By Larbi Arbaoui
By Larbi Arbaoui
Morocco World News
Taroudant, Morocco, June 30, 2012
Rarely you find an article or public debate over the issue of freedom of the individual and groups without calling to mind the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948) which reads “All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights” as a reference that has the ring of truth.
In some cases, interlocutors engage in a debate on the origins of this statement and human rights in general. Some relate the origin of this text to a statement attributed to Omar Ibn al-Khattab, the Islamist caliph when he said: “When did you enslave people while their mothers gave them birth free” and others claim that the Greek civilization is the cradle of individual freedoms.
However, we are not concerned about the source of this saying as much as we do care about preserving personal freedom. Wendell Holmes’ famous saying “the right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” has a seed of wisdom.
It involves the typical freedom conceptualized by the philosophers of the social contract in the context of a particular system of thought aiming to preserve personal freedom with respect to social unity. An individual belongs to at least the institution of the family of which s/he is committed – willingly or unwillingly – to the principles of this social unity.
Any violation to the high principles governing and uniting this institution may be a fatal unexpected step.
The statement made by Moukhtar El Ghzioui, editor of the daily “Al Ahdath Al Maghribia”, through a direct dialogue with an Arab satellite channel, that he sees no problem that his mother, sister and daughter havesex with any man outside of marriage, within the framework of personal freedoms, maybe viewed in conservative society as a radical opinion. During the same dialogue, he also called for the need to allow Moroccan and Arab women to have sex with their friends without any restrictions.
Although the statement of El Ghzioui may seem extreme to many, it remains a personal point of view that does not represent the opinion of all Moroccans, but represents only himself and the newspaper of which he is an editor. His statements don’t concern Moroccans as they are mature enough to voice their opinions and decide their future without any one speaking on their behalf.
But it is also far to see on YouTube a tape in the form of a “fatwa” issued by Sheikh Abdullah Nahari calling implicitly for murder of the journalist Mokhtar El Ghzioui on the background of what came in his last statements to the Arab channel. Although Nahari didn’t mention the name of El Ghzioui till the end of the tape, it was obvious that he is the person in question. Abdellah Nahari, being not an official spokesman for the religious establishment in Morocco, his words are also no more than a point of view. He is not representing but himself.
The culture of intimidation and incitement to murder is far from the Moroccan culture which is based on the principle of constructive dialogue and respecting the other no matter how different their beliefs are. I can’t put it more powerful than Voltaire’s saying which states “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
We should not exclude reason and dialogue in order to come out with a solution to our disputes. Confiscations of opinion and muting tongues have no place in the twenty-first century. In the end, I believe that no one has the right to decide on behalf of more than 30 million Moroccans. Personal freedoms are sacred and should be preserved as long as they are not in conflict with the fundamental principles of a certain community.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy