With the unraveling of the regime headed by Ben Ali in Tunisia and the ongoing demonstrations and protests in Jordan, Yemen and especially Egypt, witnessing national uprisings in the Arab world while living in it has made 2011 an interesting year thus far.
I’ve been asked if conditions in Morocco seem ripe for a similar uprising and if the demand for change will spread here. I can’t begin to predict what will happen, but it seems unlikely. I’ve learned during my time here that the institution of the king is entrenched in Moroccan culture and is centuries old. The current king is latest in line of the Alaouite dynasty, which claims to be direct descendants of the prophet Muhammad through his daughter, Fatima Zahra, so he has religious legitimacy as well.
After speaking to a number of Moroccans including neighbors, women at the hammam, and professors, I’ve noticed often times that their support of their “Egyptian and Tunisian brothers and sisters” are mentioned in the same breath as statements in support of the king. Looking around me, though, as I sit at a café, surrounded by bored under- or unemployed men, I wonder.
For the time being, live broadcasts of the demonstrations are on every TV in every café and we sit, me drinking my avocado milkshake, and watch and wait. The events of Egypt seem far away and life goes on as usual.
Though she makes no mention of Morocco, I enjoyed this opinion piece on the events written by Laila Lalami, a Moroccan novelist that I met during a book reading in Seattle.