By Zouhair Yata
[Editor’s note: To put this piece into context, after the launch of a media campaign against racism in Morocco, Moroccan blogger Zhor Baki, known for her alternative views, criticized those who had launched the campaign. She opined that the campaign was led by bourgeois people who merely sought publicity rather than to express their concern for immigrants or opposition to racism. However, she said that Moroccans should fight against linguistic, regional and other forms of racism from which the country suffers. This is a translation of a response by Zouhair Yata.]
Rabat – The anti-racism campaign, “My name is not Azzi,” sparked numerous reactions, but some of which are particularly alarming as they become the vehicle for misleading and populist ideas.
Under cover of a “journalistic approach,” one can read in a certain press specializing in a systematic critique of anything that can bring about positive change: “If a guy is black, I call him ‘the Black,’ what is the problem with that and why is he offended? But if he is upset, then he is the one with the problem, not I. It means that he rejects himself before I reject him.”
For the journalist who wrote these words [Zhor Baki], the victims of racism are too easily offended. Thus, if I whistle at a girl in the street and she takes offense, or if I treat the journalist like a piece of meat when she crosses the road, she must ask herself why she merits such treatment, because I have nothing to be ashamed of.
According to [Baki], “the fight against racism ended with Nelson Mandela,” and the fact that the United States has a President who is black is surely the proof. “To be racist is to refuse, for example, to shake someone’s hand, to sit next to him, to work or study with him, or to walk next to him in the street, to refuse to look at him, or to talk with him.”
Why not say clearly that since we allow these “Azzis” to live with us, our indifference towards them is proof of our tolerance? Is it really necessary to remind this journalist that designating someone a “Negro” directly takes us back to the darkest hours of humanity? With whippings and eunuchs?
The journalist [Baki], obviously inspired, concludes even that the racism experienced by North Africans in Europe is in reality well deserved because, “Let’s admit it, we are the underdeveloped, one or more generations behind the others.” This is precisely the problem in our country: the attitude that tends to exclude others, i.e., “Gaouri” (Westerners), “Fassi” (people from Fez), “Chleuh” (Amazigh), “Azzi” (Sub-Saharan African), while advocating introspection.
No diversity, no mixing of people, but a discourse of hate under the pretense of activism, writing an article attacking one of the few initiatives against racism in Morocco, and desperately attempting to deny the undeniable reality, in order to suggest subtly that it is better to fight against the “Lahlou, Bennis, Benchekroun, Bennani” families, is simply and purely irresponsible. No Madam, the existence of racism in the language, the religion, or the family in Morocco does not clear us of the charge of being racist towards our African brothers.
And pretending that this campaign is “bourgeois” or conservative, merely serves to reinforce our fellow countrymen in their hatred of one other. Would it be so bad if we lived in a country where Africans are not solely associated with the color of their skin, where women are not constantly harassed, where children are able to speak Arabic, French, Berber, Spanish, English or Chinese, cultivating rather than stigmatizing their differences?
To pander to what Moroccans want to hear, while at the same time systematically playing the anti-establishment tune and trying to appeal to practicing Muslims and affirmed Arabic speaker, will not change the mentalities and will continue to make of us “wild savages, backward, underdeveloped, and unruly.”
Translated by Nahla Landoulsi. Edited by Elisabeth Myers
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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