By Amine Bendriss
By Amine Bendriss
Morocco World News
Rabat, August 26, 2012
Anyone following the events taking place in Morocco after the renewal of the constitution which coincided with the protests in the Arab world or what we call the Arab Spring, will conclude that the thorny issues that had been created over the past 50 years and started floating to the surface of the cultural-political pattern of Morocco, is spilling outward and will surly spill a lot of ink.
One of these issues is the “rituals” that take place in the 13th anniversary of the allegiance ceremony of King Mohammed VI to the throne. Because of its nature that touches what is religious, cultural and political; many Moroccans followed the developments moment by moment – maybe because it was the shortest in the history of Morocco – and each one interacted with it from his or her angle. Some called these rituals dehumanizing while others consider them aspects of loyalty that should be renewed yearly without being ashamed of them. Additionally, the 13th allegiance ceremony was initiative of some important messages that should be taken into consideration.
“We bow only to Allah, we never bow to humans!” This one and the likes of it summarize the position of those who think that these rituals are dehumanizing, since it involves bowing to the king. They believe that if we are in real democratic country as the state propagates for, one should not bow to humans regardless of their position. This category includes anti-state organizations and some civil activists. They go so far as to publish what the titled “statement of dignity” wherein they, not ask for, but demand to stop these rituals considering them humiliating to Moroccans and defaming the reputation of the country all over the world.
In the opposite side, we find that there are again many Moroccans who think that the allegiance ceremony is an opportunity for Moroccans to renew their loyalty to the king as a reaction to all the efforts that the king make in order to make this country a safe place. While in the first opinion, they use what is religious to condemn these rituals, “We bow only to Allah, we never bow to humans,” the second side uses also what is religious to confirm their stance. They refer to the bow of the parents of prophet Joseph to Joseph himself. In other words, bowing here is a sign of respect and loyalty not a sign of worshiping.
Delving into the corridors of these two stances, we find them so hard to judge. In fact, this is what is happening to many Moroccans. They don’t know what to follow: those who are for or those who are against. And again, much can be said about this and little can be puzzled out. In fact this situation depicts the general political arena of Morocco; many perplexing opinions that are hard to be understood and then followed.
This 13th anniversary allegiance ceremony was full of implicit messages that we should be pondering. First, we can deduce that these rituals still have a standing core strategy on which Royal institution depend to confirm the legitimacy of the political regime. Second, the formula of this ceremony is totally different from the previous ones. No one can deny that this anniversary is the shortest one in the political history of Morocco.
In the past a long ceremony was like a test for the parish to show whether they can stay for a long time or not. Third, it was crystal clear that this ceremony tried to put the last constitution into practice clarifying the relationship between the monarchy and the government. In other words, according to the constitution, since the government was elected by people not appointed by the king the government has nothing to do with this ceremony. Except the presence of the minister of interior who has to renew his loyalty to the king considering him as the head of the national council of security, all members of government attended this ceremony as mere guests not as members of the current government. Here, and for the first time, we find ourselves in a new situation: the king deriving his legitimacy from the pledge of allegiance and the government basing its legitimacy from the ballot box.
In grosso modo, this anniversary raises many points that really give a clear picture of the political atmosphere in Morocco; a picture that is getting fuzzier and sillier through time; fuzzier in the sense that each point that has to do with the royal protocol will raise much discussion and criticism. It is getting silly because it is a shame to spend so much time discussing such trivial things instead of focusing on some very crucial points like the economic crisis striking Morocco.