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On the Moroccan Tamarod movement

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In my view, it’s really absurd to imagine that the key to real changes in Morocco will be the collapse of the current government 

Jamal Elabiad
15 July 2013

A Moroccan version of the Egyptian Tamarod movement was created on Facebook soon after that of Egypt managed to persuade millions of Egyptians to take to the streets to protest against the fact that Mohamed Morsi had failed to make his promises to the Egyptian people true after almost one year since being elected president. One of those promises was that he would do his best to treat Egyptians on an equal footing regardless of their religion and political orientation. They seemed to be within reach of their objective, particularly when the military decided to be on the side of the anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square and other places around Egypt.

However, in Morocco, the Tamarod movement came into being with the aim of ousting the Bekirane government, which for the pro-change Tamarod activists carries full responsibility for the fact that it has made no reforms of importance since it came to power after the outbreak of the Moroccan Spring.

For them, the Islamist-led government has conducted a number of reforms, but most of them are like water off a duck’s back when it comes to the daily life of Moroccans. For instance, how will Moroccans benefit from knowing the names of Moroccans who received transport permits? And in what way will Moroccans benefit from the government forcing 2M TV channel to broadcast the calls for prayers? These are two of the many changes the PJD government has fanfared.

In brief, the Moroccan Tamarod movement has invited Moroccans to protest on August 17, 2013 for the sole purpose of toppling the government in which the PJD party forms a majority, and which, for the movement, has done nothing important to combat many social ills Moroccans are suffering – starting with poverty, corruption, and unemployment.

It’s beyond doubt that Moroccans suffered from such social problems long before the coming of the PJD government. The latter, like previous governments, have failed to take bold measures to convince them of the fact there is something different about this government, particularly when it comes to fighting poverty and unemployment, the two social problems that lead to the most terrible consequences.

Those who try to persuade Moroccans that there is a lost paradise are mostly politicians who can’t digest the fact that they were defeated by the PJD in the January 25 legislative elections, and also politicians whose ideology is totally different from that of the Justice and Development Party (PJD). Some of them have expressed their strong support for the Tamarod movement soon after it came to light.

In my view, it’s really absurd to imagine that the key to real changes in Morocco will be the collapse of the current government whose common denominator with previous governments is that it doesn’t rule. This is no doubt a fact the political activists behind the Tamarod movement in Morocco did not take fully into account while setting goals for their movement. Also, they might have forgotten the fact that almost nothing changed when the Moroccan Spring led to the fall of the Fasi government.

The solution lies in a king that reigns, but doesn’t rule. This should be the objective of any protest movement in Morocco that really wants to bring about deep changes, not cosmetic ones. King Mohammed VI delegated several of his powers to the government immediately after the Arab Spring knocked on the monarchy’s door, but this was not enough. 

The first step in changing Morocco is a government that has all the characteristics of a real government. One is that it actually runs things. Trying to oust the PJD government for the reason that it has so far done nothing of significance will not benefit the Moroccan people. It will only serve the interests of the PJD’s opponents, including the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM).

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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