By Jamal Elabiad
By Jamal Elabiad
Morocco World News
Zagora, Morocco, June 26, 2012
Zagora is one of the most neglected Moroccan cities. This is the conclusion that many people-including myself- came to, soon after they were appointed to work in Zagota. All of the problems that the city has been suffering from for decades are due to negligence.
According to some political and labor activists, negligence is nothing new in Zagora. The oversight dates back to the colonial era when Morocco was divided in two, into the “useful” and the “useless” Morocco. Of course, Zagora is an example of “useless” Morocco.
Needless to say, the “useful” Morocco used to receive as much attention as possible from those who colonized the country, simply because it was rich in raw materials. The “useless” Morocco was neglected for the reason that it contained no natural resources.
It’s regrettable that the Moroccan State, after independence, still adhered to the colonizers’ policy. This policy stipulated that some Moroccan areas were given the most attention, while other areas were subjected to marginalization and exclusion.
Last Sunday, the Association of Unemployed Graduates, the CDT labor union, and the Moroccan Association for Human Rights organized a march in protest over the lack of potable water and poor health services. Most of the slogans protesters chanted during the protest march demanded that those in charge take immediate measures to fix these growing issues.
Most people in Zagora prefer to buy water from street vendors than to drink water that is provided to them by the National Agency of Drinking Water. The agency’s water, to them, tastes salty and is rumored to cause health problems such as kidney disease.
Another issue that people in Zagora suffer from is the issue of poor health conditions. One of the slogans chanted by protestors implied that the Zagora hospital resembles a cemetery. This refers to the fact that many people–especially pregnant women–have died because of the fact that there are not enough doctors or medical equipment in the hospital. People have also died from the fact that they were so poor so they couldn’t afford an ambulance to transport them to Marrakech or Agadir hospital.
Before the start of the protest march, a CDT activist gave a speech threatening to boycott paying drinking water bills if the director of the drinking water agency did not take action to provide citizens with potable water. Providing citizens with potable water is one of the mandates of the agency and something it promised to provide in the contract it signed with its clients. The activist also threatened to hold an open sit-in in front of the hospital in protest of its poor medical services.
Edited by Laura Cooper