“We are doing our part as a youth movement to add fresh energy and new ideas into the mix. We are moving ahead passionately, and hoping to inspire others to do the same. As I tell people, if you say nothing, and do nothing, nothing will change. So, we just want to encourage people to DO something and to get involved in our emerging democracy.”
When Hilana Rizki was born 23 years ago, her mom who was passionate about Greek history, named her after a Greek princess who visited Marrakech during the Youssef Ben Tachfine’s era. Besides being beautiful, the Greek Princess Hilana was famous for her intrepid and courageous character. Did Hilana Rizki‘s mom ever suspect that her baby would perfectly carry the name and the traits that come with it? We were first introduced to Hilana through the historic Ana Maghribi(ya) youtube video. She said: I am Moroccan, and I will take to the street on February 20th in order to fight corruption in my country. Since that day, Hilana relentlessly participated in every protest, video messages, and Facebook campaigns, denouncing violence, and fighting for the change that all Moroccans deserve.
M4C: Who is Hilana?
Hilana Rizki is an international citizen doing her best to make the future of her country brighter. I am 23 years old. I am from Casablanca but I started living in Rabat just recently. I got my masters in Translation last year at King Fahd Advanced School of Translation in Tangier. I am planning to start my PHD next year Inshaalah. And I am married to an American Anthropologist.
M4C: When and why did you join the feb20?
I joined the Feb 20th Movement since its inception. I helped make the initial film that eventually went viral. I initially joined to have a voice in my country’s future. I joined because I could not sit back and watch passively as corruption and theft continue to impede our nation’s road to development and dignity for all.
M4C: Do you believe that the movement is getting stronger or fading away?
Of course it is getting stronger, as are all other political movements in Morocco. Everyone is waking up. We are doing our part as a youth movement to add fresh energy and new ideas into the mix. We are moving ahead passionately, and hoping to inspire others to do the same. As I tell people, if you say nothing, and do nothing, nothing will change. So, we just want to encourage people to DO something and to get involved in our emerging democracy.
M4C: What would the ideal constitution look like?
The ideal constitution would address the real needs of the people. It would focus on things like healthcare, education, and the justice system. The ideal constitution would guarantee people’s right to peacefully assemble and protest, and guarantee freedom of expression in all forms. The ideal constitution should lay the foundation for the next century. A fully democratic century, where Moroccans choose their own prime ministers and representatives.
M4C: What is your perspective on the current government propaganda, and how do you feel about it?
The current propaganda is hardly different from the propaganda of the past. The government is trying to make people afraid to get involved. Also, they try to convince the people that the Moroccans who are protesting for change are traitors and enemies. I think that the current propaganda system is a joke to be quite frank. It is ridiculous but sadly many people buy into it. However, the biggest difference between the current propaganda and the propaganda machine of days before, is that now through digital means we can fight back with our own ideas and beliefs. Moroccans love facebook and people are using it nowadays as a place of debate. I guess the biggest difference is that we now have the power to respond to their propaganda with our undeniable truth.
M4C: If you had a magic wand, what would you do to make Morocco better?
That’s a funny question. If I had a magic wand, the first thing I would do is work to build a green energy future in the Sahara. Free energy from Solar Power for all Moroccans would be the start. Then, I would use this magic wand to build 1001 new hospitals throughout Morocco, (realistically speaking, even though this is a magic wand). I would build new medical schools in the South, North, and East of the country so we can train doctors in the regions where they are needed most. I would also use this magic wand to touch the hearts of all the corrupt and wealthy Moroccans who don’t care about the suffering masses. I would try to change their hearts so they become more compassionate people. Morocco is a VERY classist place, and we must address this inequality immediately for any real change to occur. Finally, for time sake, I will say, I would use the magic wand to build recycling centers, to improve rural infrastructure, and to build schools throughout rural Morocco because rural poverty is the root cause of most of our social problems.
M4C: Do you have a message for Moroccans overseas in Europe, the US, Canada and elsewhere? How can they help the movement?
They can help the movement by giving their opinions and sharing their experiences abroad. They can tell us what Morocco needs to do to improve so we can stop the brain drain. I just want them to know they are still Moroccans at heart, and that we need their help to make this beautiful country even more beautiful.
M4C: What are your plans for the future? Your dreams? Your hopes?
My plans for the future are just to keep celebrating life and doing what I can to make this world better place. My dreams are to continue to learn more about the world and sustainable development in order to be a voice of progress and open-mindedness here in Morocco. I really hope to change Morocco for my three little nieces and all the babies born this week. We fight for them, we fight for their future, and we fight to make this world a happier, kinder, more equal place.
M4C: A hobby?
Mmm let’s say I always have a new hobby. I am always discovering new things I like to do 🙂
M4C: Your inspiration (a person)?
Probably my husband… He is the most caring, positive person I know. His love for people is sincere and his open-minded perspective about the world has opened my own eyes to many things. I consider him to be just a really cool teacher. Also, I would say my family. They have always let me be myself. They never forced me to be anyone other than who I am. So, I think that I am who I am because of their love and support.
M4C: Thank you Hilana!
PEACE & LOVE FOR MOROCCO!