to discharge this obligation than to respect our right to full disclosure. In the spirit of the Arab Spring, and the peoples’ call for true reform from their governments, our own government must respect our voices and opinions. It must strive to emulate its counterparts in Europe and America where officials listen to their people and respond appropriately. It pains me to say that our leaders, from top to bottom, insult our intelligence and treat us as if we were children.
When we ask them questions about the present, they talk about the future. When we ask about our future, they remind us of our glorious past and recount anecdotes of our brave grandparents fighting for independence and the sacred wars they fought for us. This is not the first, nor shall it be the last time our representatives disappoint us.
They always turn deaf ears to our cries, doing what they perceive as good for us. For them, we are like immature teenagers. God has put them here to take care for us, think for us and lead us to the right way.
Frankly, sometimes, if not most of the times, I get the feeling that they treat us as if we were delusional, mindless sheep who should follow their shepherd. The recent vote of confidence in favor of Mr. Gerets is a clear example. While the Moroccan public has clearly voiced opposition to his prolonged employment as national coach, our leaders, by their decision have basically said “thanks little children [read Moroccan public]…but we will take it from here”!
Today, the new government is under the moral and legal obligation to apply good governance and democracy as we know it: a responsive and responsible government of the people by the people. To reach this characterization, your government must not only respect our opinions but also act on the will of the public when that will is in the best interest of the nation as a whole.
Moroccans have freely voted for the new government, and Mr. Benkiran, the Prime Minister, should know that he and his colleagues represent us, not themselves or others. They must explain to the people everything that concerns our country and our unity. They should understand that Moroccans of today are empowered, cognizant of their rights and are correct to demand that their opinions should be valued when managing public affairs.
The controversy over Mr. Gerets’ salary, specifically the public demands for answers, is a real test for Mr. Benkiran’s government. Unfortunately, Mr. BenKiran and his minister of sports have failed miserably and alienated millions of football fans throughout Morocco. Personally, I am not surprised by the government’s disregard for the public opinion. In Morocco, this is the modus operandi of the government. As Samuel Becket said in his Waiting for Godot, “nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.”
Rachid Khouya is a teacher of English in Es Smara city, south of Morocco. He obtained a Bachelor Degree in English studies from Ibn Zohr University in Agadir. He published many articles and stories in different regional and national Moroccan newspapers. He is an active member of MATE (Moroccan Association of Teachers of English). He is interested in education, human rights and citizenship.
Edited by Hisham El Koustaf
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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