An article titled Morocco’s Berbers Reclaim Their Language and Their Indigenous Culture was published March 13 2008 in the US News & World report.
Without even reading the entire article and only reading the subtitle, I knew that the author must have been on a PR campaign for His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
The subtitle was, “The shift is part of a broader push toward pluralism and openness by the nation's 44-year-old ruler, King Mohammed VI.”
Bravo, Ms. Schwartz. Hail to the King!
The article did fall short of my expectations and failed on many aspects. The first is the failure to criticize the Kingdom for its past and current abuse of human rights. The second was the failure to report on the regime’s repressive and discriminating policy towards the Berber culture and language. The third is the failure to report on the excessive wealth built by his father, King Hassan II.With more than ten castles, King Mohammed VI reportedly owns half of the Moroccan economy through private and national companies.
Yet, Ms. Emma Schwartz only found words of praise for King Mohammed VI. She wrote, “he has liberalized laws affecting women (such as on divorce), forged stronger economic ties with the West, and created a commission to examine past human-rights violations.”
Follow-up questions could have been:
- Has the standard of living or Moroccans changed since he forged economic ties with the West?The fact is that Morocco has had stronger ties with the West since its independence. Yet, only 14 percent and 12.7 percent of households in rural areas have access to potable water and electricity respectively, while more than 90 percent do so in urban areas. For your information, rural areas are mostly inhabited by Berbers.
- Has anyone been jailed or punished? Examining past human-rights violations is good. How to stop future violations should have been the plan?
Emma Schwartz did not mention that, in October 2006, King Mohammed VI stopped a planned an earlier agreed visit of a delegation from the European Parliament. The decision came less than 48 hours before the delegation was to leave for Rabat and Western Sahara.
She also does not mention the jailing of journalists such as Ali Lmrabet for criticizing the king. After his release in 2004, he has been forbidden to publish his newspaper. A journalist herself, Emma Schwartz could have given a voice to Moroccan journalists who cannot write anymore because the King has said so.
Ms. Emma could have got the following quote from Ali Lmrabet:"I never
said we had to change the king -- no, no, no, no! But I said that some things the king is doing, I do not like. Is that a crime?"
Emma could also have reported on the imprisonment of Berber students who have been peacefully requesting their rights. She could have hinted at the Moroccan laws that forbid children from having Berber (Amazigh) names.
She talks about pluralism of the King... Is she kidding? A pluralist king? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Was Ms. Schwartz kissing King Mohamed VI's A..? Probably, yes. She wrote, “an initiative by King Mohammed VI ..." Since when do kings care for their subjects?