By Fatima Matousse
By Fatima Matousse
Fez – According to Marouan el Barghouti, and civil society activist, one should feel sorry for a nation if instead of discussing serious issues—like the economy and education—its citizenry discusses women’s hair and the beards of men.
On October 20th, twenty two feminist and human rights association all over Morocco gathered to demand radical change of penal code in order to protect women from discrimination and violence and grant them their rights. These associations agreed to organize along with women, victims of violence and compose a world chain made up not only of women but also of men who are against discrimination against women. Artists, other associations and professors will also take part in this demonstration. The participants will wear a worldly color with the presence of people from all around the world.
During the demonstration, women who were victims of violence will gather in the streets all over Morocco to voice their demands and to denounce the government for allowing men to practice violence on women with full protection. For instance, one of slogans of the chain is the picture of Amina El Filali saying “I am Amina El Filali, the law killed me.”
Another is a picture of a dead woman from Tetouan. The woman was a dentist who committed suicide because of polygamy.
Through their slogans, the women and activists are asking to stop gender discrimination and women’s misery. They strive to stress the point that equality and justice are the keys for peace and development. Also women’s rights are part of human rights, they should not be ignored.
The chain will start on Sunday at 2:00 P.M in front of the Ministry of Justice in Rabat. It will run all the way to end in front of the parliament.
It is the first time that Moroccan streets will witness a chain of this kind. The participants decided to use other ways to express their demands, using more creative ways such as choreography, street theater, dancing, music, slogans, and videos.
The victims of violence are going to wear two kinds of masks: a black part which expresses the darkness in which the women are living, violence, suffrage, and society intolerance. The mask will also have a red part that expresses love, freedom, passion and a more optimistic future. In the middle there is a flower, a sign of the spring. On the horizon, there is a sun; this sun represents of course the future of these women. On the horizon the red part is taking over the black part.
Hakima, one of the victims of violence, said “before I could not voice my feelings, even though deep down in my soul. Although I was suffering, I could not even voice it. But now that I came to this association, met other women, I feel strong enough to face my fears, to face the society and even the government.”
Asma El Mahdi, a feminist and the coordinator of the chain, explained to MWN the new approach of this chain, saying that it will move from the representative approach to the participatory one. “Women should express themselves, write their own stories, voice their pain, and ask for their rights,” she said. There will be more than 400 hundred women who suffered from different kinds of violence, ranging from domestic violence, to rape, harassment, and incest,” she added.
The masks were designed by Mr. Ali El kaitouni, an activist and a painter.
While some women chose to wear the mask in attempt to protect their identity, others said they did not care what others may say about them and they are strong enough to face society and its hypocrisy. “I did not even accept to wear it, they said, I am fully strong now, and I am ready to face everyone without the mask,” one of the participants told MWN.
Conversely, another participant said that wearing the mask is a deliberate choice aimed at protecting herself from society. When asked why she wants to wear a mask, one of the participants in the march said that she “does not have any problem to walk with her face uncovered. But after I was on TV and I was walking down the streets of Fez the following days, some men were pointing their finger to me, and addressing me with bad words, she said.” “They even want to take advantage of me knowing that I am a single mother. This society is really fierce, they have no mercy on us,” she added.