Translated by Ahmed M. from المغرب أذكى ديكتاتورية في العالم
The original post was published in Arabic on Ahmed’s blog Alash.
Commenting on the February 20 demonstrations that demanded constitutional reforms in Morocco, a professor said “proudly” on the TV channel Medi 1: this is just another protest and Morocco has a long experience dealing with protests in all forms, including self-immolations. Yes, Tunisians, our young people have done it years before Bouazizi.
In Morocco, the power, as well as the wealth, is divided like a cake, the bulk of it is taken by the top of the pyramid and the rest is shared by the base, each according to his understanding of the rules of the game. To avoid looking bad, Morocco went to a “democracy shop”, and we picked few things. Do you need a constitution? Sure. Parliament? Will give the Senate as an extra. Political parties? So many. Independent press? We subsidies it. Freedom of expression? We enlist some people who you can criticize or even ridicule. Delocalization? Get thousands of Elected officials.
In the ”most beautiful country in the world” (Morocco’s official tourism slogan) you are given enough freedom to deflate your anger. In parliament, it’s “screams Wednesdays” (Q&A sessions with government). In factories, it’s May Day. Even thugs are given an opportunity to loot or burn public and private properties during the days of peaceful demonstrations or at the time of major football matches!
Because the competition is for the smallest portion of the cake, major fights occur within the base to win a share and everyone says “me first!” Shares are given according to individual effort and willingness to ignore others. Morocco’s ministries maybe given to minority parties, government jobs are distributed, and billions are wasted, only to contain the anger and gain acceptance for the rules of the game.
Of course there are those who don’t accept this game, but they are a minority that can be easily classified and intimidated. “We are in a moderate country; we accept neither the extreme right nor the extreme left” they often explain.
It seems that a large segment of the society is satisfied with how the cake is shared. Perhaps because as an Arab and African country, it believes this is the most we can get.
The alternative, in my view, may come from a center youth movement that’s free from the long ideological fights in political parties and universities. This movement will have to convince Moroccan people that sharing the whole cake is better than fighting for a small portion of it, that cooperating to serve common interests of all citizens is much better than wasting energies for individual or sub-groups interests, and that true democracy may not make the poor rich overnight, but will sure fight corruption and improve accountability.
Little democracy with little freedom and little social justice is an equation that may lead to a deadlock.