The Moorish Wanderer

Mezouar Goes Viral

Posted in Flash News, Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Moroccanology, Morocco, Polfiction, Read & Heard by Zouhair ABH on October 12, 2011

I came across that video of Salaheddine Mezouar, outgoing Finance Minister and (supposedly) leader of the “A8” Alliance. Just watch:

I am cracking myself up with that! I love the contrasted collar, the cufflinks, the blue shirt with no tie, the relaxed posture… even the GODDAMN MAC LAPTOP and IPHONE/SMARTPHONE ON THE BACKGROUND! Seems Minister Mezouar has got all he needs to projects an image of modernity, youth and change (even though he has been around in all government ever since 2002, and his party has been in power since its foundation in 1977, hardly a factor of change, wouldn’t you say?)

Well, we nihilists are not getting the full democratic institutions we need, but we are at least issued the by-products of modern, mass-consumer democracy they serve in the UK, continental Europe or the USA: politicians on the web, trying to spin their image as hip and trying also to win over a small but apparently influential blogosphere, with the help of PR consultancy firms. I don’t know, but it seems Mezouar & Co are -so far- vastly overestimating what the Blogoma and Twittoma can do in terms of opinion leadership. And it’s a great thing, we can go around pushing our agendas. So my question to the Minister is as follows:

“Minister, Why don’t you raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for the debt you have been piling on over the last two years?”

Monsieur le Ministre, pourquoi n’allez-vous pas augmenter la tranche marginale de l’impôt sur le revenu pour payer la dette accumulée ces deux dernières années?”

“سعادة الوزير، لماذا لا ترفع من سقف الضريبة على دخل الشريحة العليا لتسديد الديون التي راكمتها منذ سنتين؟”

Oh, and if any RNI operative comes across this, I’d suggest they have a read at the following to convince themselves I buttress my claims.

RNI: TROLOLOL since 1977

His Majesty’s Nihilist Blog Government

Posted in Flash News, Moroccanology, Morocco, Polfiction by Zouhair ABH on October 9, 2010

A quick and dirty post. Nothing serious, just a little joke that got out of hands (mine, to be precise) Notice: this is a purely fictional post. the objective is to push around a witty banter with the nihilist lot of the Blogoma.

“Late this morning, His Majesty the King Mohamed VI has asked M Org, Larbi, to form in His name a nihilist government and subsequently lead the newly elected parliament following the constitutional reform. The government has the crucial task of making sure the democratic process is genuinely carried out and ensure every Moroccan citizen enjoy their rights responsibly, the Larbi Government has the equally important objective to put together policies that ensure Morocco to be a genuine constitutional democratic parliamentary monarchy. The designate Prime Minister presented the Head of State with the following list, and it has been accepted. These are the members of the inner cabinet, other junior postings are to be published later in the week.

Prime Minister:
M. Org, Larbi, as a veteran blogger, was naturally offered the much prized Prime Ministerial office; His leadership, self-assurance in times of crisis as well as his coolness and constant nihilist stand qualify him to lead the government team into sucess. He will however have a hard time in coordinating the departments, as his colleagues have their own policies, and make sure in the process their policies are well carried out despite joint opposition from the grimaseekers national front and the reactionaries too.

Finance Minister:
Anas Alaoui was in pole position for a senior cabinet postings, and is effectively the deputy prime minister. He succeed in securing the Finance portfolio, a department that fits with his good record in economic policies. Because of the delicate balance in parliament, difficulties will arise when he will present  and vote the Budget, where the opposition will not allow his policies to go through.

Interior and Local Governement Minister:
Cercle des Jeunes Débiles Marocains. While many qualified Abou Lahab as upstart, his efforts in order to get a senior posting were rewarded, by getting the high-profile interior department, thanks to his brilliant Prison Offshore policy, as well as his deep knowledge of Moroccan state of mind. all of which are going to be come in handy later on. However, he will need to deal with the recent death of a Moroccan citizen in a police station, and in the process, re-brand the Police’s image among Moroccan citizens.  (they also have the task to launch a website and submit a decent logo for the department)
Religious Affairs and Habous Minister: The Moroccan Girl. The posting came as surprise as to allocate a female minister to a very special department, but she can handle her portfolio quite well. She might however need to take on the reactionary Ulemas that control effectively her department.
Justice Minister: Ibnkafka
An obvious choice and not subject to debate. The most respected and rigourous Moroccan jurist on probation will face the garguantuan task to make sure the judiciary is effectively independent and fair.
Government Secretary: Shiftybox
She will make sure everyone toes the line; Her heydays of feminine and individual militancy will be helpful for her to make sure the governement sticks to the policies they were elected upon.

