#Feb20, Mawazine, Morocco, Protests

Mawazine, let the turnout decide!

Mawazine, an International music festival highly popular among Moroccans is scheduled to take place in May. A Facebook page was created, as well as this video, as part of a campaign against the  event.  The page and video content reveals predominantly Islamists motives and agenda. However, the Anti Mawaziners emphasize the misuse of taxpayers’ money to produce an event that benefits a handful of businessmen linked to the palace and mostly promotes foreign talent. They are appalled by “the estimated 20 million dhs” spent for the organization of this cultural event, when local artists are not close to receiving similar treatment.

Let’s sit back for a second: Mawazine is highly popular and attracts a huge number of Moroccans from all walks of life. Whether poor, rich, men, women, young or old, Mawazine is where everyone can get together and have a good time. The turnout is always huge.

Foreign artists? Yes, it makes sense to suggest that local artists should be promoted on the same scale, and we have some phenomenal artists. But diversity adds spice to festivities, and we would lie to ourselves if we said that, culturally speaking, Moroccans are not globally oriented. Just look at the outfits sported by the same Feb20 movement members who may be calling for the cancelation…might as well turn to djellabas and caftans instead of denim jeans, tanks tops, or rasta hair style. Cultural diversity is a staple of Morocco’s identity, and we need to nurture it, and promote it rather than direct our anger at it.

For those who argue that Mawazine is against Islam, they can just stay home. Dictating where people should go or whether they can dance or have fun is anti-democratic. Isn’t faith a personal matter, and a private connection between a believer and God?

Asking for democracy and freedom implies asking for freedom of artistic expression as well. It is included in the package. Rather than calling to cancel the event: let the turnout decide.  For those who want to boycott Mawazine, you are free to do so, and you should exercise your personal or collective choice. If the result is that none attends, or the turnout is very weak, then next year, the organizers might decide to cancel the event.

However, interfering with the decision to hold or not hold Mawazine doesn’t lie in the hands of the movement, and it can certainly backfire.  It will for sure serve radical elements within the Moroccan society, those who see arts and festivals as the fruit of satanic deviance. Be careful what you wish for!

Let’s live and let live… the February 20th movement is about pro-democracy constitutional change; Or not? What are they exactly for and against? So many things are being thrown in the Change basket; at the end it will be hard to sort things out. So let’s keep the load light, and the democratic process feasible. Let’s make sure the goals are achievable: think common ground and focus on the top priority: separation of powers, everything else – transparency, accountability, and government responsibility- will fall into place.



4 thoughts on “Mawazine, let the turnout decide!

  1. You went about this the wrong way if you intended to persuade people to think as you do. What you should have focused on was how the 20 million dhs would benefit the local/broader economy in the short and long term.
    You sound like someone who is at any cost determined to benefit financially from this event, are your Amr diabe’s manager or something?
    Personally, I detest Rap, Hip-hop and Pop-Tart music and agree with the religious that those genres are nothing but destructive influences on our people, but the religious should get a life and exert effort towards keeping their unelected representatives/assassins from blowing things up! Also what are you talking about when you tried to defer this decision to the free-market and the level of attendance. This event is not a private enterprise, the taxpayer has to make it happen. If it was, then those who oppose it would have no legs to stand on. I think this crappy, annoying Mawazine thing should go private, and the government should invest the money instead.

    Posted by haq | April 28, 2011, 2:47 pm
  2. First, leave Islam away from this mawazine crap.

    From a HUMAN perspective, no matter what religion he/she believes in, spending 1 million dollar each on shakira and kanye west to perform a very cheesy, ugly and nasty performance is a very stupid worthless action. They could have spent that money on job projects where educated and intelligent young Moroccans can work. That’s one only example. There are many other examples of how the money could be used rather than throwing in trash directly. But I don’t want to waste my time giving examples because you and I both know that technically IT IS A WASTE OF MONEY. And being against mawazine in Morocco, is not being against expressing the arts…being against mawazine is being against spending money on worthless things that don’t have any positive outcome to the country/people. And that’s a general opinion. And Morocco is not a rich country to spend money on worthless things. Think of it this way, everything should be balanced. Unfortunately, you see more damage than improvement.

    I hope one day people can follow the logic.

    Posted by Jihane Hadddou | May 28, 2011, 6:17 pm
  3. Thank you Jihane. We can simply agree to disagree. We hear your concern. We don’t agree with your approach. Obviously, you don’t agree with ours either. Mawazine was a lost battle for Feb20. Other issues deserve priority. Once, people are in charge of their government, they can decide on priorities and how to allocate resources.

    Posted by M4C | May 31, 2011, 12:36 am
  4. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be

    ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    Posted by carmax new cars | April 26, 2013, 3:42 pm

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