#Feb20, Constitutional Reform, Democracy, Moroccans For Change, Protests, Youth

Note from my friend: Why I don’t support the #Feb20

A few days ago a friend of mine dazzled me with his comments on the Feb20 youth movement. Knowing him as a “live and let live” type of person, I expected him to be supportive of the movement. I always regarded him as somewhat of a traditionalist, but mostly as a forward thinking, freedom loving individual, who usually minds his own business, but who is never afraid to speak his mind when engaged. So I asked him to share his thoughts here on M4C and I warned him that: yes, we do write in favor of change, but we always welcome opposing views to help paint a more complete picture of what’s going on in Morocco. Although I was surprised to hear that he didn’t support the change movement in Morocco, listening to some of his objections made me realize why not everyone is taking to the streets to demand change and why there is such a divide in public opinion. Still, I attributed this limit to a biased and controlled state media and to the lack of government transparency, which prevent the Moroccan public opinion from being well informed on many issues at hand.

Without further delay and for the sake of constructive criticism, I invite you to read “the other perspective” from my friend, and by all means feel free to share your thoughts:

“You opened the flood gates, don’t complain.

I’m not opposed to the change movement, I’m simply so frustrated with the idiocy in it that I can no longer lend it any support.

I must admit that in the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, demonstrations in Morocco made me very anxious and uneasy. I couldn’t bring myself to support them, although on paper everything they call for is everything I so much yearn for. I thought really hard about it, but couldn’t put my finger on it.

Of course there is my chauvinism. I hate for Morocco to be lumped with anyone else. We are different right? And of course there is the myth that we Moroccans are different from the Arabs. We are Moroccans not Arabs, and shouldn’t be blindly following in their footsteps. I know it’s not true (not entirely though, please don’t burst my pet bubble) but that’s an emotional reaction, not really objective thinking. There was also the implication of Al Adl wal Ihsan. I would first believe the sun sets in the east than believe they have anything like democratic values. You wouldn’t catch me in a demonstration with them in a million years. I have a tendency to abhor anarchy and confrontation, I lean more towards negotiations and compromise. Hardly any constructive or objective thinking here, so I did what responsible me would do: I kept my mouth shut and my opinions to myself until such time that I had anything other than plain emotional bias to declare.

Did I say that for some obscure reason I sincerely love and trust the king and his wife? Some say it’s brainwashing, but it didn’t weigh on my opinion as there was no threat to them or talk of a republic. So I just bade my time.

Turns out MY hunch was good. First, not even a nucleus of leaders emerged as the representative of the movement. A plethora of speakers and representatives etc. blossomed, but no one did take charge and responsibility. I don’t know about you, if it’s a youth carnival I don’t care, but if it’s politics I care a lot who’s speaking and why, before I get behind him or her. I don’t know who’s speaking in my name, and I can’t hold him or her responsible, so I’m not joining.

Then there was the refusal to participate in the commission hearings. Is it a rigged commission? Of course  it is. Is it there to do the bidding of the king in the end? No doubt about it. Was it the only possible way, including because the Feb20 agitations made electing one extremely difficult? Yes. So get your ass in that chair and articulate your thoughts. You can’t contest the result and say it doesn’t suit you if you don’t declare what you exactly want in the first place.

Then not a single f-ing one of them came up with a counter constitution draft. OK, you don’t like the commission, but you can come up with your own constitution then, so everyone would know if they share your vision or not and everyone could compare. I’m still waiting, and my conclusion is that they are incapable of doing that because they don’t know what they want. Everyone is ready to demonstrate and ask for democracy, but no one is ready to debate if the country should be secular or have Islam as an official religion.

That’s what I want a demonstration to be about, not hazy principles.
Everything went downhill from that point. Zero credibility. Pointless and stupid debates about festivals, but very useful if you want to know the exclusionist, elitist, populist, homophobic, misogynistic soup of opinions in it. It was ugly. The rumors, the approximations, the empty talks and Byzantine pseudo debates, profusion was abysmal.

Again, right target, wrong reasons and pathetic argumentation. I do not want that.
So what had to happen happened? The Feb20 became a tool for others to use. First the unions, who used it to advance their agenda. Kudos to them, I might find the government caving in without a counterpart wrong, and find the public sector undeserving of the money they got, but that’s the unions job, and they did what they had to. As soon as they got their bone, they went back home to chew on it and left the demonstrations. These people know that demonstrations and strikes are only a tool. Now Al Adl Wal Ihsan took over. They are now a majority in almost every demonstration. They claim they are democratic, but they are not. They claim they are for freedom, but their core belief is based on suppressing the other’s right to disagree. I’m not lending them any credibility, not even as just a bystander.

In short, I want credible well-constructed alternatives, responsible leaders who have the courage of stating what they stand for and fighting for. I want people capable of citing concrete measures to lower unemployment, people aware of the cost of a revolution, aware of the precarious economic situation we are in, aware that we have very limited resources, and have a vision of how to maximize them. I want real debate, without accusations of treason and apostasy flying around everywhere. I want responsible, pragmatic people. I see them nowhere near the Feb20. People capable of that might lend lip service, but if they don’t get involved, it must be because they see something wrong there. What I want is not in the Feb20 movement. What is there then? Only a club of people who have nothing better to do on a Sunday than to demonstrate for whatever they believe in, with people who could believe the exact opposite and don’t really care or see how wrong that is.

What’s on the other hand? A political class as impotent as ever, and a king who single handedly announces reforms, get a commission going, have to face limited resources and soaring expenditures, get the investors not to freak out, placate the bloody Sahara issue, launches the second part of the INDH, and if anyone can be the least bit objective, will at least admit that under his reign Morocco has the best indicators it has ever had since the independence in every single field. We could do better, anyone can say that, but who’s telling us how?

For a long time I was feeling guilty about this, all these pseudo revolutionaries made me feel I betrayed my principles, but you know what? They don’t measure up to them, I’m not feeling unnecessary guilt anymore of having to justify my feelings. The less bad option at this moment is certainly not the Feb20 way. I have no doubt about it anymore.”



6 thoughts on “Note from my friend: Why I don’t support the #Feb20

  1. The unsupportive friend says: “I want real debate, without accusations of treason and apostasy flying around everywhere.” He is right! Me too! Ofcourse I, and many others, would like to see Moroccans debate like that. About the Western Sahara. And that would be a revolution 🙂

    Posted by van kaas | June 12, 2011, 3:45 pm
  2. Off topic Van Kaas… as usual.

    Posted by M4C | June 12, 2011, 4:19 pm
  3. Great piece of reading!
    Can’t say better than this.
    These are exactly the reasons why open-minded and liberal young Moroccans don’t feel that the #Feb20 represents them.
    I would add to that the fact that, since their first days, they called anyone who dared express some criticism a “baltagi” and a “makhzen dog”… That is not what we can call a democratic attitude.
    Nevertheless, I am very grateful to them for breaking the “wall fear” and initiating a national debate on institutional, social and ethical issues… Too bad they refused to participate in the debates they started…. And never came with real, constructive and pragmatic propositions.

    Posted by lebaroude | June 13, 2011, 3:56 pm
  4. I strongly agree that there is a need for an environment for constructive debate to tackle the big challenges ahead and starting to define solutions to those challenges (unemployment, corruption, education…) & a strong leadership to make change actually happen beyond just protesting.

    Posted by Othmane Rahmouni | June 18, 2011, 4:00 pm


  1. Pingback: Rebuttal to the skeptics ~ #Feb20 « Moroccans For Change - June 13, 2011

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