#FEB20, sans qui rien n’aurait changé


L’idée du poster ci-dessous m’est venue suite à une discussion avec un ami où il était question du mouvement du 20 février. La question était de savoir si ce dernier avait joué un role dans l’évolution que connaît le Maroc actuellement. Dans mon esprit la réponse est claire : sans le mouvement du 20 février, il est très probable qu’aucune des réformes n’aurait été initiées. Mais le poster mérite une courte explication. Je n’ai pas envie de m’étaler en prose, alors je dirais que ce n’est pas une tentative de minimiser la victoire du PJD, qui est par ailleurs méritée. Cette victoire soulève cependant autant de questions qu’elle ne suscite d’espoir. Je suis sceptique à l’idée que le Makhzen se soit définitivement retiré des affaires mais j’espère me tromper. Que ceux qui gouverneront ce pays tiennent tête aux injonctions autoritaristes du régime. Mais surtout que ceux qui prétendent être démocrates reconnaissent au mouvement du 20 février son droit à manifester et son rôle dans cette évolution–aussi incomplète et frustrante soit elle–au lieu de lui jeter des pierres.

Fin de cycle : quel avenir pour le mouvement du 20 février ? #Feb20 #Maroc

Les cinq mois qui se sont écoulés ont été exceptionnels de tout point de vue pour le Maroc. Faute d’avoir réussi à réaliser les objectifs qu’il s’était fixé au début de sa mobilisation, le mouvement démocrate du 20 février a réussit là ou les partis politiques ont échoué lamentablement : réveiller les consciences et faire en sorte que la société marocaine renoue enfin avec la politique et le débat public. Le mouvement a réussi à révéler au grand jour la nature profonde de cette société, ses orientations politiques et ses convictions.

Il y a eu probablement des erreurs commises pendant cette période de la part du mouvement démocrate. On ne peut cependant pas lui reprocher son manque d’expérience et sa spontanéité face à un appareil d’Etat redoutable, riche d’une longue histoire de répression et d’une expertise d’ingénierie électorale sans égal. Mais alors que nous arrivons a ce qu’il convient d’appeler une fin de cycle, certains enseignements s’imposent.

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Morocco: Pro-Democracy Movement Calls for Boycott

The February 20 movement is calling for the boycott on the upcoming referendum on a Constitutional amendment introduced by the king on his June 17 speech. The movement released this video today outlining the main reasons behind their call.

For English subtitles, click on CC.

Ahmed Benchemsi: The Anatomy of the Moroccan Dictatorship (#feb20)

Ahmed Benchemsi is a celebrated Moroccan journalist, former editor, publisher and founder of popular weekly magazines TelQuel and–the now-disappeared–Nichane (Straight Forward). Mr. Benchemsi has now moved to the US where he works as a researcher at Stanford University. Here he speaks at the Oslo Freedom Forum about what he calls “the subtleties” of both the Moroccan dictatorship and that of the pro-democracy youth movement. He dissects, then entertainingly demystifies some of the major arguments the Moroccan regime usually uses to sell its image abroad as an “Arab exception.” A must watch presentation!

Showdown in Morocco: People Against the Makhzen

This text was originally published on Foreign Policy.

The makhzen refers to an ancient institution in Morocco — the extended power apparatus close to the Moroccan monarchy, made up of a network of power and privilege. It allows the King to act as an absolute monarch and the de facto head of the executive. Beneath the give and take of everyday politics, the makhzen has always been the ultimate guarantor of the status quo. For three months, the pro-democracy youth movement, known as “February 20,” has been advocating against that status quo. Protests have not been targeting the monarchy directly, but instead have been urging for reform that would yield a system in which the King reigns but does not rule.

What started as a small group on Facebook earlier this year, has since grown into a nationwide movement made up of a loose coalition of leftists, liberals and members of the conservative Islamist right. Inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings and powered by new media, the movement convinced hundreds of thousands to take to the streets. The demonstrations held week in, week out, were remarkably peaceful. In response, King Mohammed VI promised a package of constitutional reforms to be submitted to a referendum in June. But as protesters, unconvinced by the King’s promise, vow to keep up pressure on the regime, authorities seem increasingly impatient and determined to break up protests violently, paving the way toward escalation and confrontation with the street. The middle class is joining the mass of demonstrators, moving the protests beyond the core of mobilized youth. Their target is the makhzen — which has become a code word for the monarchy’s abuses of power and monopoly over large sectors of the economy.

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#Guantemara: Heavy-handed Response to Peaceful Demonstration in Morocco

The Moroccan pro-democracy movement known as February 20 has called for the organization of a picnic today near what activists say is a secret detention center located in Temara, in the outskirts of the capital Rabat.

The peaceful gathering was violently broken up by Moroccan anti-riot police which used truncheons to disperse the crowd.

Activists were then chased in the streets of Hay Riad, a neighborhood of the capital Rabat.

Many witnesses I spoke to on the phone expressed disbelief at the disproportionate police deployment and the violent, unwarranted, unprovoked repression of pro-democracy activists, leaving hundreds wounded, some seriously beaten in the head and nose.

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Morocco: Pro-Democracy Activists to March on Secret Detention Center

This Sunday, May 15, Moroccan pro-democracy activists are planning to march on a detention center, located in the region of Temara, in the outskirts of the capital Rabat.

Many prisoners, mostly Islamists, allege they have been detained and tortured in the center, which is also believed to be part of a network of so-called Black Sites, used by the CIA to interrogate international terrorist suspects.

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Morocco: Heading For A Make Or Break Moment

Sunday, February 20, 2011 was a rainy and cold day. Not the kind of days you would think one would choose to start a revolution. Yet Moroccan pro-democracy activists chose to make that day the start of what now has become a nationwide movement for change.

I’m not going to tell you a lot about the politics of Feb. 20 Movement (or #FEB20 as the movement is now widely recognized on Twitter), but I will rather be talking to you about the momentous moment that lies ahead in the road for reform in Morocco.

Later this year (probably in September) Moroccans will be asked to vote Yes or Noto a revised, already controversial, version of the Moroccan Constitution. How important will this moment be for the future of the country? What is really at stake? And what can we learn from other countries’ experience in using freely accessible technology to help people make informed and critical decisions on the day of the vote?

I’m working on a translation of this post which will be soon available in both Arabic and French.

I will be moving my blog soon to another platform. You can view this post in my new page here.

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