By Mohamed Brahimi
By Mohamed Brahimi
Morocco World News
Boston, December 13, 2012
A quick scan of the headlines announcing the passing of Sheikh Abdesslam Yacine, one can easily deduce that the man was indeed a solid iconic figure whose death was just as stirring and provoking as his life. What is even more striking is the glowing testimonies given by those whose thinking and that of Yacine stood at separate ends of the ideological spectrum. Khalid Jamai and Bensaid Ait Iddar are not known to give gratuitous praise to those who did not earnestly deserve them. Yacine did in fact earn the reverence and admiration of those who espoused to his thoughts as well as those who found him to be unwilling to meet modern pragmatism half way.
There was also this small component of internet commentators who have only heard about Yacine through an establishment that has fought the Sheikh and his group tooth and nail for over forty year. Yacine was clearly a genuine competing perspective gnawing at the government side and causing it very sharp discomfort. In a calculated effort to trivial him and his call, Yacine was written off as a lunatic, a heretic, a quack, and a fraud.
The late king Hassan II even committed him to a mental institution. Instead of weakening his popularity, this disparaging campaign failed at shipping away at Yacine’s legitimacy and reputation. The many onslaughts on Yacine were counterproductive and paradoxically earned him the largest popular extension for which he was the subject of envy and spite.
The number of adherents to other organizations and political parties paled in contrast to that of Yacine’s group. Yacine became a household name whose popularity spilled over to all four corners of this universe. Despite the fierce official media obfuscation, Yacine’s theories were too prolific and extremely pioneering to be ignored by the epistemic community. His books are taught at leading universities around the world. He could not be easily dismissed as a deranged man simply because not too many loonies managed to eke out an existence that would later become the topic of scholarly work. Yacine strength resided in his distinct leadership. People of great intellect were gladly following his lead.
When I first learned off his death, I was compelled to ponder its implications. His larger than life persona could not have emanate of thin air and surely people in the policy circles would be wise enough to think about ways to invest this unfortunate event to jumpstart it’s the idle rapport with Al Adl wa Al Ihsane new leadership. I was wondering if the establishment possesses adequate political acumen to move towards patching up the strained relation with Yacine’s group.
My first hunch was that the institution of the palace could do what it does best and play politics with its better than average team of public relations spin doctors. As a gesture of good will, the king may want to be represented at Yacine’s funeral. Such a move can only enhance the king’s political capital and increase his likeability. It could also soften his image among those who may otherwise view him as a mere extension of the “sinful” old regime.
I have to admit that I know very little of Sheikh Yacine’s voluminous writings. He was obviously too fecund to be read in entirety. However, I know that Yacine was a pacifist who spoke truth to power and abhorred all types of violence. I still have a hard time understanding the reasons as to why Sheikh Yacine was relentlessly vilified and dehumanized. I have yet to understand why are Yacine’s followers still targeted and subjected to countless incidents of malicious prosecution.
Those who didn’t see eye to eye with Yacine didn’t feel the need to make him the subject of their virulent attacks. The government on the other hand has always felt it necessary to breathe down Al Adl wa Al Ihsane’s neck and keep tabs on its members. I hate to speculate, but if I were to indulge a little here, I would say that the government has always been obsessed with Al Adl wa Al Ihsane unrivaled organizational skills. The Makhzen has always been uneasy about Sheikh Abdessalam Yacine’s uncanny and mysterious ability to get people to drop everything and tune in when he speaks. History will record the paucity of leadership akin to that that Sheikh Yacine showed.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy