Morocco and the Maghreb in general are a bit in the spotlights now since the attacks of last week.
Which of course, results in lots of articles in the printed media and on the web.
Some of those articles are good, some are bad. Today I'm going to highlight a bad one.
Not that I'm a nagger, its just that the post on the good ones is going to take a long time.

But anyhow, let's highlight a bad one. The next article is written by Marc S. Ellenbogen, columnist for UPI and chairman of the Global Panel Foundation.
The article can be found here.
The article is about the supposed crucial role of Morocco for Europe and the USA and actually just gives a short resume of Morocco's recent history.
And that's the main problem of this article. Ellenbogen's history of Morocco seems to be a little bit out of touch with reality.
People reading the article will, most likely, come to the conclusion that Morocco is a kind of economic and democratic miracle.

Ellenbogen pays solely attention to the little bit of progress made by the king and government. The (reforms, the FTA (although some will not consider that as progress), the life expectancy (!) and the co-existence of Muslims, Jews and Christians. (I never understood why people include Christianity since Morocco never had a substantial, indigenous Christian community)
So far the progress of the country. But he fails to mention that Morocco isn't really progressing but more or less stagnating.

Democratic reforms are just a façade, the king still overruns and diminishes the power of the government.
Economic progress has still to be proven. Poverty and unemployment are still rampant. Implementing reforms is one thing, seeing those reforms actually wórk is another.

But the most bizarre view he has, is about the upcoming election and the PJD's role. Ellenbogen mentions the 30% of the votes in the past, but he lets the readers know what would happen if the PJD would fall under 20%. That would be a sign that reforms are actually working!
It's a mystery to me, why he even draws the line of 20% and why that line actually shows that the reforms are working. (I see no relation between those two, do you?)
And besides that, why does he even mention a situation where the PJD would loose? The chances are far more bigger that the PJD will gain more votes than in the previous elections. Even with the recent attacks. (the last PJD-victory was achieved after the 2003 attacks in Casablanca)

The whole article is actually one big shenanigan. The man has a distorted view of the reality in Morocco.
The weirdest thing, and maybe also a bit scary, is the fact that this man's organization (The Global Panel Foundation) heads the Morocco Strategic Initiative. An initiative to promote good governance and investment in Morocco.


  1. xoussef said...
    I agree that this article might be over optimistic, or maybe for the wrong reasons, but you are too pessimistic too. I mean reforms might be not spectacular, but there is real improvement in daily life. The king's prerogatives are the least of average Moroccans worries, and i personally trust him more that politicians for the moment. There is poverty and unemployment, but there is economic growth, and that's a miracle in the current situation. More than ever people get access to basic services, schools, literacy programs and health care...
    Mentioning all things that are dysfunctional will take us days, but in comparison with neighbors, with no exceptional resources and with the heritage of 50 years... we are doing quite well.
    PS: Sadly, there is now more Christian residents, thought not indigenous, than Jewish Moroccans.
    Myrtus said...
    I agree with Xoussef. I think Mr Ellenbogen himself made it clear what his intention was with this article...he says:"Morocco is an inspiring and key emerging democracy; it just needs to do a better job of promoting its marvelous story."
    How can you disagree with that, BO? :P
    BO18 said...
    Well, I'm trying not to be pessimistic nor optimistic.
    I do know that reforms are being made and implemented. But I don't ignore the fact that there are some who still take steps backward.
    And this article just doesn't show that:P

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