Morocco World News
Morocco World News
New York, May 26, 2012
Like in previous years, the salaries paid by Mawazine Festival’s organizers to some foreign singer raises controversy, as American R&B singer, Mariah Carey, is due to receive more than 830 thousand dollars to perform at the closing ceremony of the festival today.
With her performance pay, Mariah Carey will rank second on Mawazine’s list of the highest paid entertainers, just behind the late Whitney Houston who received 890 thousand dollars for her 2008 performance. Ms. Carey’s performance pay will also top that of her Colombian counterpart, Shakira, who recently received 772 thousand dollars for 30 minutes on stage. These obscenely high compensations are heavily criticized by the majority of Moroccans who object to the lavish music festivals for their waste of money on international singers as opposed to meaningful investments that could help improve the living conditions of millions of Moroccans.
Last year, there were protests against Mawazine Festival due to the extravagant pay given to foreign singers. Moroccans are not against music festivals per se. But they would prefer more focus and attention on national artists who are highly talented and admired by the people and less demanding when it comes to money. The music festival systematically ignores and overshadows national artists while over-glorifying international performers who only drain the country’s treasury, taking away hard currency, which is in short supply in Morocco.
With the new PJD government in power, Moroccans hoped that this matter would be taken into consideration and that their demands would not be ignored like last year. Regrettably, the new government has yet to take a position on Mawazine’s compensation for international artists..
Before coming to power, the PJD leadership has always declared that they are against all forms of waste of public funds. Moreover, as many Moroccans staged an online protest against the 10th edition of Mawazine, many PJD members stated that they were against Mawazine’s extravagance at the expense of the Moroccan people.
One can only recall a famous intervention at the Moroccan parliament last year (when Mawazine festival ended) by Mrs. Bassima Hakkaoui, current Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development. She stated that she was “totally against such events where money is wasted, instead of directing it towards a human societal cause that would benefit the people.”
Mawazine Festival has ended, which was organized as a mere flagrant challenge to the calls of the House of Representatives and the Moroccan street to cancel or at least delay last year’s edition because of the critical circumstances that we know both on the national and international level.
“The millions that were spent on the festival could have been invested to secure jobs for the unemployed Moroccan youth, or to provide food for the hungry, or set logistics for democracy. We need those millions that were given to a dancer to come to the closing ceremony of the festival” she said.
Mrs. Hakkaoui spoke, as she stated that day, on behalf of the PJD. Many Moroccans are wondering where the PJD will stand vis-à-vis Mawazine festival this year.
Most Moroccan who criticize the lavish pays afforded to foreign artists believe that the country has serious issues to deal with and spend money on rather than a show of an hour or two. Issues like poverty, unemployment, education, the fight against corruption that are deeply rooted in various sectors come on top of the issues of concerns for the Moroccan people.