Fez - The weather is gloomy again and the sky of Morocco is overcast with heavy clouds of social tension, apprehensions, doubts and uncertainties ignited by the recent unpopular policies imposed by the Islamic government, which targets the pockets of the lower social class.
Fez – The weather is gloomy again and the sky of Morocco is overcast with heavy clouds of social tension, apprehensions, doubts and uncertainties ignited by the recent unpopular policies imposed by the Islamic government, which targets the pockets of the lower social class.
The package of the so-called reforms the government is implementing in many sectors stirred wide reactions of protests and resentment. Raising the age of retirement to 63, imposing two years of compulsory civil service in isolated rural areas on medical-school graduates, separating recruitment from training and lowering the training scholarship by half for teacher trainees, removing government subsidies on basic consumer products such as gas, sugar, flour and other day-to-day necessary items, and freezing civil service wages are but a few of the array of decisions the government has taken.
The Islamic government, which has always bragged about being the first democratically elected government by the people is, somehow, betraying the ballots people cast for it. The slogans the leaders of the Justice and Development Party raised before and during the electoral campaign in 2011 were the fight of corruption and despotism. The language Benkirane spoke when his party was in the opposition was very clear, strong, convincing and audacious to the extent that people thought he would be the savior and the captain to sail Morocco’s ship safely ashore. All were forlorn hopes and people are deeply disillusioned. The guns Benkirane was brandishing against corruption and despotism are now directed towards the people.
The protests people stage against government decisions are faced with uncompromising obstinacy and incomprehension, sometimes with horrendous violence like the case of the “Black Thursday” against teacher trainees in Inzegane.
What seems to fuel people’s wrath is the government’s denial of the use of violence though amateur cameras have recorded scenes of brutal interference. In a recent statement by the Prime Minister Benkirane, he insisted on not empathizing with teacher trainees because, I am quoting him, “over sympathizing, and non-calculated steps can lead nations and countries to disasters.” Benkirane here is intimidating the people with the looming threat of instability and anarchy if they protest. In addition, he tacitly accuses them of jeopardizing Morocco’s stability.
He wants to say: “O fellow Moroccans learn to coexist with humiliation, poverty, injustice and corruption but dare not object and protest.” What I want to tell Mister Benkirane is that the only thing that jeopardizes the stability of our beloved country are his unpopular policies and his fierce attack on all the achievements and gains that many have bartered their lives for. What jeopardizes civil peace is his silence and inability when it comes to what he called ‘alligators’ and ‘goblins’.
If the increasing social tension meant anything, it means the government has dramatically failed to live up to the expectations of the people in improving their living standards. The 20th February movement was dormant thus far but Benkirane’s mule-like stubbornness and non-calculated provocative statements have awakened it from its hibernation. Be careful, if you awake the monster in the people you can’t stop it.
I felt profoundly jealous when I bumped into a video featuring Argentinians bidding farewell to their president Christina Fernandez with tears and a lot of emotions. In her last words to the crowd she spoke with a choked voice and said: “These are the greatest things that I have given to the Argentine people; the empowerment of the people, of the citizens, the empowerment of liberties and rights. Thank you for so much happiness, thank you for so much joy, thank you for so much love.”
I felt jealous of how close she was to her people, and how much they loved her in return. Why don’t we have such political leaders who identify with their people? How long shall we wait to have our voice heard? These are questions that a lot of Moroccans ask, yet find no answer to.
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