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Morocco: The Post that led Mohammed Raji to Jail

Mohammad Erraji Moroccan blogger Mohammed Raji is behind bars in his country for speaking his mind. Following is a translation of the post [Ar], which will cost the blogger two years of his freedom.

رج الملك كما يفعل عادة للتجول بسيارته في شوارع المدينة ، وكان معه داخل السيارة ابنه البكر ، الذي هو ولي العهد . في ملتقى الطرق سيتوقف الملك أمام شرطي المرور الذي ينظم حركة السير ، والتفت إلى ابنه الصغير ذو الخمس سنوات يسأله إن كان يرغب أن يصبح شرطيا عندما يكبر ، وعوض أن يجيب الصغير أخذ الشرطي المبادرة وأجاب الملك بأنه يتمنى أن يرى ولي العهد الصغير جالسا على عرش أسلافه في أحد الأيام ، وأضاف كلمات يثني فيها على الملك . الملك بطبيعة الحال أعجبه ما سمع من فم الشرطي ، وقبل أن ينصرف كافأه على الفور ب “كريما” ! للإشارة فالملك الذي كان بطلا لهذه الواقعة ليس ملكا آخر غير محمد السادس!
إذا صح هذا الخبر الذي أوردته “الجريدة الأولى” في عددها التسعين ، فعلى المغاربة أن يقتنعوا بأن المغرب لن يتغير كما نتمنى حتى في عهد الحسن الثالث !

As is his tradition, the King went for a drive in his car, along with his eldest son, who is the Crown Prince. At a junction, he stopped in front of a traffic policeman, who was regulating traffic. He turned to his five-year-old son and asked him is he wanted to become a policeman when he grew up. Instead of waiting for the little boy to respond, the policeman took the initiative, and told the King that he hopes that the young Crown Prince will one day ascend the throne of his forefathers. He continued to praise the King. At usual, the King enjoyed what came out of the policeman's mouth, and before leaving bestowed the title of ‘Noble’ on him. The King who is the hero of this story is no other than Mohammad the Sixth!
And if this story which appeared in the First Newspaper's 90th edition is true, then Moroccans have to remain convinced that Morocco will never change as they wish even in the reign of Hassan the Third!

يجب علينا أن نعترف بأن الذي أهلك بلدنا وأوصله إلى هذه الرتبة المخجلة التي يحتلها على الصعيد العالمي في كل المجالات هو اقتصاد الريع ، الذي ينتفع به المحظوظون دون غيرهم من أبناء وبنات الشعب ، وطبعا فلسنا بحاجة إلى استعمال المصطلحات الكبيرة التي يستعملها السياسيون كي نفهم ما هو “الريع” ، فمعناه بكل بساطة هو أن تأخذ حق الآخرين بدون وجه حق ! ورخص النقل أو “الكريمات” التي يوزعها الملك على المواطنين الذين يمدون إليه رسائل الاستعطاف التي يكتبونها بنفس العبارات التي ينطق بها المتسولون عندما يمدون أيديهم إلى الناس على أرصفة الشوارع تدخل بدورها في إطار الريع . فالدول التي تحترم مواطنيها لا تجعل منهم شحاذين يتسولون الأعتاب الشريفة ، بل تصنع لهم المعامل والمصانع كي يشتغلوا ويكسبوا لقمة عيشهم بعزة وكرامة ، وحتى لو افترضنا أن هذه الكريمات لا يتم إعطاؤها إلا لمن يستحقها من ذوي الاحتياجات الخاصة والفقراء والمعوزين ، وهذا أمر مستبعد بطبيعة الحال ، فهذا لا يشرف المواطن المغربي على الاطلاق ، فالشغل والتطبيب والتعليم حق يمنحه لنا الدستور ، لذلك يجب على الدولة أن توفر لمواطنيها سبل العيش الكريم عوض إهانتهم بهذه الطريقة المذلة

We need to admit that what has destroyed our country and made it plummet to this embarrassing level in all international rankings, is this economy of dispersing gratuities, which benefits the lucky sons and daughters of this country and overlooks the rest. Of course, we don't need to use the larger than life terms used by politicians to understand what this means. It simply means that some people can take the rights of others unjustly! Transportation licenses* and nobility titles which the King distributes on citizens who send him letters, written using the same phrases used by beggars lining sidewalks, fall under this category of gratuities. Countries which respect their citizens do not turn them into beggars under the feet of nobility. Instead, they develop factories and workshops for them to work in and earn their living with dignity. Even if we assume that such gratuities are only dispersed to deserving citizens such as the special needs and poor, which is impossible at any rate, this isn't anything that makes Moroccan citizens proud. The right to work, health care and education are granted by the Constitution. Therefore, the state should provide decent means of living for its citizens – other than humiliating them in this shameless manner.

