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.