January 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
You didn’t think I could go too long without mentioning the current state of unrest in North Africa, did you? The intifada butterfly that flutters its wings in Tunisia is sending tidal waves into the Arab countries of the world. It is spreading throughout North Africa. Algeria is getting increased attention and here in Morocco, the unrest is anything but new. Since I got here in September, I have seen protests and marches led by middle-class citizens outside of Parliament every week, without fail. For obvious reasons, the marches this week have been met with an increased police presence. The frustrations are similar to those in Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt: a poor economy, unemployment, and broken government promises. I have to agree with the people who say that Arab leaders following a pro-Western agenda as a means of securing political robustness (at the expense of social justice) are in the wrong. While the US and other Western powers may have previously applauded the willingness of Arab nations to follow a model of economic liberalization, recent manifestations are speaking truth to power. A new era is beginning, one in which human rights violations and censorship will not be as easily ignored. Much of this revolution’s success, which some call Tunisation, is attributable to globalization and indeed, modern forms of communication. However, to concur with what another blogger said, can we please stop calling it a Twitter Revolution (Luke Allnutt)? Though the world of constant newsfeeds may pray for some divine cyber-induced uprising, the unrest in Tunisia, as well as anywhere in the world, would exist with or without the Internet. Tyrants all over the Arab world are under pressure. No longer do the ends of “unity” justify the means of rampant censorship and corruption. The tense atmosphere on the streets and in cafes might only be amplified by the outcome of the Sudan vote for separation, and the future of negotiations in Lebanon. I’m reading more and more about people coming out with their true feelings about the “tyrants” who lead their countries, but here in the constitutional monarchy of Morocco, I have yet to hear such unbridled criticism of the king. True enough, I’m a product of the country of press-freedoms and political liberty, and maybe some people are as reluctant to engage with someone like that as they are to speak against the royal family. I’ve only been mildly successful at trying to discuss these latest developments with other Moroccans, maybe because I am a foreign girl from a country with a bad habit of abandoning its allies.