Youth and Sports Minister: Le Mythe
Back from the wilderness, Le Mythe has been given the junior portfolio of Youth and Sports thanks to his involvement in these activities, but he can pull off a good result when he puts his mind to it

Culture and Arts Minister: Agharass
A gifted artist, he was given a portfolio he will excel in. He has the important task of changing the whole cultural paradigm and push for a larger and more diverse Moroccan culture. He will also make sure that Art is accessible to everyone, according to the government policy

Communications and New Technologies Minister: Hisham Almiraat
There is still considerable doubt about him cumulating Health portfolio too. His constant stand of Bloggers’ liberty  of speech, as well as his considerable knowledge in Web 2.0 made him the ideal man for the job.


Education, Research and High Education: B. Sahib, PhD
The portfolio was originally offered to Lbadikho, the most Left-wing member of the establishment and a scientific of high standards, but he eventually turned it down on the ground he could not conciliate his research and government job. The department was forthwith given to B.S. PhD, in a recognition for his unique investigation methods and his quality papers. He is expected to follow closely the government policy in renovating scientific research in Morocco and give it a boost in international standards.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation: Reda.
His career as a diplomat outside Morocco and in countries that are not part of the ‘classic’ Moroccan network are going to be very valuable in the government’s foreign policy

Energy and Mining Minister: Kingstoune
As a wealthy tycoon, Kingstoune is likely to put to good use his considerable network and contacts for Morocco in order to design the optimal energy policy for the century.

Health Minister: Dr H. Makaynach
Because M. Almiraat has been given the Communications portfolio, Dr Makaynach volunteered for the delicate task of reforming the national health service, against the trade-unions and the private hospitals lobby. A difficult task that he is willing to take on.

Transports Minister: Spyjones
Although he has little experience and is the younger member of the cabinet, his outstanding knowledge will more than make up for it and help bring about a solution to the problem of high death tolls in Moroccan highways.

Agriculture Minister: Fhamator
Another surprise, as Fhamator was supposed to get a more important portfolio. But because he withdrew from front-line nihilism for a long time, he was not the first choice for the Prime Minister, although his deep knowledge of Moroccan society will be put to good use in reforming the present plethoric real estate jurisdiction

Families and Solidarity Minister: Moom Light
Her close involvement with European models of society and individual liberties will help her in making real the government’s commitment to bring about civil partnership, de-penalisation of homosexuality and pre-marital sex. She and the Cabinet secretary (Mrs Shiftybox) will make sure the government sticks to the agenda on civil and individual liberties.

Labour and Employement Minister: Mounir Bensalah
Mr Bensalah, a veteran human-rights activist with high-level connection trade unions, will bring his considerable knowledge and personality in making sure all social partners agree to government policies.



The government has been therefore been formed, and was given a positive vote of confidence from Parliament subsequently. The author wants to thank Agharass for his idea (which was merely put into shape). The author is expecting the Prime Minister and the King’s consent to present him with the Governorship of Bank Al Maghrib. The Author also apologizes he favoured bloggers at the expenses of others but that was a bit of  a spur-of-the-moment kind of idea, so please, don’t look hurt 🙂

The Side Show of A Side Show

Posted in Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Morocco, Read & Heard, The Wanderer, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on October 8, 2010

Three main courses for current Moroccan news: Ould Salma, reportedly released from his Polisario jail, Nichane newspaper that went under and finally Fodail Aberkane, an individual killed in a Police station. Mainstream and Blogoma are all over it, so I thought I could add my voice to the herd too. No harm done.

First, Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud. It is great to get all misty eyes and all fired up over his misfortunes, and in a way, it would be fair game because last year at the same time, Morocco was down the international gutter because of its behaviour towards pro-independence Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar. The tide has since then changed slightly to Morocco’s favour, but overall it does not further our claims, nor does it bring about a final settlement to the present unfortunate situation. I don’t know about my fellow bloggers, but when I watch Moroccan television, or read some of the MAP news agency about the “القضية الوطنية”, the National Issue n°1 as it were, I have the uncomfortable feeling the propaganda is targeted towards the domestic audience.

And what bombastic propaganda that was! Following our forensic experts like M. Nini, we are about to go to war with Algeria (or even Spain) and within a week our soldiers would be sipping tea at Tindouf. All of that while the truth is carefully toned down (there was little publicity about the negotiation rounds that took February 2010), Moroccan officials are in direct negotiations with the Polisario, and matters that occasionally arise are used by each side to put pressure on the other and get the maximum concession out of it.

There is nothing in it for the interest of the common Moroccan or the Sahrawi in Tindouf. As for Ould Salma, he gambled on international support, whether he lost or won is still a matter of debate. Bottom line is, let’s not get too excited and heated up for this.

