Driss “Butcher” Basri was an imposing figure in Morocco. He started out as a police officer and was appointed to the position of Interior Minister in 1979 under the auspices of King Hassan II. He held that position for 20 years, during which time he allegedly tortured and imprisoned thousands of those in opposition to the monarchy.
Those years, known as “Years of Lead,” ended when King Mohammed VI ascended to the throne in 1999 and promptly sacked Basri, who in turn exiled himself to Paris, where he died on Monday at the age of 69. According to some, Basri had intended to return to Morocco before his death. He leaves behind a wife, three sons, and two daughters.
Moroccan public opinion on Basri varies, from those from his hometown of Settat, who honor him for the progress he made in that region, to those who despise him for his violence. Moroccan bloggers are no different.
Blog de Amina Talhimet (fr) simply states:
Driss Basri, l'ancien ministre de l'intérieur marocain est mort à Paris, à la suite d'une longue maladie. Il avait 69 ans. Comme les échéances électorales de 2002, celles de 2007 se feront sans lui. Rien d'autre à ajouter. Sauf peut-être l'intime conviction que les élections du 7 septembre 2007 constitueront un tournant politique historique dans notre pays. Donc, votons pour le Maroc.
A Moro in America (ar) said:
عل وفاة َرجل المغرب القوي في عهد الحسن الثاني تكون بمثابة قطيعة حقيقية مع عهد الرصاص وانطلاقة جديدة لمغرب شاب بقيادة ملك شاب لشعب شاب أغلبه لم يعايش زمن ادريس الذي ولى أدراجه.
لعلها تكون فأل خير و إشارة رمزية للشباب ديالنا باش نيت ينخرط في الحياة السياسية،لأننا محكومين بالسياسة سواء أحببنا أم أبينا.
رمزية هذا الحدث هو أن باش يكون عندنا مجتمع مؤسساتي أحسن، أّضمن، و أكثر أمانا من أن نكون داخل مجتمع شخصياتي. فمن كان يهلل بإسم البصري فالبصري مات، و من كان كيتلصق عليه من أجل بضعة أوراق مالية أو رخصة طاكسي أو كار رادريس مشا إلى عالم اخر. هذ الزمان ديال مجتمع و سياسة المؤسسات. القصر،البرلمان،الجماعات المحلية بالإظافة إلى قظاء كيظمن الشفافية و المساواة بين المغاربة غادي إن شاء الله يكون المغرب زاز.
It could also be a good omen for our young people to get involved in politics, which dictate our lives, whether we accept that or not.
The significance of this incident is that it will allow us to have a society of institutions, which is better, more reliable, and more secure than a society of individuals. For those who used to empower themselves behind Al Basri's name, Al Basri is dead. And for those who used to stalk him for money , taxi or bus business license,well, he is now in another world. This is now the era of institutions; The Palace, the Parliament, the local municipalities and a judiciary system that guarantees transparency and equality between all Moroccans. Morocco will be a better place with the will of Allah (God).
Ghasbouba pondered whether or not to forgive Basri:
Driss Basri dies..,
Condolences to his family.
Moroccans believe they should not say bad things about their deads and we should follow some the great teachings that say “Mention only good things about your dead”. High levels of Moroccan forgiveness… things that do not always work. But Driss Basri had done tremendous amounts of atrocious things to his follow Moroccans.. There is nothing really good to mention… stp.
Najlae (fr) wished him peace:
Driss Basri est mort ce matin à Paris. Paix à son âme. C'est tout ce qu'on peut lui souhaiter.
Blogger Vagabondeuse was a little bolder:
When Mohammed VI became the official king of Morocco, Driss Basri got fired. It was very obvious that the king did not share the same admiration for Basri as his dad used to.
Driss Basri, the man of many mysteries and scandals is dead now. He will surely serve as a good example for those who take advantage of the their high political status in the country to allow themselves to do about anything to serve their personal agendas.
Nevertheless, may his soul rest in peace.
Morocco Time, on the other hand, shared a popular joke about Basri:
Driss Basri died in Paris today. Seems like a great time to quote one of the jokes that got Nichane into such hot water last year:
“Driss Basri [the hated and feared Minister of the Interior under Hassan II] died. He tried to bribe the Angel of Death in order to get to Paradise. The angels refused, answering that they are incorruptible and he is going to Hell. While on his way to Hell, Basri spotted Hassan II in Paradise, to his great surprise. He made the following remark: “My god! You can’t tell me there’s no corruption here!”
Despite the kind words from some, blogger Ange Bleu summed up the sentiment best, saying:
Aujourd'hui driss basri, ancien homme fort du rroi hassan 2 est décédé
Photo credit: Casafree.com