By Mohamed Saadouni
By Mohamed Saadouni
Casablanca, May 22, 2012
Demonstrators on Wednesday (May 16th) flocked to Mohammed V Square in Casablanca to mark the anniversary of the 2003 Casablanca suicide bombings.
For the first time at the annual event, six victims’ organisations joined forces to demand national support for the families of those killed in terror attacks.
The programme began with recitation of fatiha, followed by the reading of a speech by a small girl. Musicians played a piece entitled “Peace against Terrorism”, which was followed by a moment of silence. Mourners placed wreaths in remembrance of the victims.
Moroccan citizens then marched through the streets to demand a national fund to support the victims of terror attacks.
“The creation of a special fund for supporting the victims of terrorism and their families is based on the realistic and urgent nature of this demand to avoid compounding the suffering of victims and their families if similar terrorist events, God forbid, take place,” Wahid Mubarak, national secretary of the Modernist Space for Development and Co-operation told Magharebia.
Mubarak explained that organisations have been working now for three years to set up such a fund and he said that he hopes that now that the six associations have united their efforts that progress will be made to “bring it to light”.
Mohamed Qamar, head of the Moroccan Observatory for the Rejection of Terrorism and Extremism, told Magharebia: “We consider May 16th a painful memory for contemplating and supporting the victims in Casablanca and Marrakech and all the victims of blind terrorism.
He explained that the compensation was too little and that there must be a source of income for all victims and their families, who have suffered loss, become displaced or even homeless.
“We believe that responsibility for security is for the state, and, therefore, we demand it to create a fund for supporting the victims of terrorism,” he said.
The other organisations participating in the joint initiative are the May 16th Association, the April 28th Association for Argana Café and the Imed Bin Zeyaten Association for Youth and Peace.
Souad El Khammal, head of the Moroccan Association for Victims of Terrorism, lost her husband and son in the May 16th attacks.
“We decided to unite our efforts and to be just one voice,” she told Magharebia. She said that, even though some received assistance under a personal initiative from the king himself, “We haven’t seen anything from the state”.
Mohamed Mahboub, manager of Casa Di España restaurant, one of the sites that were targeted by the suicide bombers, is one of victims whose bodies still bear witness to the wounds of May 16th events.
“We’re not asking for charity,” he said. “We’ve contacted all authorities in the past, but in vain. Therefore, we’re prepared for escalation and we insist on pushing the state to adopt the idea of creating the fund so as to preserve the dignity of Moroccans and not to compound the psychological suffering of victims and their families with economic and social suffering,” he added.
For its part, the government has not yet reacted to the demand of these associations. However, sources told Magharebia that the government was looking at the possibility of examining each case separately. Meanwhile, the government, so far, has rejected the idea of a national fund.