Wishful Thinking

As each day goes by, I wonder if I should give it up all together. I’m beginning to have some headaches because of all this mumbo jumbo about democracy, elections and so on and so forth… I had these thoughts for a moment now and I can’t help thinking and wondering: What if elections in my country were free and fair? What if the PM of Morocco and the government-elect were from a progressive, clean and people-driven party? What if the King finally conceded power to the elected institutions of the country and satisfies himself by a role of mediation and arbitration? What if a national conference was held and the country’s elite was called to draw a new text for the constitution? What if the judiciary was given -at last- free rein to investigate, litigate, prosecute and judge anyone on equal basis? What if the press was given the freedom it ought to have? What if people who brandish religion as a political ideology stopped meddling into the political life? What if the corrupt thugs and kleptocrats of the Makhzen were held accountable for the theft of the country’s wealth, for their hideous embezzling activities and their monopoly of the economic sector through clique and cronies? What if an enlightened educational system was proposed to all Moroccans‘ sons and daughters without prejudice of class or gender? What if the huge amounts of money assigned to royal palaces’ maintenance and to satisfying the monarch’s caprices were rather allocated to social and public projects? What if the government efforts were concentrated on bringing about a dignified health system guaranteeing that people are not going to be turned down because of their lack of resources or forced to bribe nurses and doctors to get access to basic care? What if the legislature was disconnected from the executive power and awarded autonomy to move away from its current subservient role of a complaisant rubber stamp?

… Ah… the headache again!… wait a minute I’m gonna take a paracetamol tablet… Gulp!… I’m feeling better now… So, where were we?… Yes: What If…

What if big public companies were ruled by highly monitored civil servants thoroughly accountable before people’s representatives? What if Morocco lastly cut loose the leash of servility with French companies who are literally buying out the public sector in the name of an opaque process of “privatization”? What if the country stopped its vulgar worship of the US administrations, one after the other, and started engaging in a sovereign path and empathising and cooperating with fellow independent States? What if the monarch started fulfilling his (self-anointed) role of the “President of the Palestine Council”(sic)? What if alAlaoui (you know… the two-faced marathon speaker of the RTMRadio Television Marocaine– who often accompanies and comments on King’s televisual “activities” with a ridiculous shivering voice, often on edge of tears, pledging his allegiance every second of every minute making viewers either laugh out loud or causing them to vomit out of disgust), what if he was relieved from his sycophantic “mission” alleviating millions of people? I’m sure he could be easily reassigned to a more “discreet” position (I don’t want the man to end up jobless after all, despite the pain in the neck he often caused me.) What if a civil rather than a military was elected as head of the Moroccan football federation? What if sport stopped being shamefully used as an anesthetic of the masses ? What if the 2022 World Cup was held in Morocco? What if Raja Club Athletic started winning again?

And Finally, what if I stopped rambling just right here?

Wishful thinking! one might challenge; maybe so, but one thing is for sure: I don’t think any Paracetamol dose will be able to calm this bloody headache… I hope a good sleep will do… good night and good luck!

(picture credit: “imaqine“)

10 thoughts on “Wishful Thinking

  1. «You may say I am a dreamer,
    But I am not the only one”
    You know this song very well, Hisham.

    There are a lot of things to dream about in Morocco. But we still lack a political class that can sacrifice itself for the country, and not the country for itself. Political success starts at the local level. But in Morocco, curiously the majority of people don’t know even who represent them in the local councils or municipalities. These guys once elected are out of views. They become just phantoms. People and politicians are out of touch. You may disagree with me, but I think the King is the only person with the highest integrity among all the exercising politicians in Morocco. It will be dangerous at this stage to curb his power. In view of the corrupt politicians here and there, we will end up just with a new oligarchy that will suck Moroccan blood without looking back at those dripping with mortally. The Moroccans have become sceptical about any politician promising “miracles”. As long as nepotism and favouritism are a way of life in Morocco, it’s hard to imagine how power through the ballot can make any difference. What can you expect from a politician who has spent a fortune in his campaign to do? Did he spend that money for the love of his country? That spending is a gamble or an investment, which can yield a new capital to continue holding one’s post or to retire without ever feeling bankrupt.

