Home Op-Eds The Dangerous Case of Saad Lamjarred

The Dangerous Case of Saad Lamjarred

Saad Lamjarred

By Raja Felgata

The Netherlands – Let’s talk a little about Saad Lamjarred. My opinion about this man is based on what I know about him from the media and his history of abusing women in different continents and getting away with it.

I don’t know any of his songs; as a feminist I refuse to listen to him. Just like I am boycotting the famous American R&B singer R. Kelly for his assaults, I have boycotted Saad for years now for the same reasons.

What is interesting for me as a Moroccan-Dutch journalist based in the Netherlands is the blind loyalty Saad receives from his Moroccan fans, even when he is on probation and wearing an ankle bracelet awaiting a trial for another assault charge.

Saad Lamjarred even fled the US on bail after he was charged with rape in New York, and yet people are still defending him, as if he is the Holy Spirit himself.

Where is this blind faith in Saad coming from? Because of his artist status? The money, the fame? The (superficial) songs? Why is the Moroccan standard of acceptance and tolerance so low and why is this man getting away with rape and assaulting women? And even though the evidence is evident, people are blind to the facts it seems.

Read Also: France Arrests Moroccan Singer Saad Lamjarred on New Rape Allegation

What’s even more intriguing are the women supporting Saad who see no harm in the charges or the idea of him being a sexual predator. How can this be in the era of #metoo when women (and men!) all around the globe are raising their voice to end sexual harassment and oppression of women?

As Moroccan women at home and abroad, we should unite and make a fist to let our voices against these kinds of men be heard so media and the government can take our voices seriously.

Unfortunately, women in Morocco live in a more patriarchal context than Moroccan women in the West. The power of the #metoo movement seems to have skipped Morocco, while the rest of the world isn’t afraid to speak out anymore.

And the messed up thing is, when women do speak up, the blame game starts: “She must have asked for it and then changed her mind; she’s just jealous; she needs attention; what was she doing in that situation anyway?” Or there is even the argument of him being the victim of a “plot” by neighbouring Algeria, which has strained relations with Morocco. It is hilarious, to be honest, and sad at the same time.

With his dangerous behavior towards women, Saad is normalizing the objectification of women on a mainstream level, while women in Morocco are facing everyday harassment—most of the time without any form of help or understanding.

As a victim, she often will be criminalized and detached from friends and family because of ”honour and shame” while millions of predators, famous and unknown, like Saad, are walking down the streets of Morocco, knowing that they are safe and sound. How is this still possible in 2018?

Read Also: Saad Lamjarred Is ‘Letting Go,’ His Rape Accusations Not So Much

I don’t care how many fans and followers Saad has. It doesn’t define him, nor will it save him when he faces the charges he deserves.

All I know is that I believe that Morocco has to protect women and girls from men and boys like him. Women should stand stronger to be a united front and show the world that the legacies of Moroccan feminists like Fatima Mernissi are still rising and Moroccan women can take pride in their femininity and claim back ownership of their bodies.

And how about a radio boycott? No more Saad songs on air. It would be a first step in taking responsibility. I don’t know if Morocco is ready yet though. Men seem to always get the benefit of the doubt.

What I do know is that the time for Morocco to take a stand against sexual harassment is now! Morocco needs to talk about this more often on national radio and television. So the people can get past the shame and protect their daughters. And hopefully the blind fans can recognize the truth.

At the end of the day, we don’t want our women to be daily harassed on the streets like they are everyone’s object, raped, or tortured.  We all heard about the case of the young Khadija who was kidnapped and raped for 2 months by 13 men and was tattooed all over her body against her will! No worries though, Saad has only three accusations of rape and sexual assault.

The Middle Ages are behind us, and we need to protect ourselves! So I am saying NO to men like Saad as long as I am breathing, and I hope justice will be served.

#TaAnna #MeToo

Raja Felgata is a Dutch-Moroccan journalist and media entrepreneur in the Netherlands. Her work can be found at www.rajalive.nl.

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