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Morocco: The King of the Poor?

As the holy month of Ramadan has just begun, many Muslims around the world are thinking about charity and those less fortunate than themselves. Coincidentally, a report recently released in Forbes Magazine shows that King Mohammed VI of Morocco, often referred to as “the king of the poor” for his initiatives and interest in Morocco's poor, is the 7th richest monarch in the world, leaving Moroccan bloggers to reflect upon the huge discrepancy between their king and their average countryman.

The Morocco Report takes issue with the monarch's spending:

…King Mohammed VI is the 7th richest royal in the world – while I am left here wondering who the first 6 are, the Moroccan monarch’s salary blows my mind, but not as much as the amount he apparently spends daily on clothes and car repairs: $960,000.

King of the poor my left arm.

Referring to the report, Eatbees says:

I remember mentioning a similar report to one of my Moroccan friends while I was still living there. His response was, “I wish him luck getting to number one, because then he might feel he can give some of it back to the rest of us.”

The blogger then adds:

Mohammed VI is popular, professional, and unlike his father, more liked than feared. But I can’t help wondering where all that money came from, whether monopolizing the nation’s economy had anything to do with it, and whether it might be a drain on the nation’s development.

Blogger Hisham from The Moroccan Mirror commented on the above:

I’m glad you’ve mentioned the Forbes piece on MVI: $2 billion man! Isn’t that obscene. I can’t help feeling disgusted by the sheer hypocrisy of this regime. As you’ve suggested: there is a strong attachment to the monarchy as an institution but that’s not guaranteed forever, and is surely not a blank check for the King and his people to keep on with their lavish and extravagant lifestyles.

Duettographics.com Ramadan

Of course, with a month of fasting and abstention from vices, Ramadan is a much talked about subject in the blogoma as well (even from those who do not fast).

The Moroccan Vocabulary blog, designed to teach a word of darija (Moroccan Arabic) each day, shares some information on wishing a happy Ramadan in Morocco:

For religious occasions, Moroccans use the expression “3wâshr mbrôka” عواشر مبروكة, which is almost the equivalent of blessed holidays . The answer to this is “3lînâ w 3lîk ” علينا و عليك, for us and for you . Funny enough, I always –wrongly- use the answer “ Allah ibaârk fîk” الله إيبارك فيك, God bless you, which is normally the answer to ”mbrôk” مبروك, congratulations.


Move it or Lose it
is frustrated by all the questions she's been asked about her fasting:

I continue to be offended by how often I get asked if I am fasting, following by really? REALLY? Are you sure? When is the last time you ate? What time will you eat again?
Fasting is the invisible pillar. Only God really knows, or is supposed to know if you are doing it or not.
Yesterday evening I was flipping through my du'a book to make sure I had all the biggies memorized, and found the du'a for when someone is bothering you when you're fasting:
“I'm fasting, I'm fasting, I'm fasting!”

The Moroccan Mirror shares a story of what happens when you're caught not fasting (be sure to go and read the whole story!):

I think there is a big hypocrisy attached to this issue: while it's not considered a big deal for someone not to pray; while people who don't pay the Zakat (Muslim alms) are generally ignored, others who don't fast during Ramadan run the risk of being ostracized and stigmatized. I witnessed my self, during my years of study in Casablanca, many instances of that.

Finally, Bill Day from the a la menthe wishes happy holidays to everyone:

Only someone who has experienced Ramadan can appreciate the camaraderie of breaking fast together at the end of the day over harira, dates, and shebekia. And for Jews, today marks the beginning of the New Year, traditionally celebrated with sweets for a “sweet” new year. Ramadan karim, happy Rosh Hashanah, and may we all live more harmoniously together as we celebrate our differences in the coming months and years.

Image Courtesy of Duettographics.com.

25 comments

  • mustapha

    Long live Mohammed 6th and family, long live Morocco.

