Saturday, July 02, 2011

Covering Morocco

Yassine, a reporter in Morocco sent me this:  "Today I drove through 470km of Morocco in order to have a good look of the referendum. ALL places I passed where people ought to cast their votes were empty, and I'm talking about these places: Driouch, al-Hoceima, Bni Boueyash, Imzouren, Guercif, Taza, Oudamlil and Khmessat. People I talked too were quite indifferent. I listened to the radio all day in the car 'thank God for airco', and everyone on air was exited, as if Morocco is at the threshold of a new democratic era. All people interviewed by the various radio stations went to the polls or were about to go and all were unanimously in favor of the new great constitution which will put Morocco at par with 'advanced' countries such as Spain, Brazil, Holland and Great-Britain :D. The radio hosts were talking about the referendum as if it was simply a formality, as if the outcome was predetermined ... Of course it was. At 10.30 I heard that some 11% had come out, and before the Friday prayer some 39%. And one of the radio host said this: we expect people to come out massively after the Friday prayers. Another one said this: everyone went to the ballot boxes and cast their vote and fulfilled his national duty. This constitution will make Morocco even more democratic and will make sure that Morocco will be a model for other countries to follow (remember Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Mu'allim some two weeks ago when he said that Syria will give the world lessons in democracy within 3 months). It was a disgusting piece of propaganda. Not one word on 20 February and their call for boycotting the referendum, and even more important, not ONE person who was interviewed on all the radio stations I listened to for hours objected the constitution or voted no. And Reporters Without Borders placed Morocco on which place: the 135th. After today, I think we deserve to be put at par with Syrian and North-Korean state tv."