Morocco: Bloggers React to Marrakech Attack

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011.

Morocco's tourist hub of Marrakech was hit on Thursday by a bomb blast that ripped through a popular restaurant at lunchtime, the Argana, overlooking Jamaa Lefna Square. The blast, according to officials killed 16 people most of whom were foreigners. The attack occurred as the country witnesses a wave of peaceful demonstrations calling for democratic change.

Many have expressed fear of a downturn following the attack. Some have warned from the harmful effects of a security approach that would encroach on civil liberties at the very moment the country is poised to begin a series of reforms. In a visit to the site of the bombing, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, promised that the reform process would not be curtailed.

Bloggers and netizens have been quick to react sending instant eyewitness accounts. Statements of solidarity and condemnation of the violent attack are still pouring in on blogs and social networks. Here is a roundup of what has been posted so far.

On Twitter, news from Marrakech have been followed under the hashtags #Marrakech and #Argana.

Shortly after the blast this pictures was shared from the scene by Mehdi El Baroudi (@melbaroudi) one of the first to tweet the news:

#maroc #Marrakech #EXPLOSION @ cafe Argana place Jamaa El Fna 17 death … No additional details for now @zarchix @Fanajeen @AmoonaE

Picture posted on Twitpic by Mehdi El Baroudi (@melbaroudi)

This photo was viewed more than 12,000 times.

Tweeter Analitikis, also shared this video, taken moments after the explosion, showing victims being pulled out of the restaurant and rescued by passersby as the first ambulances arrived to the scene (Some pictures are graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised):

In the few moments following the blast, Ismail Erahhali (@ismailerahhali) tweeted:

Une pensée pour les victimes de ce crime odieux. Condoléances aux familles des victimes. #Marrakech

A thought for the victims of this hideous crime. Condolences to the families of the victims. #Marrakech

More reactions are still pouring in from across the globe:

Rolande Johnson (@Ro1y) tweets:

Gutted about the #bombing in #Marrakech. We spent loads of time in Djemaa el-Fna square when we where there only 2 months ago. Very sad.

Ali Salim (@AliSalim_Es) a Moroccan based in Spain tweets:

No se llega a sentir dolor e inquietud de verdad por culpa de un atentado hasta que se vive uno contra su propia patria.#Argana #Marrakech

You do not get to feel real pain and anxiety because of an attack until it is visited upon your own country. #Marrakech #Argana

Writer Jennifer Leo (@jenleo) who was visiting Marrakech at the time of the attack tweets:

Thinking more about #Marrakech explosion than the #royalwedding. Total mind bender. We were right there (pic #6):

SCasillas (@SegundoCasillas) from Spain tweets:

Impresionado y triste. #marrakech atentado. Una plaza y un cafe en los que he estado y disfrutado tantas veces ahora ya simbolos del dolor.

Shocked and sad about #Marrakech attack. A square and a cafe where I enjoyed many times is now a symbol of grief.

Dominique de Roo (@DominiquedeRoo) from The Netherlands tweets:

Zie beelden van #Marrakech #Argana onwerkelijk en weer gevoel van machteloosheid tegen dit soort verschrikkingen.

Looking at pictures from #Marrakech #Argana. So unreal. I feel powerless against such horrors.

Doudiss (@Nonewzz) from Morocco tweets:

#Marrakech is bleeding tonight but like a rose in the desert will soon bloom anew. RIP

Moroccan blogger Eladlouni M. Amine (@eladlouni) tweets:

Aujourd'hui je suis marrakchi plus que jamais #argana #Marrakech

Today I am a Marrakchi (inhabitant of Marrakech) more than ever – #Argana #Marrakech

He later adds:

On va les retrouver ces terroristes dar dar byte byte fard fard zenga zenga #Marrakech #argana

We will find those terrorists… House by house, home by home, person by person, Zenga Zenga (street by street) — #Marrakech #Argana

Kerstin is an expat living in Marrakech. She shares her initial reaction on her blog, Maid in Marrakech. She writes:

I still don't quite understand why someone would do this and what they are trying to achieve? The annoying thing is if it was a suicide bomber as the foreign press have started saying then this person is now no longer alive and we will never be able to find out what his reasoning for it was. Tourism, political, what? For sure all eyes are now on Marrakech. Sadly for all the wrong reasons.

Authorities have since rejected the possibility of a suicide bomber and say that the blast was triggered by a remote control device.

Moroccan blogger Reda Chraïbi says Moroccans won't be deterred by the Marrakech attack and urges for reforms which, he says, are the only safeguard against terrorism. He writes [Fr]:

Enfin, notre printemps ne saurait être gâché par cet orage passager. Bien au contraire, cet acte provient certainement de ceux qui ne souhaitent pas que la liberté et la démocratie adviennent au Maroc. Il n’est donc pas meilleure attitude à adopter, aujourd’hui plus que jamais, que de s’engager plus avant vers l’instauration d’une société équitable, juste et libre. En attendant, on retournera à Jemaa elfna, encore plus qu’avant, profitant de ses plaisirs et narguant les crapuleux, car nous ne sommes pas terrorisés.

Finally, this [Moroccan] Spring can not be spoiled by this passing storm. To the contrary: this act certainly comes from those who do not want the advent of freedom and democracy in Morocco. There is therefore no better attitude to adopt –now more than ever– than to engage more towards an equitable society, free and fair. In the meantime, we will return to Jemaa Lefna Square, more than ever, enjoying its pleasures and taunting the villains, since we are not terrorized.

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011.


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