By Youssef Bekkali
By Youssef Bekkali
Salé – WMD does not only stand for weapons of mass destruction. It might also stand for weapons of mass distraction. The latter is far more hazardous than the former as it involves subtle means to deflect the attention of the masses from having access to valuable information and prevents them from enhancing their critical thinking abilities.
I used to be a victim of the Moroccan media. I never questioned their broadcast news and I always absorbed whatever had been offered, never taking into account that they could be pushing certain political, economic, social and governmental agendas. Technically, I used to be a faithful viewer who blindly trusted their strategy that brainwashes the minds of many Moroccans in an attempt to maintain the status quo.
Television programs like “Lkhyat Lbyad,” “Akhtar lmoujrimine” [the most dangerous criminals], “Qissat Al-Nass” [the story of the people] and the endless stream of soap operas are nothing but devastating shows that subconsciously restrain Moroccans from rebelling against any instance of injustice, oppression or dictatorship.
They remain passive citizens, deeply homogenized, intellectually annihilated, and constantly worried. The great American intellect, Noam Chomsky, once said “you cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption.” If we contextualize his statement and apply it to our situation, I would say that it is actually worse. In fact, our own population is literally dominated by force and distracted by both consumption and the media.
Some would automatically assume that I am referring to Moroccans as victims. They are to be held accountable for every policy and agenda they have been subjected to.
“V For Vendetta,” a revolutionary movie that popularized the wearing of the notorious Guy Fawkes mask in opposition demonstrations around the world, highlighted a number of theories that are relevant to individuals seeking to bring about change. The hero of the movie says, “If you are looking for the guilty, you only look into a mirror.”
Have you ever realized the extent to which Moroccans are fond of watching football games? This reality has gone far from being a habit or means of entertainment. It has actually turned into an utter obsession. Televised football games can be found playing in almost every café across the country. Some of the football matches are even re-broadcast the following day.
Consequently, the only discussions that can be heard in cafés consist of either useless gossip or football chat. However, when politics, economics, religion or international events are discussed, one would be surprised at the large amount of prejudice, bias, and lack of accurate information present in the conversations. This is due to the limited range of media sources that are made available to the general public.
There is a café called Salim in Salé. Its owner, who is apparently well educated given his passion for reading, is attempting to reshape the idea of entertainment within Moroccan cafés. In his café he has a very small spot that contains five shelves. Every morning, customers of the café can find a variety of daily newspapers, magazines, and books. The most interesting aspect of this café is the fact that the television is usually, if not always, turned off. Its customers are very keen on reading and the area serves as a quiet space for thinking and learning.
Let’s imagine reading clubs meeting in cafés. Let’s imagine writers, intellects, and teachers gathering in the same cafés to discuss academic topics and international events. Why do we have to wait for the government’s consent for these types of events to be held? A café, one of the most frequented places by ordinary people, can become a central hub for knowledge and understanding in Morocco.
Edited by Liz Yaslik
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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