By Majid Morcili
By Majid Morcili
San Francisco- Due to Ebola outbreak, Morocco’s government requested that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) delay the 2015 Nations Cup event scheduled to take place in Morocco on January 17 to February 8. The swift answer from the CAF is “NO”.
The question on every Moroccan’s mind is should the Moroccan government do the right thing to protect the Moroccan people, or should it risk the lives of all Moroccans and kowtow to the Head of CAF, Issa Hayatou, and go with the plan already in place?
The Head of the CAF is currently under investigation for corruption.
Hayatou may or may not be guilty of corruption, but the question is raised whether anyone who is being investigated for corruption should be in position to decide on the welfare of the Moroccan people.
Morocco does not have the expertise or the infrastructure to combat the deadly Ebola virus. Nor does it have the discipline to confront it.
The CAF has said it would discuss Morocco’s request to defer the date at the next meeting of its executive committee on November 2nd, and Issa Hayatou will meet Moroccan officials the next day.
The question of whether to defer the date for the 2015 Nations Cupin Morocco should not be open to any discussion by anyone other than Moroccan officials themselves. Ebola is a virus that is killing thousands of people. The World Health Organization said on Friday that as of October 8, 4,033 people have died of Ebola out of a total of 8,399 registered cases in seven countries. Some people who have visited these countries have been infected and even killed.
The Moroccan government’s first and foremost priority is the welfare of the Moroccan people. No politics should get in the way of that. More often than not, the decision-makers in Morocco put the life of Moroccans in harm’s way to get on the good side of the countries we help.
While the Moroccan government on one hand is asking CAF to postpone the games, on the other hand, its state owned airline Royal Air Maroc (RAM), is still flying to Ebola-hit West Africa.
The defense mechanism put into place at Moroccan airports is just a few health care workers wearing protective gear and equipped only with a 500 Dirham Infrared Body Temperature Thermometer, measuring the temperature of passengers returning from West Africa. Several nurses, one in Spain and the other in Texas, were wearing protective gear but still got infected with Ebola. We also know that a rise in temperature can take place at a later date, which renders this safety measure in use in Moroccan airpots ineffective.
I m not advocating that we should isolate ourselves and let people in West Africa die. We are Africans and will always remain Africans. As a matter of fact, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are considered our very good African friends, unlike our next-door neighbor, Algeria, whose main goal is to see Morocco defeated.
Morocco first needs to protect the Moroccan people, and let those who are well equipped and capable to deal with the problem take the lead. The US administration intends to send 4,000 troops to Africa and has just approved $750 million to fight Ebola. Europe sent more money and health workers than the United States, China, or anyone else for West Africa.
Morocco perhaps could help by sending doctors and healthcare workers. Cuba for instance sent 100 doctors. Morocco has experience helping others: the Moroccan field hospital in Zaatari camp, North-east of Jordan, that treats Syrian refugees is such an example.
The Moroccan people should demand that their government not yield to Hayatou or anyone else. This is a matter of life and death and not a soccer contest. Morocco will not be able to help its African allies if it too is hit with the outbreak.
The responsible thing to do is to postpone the games until the virus is contained and then go on with the games. If Moroccans are infected or killed by Ebola, Moroccans will not be alive to watch the games.
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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