Saturday, March 12, 2011

The king of Morocco's speech

With the world's eyes fixed on what's happening in Libya or Egypt or Yemen or Oman or even Saudi Arabia, they have not noticed that to the west in the country where the sun sets, Morocco, modest protests have resulted in what may simply be thought of something 'revolutionary'.
On 3 March 2011 from the throne Mohammed VI in a somber three button suit - flanked on his right by his son and heir Sidi Hasan, similarly dressed, and to his left his brother Moulay Rachid equally fitted - delivered an important speech.
In essence, he told his people, 'je vous ai compris'...'I heard you', without giving a nod to recent street demonstrations.
Briefly, he is initiating steps in constitutional reform which will lighten the royal hand on government...even going as far as saying the prime minister will be responsible to parliament and not appointed by him. Economic regionalisation will continue with renewed purpose, in order create jobs and open doors for the growing university educated, etc. Notably, too, Mohammed VI emphasised the equality of the sexes, the need for women in elected positions, so on and on. Equally significant is a reference to 'ammazighite, patrimone commun de tous les Marocains, sans exclusivite': translation the recognition of Morocco's Berber heritage, which under his father's reign was hardly emphasised, and which under the protectorate, the French cynically used 'Berberism' to divide and weaken the awakening Moroccan nationalism.
GuamDiary suggests reading this important document to its readers.
Mohammed VI belongs to the Alouite dynasty which has ruled Morocco since 1631. The unrest which is now rocking the pillars of the Arab world did affect Morocco. The example of Tunisia dumping Ben Ali and Egypt Hosni Mubarak did not go unnoticed in the royal palace in Rabat. Calls for a constitutional monarchy unsettled and jobs and abolishing corruption and the heavy hand of the monarchy forced Mohammed VI & co. to put on thinking caps.
One thing you can say for the youthful king is that he is cut from the same wood as his grandfather Mohammed V and his father Hasan II. At the heart of the king's speech is a pragmatic assessment of reality and the instinctive political will of survival of the Alouite dynasty. M-6, as he is popularly referred to, has not intention to spend the rest of his days like Farouk in exile or a future without a throne for his son Sidi Hasan.
Mohammed V, chosen and tutored by the French, took the reins of the nationalist movement into his hands, the better for the royal house's survival. Hasan II brutally repressed the Moroccan left and beat back two attempts by the military to seize power. Now, it is Mohammed VI's turn to perpetuate the long reigning house of the Alouis. His way is to secede the trappings of autocracy for the constitutional and economic reforms which will not upset his palace's apple cart.
We do not say for sure: did M-6 read Lampadeusa's 'the Leopard'? In any way, it seems, with his speech, he's has taken to heart the Prince of Salina's lesson in political economy: in grosso modo, it goes something like this: you've to give a little to retain power.

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