Saturday, July 02, 2005

In The Year 2005.....

Who would believe this article?

"But King Mohammed VI has threatened dire consequences for a Rabat newspaper that portrayed his wife, Princess Lalla Salma, roaming barefoot in the palace, bossing the servants, enjoying carrot tagine and playing with the royal heir - whose circumcision ceremony was marked in traditional fashion with amnesties for 7,000 prisoners."

7000 people?7000?What kind of world is it where judiciary decisions about whether or not people do time are made because a member of the Royal Family was circumcised?And we're supposed to be a constitutional monarchy?What's so constitutional about that?It sounds pretty feudal to me.

I wish so-called human rights organizations on the international front would quit patting our regimes on the back because this year they tortured 5900 people instead of 6000 people like last year. It's ridiculous to talk about 'improvement' when it comes to things like torture & causing your political opponents to 'disappear'.These are crimes, they have to stop & those responsible have to be punished & the victims & their families have to be compensated. Imagine if it was an individual doing this. Imagine saying that so-and-so used to torture & murder his neighbors but now he's much 'improved'!

I hope that if we ever achieve true democracy in Morroco that we would follow the British model. Having attended a couple of Greenpeace demonstrations in London back in 1999 I was struck by the contrast between them & demonstrations in Morroco.In Casablanca the atmosphere is always so bitter & angry. Everyone is shouting & not letting anyone else get a word in edgewise. You're constantly being jostled & fights break out every 2 minutes. The security police beat people with clubs. And that's when it's an authorized demo & the authorities don't decide to break it up in which case you'll get Israeli-style tear-gas, bullets in the air, stampedes & much worse violence.

In London, you can't tell the difference between a political demonstration & a festival. People are singing & dancing & having a lot of fun while getting their message out. They set up colorful stalls to sell you t-shirts & mugs with their message on them. In the true Anglo-Saxon tradition, everyone is more than a little drunk. Like it's some sort of a celebration. You have to struggle to remember that these people are here to OBJECT to the state of affairs. That they're supposed to be upset about something. How can you when they object with such good humor?

The police are polite & friendly. I was walking around looking lost & 2 police officers walked up & asked if they could help me. And they do. They help little old ladies cross the street. They help to reunite little children lost in the crowd with their parents. They get the paramedics for people who pass out from drinking or the crowd or have seizures etc....They keep drunks from disturbing the peace. A friend of mine commented once that the police were acting like the bouncers in a club. They're just there to keep the peace - completely indifferent to the political message behind the event.

It's wonderful to see people so completely relaxed & matter-of-fact about democracy & dissension - as if it's the most natural thing in the world.In the Arab world I think we live up too much to the stereo-type of the 'hotheaded Arab'. Passions run too high. Passion has its place & it's not politics.In politics I really think that things get better when cooler heads prevail.

These thoughts ran through my mind when I read the Guardian article about the G8 protests in London.

Look at the headline. "A nation on the move: thousands prepare to march and dance". Unquote. Let's hope we learn to march & dance & instead of march & fight & disappear or die.

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