    Concerning your views about health services there is an interesting comparison, which you know better than me now you are in the French health service. In France, for example, the government “BRIBES” parents or couples or mothers to have children by increasing the allowances for any born child. The allowances for the next child are bigger than that for the previous one. In Morocco, women wanting to give birth in government hospitals BRIBE nurses and doctors! So it’s clear how humans are viewed in this country. Nobody cares if the mother goes under huge pains if she or her family can’t give adequate bribe. They might say Morocco produces far enough children, so no need to worry. We won’t be short of them!

  2. Thank you brother for your refreshing comment… That was better than the Claradol pills I’m poisonning my self with. You rightly hinted at the very particular point we might (half-)diverge on, but you’re spot on on your diagnosis of the ludicrous state of the health system.
    Be blessed and Aid Mubarak Said!

  3. If thats your dream then more power to you and people like you in Morrocco.
    It took us a long time in the UK to achieve a “consitutional” monarchy and a more open democracy. Its through people asking such what if questions that a new reality is achieved.
    Politicians ( and kings and queens and civil servants) will always be self serving unless constitutional measures are in place to control this. In this respect I suppose that they are like most other human beings. If they see the opportunity to gain personal advantage they will take it.

    If civil structures and constitutinal arrangements are good though then these tendencies are kept in check and are channelled in ways which strengthen rather than defeat democratic ends.

  4. @Bunc: You know, I keep discussing these matters with my friends and countrymen on almost a daily basis, and sometimes you’re afflicted by this awful feeling that reminds you that people before you have tried and failed or have paid a very high cost and the whole thing beats you down and discourages you. But I met some wonderful and intelligent people (and you’re surely one of them) who embolden one’s heart and make you feel that you’re not the only one. Moroccans are highly aware politically; my contrymen have fought and suffered a lot for a more just, equal and civilized society, but the struggle has been hindered by this “human” self-serving instinct you’re talking about. Western Governments are not very green on this but that’s another matter.
    I guess people like us have selfish reasons to relentlessly ask for reform: we want to enjoy it… simple as that!

  5. Hear Hear! Hear’s to more what if’s from Morrocco to Iraq. I’ve been a bit depressed recently with the level of naivity I see in many Syrian bloggers that want immediate reforms but along Western lines. Can we adopt you as an honorary Syrian ya Hisham?

  6. عزيزي وسيم

    I’m very honoured by your offer, which I wholeheartedly accept ; but when have I ever stopped being a Syrian? I’m indeed as much a Syrian as I’m (administratively, emotionally and viscerally) a Moroccan. I’m a Palestinian, an Iraqi, a Lebanese, a Somali, a Sudanese…

    My Identity and yours wont be “wiped off” by the mere fountain pen draw of two (probably drunk) Imperialistic “diplomats” (the damned Sykes and Picot) who separated the Arabs to better rule over them and eventually transform the area into “a collection of big gas stations” according to Gen. Abizaid (declaration made on the Stanford Daily just three days ago). The Gen. added “Our message to [the Arabs] is: Guys, keep your pumps open, prices low, be nice to the Israelis and you can do whatever you want out back.” You couldn’t make it up!

    Finally, I want you to share with me this enlightening and profound 2003 article by the regretted Edward Said, written in the run up to the criminal invasion of Iraq(one of his last). A damning and acute analysis of the disastrous state of the Arab World and an awakening call for all his fellow Arabs. Good reading comrade!

    When Will Arabs Resist?
    A Panorama of Desolation

    One opens the New York Times on a daily basis to read the most recent article about the preparations for war that are taking place in the United States. Another battalion, one more set of aircraft carriers and cruisers, an ever-increasing number of aircraft, new contingents of officers are being moved to the Persian Gulf area. An enormous, deliberately intimidating force is being built up by America overseas, while inside the country, economic and social bad news multiply with a joint relentlessness.

    The huge capitalist machine seems to be faltering, even as it grinds down the vast majority of citizens. None the less, George Bush proposes another large tax cut for the 1% of the population that is comparatively rich. The public education system is in crisis and health insurance for 50 million Americans simply does not exist. Israel asks for $15bn in additional loan guarantees and military aid. And the unemployment rates in the US mount inexorably, as more jobs are lost every day.

    Nevertheless, preparations for an unimaginably costly war continue without either public approval or, at least until very recently, dramatically noticeable disapproval. A generalised indifference among the majority of the population (which may conceal great overall fear, ignorance and apprehension) has greeted the administration’s warmongering and its strangely ineffective response to the challenge forced on it recently by North Korea. In the case of Iraq, with no weapons of mass destruction to speak of, the US plans a war; in the case of North Korea, it offers economic and energy aid. What a humiliating difference between contempt for the Arabs and respect for North Korea, an equally grim and cruel dictatorship.

