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Maghreb: Overwhelming Support for Flotilla Activists

The global outcry following the deadly Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla has been reflected on streets across the world and throughout the Internet, on social networks and personal blogs. In the Maghreb, bloggers debated this week's events, and although views were overwhelmingly supportive of the sailing activists some discordant voices and alternative views can still be heard.

Sarah from Tunisia, sees Israel as a society that has lost any sense of morality. She writes [Fr]:

La démence morale est une maladie mentale dont le sujet atteint présente les caractéristiques suivantes:

- Aucune conscience, aucun sentiment de culpabilité ni de remords.
– Ne jamais avoir honte, quelque soit la gravité de son action immorale.
– Prétendre tout le temps que la responsabilité incombe aux autres.
– Libre de toute retenue, il agit sans scrupules.
– La violence et le mensonges sont innés chez lui.
– Généralement ambitieux, il poursuit ses buts avec une passion froide sans se soucier des problèmes de morale ou de légalité.
– Prêt à donner des coups de couteaux dans le dos si cela est possible.
– Il aime le pouvoir et adore le contrôle sur les autres, surtout si ces derniers sont vulnérables.
– Il lui est facile de créer des situations qui effraient les autres ou qui les rabaissent. En effet, le fait de les rabaisser lui donne une sensation de contrôle et de valeur.
– Vu qu'il n’ a aucun sens de la morale, il lui est extrêmement facile de faire du mal, et de dépasser les bornes.

Moral dementia is a mental condition in which the subject presents the following symptoms:

- Has no conscience, nor guilt or remorse
– Has no shame, whatever the gravity or immorality of one's actions
– Pretends all the time that responsibility lies with others
– Free of restraint, he acts without scruples
– Has an innate tendency for violence and lies
– Generally ambitious, pursues goals with cold passion without worrying about morality or legality
– Ready to stab you in the back if the opportunity presents itself
– Loves power and loves the control over others, especially if they are vulnerable
– Likes creating frightening and debasing situations. Indeed, the fact of lowering others gives a sense of control and eminence
– Given the absence of morality, doing evil and going beyond the limits becomes easy

Mauritanian blogger Ibrahim Ben-Mussa Ben-Sheikh Sidi writes [Ar]:

ولكي لا تذهب تضحيات شهداء قافلة الحرية سُدًى فإنه لا بد من تنظيم مزيد من القوافل تباعا بحيث لا يفصل بين قافلة واخرى إلا مقدار ما يكفي لتجهيزها،حتى يشتد الضغط على إسراءيل وينكشف للمتعاطفين معها الوجه الحقيقي لعنجهيتها

In order for the lives of the martyrs [sic] of the freedom convoy not to be wasted in vain it is essential to organize more convoys, with intervals between them short enough to load the ships, and continue until the pressure exerted on Israel reveals its true face to its sympathizers.

Ignescence from Tunisia expresses his disappointment with Barack Obama's response to Israel's action. He writes [Fr]:

J'espère que les arabes avaient appris qu'il faudra être plus avisé quand c'est un haut responsable occidental qui leur agite une carotte.

I hope that Arabs will learn to be a bit wiser when a Western leader waves a carrot to them.

Giulio, commenting on a post [Fr] about the late American activist Rachel Corrie by Tunisian blogger Jalel El Gharbi, writes:

Voilà une belle occasion pour tous les gouvernements-ponce-pilate de Méditerranée nord et sud d'accorder tous (tu vois l'armada!) une escorte d'honneur pacifique mais rapprochée de leurs flottes militaires au “Rachel Corrie”. On verrait bien alors, si les forces armées israéliennes oseraient l'attaquer.

This was a great opportunity for all the Pontius-Pilates governments (read governments who usually turn a blind eye to the fate of the Palestinians) in the north and south of the Mediterranean to send a military but peaceful and tight escort of honor to the “Rachel Corrie”. Then we would have seen if the Israeli armed forces would have dared attack.

Tunisian blogger Mohamed El Hammar writing on The Third Ijtihad, thinks the Freedom Flotilla initiative has opened a new phase in the history of the conflict. He writes [Ar]:

فبعد أن أبحر الفكر العربي من برّ التشاؤم المنجرّ عن نكسة 1967، إلى برّ التشاؤل، الذي أفرزه شبه الانتصار العربي في سنة 1973، ها هو اليوم يسرج صهوة الإبحار صَوب َبرّ التفاؤل.

