Morocco for all inclusive approach of anti-piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is a huge problem, responsible annually for about a two billion dollar loss. The West African countries as well as the U.S, Spain, Brazil and a few others including Morocco are teaming up to help strengthen maritime defense mechanisms. Money is being poured into the training of naval personnel in Nigeria as well as strengthening the relationships between the countries in order to better prepare themselves to fight maritime crime.

In a Morocco World news article, Mohamed Loulichki, Morocco’s permanent representative to the UN said at a UN Security Council meeting, that it was “essential that any anti-piracy strategy incorporate aspects related to strengthening institutions in charge of law enforcement and fighting transnational organized crime”.

Because the Gulf of Guinea is surrounded by many different counties it is going to take all of them or at least most of them working together to really make a difference in the piracy and maritime crime that has been greatly effecting the area. In the past certain countries have tried to battle it alone with no long term effect. It seems as if Morocco’s Mohamed Loulichki opinion on creating a comprehensive and all inclusive approach is shared by almost everybody at this point in order to stop the economic repercussions that are a result of piracy.



Morocco World News




February 20th Movement in Videos

February 20th, 2012 marked the one year anniversary of the democratic movement in Morocco. Global Voices put together a compilation of the 20 most popular videos that were made and used by the youth movement. These powerful videos have played a vital role in spreading the beliefs and desires of the movement and show first hand what has really been going on in Morocco.

Check out the VIDEOS here!



No More Silence

No More Silence is the English translation of the popular Moroccan rapper El Haqed’s controversial song. The song (lyrics which can be viewed below) which openly encourages Moroccans to stand up for their rights against the government and stay silent no longer is just one of many anthems that has been inspired by the February 20th movement for Democracy.


CHORUS (Jihane)
If the people want life,
then they’ll stand up to defend their rights. No more silence!
They exploit our wealth and leave the crumbs for us
while so many freedom fighters died on our behalf.

This is for all Moroccans.
To the free and to those who refuse to be humiliated.
To those living in misery and injustice.

CHORUS (Jihane)
If the people want life,
then they’ll stand up to defend their rights. No more silence!
They exploit our wealth and leave the crumbs for us
while so many freedom fighters died on our behalf.

Wake up! Look at the Egyptian people
and the people of Tunisia. They’re lying to you, those who say,
« Morocco, you’re an exception. » Okay, living is a luxury.
Their political brainwashing is calculated.
Debauchery and reality television, among other things, are there to distract us.
We have no choice but to fight for our rights.
Silence won’t benefit us. I am the child of the people and I’m not scared!

Those who suffered in silence and were dragged
through the streets are fed up with going around in circles
while our brother [the king] convenes his team to amend the constitution.
There’s something to go crazy over! Do they want us
to take up arms to seize our rights?
It’s for me to choose whom I want to sanctify.
And if you understand us, come live with us.
« God, the Homeland, and Freedom » [NOT “God, the Homeland, and the King”]

CHORUS (Jihane)
If the people want life,
then they’ll stand up to defend their rights. No more silence!
They exploit our wealth and leave the crumbs for us
while so many freedom fighters died on our behalf.

It’s a problem. It’s a problem. We must reformulate the equation.
We want a leader whom we can hold to account
and not an infallible, sanctified entity.
We are told: they’ll make you disappear.
I shout it loud and clear: they’ll make me disappear.
Give me my rights or give me death.

You speculate on our banks.
You sell us at auctions and you did it to us again and again.
You share in the spoils and you kiss [the king’s] hand.
Long live my father [the king],
He seized our wealth
and as long as I’ve lived, his children [the people] have not inherited it.

You erased our history and you want to bury it with
sequins and glitter again.
Our king is kind and generous to us,
but to whom is he truly generous? Most of our budget
is spent on him and his palace entourage.

CHORUS (Jihane)
If the people want life,
then they’ll stand up to defend their rights. No more silence!
They exploit our wealth and leave the crumbs for us
while so many freedom fighters died on our behalf.

Translated by Revolutionary Arab Rap

El Haqed whos real name is Mouad Belrhouat often preforms his songs at rallies for the February 20th movement but made headlines last January when he was arrested for alleged assault and denied bail while awaiting trial. The New York Times had a great article on why his arrest was so controversial and relates directly to the February 20th movement.