    In the Arab and Muslim worlds, the situation appears more peculiar. For almost a year American politicians, regional experts, administration officials and journalists have repeated the charges that have become standard fare so far as Islam and the Arabs are concerned. Most of this predates September 11. To today’s practically unanimous chorus has been added the authority of the UN human development report on the Arab world, which certified that Arabs dramatically lag behind the rest of the world in democracy, knowledge and women’s rights.

    Everyone says (with some justification, of course) that Islam needs reform and that the Arab educational system is a disaster–in effect, a school for religious fanatics and suicide bombers funded not just by crazy imams and their wealthy followers (such as Osama bin Laden) but also by governments who are the supposed allies of the US.

    The only “good” Arabs are those who appear in the media decrying modern Arab culture and society without reservation. I recall the lifeless cadences of their sentences for, with nothing positive to say about themselves or their people and language, they simply regurgitate the tired American formulas already flooding the airwaves and pages of print. We lack democracy, they say, we haven’t challenged Islam enough, we need to do more about driving away the spectre of Arab nationalism and the credo of Arab unity. That is all discredited, ideological rubbish. Only what we and our American instructors say about the Arabs and Islam–vague, recycled Orientalist clichés repeated by tireless mediocrities such as Bernard Lewis–are true, they insist. The rest isn’t realistic or pragmatic enough. “We” need to join modernity–modernity in effect being western, globalised, free marketed, democratic, whatever those words might be taken to mean. There would be an essay to be written about the prose style of licensed academics like Fuad Ajami, Fawwaz Gerges, Kanan Makiya, Shibli Talhami, Mamoon Fandy, whose very language reeks of subservience, inauthenticity and the hopelessly stilted mimicry that has been thrust upon them.

    The clash of civilisations that George Bush and his minions are trying to fabricate as a cover for a pre-emptive oil and hegemony war against Iraq is supposed to result in a triumph of democratic nation-building, regime change and forcible modernisation à l’Américaine. Never mind the bombs and the ravages of the sanctions, which are unmentioned. This will be a purifying war whose goal is to throw out Saddam and his men and replace them with a redrawn map of the whole region. New Sykes Picot. New Balfour. New Wilsonian 14 points. New world altogether. Iraqis, we are told by the Iraqi dissidents, will welcome their liberation, and perhaps forget entirely about their past sufferings. Perhaps.

    Meanwhile, the soul-and-body destroying situation in Palestine worsens all the time. There seems no force capable of stopping Ariel Sharon and his defence minister Shaul Mofaz, who bellow their defiance to the whole world. We forbid, we punish, we ban, we break, we destroy. The torrent of unbroken violence against an entire people continues.

    As I write these lines, I am sent an announcement that the village of Al-Daba’ in the Qalqilya area of the West Bank is about to be wiped out by 60-tonne American-made Israeli bulldozers: 250 Palestinians will lose their 42 houses, 700 dunums of agricultural land, a mosque and an elementary school for 132 children. The UN stands by, looking on as its resolutions are flouted on an hourly basis. Alas, George Bush identifies with Sharon, not with the 16-year-old Palestinian kid who is used as a human shield by Israeli soldiers.

    Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority offers a return to peacemaking and, presumably, to Oslo. Having been burned for 10 years, Arafat seems inexplicably to want to have another go at it. His faithful lieutenants make declarations and write opinion pieces for the press, suggesting their willingness to accept anything, more or less. Remarkably, though, the great mass of this heroic people seems willing to go on, without peace and without respite, bleeding, going hungry, dying day by day. They have too much dignity and confidence in the justice of their cause to submit shamefully to Israel, as their leaders have done. What could be more discouraging for the average Gazan who goes on resisting Israeli occupation than to see his or her leaders kneel as supplicants before the Americans?

    In this entire panorama of desolation, what catches the eye is the utter passivity and helplessness of the Arab world as a whole. The American government and its servants issue statement after statement of purpose, they move troops and material, they transport tanks and destroyers, but the Arabs individually and collectively can barely muster a bland refusal. At most they say no, you cannot use military bases in our territory, only to reverse themselves a few days later.

