by Salah Elayoubi:
“What began in early November, as a masquerade with prayers asking for rain, has now taken on the appearance of national tragedy. It’s like the rage of heaven had hit the country, just to punish its own for the blasphemous hypocrisy of its leaders. And once again the Makhzen didn’t fall short of disregard, indifference, and cruelty that made its reputation.
At the same time quick to pounce on powerless citizens, when it comes to repressing them and conspicuously absent when it comes to rescueing them.
Easily understandable that there would be no deployment of material resources nor mobilization of the army, no national mourning, nor compensations envisaged for the poorest of the poor. The record is appalling. It is measured in dozens of deaths, hundreds, if not thousands of homeless people and millions of dirhams in damage, but seems to have little impact on our leaders who, in just a few days, demonstrated the full measure of how little they consider the lives of average Moroccans and an overview of their guilty incompetence. Judge for yourself:
In the early hours of the catastrophe, while the disaster was in full swing and while their countrymen were dying by the dozens, the royal cabinet announced Mohammed VI’s intention to visit China before a distancing, seemingly complicated by bronchitis, spared the monarch the shame that just such a trip could produce at this moment in time. Then, without the slightest transition, the king looked to Liberia and Sierra Leone, transferring to these two countries, twelve tons of drugs and medical products. And apart from a pathetic management of funerals for some victims, widely publicized, the king appeared ever more discreet, at the national level, demonstrating that it is not enough to lay claim to an executive monarchy in order to live up to his ambitions. We expected the Chief of the Armed Forces to order the establishment of a wide-scale operation of disaster relief. Instead of hypocritical prayers beseeching rain, disseminated to the most remote corners of the kingdom, a general alert concerning the flooding should have been issued.
When the first assessment was made, one could have legitimately questioned the extent of the initial downfall, resembling a tsunami that swamped the south, with riverbeds, valleys, and the large, regional dams as the backdrop. All indications are that these contributed significantly to the increased flooding, whether they have overflowed their banks or whether there were systematic water releases to relieve the mounting pressure. In either scenario, why were people in these areas not warned of the dangerous phenomenon they were going to face? Why, given the weather forecast, were these preventive water releases not effected long before the storm? These questions remain unanswered, as long as Mohammed VI does not order an investigation to determine where the responsibility lies.
On the government side, the same silence is to be found among our ministers, aware that their powers, their prerogatives and their conspicuous empathy, are reduced to a minimum and stop when those of the king begin. Not one would initiate an investigation nor take off his boots to go and investigate the situation, comfort the victims, take note of what work was needed for repairs, for relocation of the homeless and compensation for losses. At most, a few published some alerts on their Facebook page. What a pitiful initiative and in no way of consequence, useless, given the poor network connection rate in Morocco. Others, like Najib Boulif, Minister for Transport, pretended, as usual, to be distressed by this sad truism concerning the obsolescence of over a thousand Moroccan bridges.
Unwinding the film of this tragedy that hit the country, an irrepressible disgust makes you sick to your stomach. We understand a little better why so many Moroccans have only one dream — to flee the country in which they were born, to look for their lost dignity.
“He has as no country, the person who lives and dies without dignity,” the proverb goes. Because, when all is said and done, it is a question of dignity, when your fellow citizens are tossed about like wisps of straw on the roof of a truck for hours, before their body and soul finally pass away, or wait powerless before all your family members are carried to their death by the flood waters, and then witness their remains being transported in a garbage truck. It is also a question of dignity when your own country’s army evacuates foreign tourists and abandons to the fury of the elements.
Finally, it is also a question of dignity, when the country which claims to nurture the human soul, organizes a Global Forum on Human Rights, all the while supremely ignorant of Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Rights the man who states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person.” Exactly the opposite of what has been happening for nearly a month in southern Morocco.” November 30, 2014