Mouad Belrhouat’s arrest shows something much bigger going on in Morocco. The constitutional reforms put in place by King Muhammad VI are not turning out to be what people thought they were when they voted for them. The constitutional reforms seem like more of a ploy to distract the Moroccan people than an actual attempt at making changes within the government. It has become clear over the past year that the few changes that were made are not going to be enough to satisfy the Moroccan people. Through events like Mr. Belrhouat’s arrest you can see that the government is not giving the Moroccan people the rights they deserve.

Referendum on Constitutional reforms

In July of 2011 a referendum on constitutional reforms was held in Morocco. This referendum was held in response to a series of peaceful protests that have been going on in Morocco since the previous February. Many of these protests were organized by the Moroccan Student Youth Movement because of frustrations with corrupt politicians (In December 2010 WikiLeaks accused the royal family including the King himself of corruption.), poor life conditions including high illiteracy rates, a wide gap between the rich and poor, healthcare failure, and the absence of real elections. The Moroccan Student Youth Movement has used popular social networking sites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to publicize their message. They were inspired by protests going on in other North African countries with similar motives.

In response to this, King Muhammad VI put together a committee of legal scholars to draft up constitutional reforms.  A draft was released in June and then elections to vote on full reforms were held on November 25, 2011. (Some of the statistics of the elections are attached).

Voting statistics from constiutional reforms in Morocco

The reforms that were voted on and approved

Amazigh language is official state language along with Arabic

  • Will be used in all the administrations moving forward
  • A standardized version of all Berber languages
  • Amazigh Berber word that means “free man”, “noble man” or “defender”
  • Berber languages are a family of languages closely associated with dialects of North Africa
  • Spoken by large populations of Morocco and Algeria, small populations in Libya, Tunisia and other places throughout Europe and the Middle East
  • Movement among speakers of “Northern Berber” to unite them into single standard language
  • Six major varieties of Berber spoken by 9/10ths of the population
  • (Tashelhit, Kabylian, Central Atlas, Rifian, Tuareg)
  • Division of Moroccan Berber dialects is in 3 groups
    • The Ethnologue is common in linguistic populations
    • Shilha subdivided into many other dialects such as Shilha of the Dra valley and Tasusit , other mountain dialects.
    • Since 20th century often written in Berber Latin Alphabet especially within the Moroccan and Algerian communities
    • In 2003 a modernized Tifinagh alphabet was made official in Morocco.

The state preserves and protects the Hassaniya language and all linguistic components of the Moroccan culture as a heritage of the nation.

  • Variety of Arabic, originating from Beni Hassan Bedouin tribes
  • Spoken by citizens of Morocco as well as Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Western Sahara
  • All phonemes of classical Arabic are present but many other ones as well.
  • 1995 there were approx. 40,000

The King has the obligation to appoint a prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the parliamentary elections

  • vs. before where he could nominate a technocrat in this position if no party has a decisive advantage over the other parties in terms of seats of parliaments

King no longer sacred but the “integrity of his person” is “inviolable

  • remains “commander of the faithful” or the Islamic spiritual leader .

High administrative posts and diplomatic posts are now appointed by the prime minister along with the ministerial council which is presided by the king

  • Previously the king had all the power

The prime minister will preside over the council of Government, and has the power to dissolve parliament

  • Prepares general policy of the state (previously the king had this position)

The judiciary system is independent from the legislative and executive branch, the king guarantees independence

Woman are guaranteed “civic” and “social” equality with men

  • Previously only “political” equality was guaranteed
  • 1996 constitution guarantees all citizens equal before the law in terms of rights
  • equal chance of being elected office
  • seats in parliament

The king retains complete control of the armed forces, foreign policy, and the judiciary; authority for choosing prime ministers and matters pertaining to religion

Citizens have freedom of

  • Thought
  • Ideas
  • Artistic expression
  • Creation
  • Previously only free speech, freedom of circulation and association were guaranteed

In summary some power was moved away from the King to the executive parties that are elected but the King still has a disproportionate amount of power.