Rabat - Moroccans celebrate today the 61th anniversary of Independence Day, a commemoration that provides an opportunity to look back at the major turning point in the kingdom’s history. November 18 marks the transition from a Morocco under protectorate to a “modern” one.
Rabat – Moroccans celebrate today the 61th anniversary of Independence Day, a commemoration that provides an opportunity to look back at the major turning point in the kingdom’s history. November 18 marks the transition from a Morocco under protectorate to a “modern” one.
It is a day full of nostalgia for the generations who fought for Morocco’s independence, and a day full of lessons for the rising ones. The epic liberation of the homeland from the grip of the colonizer is a historic tale of unity, commitment, and victory between the throne, the people and the national movement.
Known as “Eid Al Istiqlal,” Morocco’s Independence Day is celebrated on November 18, in honor of King Mohammed V’s return to the kingdom in 1956 after years of exile during the French Protectorate. The country had gained its independence just earlier that year, when the late king negotiated his return of sovereignty, with France granting Morocco its independence on March 2, 1956 and Spain granting independence of its regions on April 7 of the same year.
The fight for independence was from the outset carried out in perfect symbiosis between the people and the throne, one that was perfectly illustrated by King Mohammed V’s historic speech in Tangier following the presentation, on January 11, 1944, of the Manifesto of Independence.
The colonial authorities wanted to act on this symbiosis and break the strong bond that united Moroccans and the Alawite throne. And it was in August 1953 that the struggle and confrontations with the colonial authorities culminated, when the colonizer decided to exile Mohammed V, his fighting partner Crown Prince Hassan II, and the rest of the royal family.
This exile provoked the outrage of the Moroccan people, who declared their revolution against colonization to defend the constants of the nation and its sacred values. By taking such a hazardous and desperate decision, the French colonizer unknowingly took part in its own demise, igniting a full blown revolution. Soon enough, the fight of the Moroccan resistance and liberation army was crowned by a historic victory marked by the glorious return of Mohammed V to his people.
This victory symbolized the nation’s triumph in recovering its legitimate rights to freedom and independence. For the march towards independence was long and often painful at the cost of difficult sacrifices. Some heroes of the country even have had to pay the price with their lives, like Zerktouni, Rachidi, Hansali, Ziraoui, and so many others.