By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, March 6, 2012
The publication of a list of beneficiaries of transport licenses has generated public anger as the majority of Moroccans were incensed by a process that rewards those who are already well off while simultaneously neglecting millions in poverty. Moroccans are not fundamentally opposed to the idea of rewarding individuals who have improved the country’s socio-economic landscape. They are simply asking: what did the recipients of the license do to merit such coveted benefits? After careful scrutiny of the list of beneficiaries, I could not identify a single individual who has done anything to help Morocco solve on-going societal ills such as a deplorable educational system, high levels of unemployment, abject poverty, and poor healthcare.
Mr. Badou Zaki, former coach of the National Futbol team, is among the beneficiaries. One could argue that Mr. Badou’s record as a national team coach deserves recognition and acclaim. But in reality, does Mr. Zaki, who has earned millions coaching the national team and club teams, really need a license? To reward Mr. Zaki, at a time when millions of Moroccans are barely surviving, is not only unjust, but bordering criminal! To further complicate the matter, the majority of the beneficiaries are from the sports, entertainment and political sectors. Missing are Moroccans from the more critical areas of education, health, and medicine.
I reiterate that I am not opposed to the practice of rewarding achievements that benefit all Moroccans. As long as there is ample opportunity for equal participation, Moroccans will become more competitive and more innovative if their hard work pays off in the form of special recognition/awards. So if we are to continue this system of grating special license, we should limit the beneficiaries to those who are successful in resolving Morocco’s many social ills. But as long as the majority of Moroccans continue to live in poverty, and as long as Moroccan society continues to be characterized by extreme gaps between the wealthy and the poor, I argue that the government immediately suspend the unfair system of granting special licenses.
If one were to argue that the beneficiaries under the previous corrupt governments have helped Morocco, then I ask where is the evidence? What has Mr. Zaki or Imam Zemzami done to alleviate poverty? What have they done to provide adequate healthcare and housing? What’s their record on fixing an archaic educational system? How many jobs have they created? I raise the same queries regarding the two licenses that were given to Ms. Mouna Fetou, a well-known Moroccan star. What has she done, other than her mind-numbing television work, to fight illiteracy? When was the last time she used her stardom to build a hospital, a school, a recreation center? Finally, I could not help but notice that the list included many singers, including Bahija Idriss, Naima Samih, Mohamed Lmzgaldi, and Latifa Rafat. What have these singers done to improve the lives of their fellow Moroccans living in harsh circumstances? Absolutely nothing! While these “cultural icons” reap the benefits of a broken system, true Moroccan heroes—underpaid teachers, doctors, and nurses—remain unnoticed, underappreciated and undercompensated.
If we look at countries that have experienced economic success and helped their populations, we realize that they did not do so by rewarding singers and other entertainment personalities. On the contrary, they invested in science, technology, healthcare, and innovation. I am not against art, music and other forms of cultural expressions. I am simply suggesting that Morocco rewards doctors, scientists, and innovators as they benefit the country as a whole. As I finished analyzing the accomplishments of the beneficiaries of the transport licenses, a futile exercise, I immediately remembered John F. Kennedy’s famous words “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”. The disclosed beneficiaries should start asking themselves what they have done for their poverty-stricken compatriots and for Morocco in general.
Edited by Hicham Elkoustaf
Omar Bihmidine is high school teacher of English. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and articles, many of which have been published in Sous Pens magazine, in the ALC magazine in Agadir, and in the late Casablanca analyst newspaper (Email: [email protected]).
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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