“You’re Going to Write That?”

Maroc Mama delves into the world of self-censorship, something well-known to Moroccans, and uses her voice to explain the culture of fear that exists in the Moroccan citizen media landscape.

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Wife, mom, student, activist, traveler, Moroccophile and curious spirit 8 comments

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010


I have been blessed and perhaps cursed to live most of my life in a society that is based on the foundation of freedom of speech. A freedom that is treated more sacredly than any other right given to citizens. I never realized how much I took that right as a guarantee, a protection, a standard even, until I started writing on Talk Morocco. I’ve spent years of my academic career studying foreign governments and cultures but always with the lense of an outsider.

After posting my first article on this website my extended family was sitting down to dinner. I was sharing with them about the article I had contributed. They were very intrigued and asked a lot of questions. It was really a great time for me to share with them about a different aspect of Morocco. My husband cut in and said “you wrote what?” He was very concerned about what I might have said. I assured him that while pointed I did not make any direct remarks against the king or the government, although in reality that was far from my mind in writing. Why would I worry about that? I am an American and they couldn’t touch me. Did he really think there were some secret agents out there tracking my posts?

But it also got me thinking, should I be sharing my picture? Could they put together who I am and who my family is? Could something I write impact my in-laws still in Morocco? Would they pull me aside next time I tried to enter the country? No, certainly nothing I said was worthy of that attention, or was it? I’m just a single person, who loves Morocco but knows she could do so much better. There are others out there who feel the same way and are brave enough to directly challenge the status quo that exists in country. They want the same rights as I have here and they should have it.

I take my rights for granted and I shouldn’t. I have to remain aware that my words may have an effect far beyond what happens directly to me. As Morocco cracks down more and more on social activists, especially those utilizing social media the culture of fear is allowed to seep further and further into the consciousness of Moroccan citizenry. Those few brave members of society with the courage and desire for their country to be better hold on strong – there are those of us out here, urging you on and supporting your cause. We only hope that one day your ideas will be as free as ours.

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Posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

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8 comments on ““You’re Going to Write That?””

  1. “I’m just a single person, who loves Morocco but knows she could do so much better. ”

    Could do so much better THAN Morocco? Or could do so much better FOR Morocco? If it’s the former, you can safely assume that you are sharing that feeling with the majority.

    Kidding aside, saying that the culture of fear is “allowed to seep further and further into the consciousness of Moroccan citizenry” is not quite accurate. It has always been there. Submission and terror are instilled in the Morroccan as early as the cradle. It starts with descriptions of Hell, and continues with stories about the fate of dissidents.

    As a foreigner (technically! As far as I’m concerned, you’re as Moroccan as the rest of us!), you enjoy more freedoms than Moroccans. It’s a sad sad state of affairs, but thanks for the glimmer of hope.


  2. Actually that phrase was meant to say i’m just a person who knows she (Morocco) could do so much better! Guess that didn’t come out as clearly as I hope. I agree that fear is instilled from a young age and continues – my observation is that it’s come more to the surface as technology allows more voices to be heard. Thanks for reading and for your comments!


  3. For a foreigner as you qualified yourself in your blog, you did pretty well, you painted a more or less accurate picture of the freedom of speech or lack thereof in my native land. You were however not so accurate about the freedom of speech that you referred to in the following sentence.”I have been blessed and perhaps cursed to live most of my life in a society that is based on the foundation of freedom of speech.”
    Freedom of speech is all fine and dandy as long as your speech does not reach the mass media. Once it reaches the “MEDIA” it becomes censored, there is no more freedom of speech. Major News Networks, TV studios, Newspaper which are the obvious platforms for point of views to be shared with the American public will prohibit you or myself from expressing our views, simply because our point of view does not serve their purpose or in some cases opposes their point of view.
    It is more brutal when you are made to believe that you are free but as soon as you cross the invisible barrier you get zapped like a mosquito. I have seen many brave souls here in the US trying to express their discontent with the Government foreign policies and as soon as they are about to make a point they get shut down by the show host whether it’s a radio or TV show… so much for freedom of speech.
    Thanks for your post.
    P.S your husband is justified in worrying about what you wrote…they are ruthless.


  4. I suppose there is some truth to what you say although I think the consequences are not as severe. At a minimum there exists the right to write or say what you wish without fear of imprisonment or silencing. Whether that makes it to main stream media is another issue. There are other avenues that exist for speaking out even if it is not in mainstream channels.

    I have to think that I while critical of social policy have respect for the crown and government; just as while critical of policy in the US have respect for the administration whatever it is. Loyal opposition if you will.


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