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.