Moroccans Need Freedom? No. Food? Pssh. Shakira? YES!
On the same day activist Kamal Amari was beaten, it turns out Shakira was invited to Marrakech to sing in honor of the victims of the recent terrorist attack at Argana Café. Ironic? Maybe. But what’s really twisted is the Moroccan government’s perception of priorities amidst a struggling economy and protests calling for the dismantling of its regime.
Every year, the mega-NGO “Maroc Cultures” organizes the Mawazine festival held in Rabat at the end of May. The government spends excessive amounts of money in making this the most extravagant event of the year and it is also free and open to the public. This year, guests included Shakira and Kanye West.
As 2 million Moroccans gathered to watch the show, I’m not sure if they realized, but the Mawazine festival actually served the government a whole lot more than it does the Moroccan people. Here’s why:
1) The event will help to convince everyone else that Morocco is actually turning into a democracy. This is a big score for the monarchy!
According to Ahmed Benseddik, a political activist from Casablanca,
“The government wants to give the illusion that the country is modern and going through democratic change while maintaining a repressive political system.”
How they made this happen: They invited all of the biggest in foreign cultural media and told them about their new “democracy.”
“LOOK MTV, we have Shakira! Yes of course that means we’re a democracy. Those crazy Saudi’s don’t have Shakira, do they now?”
Number one rule of being a “modern” Arab state: You will always look better when compared to the Saudis! (Exception: Libya) In the meantime this will give you (the dictator/”monarch”) plenty of room to get back online and see if there are any small islands for sale where you can build a villa.
2) Yes, admission was free, but the government just robbed you of your time. (Yes, this was the plan all along).
Not just the time you spent standing there, but all the time that will be spent thinking about the event and forgetting about how oppressive your government is. Healthcare? Mehh. Education? Who needs it? Political organizing? I TOLD you, Shakira is here. That is all you need in life. Now go home and tell that to all your friends.