By Majid Morceli
By Majid Morceli
San Francisco- I think that Morocco’s Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane is a decent, honest man. I especially like – and I think many Moroccans do as well – that he speaks our language when we are sitting in coffee shops sipping extremely sweet mint tea.
For example, when he was asked if the killing of the French tourist in Algeria will affect tourism in Morocco, his simpleminded response was, “The couscous, harira and pastilla are sufficient to bring tourists to our country”. When he compared Moroccan women to chandeliers that brighten up homes, or when he called teachers to “avoid kissing children and respect their body. Innocent kisses open the gap to cybercriminals. Respect them, but don’t spoil children. Teach them responsibility.”
The question that keeps popping into my head is: will Morocco ever see the day when we hand over – democratically, I have to add – some of the country’s day-to-day operations to someone who is as intelligent as the next guy sipping mint tea and smoking cigarettes in a Moroccan café’?
Are we ever going to get anywhere if we take a chance and rely on God to help us reach our goals? The Prime Minister once said that in order to alleviate unemployment, the “unemployed should pray God if they want to land a job”. And don’t we all remember when DANONE raised their prices, he asked Moroccans to make their own yogurt (Raib)?
Although everything he said above is due mainly to his unsophisticated mind and lack of experience, what is most unacceptable is that last Monday he showed up at a diplomatic reception organized by the Embassy of Algeria in Rabat on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Revolution.
Under normal circumstances, this gesture would be commendable, but not when “his” own Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, is fighting against the Algerians tooth and nail.
Algerian Foreign Minister M. Ramtan Lamamra said that the shooting at the border is a “fabrication” of the Moroccan government and that it is a “bad strategy of tension”. He added that “the intense verbal escalation by the high authorities in Morocco against Algeria is insignificant.”
Benkirane is doing exactly what the Algerians were hoping for: he is undermining Morocco’s diplomacy.
No one is against a thaw in relationship between the two countries, but when dealing with Algeria, any goodwill initiative from the Moroccans is always interpreted as a sign of weakness that the Algerian media loves to brag about. The Moroccan king has been extending the olive branch to Bouteflika for 15 years now, and the relationship has only grown worse. If The Algerians do not appreciate the Moroccan king’s gesture, how are they even going to consider Benkirane’s?
The Moroccan Prime Minister needs to understand that Algeria’s attitude toward Morocco is not based on a simple misunderstanding or a difference of opinion; it’s a lot more complicated than that. The Algerian regime uses Morocco to consolidate their grip on power. Every time a high-ranking Algerian says something, it is always to remind the Algerians to be on their toes at all times, because everyone is out to get them and the current regime is the only one capable of saving Algeria from outside threats. They say the regime will do anything in their power to repulse Algeria’s enemies and Morocco is just one among many.
Showing up at an Algerian reception or sending countless congratulatory messages is nothing short of the ridiculous. What Morocco should hope for is that the Algerian people are inspired by the people of Burkina Faso who refused to let their president amend the constitution and run for election one more time before dying in office after already being in power for 27 years. Perhaps the Algerians will be inspired by their neighbors in Tunisia, who just experienced one of the few democratic parliamentary election in the history of the Arab world.
Only the people of Algeria have the power to change the regime. Unfortunately it is very unlikely, due to the not-so-distant civil war that they have endured. We cannot blame the Algerian people for not showing any interest in change. The Arab Spring started in Algeria with the civil war, before anywhere else, but no one in the international community cared. Bouteflika is seen as someone who brought peace to the country, and perhaps he did, but the question right now is why is he refusing to bring about peace with Morocco? Why is he refusing to be remembered as someone who fostered the unity of the people of the Maghreb?
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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