Rabat - March 8, 2015, is International Women’s Day, a global celebration recognizing women. To celebrate this day, events are organized in Morocco and all over the world. While Some may not think positively about setting aside days to celebrate women, there are appropriate ways to oppose them.
Rabat – March 8, 2015, is International Women’s Day, a global celebration recognizing women. To celebrate this day, events are organized in Morocco and all over the world. While Some may not think positively about setting aside days to celebrate women, there are appropriate ways to oppose them.
One way is to not participate in the organized events celebrating the day; another is to not show women the respect they believe they deserve or to express support for their struggles for freedom and equal rights. One may even choose to criticize the events and judge them as useless, a waste of time and energy or even describe those who promote them as political opportunists and demagogues.
In a democracy where freedom of speech is a right, one does not even have to understand or sympathize with those who choose to celebrate International Women’s Day but has to accept and respect their choice. Likewise, in a democracy, those who criticize the celebration should be able to voice their opposition, and this opposition must be accepted. Free speech, however, never extends to inciting violence.
In an Islamic culture, such as Morocco, there are those who use religion as a reason for opposing these celebrations. They can go as far as accusing those who celebrate of atheism, apostasy or secularism. They further accuse those involved in organizing such events of immorality and undermining Islam, just short of calling for public lynching and capital punishment of the celebrators. This is an intolerable way to oppose International Women’s Day.
Although critics are entitled to their opinions, because religion is so very personal to Moroccan culture and the majority is extremely passionate about it, making these types of accusations is sure to incite violence and hate crimes. This antisocial and irresponsible name-calling is criminal in the unique situation of Moroccan culture. If it is not controlled, circumstances will escalate, things will get out of hand and irreparable harm will occur.
In fact, some of this language critical to celebrating International Women’s Day could be labelled terrorism. Some Facebook posts have implicitly invited DAESH [ISIS] to Morocco and deal with the “militant women” whom they also call the worst names possible. These attitudes are way beyond misogyny; they are subversive and of a fascist and tyrannical nature.
The discourse around this year’s International Women’s Day has revealed: (1) the extent to which the cultural and ideological gaps have widened in Morocco; (2) the advanced degrees of political insolence upon which social extremism is based; and (3) the height that manipulation of religion has reached.
Intimidation may be but a test, insults a provocation, but accusations of atheism and of apostasy are a crime against those targeted. While the courage of women and the men supporting them, along with their determination to continue their struggle is a good response, a better one would be the legal system protecting society from being taken back to the dark ages.
The myth of tolerance with which Moroccans like to characterize themselves is being assaulted, under hostile fire, and about to give way. Let everyone assume their responsibilities before it is too late.
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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