During the last few weeks, YouTube has been highly instrumental in showcasing the political views of regular Moroccans, and providing the February 20 protests with sustained momentum. Where Facebook and Twitter better serve those who can communicate well – or prefer to communicate- in writing, YouTube has lent a voice to those with public speaking preferences. Videos by Moroccans giving their 2 cents on the February 20 protests are mushrooming online and in many cases going viral. There is the incognito upper-class woman who points her camera at a Fantasia painting, and addresses her fellow Moroccan bourgeois in French asking them to forgo their complacency and join the movement for dignity. There is the video of a ranting Moroccan young man from Denver who reveals his face, identity and passport number, saying that the time of fear is over. He challenges the king to bring on substantial reforms. There are also the tens of rebuke videos from monarchy loyalists, whose insulting and threatening comments stand in contrast with the widely measured discourse of supporters of the movement. Endless tit for tat videos and enough content to make up a 100% Made by Moroccans soap opera that turned YouTube into YourSouk.
Between YourSouk and the latest news on the protests, the February 20 movement for change has so far revealed at least three things:
1) The Good: The movement spearheaded a new era of free speech, and social media is helping crystallize freedom of expression.
2) The Bad: Instead of coming up with a concrete roadmap for change, some members and supporters of the February 20th movement have been more focused on the King’s cronies who became the scapegoats of a largely opaque regime. The movement has entertained disdain, and sustained a bitter fixation on everything elite: politicians, or businessmen doing well financially, and anyone with an affluent last name. Does it really smell like Marxism cooking?
3) The Ugly: YourSouk, and the initiative for change as a whole, has uncovered a very ugly reality: the disastrous public education system, mixed with a nontransparent political scene, have failed to empower the youth movement with the kind of negotiations and political skills required for a successful change. For those activists in the February 20 movement, they have yet to stop quibbling over status and leadership within the movement, and sing a common song.