Laarache - Morocco’s Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane reminds us now more than ever of the events of the parable “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, particularly following the recent attack on teacher trainees, peaceful protesters, and Moroccans living and working conditions. The parable tells the story of the wisest pig on Manor Farm named Old Major who once had a dream of deposing Man, owning the farm, and living in dignity and freedom, away from the tyranny of farmers once and for all.
Laarache – Morocco’s Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane reminds us now more than ever of the events of the parable “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, particularly following the recent attack on teacher trainees, peaceful protesters, and Moroccans living and working conditions. The parable tells the story of the wisest pig on Manor Farm named Old Major who once had a dream of deposing Man, owning the farm, and living in dignity and freedom, away from the tyranny of farmers once and for all.
During the 2011 elections, Head of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) Benkirane, promised Moroccans he would battle corruption, bring dignity, and make the necessary reforms. Many Moroccans believed in him at the time.
Old Major in the story died peacefully, leaving the animals to realize his dream. Benkirane, on the other hand, lived to break his promises and turn his back on the people who voted for him. Old Major promised all the animals that once they scare away Man, they will breathe freedom and decide on their well-being and future, away from any dictatorial orders. In the parable, Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer, the pigs whom other animals deemed worthy of governing, led the rebellion, just as the PJD members benefited from “the Arab Spring” elections.
Following the successful rebellion on the farm, just as the pigs failed to live up to the expectations of the animals on the farm and Old Major’s dream, Abdelilah Benkirane failed to keep his promises, notably bringing a dignified livelihood to the Moroccan masses and fight corruption. After many years in the opposition, the PJD eventually managed to lead the government by catching the winds of the Arab Spring and winning the hearts of many Moroccans, most of whom are underprivileged.
The sheep and donkeys believed the pigs that took the initiative to defend them. Similarly, a large number of impoverished Moroccans still have faith in Benkirane, even if they don’t feel that their living conditions have improved. “Mr. Benkirane is an honest man. He works hard. He is the only man who does his job properly in this country,” a poor adult told me in El Jadida, Morocco. “Don’t you see that he doesn’t steal public funds and lie as others do?” the man added.
If you read the parable, you will come across something like this, uttered throughout the events by a donkey called Benjamin. “I will work harder!” Benkirane is calling on people to be patient and work hard. Even if the pigs call on the animals to build a windmill for their comfort, it turned out that the sheep, donkeys, chickens, and dogs worked not for their comfort, but for the comfort of the pigs. They didn’t discover this until they did the job. Even then, they didn’t do anything about it.
The pigs, on whom all the animals placed their hope for a better future on the farm, as Old Major prophesied to them in his dream, began to exploit the other animals. The sheep and donkeys chose the pigs to lead the development of the farm and eradicate Man, a corrupt and despicable creature in the animals’ eyes. The pigs were caught meeting men for trade and business. And this dashed the animals’ hopes.
Abdelilah Benkirane was caught many times talking about corrupt people and daring to name some of them, but as soon as he held the position of head of the government, he began to sit with them at the same table and laugh with them the same way the pigs do with Mr. Jones, the farmer they sent out during the rebellion. Benkirane himself named them crocodiles.
Let us now study the events before and after the “Animal Farm” rebellion and before and after the PJD’s coming to power and leading the government. On the day of the rebellion, the animals agreed on the commandment that whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Yet, as time passed, the pigs changed the commandment to state that two legs are better than four. Before the 2011 elections, Abdelilah Benkirane pointed to corrupt officials and threatened to bring them to court once in power. After the elections, he went on to ignore some of them and decided to pardon them instead.
On the day of the rebellion, the animals agreed on the commandment that whatever goes on four legs is a friend. Yet, over time, the pigs changed the commandment to state that whatever goes on four legs is inferior. Benkirane made employees, such as teachers and blue-collar workers, inferior by raising the retirement age to 63 and annulling government subsidies on basic products such as gas, sugar, flour, and other living necessities.
In the parable, “No animal shall kill any other animal” was changed to “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” Likewise, the PJD used to hint at the fact that they would not suppress rights of protesting Moroccans and that they would not assault nor beat any strikers or protesters. However, it now seems that Benkirane has reconsidered this promise, especially since many protesters were beaten, assaulted, hit, and injured while peacefully taking to the streets. “Those protesters must first get the permit to take to the streets,” Benkirane said. “The police forces have the right to do their job,” he added.
“No Moroccan police forces shall beat protesters without cause” has now become the norm after Benkirane demanded permits to take the streets. The pigs in the parable used to protest against Man on the farm without any cause or permit. Likewise, the PJD members used to take to the streets without getting the permit themselves from previous governments.
Ultimately, the commandment “All animals are equal” was changed to “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Other animals fell prey to this sudden unfairness. The question here is: Does Benkirane equally apply the law to all Moroccans? Does his PJD-led government treat all Moroccans equally with regards to pardoning corrupt people, reforming the pension system, paying taxes, and hitting the purchasing power?
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which,” George Orwell concludes the parable. The animals found it impossible to say which was which. I, for my part, find it already impossible to tell this government from previous governments in Morocco.
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