mardi 6 août 2013

Morocco - About the King's Blunder #Danielgate

- The scandal of the Moroccan king releasing serial child rapist (who allegedly was also a spy) through royal pardon is an example of what happens when power is concentrated in the hands of a few, unable to manage it all in a way that ends up jeopardizing victims, their families and people at large when the king is the one making decisions and signing documents without being aware of the details / impact. 

- The king retracting his pardon is a band-aid solution, as the need for independent judiciary remains a top priority, one that the Feb20 movement has expressed clearly for the past two and a half years.

- Protests to retract king's pardon were violently repressed. This clear violation to the constitution's article 29 - theoretically granting Moroccans the right to protest peacefully, is reminiscent of the repression that February 20th movement activists have been facing throughout the past years, while calling for – among other equally important demands- an independent judiciary.

- The king meeting with victims and/or their families may heighten their stress level and expose them further to the public, which comes with substantial psychological hardship and bears negative consequences for them. In addition, no official or clear apologies were made, as the King and his cabinet's primary concerns are damage control and PR after this scandal. 

-The king put all the blame on the process, denied prior knowledge that the list comprised a serial child rapist, and did not take personal responsibility as the one who authorized his release, knowing that the Minister of Justice reported issuing a warning to the King's cabinet regarding the list that includes said rapist. The head of prisons was subsequently sacked, but the highest authority responsible for the pardon - the king, and the cabinet- remain unquestioned.

- The ministry of justice withdrew its initial press release with regards to the warning that was provided to the King's cabinet, in an attempt to further clear the King from responsibility in this blunder.

- Political parties were highly criticized by the public, with their only response to the king's pardon being silence, reportedly after receiving high instructions from the king's cabinet to refrain from issuing any press releases. 

- People, through tweets, hashtags #Danielgate #Mafrasich #Balagh #لا_للعفو_عن_مغتصب_الأطفال , and facebook posts, together with online press (news sites such as Lakome are harder to censor by the regime) have succeeded in creating the strongest linkage institution in the kingdom. Expressing anger so clearly and compelling the Palace to respond and issue so many press releases in less than a week is unprecedented, because a crowd as angry and as big as the one in social networks cannot be silenced the way crowds in real protests are consistently repressed. 

- This scandal depicts slippage, not progress. Many praise Morocco as an example in the region, however, Morocco is a politically weak state headed by an iron-fisted king, a ministry of interior clamping down on the pro-democracy public outcry, and political parties that may as well be collectively called "King's Political Parties". This destructive pattern prevents the youth from organizing and positioning themselves in a political arena that's under lockdown. The regime's  autocratic defense mechanisms are further deepening the gap between youth that aspire to a democratic state and representatives that seek to please the King in order to secure their political careers.