  • Mehdi_B

    This is absolutely ridiculous. HM King M-VI is not the 6th richest monarch in the world, and far from it. A simple proof would be to count the monarchs of the oil-rich Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Kuweit, the U.A.E (with their multiple emirates)…then moving on to the European ones : Great Britain, the Netherlands, Spain…etc.

    The King of Morocco is the King of the poor in more ways than the King of Brunei, the Queen of Britain, or the King of Spain.

    Lastly, the King of Morocco, like any King or Queen, needs to maintain considerable funds for Symbolic reasons, security, for the funding of his vast family, his estate, his personal charities, etc, which all form the sacred and people-driven need for unity, and strength, embodied in our monarchy.

  • MOHAMMED IV MAY BE THE 7TH RICHEST ROYAL IN THE WORLD? SO WHAT? AT LEAST HE SHOWS UP AROUND, AND HE BRINGS SOME KIND OF PEACE TO COUNTRY.USA IS THE RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, STILL A LOT OF AMERICANS HAVE NO SHELTER, NO FOOD (may be some junk food) AND NO HEALTH INSURANCE,THEY JUST LIVE IN MISERY;
    I BELIEVE THAT AMERICANS (i mean the gov.)INSTEAD OF WASTING MONEY AND LIVES IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, THEY SHOULD FIGHT POVERTY AND ILLITERACY AROUND THE WORLD AND EVERY ONE WILL BE BETTER OFF;

  • […] I stirred up some poo (hey, I have a professional job now) over at Global Voices when I shared some of ya’all’s blog posts (okay, and my own, I couldn’t resist) […]

  • I worked for Morocco’s royal palace in the mid seventies. Hassan was King then and I was attached to two French designers responsible for interiors in the many palaces, homes and buildings of the Royal Family. As a founder of The Power Of Peace, I’m no fan of monarchy, but we’ve seen what democratic elections achieve in countries with no democratic heritage. Morocco is moving very slowly – I know, too slowly – in the right direction, but when a strong middle class emerges, one that is accessible to the lower classes, democracy will follow without fail.

  • To all Moroccans taking offence on what has been published here:
    rather than wasting your time, objecting against the figures, why don’t you ask your self: why half of my people are still illiterate? why is it that the crushing majority of my countrymen and women don’t have access to a decent health system after half a century of formal independence? why do young Moroccans prefer putting their lives at risk embarking to the unknown on makeshift little boasts, on a daily basis, trying to reach the shores of Europe? why is it that the Moroccan exterior debt is so huge? why are there people still living in the most abject poverty while others can afford fancy cars, enjoy obscene wealth and total impunity?
    This is not an attack on you guys. The monarchy is a well established institution in the country, but remember, please, that Morocco is owned primarily by its people. The monarchy should serve Moroccans and not the other way around. Understood?

  • Abdou: The President of the USA receives a salary of 400,000 a year. I don’t think it’s fair to compare the net worth of the king – who is sitting pretty for life in a country with high unemployment & illiteracy – with Bush’s salary.

    Let’s also not forget that M6 has his fingers in a lot of Moroccan pies – he has shares in Marjane, the Brasseries du Maroc, among other things. The bottom line: it’s obscene.

  • natedag

    this is all ridiculous! has anyone not seen the shanty town in morocco? homes made of scrap metal and garbage for petes sake!!!!!! king of the poor my ass hahaha. go to rabat and check out the tombs, dont you think some of that money could have been spent on anything a little more use full? one of my friends works for the moroccan government and he spend gets 30000 dirhams from them every month and pays it to rent an empty building! AN EMPTY BUILDING, it is actually a beautifull villa in the city with a concierge and everything but no ones there! BULL SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ooops! I spoke incorrectly. M6 owns Marjane. And he also has shares in Danone & Maroc Telecom.

  • Gatita:don’t tell me Bush (also cheney,baker…) has no shares in the oil firms in Tx, and he is in Iraq for the beauitiful eyes of the Iraqis.

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