By Simon Rodriguez
It is really surprising to read some of the comments on the web, especially those coming seemingly from Moroccans or people who are in favour of Morocco’s position as to the longstanding conflicts in Western Sahara.
It is very surprising and shocking indeed that, in the 21st century, there are still people who have not been able to realise the fact that we, mainly in the west, have long ago left behind many centuries of dark ages in which absolute monarchs ruled by some metaphysical and supposedly divine rights, dominated vast areas and subjected many peoples to their cruel and inherently undemocratic rule.
Our forefathers strove a great deal to bring those dark pages of our history to an end, and thanks to their efforts we now enjoy our freedoms and live in democratic countries where sovereignty is invested in the people and exercised through their democratically elected representatives, not by an absolute monarch that rules, reigns and has rights over everything spiritual and material.
These are fundamental facts of which implications universally some people unfortunately seem unable to comprehend. Any sensible man or woman who genuinely believes in democracy, equality and human dignity will readily understand why the small people of Western Sahara continue to reject to be ruled by the autocratic and absolute monarchy in Morocco.
The fact, which many Moroccans and other like-minded people, do not want to see or talk about, is that Morocco is still ruled by one of the few remaining absolute monarchies in the world. Where in the world do you see a country in which the monarch rules and reigns, and whose poor subjects, including his ministers and senior officials, are under obligation to bow before him and pathetically kiss his hand? Where in the world is questioning the monarchical system is a sacrilegious act that implies death penalty? I know of no other country save Morocco that fits the bill.
It is an incontestable fact that Morocco is still ruled by a feudal system at the helm of which is a monarch that rules on the basis of some highly questionable divine right (exactly as monarchs ruled in middle-age Europe!), and has royal prerogatives to appoint ministers and dismisses them at will. He also can dissolve the ‘parliament’ of his majesty and rule by decrees. Above all, he is accountable to no one!
Morocco is a country where more than 50% of the population is illiterate (of which 70% are women), and where a large part of the young population is unemployed. Many of those youngsters are forced to flee their miserable lives in Morocco and risk their lives trying to reach Europe. Morocco is also a country where the dramatically deteriorating social-economic situation of many people has become a fertile ground for radical and home-grown terrorist groups. This is, indeed, the real Morocco that many people seem unable to see and decry.
It will certainly be more productive for these understandably Moroccan nationalists to look inward and try to structurally reform their political system and improve the lives of millions of Moroccans, instead of reproducing the discourses of autocratic ruling elite, with no regard for the welfare of its own people.
As an outsider with some knowledge in the politics of the region, and mainly someone who believes in and cherishes the values of democracy and human rights, I understand very well and advocate the demand of the people of Western Sahara to live in a free and democratic state. I also understand why they have resisted to be ruled by Morocco, because simply no enlightened and democratic mind in the world can tolerate—let alone allow to be ruled by—an authoritarian and undemocratic regime as the one ruling in Morocco.