    Why is there such silence and such astounding helplessness? The largest power in history is about to launch a war against a sovereign Arab country now ruled by a dreadful regime, the clear purpose of which is not only to destroy the Ba’ath regime but to redesign the entire region. The Pentagon has made no secret that its plans are to redraw the map of the whole Arab world, perhaps changing other regimes and borders in the process. No one can be shielded from the cataclysm if and when it comes. And yet, there is only long silence followed by a few vague bleats of polite demurral in response. Millions of people will be affected, yet America contemptuously plans for their future without consulting them. Do we deserve such racist derision?

    This is not only unacceptable: it is impossible to believe. How can a region of almost 300 million Arabs wait passively for the blows to fall without attempting a collective roar of resistance? Has the Arab will completely dissolved? Even a prisoner about to be executed usually has some last words to pronounce. Why is there now no last testimonial to an era of history, to a civilisation about to be crushed and transformed utterly, to a society that, despite its drawbacks and weaknesses, nevertheless goes on functioning?

    Arab babies are born every hour, children go to school, men and women marry and work and have children, they play and laugh and eat, they are sad, they suffer illness and death. There is love and companionship, friendship and excitement. Yes, Arabs are repressed and misruled, terribly misruled, but they manage to go on with the business of living despite everything. This is the reality that both the Arab leaders and the US ignore when they fling empty gestures at the so-called “Arab street” invented by banal Orientalists.

    Who is now asking the existential questions about our future as a people? The task cannot be left to a cacophony of religious fanatics and submissive, fatalistic sheep. But that seems to be the case. The Arab governments–no, most of the Arab countries from top to bottom–sit back in their seats and just wait as America postures, lines up, threatens and ships out more soldiers and F-16s to deliver the punch. The silence is deafening.

    Years of sacrifice and struggle, of bones broken in hundreds of prisons and torture chambers from the Atlantic to the Gulf, families destroyed, endless poverty and suffering. Huge, expensive armies. For what?

    This is not a matter of party or ideology or faction: it’s a matter of what the great theologian Paul Tillich used to call ultimate seriousness. Technology, modernisation and certainly globalisation are not the answer for what threatens us as a people now. We have in our tradition an entire body of secular and religious discourse that treats of beginnings and endings, of life and death, of love and anger, of society and history. This is there, but no voice, no individual with great vision and moral authority seems able now to tap into that and bring it to attention.

    We are on the eve of a catastrophe that our political, moral and religious leaders can only just denounce a little bit while, behind whispers and winks and closed doors, they make plans somehow to ride out the storm. They think of survival, and perhaps of heaven. But who is in charge of the present, the worldly, the land, the water, the air and the lives dependent on each other for existence? No one seems to be in charge.

    There is a wonderful expression that very precisely and ironically catches our unacceptable helplessness, our passivity and inability to help ourselves now when our strength is most needed. The expression is: will the last person to leave please turn out the lights? We are that close to a kind of upheaval that will leave very little standing and perilously little left even to record, except for the last injunction that begs for extinction.

    Hasn’t the time come for us collectively to demand and formulate a genuinely Arab alternative to the wreckage about to engulf our world? This is not only a trivial matter of regime change, although God knows that we can do with quite a bit of that. Surely it can’t be a return to Oslo, another offer to Israel to please accept our existence and let us live in peace, another cringing, crawling, inaudible plea for mercy? Will no one come out into the light of day to express a vision for our future that isn’t based on a script written by Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, those two symbols of vacant power and overweening arrogance? I hope someone is listening.

  7. Well, being pragmatic, I would settle for Raja starting to win matches now and again…

  8. Salam Hicham

    Many years ago I read in Al Amn Al Watani Magazine about a doctor from Oujda who used to carry out abortion operations in his clinic and then give the aborted foetuses to his dog! A few days ago I heard that a neighbour of ours was rushed to a famous hospital in Casablanca, and as the doctor was preparing her for a liver operation he got a call from home telling him that his son was sick, so he left the poor woman all but naked on the operation bed and rushed back home to see his sick child!
    When our “elite” behave like this, what would you expect?

    About that woman, he family took her out of that hospital and rushed her to a private clinic.

  9. @nassamat: dear mohammed; the scenes you’re describing are unfortunately far from being a rarity. I’ve witnessed myself -from an “informed” position- monstrous situations in public hospitals in and around Casablanca. No human being deserves to be treated this way. This shameful situation is reproduced everytime you have a society ruled arbitrarily and with no credible and independent system of accountability.

    thanks a lot for your visit and don’t make it your last.

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