Ould Salma, former Polisario top raking Police officer, jailed after expressing favourable views on Morocco's autonomy plan

This is merely international politics, a sideshow to cover up for politics that matters. Another sideshow is Nichane newspaper that (finally) shuts down (and up in the process). It is always sad to witness another newspaper shutting down in Morocco; This particular case however is not the result of direct oppression, and one can certainly assert that freedom of speech does not shrink further because of that.

A business has been closed down, but the journalists can still write articles. Nichane, just like its French-speaking sister newspaper TelQuel, and the late Le Journal are not what one can describe as all-out opposition newspapers.

Their founders (Ahmed Réda Benchemsi and Aboubakr Jamaï for Le Journal) are not firebrand dissidents. Both come from quite wealthy backgrounds (Ulad Jamaï are a wealthy family that long served at Imperial court and Benchemsi is related to a former Governor), and if their newspapers close down, they are not going to starve or go on the dole.

In fact, the terms of debate are wrongly defined: the central issue here is not the gagging of freedom of press, it is merely the closing down of a business.

Both Le Journal and Nichane were compelled to close down because of the direct cause of financial difficulties: the first had unpaid social securities contributions, and the second for the lack of advertisement support. Both closed down because they were short of money.

Ahmed Réda Benchemsi Aka “ARB” is known for his fired-up editorials against Islamists

One can cast doubts on whether both newspapers were ill-managed but the fact remains that both newspapers were first and foremost businesses that were profitable at a time, but eventually reached an unbearable level of losses and had to withdraw. As journalists, their founders could always open up a collective blog, or set up another newspaper, their freedom of speech is not endangered.

Their freedom was endangered when they published dissident articles, but not this time with Nichane, nor with Le Journal in February 2010.One can reasonably argue that this seems to be the new strategy censors are pursuing to gag dissidents, and they deserve solidarity but only up to a point.

Journalists in Morocco put themselves in a bit of a spot: right from the start -say the early 90’s- independent journalists hammered a dangerous message on their readers; politicians are all alike, corrupt, opportunists and weak. The message was so well conveyed -and confirmed by unfortunate examples– that in a way, journalists became politicians themselves. No one can deny that Rachid Nini, Ahmed Reda Benchemsi or Jamaï senior and many others do not have their own respective agenda, whether as a reactionary, an anti-islamist or a constitutional reformer

Rachid Nini: Die Nachtrichten Führer

. Independent journalists are the new politicians in Morocco. They do however, fit admirably the cruel yet strikingly in Baldwin’s apophthegm: “Power without responsibility, the prerogative of Harlots through out the ages”.

Power because they do have considerable amount of influence (Nini as a Populist, ARB and Jamai as intellengtsia favourite writers ) but they are answerable to nobody. The other behemoth player is the Makhzen, who occasionally play them off each others, or crush them whenever it is necessary to remind them, and the public that they set up the rules and there are things not to be trifled with.

It is all good to worry about freedom of speech, but one has to keep in mind the wider picture speaks better. It is, quite simply, a storm in a weak tea-cup. Now, do we need to worry about Nichane or independent newspapers in Morocco? Frankly, who cares? the days of militant and impoverished -yet high-standards- journalism in Morocco are over (Mohamed Belhassan El ouazzani was not expecting journalism in Morocco to stoop so low in the business race); we are talking business, and in such matters, there are no good guys and bad guys, only big bucks.

I was amazed to the strength of international media coverage (old farts stick together, don’t they?) as though corporatist solidarity allows journalists to pose as victims (and they certainly are, to an extent) but not in a manner such as the ordinary citizens of  Ben Smim for instance.

37 years old Fodail Aberkane. An anonymous victim of Police brutality

The last piece was left so on purpose, because it is much more important; The first one does not affect us directly as citizens, but merely concerns an unnecessary nationalistic pride we can do without.

The second one is just a matter of money and would-be journalists. The last is about how random and hazardous it is to walk in a police station and walk out of it unharmed and more importantly, alive. I needn’t bore you with details because others have spoken quite eloquently about it. It is as though a brutal reminder was sent to all would-be dissidents that the old institutions are still there, and that at any time, one can meet his maker (and Orangina bottle down their bottom in the process) in a nasty dark little room, downstairs one’s very local police station. Suffice it to remember than, in a Morocco so full of new things and so resolute in its democratic process and open-mindedness, the murder of Fodail Aberkane remains a blot that has never been addressed.

One would certainly say: well, it just happened once, and if it was not for a life, it is no big deal. A reasoning ab absurdo would prove it to be otherwise: assuming what happened in Salé police station was merely a security cock-up, why didn’t the interior ministry suspend the policemen and launch an inquiry on the matter? Don’t they realise that what happened is a disgrace to the uniform of Moroccan police; (the satirical Young Retarded Moroccan Society published a very moving piece about it)

On that melodramatic tone, I wish you all a good week end.