ما من شك في أنّ هذه اللبنة في بناء تاريخ الأمة المعاصر كانت غير منتظرة من لدُن جمهور العرب والمسلمين العريض، ولا حتى من لدُن عامة المثقفين. إلاّ أنه يبدو أنّ “تفاؤل القلب” (العبارة لتشومسكي) قد بدأ يُؤتي أُكله ليُحوّل “تشاؤم العقل” (بالمثل) إلى تفاؤل. ولكن ليس هنالك تفاؤل من دون عمل وبناء

Having sailed from the shore of pessimism that followed the 1967 war debacle, to that of indecision which resulted from the Arab semi-victory in 1973, here comes the day when Arab thought seems to be embarking towards the shores of optimism.

There is no doubt that this building block in the process of constructing the modern history of the Nation was not expected by Arabs and Muslims at large, not even by the majority of their intellectuals. However, it appears that “optimism of the heart” (the words of Chomsky) has begun to bear fruit, turning “pessimism of the mind” to optimism. But there is no [sustainable] optimism without hard work and building.

But amid all the applause for the Freedom Flotilla, there were some discordant voices, like Kacem from Morocco who questions the point behind Gaza-bound convoys and is equally skeptical about the Turkish Prime Minister's intentions toward Israel. He writes:

ببساطة، لا أرى في قوافل الحرية سوى مسرحية هزلية نسجت سيناريوهاتها مسبقا تحت طاولة اسرائيلية أمريكية لغاية ما هم ادرى بها ولربما ستكشف عنها الأيام المقبلة، أما بخصوص بطل العالم في الشجاعة السيد أردوغان فقد أكذ ذلك بنفسه ولم يترك مجالا للشك حينما لم يقم بقطع علاقاته الإقتصادية مع تل أبيب رغم انتهاكها لسيادة دولته عندما اقتحم الجنود الاسرائليون لسفينة مرمرة وهي راسية في المياه الدولية.

To put it simply, those Freedom Flotillas look to me like a farce which scenarios were instigated under the Israeli-American table for purposes they know more about than we do and that might be revealed some day in the future. As for the world's courageous champion Mr. Erdogan, he said it himself leaving no room for doubt, he won't cut off economic relations with Tel Aviv, even though they violated the sovereignty of his country when troops stormed the Marmara ship while she was still in international waters.

Moroccan blogger Ben Mohamed Abed Errazak is glad this crisis has revealed that at least the Palestinian cause is becoming a truly international matter and no longer a strictly Arab or Muslim affair. He writes [Ar]:

من عطف القدر أن قضية الشعب الفلسطيني ومعاناته لم تعد اليوم شأنا عربيا، بل أصبحت قضية كل إنسان يعيش فوق هذه الأرض، أصبحت قضية فلسطين بفضل حصار غزة، شأنا أمميا تتحمل مسؤوليته كل شعوب الأرض

Thankfully the cause of the Palestinian people and their suffering are no longer Arab matters today, they have become the cause of all human beings. Due to the blockade of Gaza, the Palestinian issue has become the responsibility falling on all the peoples of the earth.

Many bloggers considered the deadly attack of the Mavi Marmara earlier this week a public relations disaster for Israel. But the boarding of the Irish ship, the Rachel Corrie, on June the 5th by the Israeli Navy, then rerouted towards an Israeli port was considered by Moroccan blogger Citoyen Hmida, a successful PR spin for Israel. He writes [Fr]:

Il faut avouer qu’Israël est fort!
En moins d’une semaine, l’état voyou, violeur du droit international, massacreur de civils, pirate en haute mer, se refait une virginité médiatique !
[…]
A savoir, l’opération s’est déroulée SANS VIOLENCE, SANS INCIDENT ! Le tout, avec image à l’appui!
Ce que les médias se sont empressés de reproduire fidèlement !
[…]
Encore une fois, Israël a réussi son tour de passe-passe médiatique !
Mais jusqu’à quand pourra-t-il tenir ?

