Basri Gone… The Makhzen Still Alive and Kicking

The Demise of the Right-Hand Man of Hassan II.

Driss Basri died yesterday in Paris, after a long illness. He was the architect of the repressive policies of what is widely known in morocco as the “Lead Years”. His ruthless rule over the all-mighty Ministry of Interior & “Information,” was marked by waves of unlawful abductions, torture and disappearances. An awful period that almost two generations of Moroccan people had to live through.

Soon after his accession to the Throne, Mohamed VI sacked Driss Basri unceremoniously in a clear move to get rid of the legacy of his father Hassan II. The Dismissal was perceived by the majority of Moroccans as a powerful and encouraging sign for a more liberal and bright future. Eight years later, the picture is less appealing. In his recent speech, the Moroccan monarch clearly indicated that what he called “the Grand Objectives of the Nation” are not subject to debate or discussion since, as he added, “these are a question of national consensus.” Many are today questioning the necessity of such electoral process if public debate is limited beforehand and in such language, reminiscent of the “Years of Lead.” Journalists who dared asking that question, soon understood that the Makhzen (the name given to the Moroccan state and power establishment) is still alive and kicking.

Basri always claimed he was the mere executioner of policies that “were aimed at safeguarding the monarchy, the stability and the unity of the country.” (see the 2004 Aljazeera interview-ar-). He chose to go to exile in Paris where he died yesterday, aged 69.

“He escaped, as did many of those responsible of the worst crimes and attacks on Human Rights, with total impunity” deplored yesterday Abdelillah ben Abdeslam, head of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, himself a victim of the “Years of Lead.”

(pictures from “TelQuel-Online“)
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