By Houda El Mouatassim Billah
By Houda El Mouatassim Billah
Morocco World News
Marrakesh, September 27, 2012
On Friday September 21st, a video circulating on the internet caught my attention since it depicts one of the social phenomena that Morocco has been suffering from recently: A woman being assaulted in the street and in dire need of the bystanders’ help who stood there and watched passively.
The video, which was filmed somewhere in the borders between Melilia and Nador by a Spaniard, shows a woman being assaulted both verbally and physically in the street while passersby followed the happening of the event indifferently.
Actually, there are two versions to this story, but none of which justify assaulting a woman since such an act is utterly unjustifiable. Some say that the aggressor was a thief who stole the woman’s money and stripped her from the most precious tangible thing she owns, which is her passport. He was well aware of the importance of a passport to such a woman who travels between Nador and Melilia in order to sell the goods back on Moroccan territory. Others argue that the women owes the aggressor MAD 2000 and violently stole her passport as a sort of warranty, to make sure she will pay them back sooner.
Watching the video, I could not really tell what the reason behind the aggression was. But one thing is certain; a woman was assaulted in broad day light in front of a dozen other men whom she pleaded to call the police, but in vain!
The Spaniard, who was filming the video from an apartment right across the street from where the incident was taking place, was shouting at the aggressor threatening him to show the video to the police so that they identify him and arrest him. However, her threats fell in deaf ears and the assault did not stop until another Spaniard intervened. He came between the man and the woman, and courageously put the man down. The woman instantly grabbed her passport from the back pocket of the man who was still on the floor, held down by the Spaniard when the video stopped.
Again, I emphasize the fact that the true reason behind this incident hasn’t come to surface yet. However, I chose to seize this opportunity to shed light on the bystanders’ passive reaction towards such a sad event. Unfortunately, such a sight has become common in our Moroccan streets: Women being assaulted while their male compatriots do not move a finger to help and choose to either watch or walk by as if nothing serious was taking place.
Is the force that drives them to look the other way cowardice or fear? Are they not courageous enough to stand in the way of another man and help an innocent person, or are they simply afraid of the harm that intervening may cause them? But what about the Spaniard who helped the woman in the story mentioned above, does he not value his life? Does he not have family to go back to? Or is it simply an attitude that Non-Moroccans grow up with while we don’t?
I am well aware that lending a hand to a person in need is a choice and not a must. But what if we embrace this attitude and make it a lifestyle, aren’t aggressors going to think twice before assaulting anyone in public, knowing for sure that every bystander will use any means possible to stop them from hurting others?
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