* NOTE: The licenses are permits given by the state to taxi drivers and boat owners and are a main source of discontent because they are mainly handed out as returns for favors and nepotism.

وعندما يرى ولي العهد الصغير الذي سيتولى الحكم في يوم من الأيام كيف أن والده يوزع الهبات والاكراميات والكريمات على الناس بمجرد سماع كلمة إطراء أو مدح ، فلا شك أنه سيتصرف بنفس “المنطق” عندما يحكم ، لذلك فما علينا سوى أن نؤجل أحلامنا بمغرب المساواة وتكافؤ الفرص لغاية حكم الملك محمد السابع الذي سيأتي بعد الحسن الثالث اللي هو ولي العهد حاليا!

When the young Crown Prince, who will become the Ruler one day, witnesses how his father distributes honours, gratuities and gifts to people upon hearing compliments and praise, there is no doubt that he will act based on the same logic, when he rules. This is why we should delay our dreams of a Morocco of equality and equal opportunities until the reign of Mohammad the Seventh, which will follow after that of Hassan the Third, who is the Crown Prince at present.

More information on this story is available on Global Voices Advocacy and here. A petition is also available here for those interested to sign, which calls for the bloggers release. A Facebook group has also been set up here.

Photo credit: Hespress

52 comments

  • mansur

    Merci pour la traduction anglaise mais on aurait pû faire mieux… Que veut dire le mot “Noble” en anglais? Ceci ne donne pas une bonne impression sur notre journalisme et donne raison à ses détracteurs…Dommage!

  • sam

    Is this 2008 or 1509????????????????????????????????????????

  • Ali

    to so what:
    freedom of speech, you either have it or you don’t. In Morocco, it does not exist. say anything bad about the king even if TRUE, and you will be punished. very simple. The king and any other corrupt governing individual and there’s lots of those in Morocco, can do as they wish with you even make you disappear and no one would notice. All this with the blessing of the US and other western so-called developed nations.
    Have a look at Forbes magazine and see how much money has the king amassed. All using corruption, privileges and pure theft. Have a look at Amnesty Int. report on Morocco and see for yourself the freedoms the Moroccans have. Have a look and compare the current king with his predecessors – all are self-centered. Have a look at what happened in a city called Sidi Ifni just recently. Have a look at what happened to those from Guantanamo Bay that were transfered to Rabat and tortured with the blessing of the US.
    To Mansur:
    Noble in English is Noble in French and it means the same thing.

  • Mourad

    USA said to Iraqis people that it will get worst before it gets better for your freedom and democracy…well to all my fellows moroccans..let’s do the same regardless of what will happens we need new regime and new government and no need to this dog king and his family and the dirty corrupt makhzen…let’s have a real fight to get it as well, so they have done for Iraq and let’s have a new Islamic Republic of Morocco…Freedom to Erraji Mohamed….p.s the system of this dirty king to all moroccans is this…”make the dogs hungry so they will follow you” Amen ya Rabbi el 3alamin

  • Al Garouani

    Thanks for the translation. I red the article a week ago i found it very intersting and there is some truth in it. I have been reading for a while to this young blogger. I do not agree with his approch the subjects. But I support and stand for his right to speak his mind. I do not see any insults to the person of the King in this article but a pure critisim of the king’s social policies. If Morocco is a real Democracy as they clam, Mohamed Arrajy should be granted a fair trail and sent free to finish the rest of this Holly Ramadan with his family. Free Raji and Free him Now.

  • morisco

    wow you guys sounds like polisario

  • […] Artikel von Mohamed Erraji kann im arabischen Original und englischer Übersetzung nachgelesen werden, […]

  • […] Sur Global Voices – The Post that led Mohamed Erraji to Jail […]

  • jay kactuz

    Ali is right. And don’t forget that freedom of speech includes basic issues such as freedom of conscience and freedom of belief. This means that a person must be able to voice his/her opinions, with exception, without fear of reprisal.

    The problem with the Arab / Muslim world is that it wants democracy and freedom – but with restrictions. You cannot be free if you cannot voice your opinions about basic moral issues. If you cannot reject, question or criticize something considered “sacred” or “off limits” than you are not free, and never will be. In fact, you don’t deserve freedom. You are a slave to your ignorance and fear.

    This is true for people, leaders and religion. Consider the case of Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman (Kareem Amer) in Egypt. His crime? Having an opinion, and expressing it.
    http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/03/12/egypt-blogger-sentence-upheld/

    What I see in the Middle East is a lot of people, including bloggers, wanting some freedom but only a limited, restricted, partial freedom.

    Well, it doesn’t work that way. Either people are free to think and speak or they are not free.

    Kactuz

  • Utterly disgusting …

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