One must admit Israel did it big this time!
In less than a week the rogue state, violator of international law, slaughterer of civilians, pirate of the high seas, has recovered some media virginity!
[…]
The operation took place WITHOUT VIOLENCE, WITHOUT INCIDENT! All with pictures to prove it – which the media were quick to reproduce faithfully!
[…]
Again, Israel has succeeded in its sleight of hand with the media!
But for how long will this hold?

Marrokia is a Moroccan blogger. Commenting on the latest wave of protests in her country, prompted among other things by the Freedom Flotilla story, she praises the role played by Turkey and notes a wind of unity blowing over her own civil society, driven mainly by social media. She writes [Ar]:

اجتمعوا هناك ، أمام البرلمان ، علمانيون ، اشتراكيون ، اسلاميون ، متأسلمون ، وملحدون ، واستقلاليون ، كل هذا لا يهم ، فكلهم مغاربة ، اجتمعوا فقط من أجل التنديد والاحتجاج ، لم يقوموا بحرق أنفسهم ، ولا بحرق النعش الذي حملوه ، فقط أرادوا ايصال رسالة:لن نصمت للأبد ، فما يجمعنا ، أكثر مما يفرقنا
They gathered in front of Parliament. Atheists, socialists, Islamists or lookalikes, independents… it doesn't matter, they are all Moroccans. They had met only to condemn and protest. […] They just wanted to deliver a message: We will not be silent forever. What unites us is stronger than what divides us.

From Morocco, Najib Chaouki resents [Ar] what he sees as a dangerous radicalization of the Moroccan street driven, as he explains, by mainstream media:

ان الخطير في الامر ان الجماهير التي تهب الى الشوارع هي جماهير مشحونة مسبقا بصور الجزيرة التي تتاجر في جثث ضحايا أسطول من اجل السبق الاعلامي بدون احترام مشاعر المشاهد و لا احترام اخلاقيات المهنة ، و تجد في انتظارها انصار الحركات الاصولية لكي تشحنها بشعارات عنصرية و هنا تكتمل الوصفة السحرية لانشاء جيل جديد من الانتحاريين سيشكلون خطرا على المغرب قبل اسرائيل

The dangerous thing is that the masse of protesters who took to the streets are galvanized by images from Aljazeera, which plays with gruesome images of the victims of the fleet in order to have the lead in the news, without respect for the feelings of the viewers nor for the professional ethics, much to the delight of supporters of fundamentalist movements who chant racist slogans. You have here the recipe to create a new generation of suicide bombers that will threaten Morocco before Israel.

Finally Tunisian blogger medchekib writes an adaptation of French fabulist Jean de Lafontaine's The Crow and the Fox, bashing Arab leaders and praising the Turkish premier. He writes [Fr]:

Citoyen Arabe […]
Tenait en ses mains sa destinée
Leader Arabe du trône est éperdu
Tient de ce privilège l'en alléger
Ô mon sujet , statistique de mon royaume
Que vous êtes incapable, […]
Sans mentir , si tu prenais le pouvoir,
Ça serait pour nous le foutoir !
Je libérai pour toi la Palestine, je révolutionnerai la vie économique
Occupe toi donc de football et regarde tes chaînes islamiques
Le citoyen Arabe content de son leader,
Crie Vive Nasser,Kadhafi et même Saddam la terreur
Le leader reste sur son trône et dit: “Mon bon sujet apprend que tout flatteur
Vit au dépens de celui qui l'écoute,
Cette leçon vaut bien un trône, sans doute”
L'arabe , honteux et confus,
Jura ,mais oubliera,qu'on ne l'y prendrai plus
Car Erdogan a déjà pris le dessus.

Arab Citizen […]
Held in his hands his destiny
Arab Leader desperate for the throne
Wants relieving Citizen of his privilege
“Oh my kingdom's passive subject
How incompetent you are […]
Really, if you took the power,
It would have been a mess for all of us!
I will free Palestine for you. I will revolutionize the economy.
You take care of football and watch your Islamic channels.”
The Arab citizen content with Arab Leader,
Cheered: “Long live Nasser, Qaddafi and even Saddam the terror.”
Leader remains on his throne and said: “My good fellow Learn that every flatterer
Lives at the expense of the one who listens to him.
This lesson is well worth a throne.”
Arabic Citizen, ashamed and embarrassed,
Swore that he would not be taken again.
For Erdogan has already taken over.

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