Washington DC - There was no discussion about his central narrative and no questions regarding his aspiration for the Moroccan Throne.
Washington DC – There was no discussion about his central narrative and no questions regarding his aspiration for the Moroccan Throne.
In short, the reputable New York Times went soft on Prince Moulay Hicham El Alaoui. Under the rubric “The Saturday Profile” the Moroccan born Writer and journalist Aida Alami profiled the Moroccan Prince in light of the publication of his new book “Journal d’un Prince Banni,” (Diary of a Banished Prince). The usually tough Alami seemed quixotic in her questions and forgiving in her reporting.
Alami must know that independent Moroccan journalists Ali Lmrabet and Ali Amar have accused the Prince of fabricating events that appeared on chapters dealing with their relationship with the Prince.
Furthermore, Lmrabet has accused Moulay Hicham of buying “journalists” to write favorable articles about his pro-democracy activism while discrediting the Moroccan Monarchy. And yet, Alami chose not to probe these very serious charges.
Instead of asking Moulay Hicham about “the reaction to his book in the Moroccan media”, she should have insisted that he comments on these contentions that raise serious questions about the credibility of the Prince recollections as published. So why not go after the riveting revelations?
Ali Amar, known for his unsympathetic writings on the Moroccan political system, has considerable influence among the Moroccan opposition and therefore his criticism of Moulay Hicham caries weight and credibility. And yet the New York Times “purposely” did not solicit comment from the Prince on Amar’s allegations that he planted “fake story” in the Moroccan press to gain sympathy and prominence.
The immediate temptation upon reading the book is to “romanticize” about a Prince who believes in democracy and the rule of law. However, the point being, some of the stories do not add up and need to be fact checked. Regrettably, the “few” reported inaccuracies cast doubt over several episodes in the book.
In her review, she described the Prince as “a political activist whose public support for democracy has put him at odds with his family in Morocco,” yet she avoided to inquire about reports of his undemocratic actions toward needy journalists, as reported by Lmrabet who is banned from writing in the Moroccan press.
There are questions that should have been asked and disputed events in the book that needed clarifications, but Ms. Alami has chosen to write a breezy profile that avoided a tough examination of some of Moulay Hicham controversial assertions.
It is very difficult for Moroccans to treat of the subjects of Moulay Hicham, his writings and his political activism. Once a journalist, commentator, or even a blogger decide to address these important themes, he or she is categorized as either with or against the Prince.
It has been hard to review the recently published book without rendering a summary judgment on the authors’ character and his Royal connection. Never the less, a book written by the cousin of the sitting King Mohammed VI’s and treating of the Monarchy has to be scrutinized and dissected. Writing for the powerful New York Times, Aida missed the opportunity to ask Moulay Hicham the tough questions.
At one point, Aida refers to the “Diary of a Banished Prince” as a “dairy that weaves together a series of vignettes and anecdotes to give readers a rare glimpse into Morocco’s royal family. But it also serves as a harsh political critique of the kingdom from an insider”. However, she sidesteps challenging the accuracy of these narratives that are at the heart of the story.
Aida Alami has written several pieces critical of the Moroccan government and political system. Many of her past reporting, although harsh, has been on target. So, it was surprising and disappointing to read her latest piece for the influential New York Times.
As a writer who investigates and review experts work on her subjects, Ms. Alami must have seen the readily available material that leads to “some evident questions” that the Prince needs to answer. It will be simplistic to dismiss a journalistic inquiry into the validity of the published material as a Makhzen sponsored campaign to smear Moulay Hicham.
An analytical examination of “Journal d’un Prince Banni” should not be construed as a petty attack on Moulay Hicham his work and activism or viewed as an endorsement of every aspect of the current Moroccan political system. It is simply an opportunity to set the record straight.
The fact remains that two prominent Moroccan journalists, who have extensively written negative articles about the Moroccan political system, are leveling serious accusations against Moulay Hicham. A journalist of Alami caliber writing of the New York Times should have asked the testing questions.
Clearly the book editor didn’t question sources and citations in this book, neither did the New York Times for their story.
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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