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Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?

Meknes  / Morocco Board News --------       Many Western commentators have written how the revolution in Tunisia sent a "shockwave" through the "Arab" world. It was the first time an Arab dictator has been removed from power through popular revolt. One article which explained that the ouster of Ben Ali, unlike that of Saddam Hussein in 2003, was something Arabs could "be proud of." Recent protests in Algeria, Jordan and especially Egypt speak to the influence of Tunisia's uprising. And while some are comparing Tunisia to Poland in 1989, and this moment to the beginning of the fall of the Soviet Union, it's a stretch to think we will see the collapse of every authoritarian regime in the Arab world. 

It's been strange to be in Morocco during all of this. There's no lack of information. When you walk into a cafe, people are watching coverage of Egyptian protesters burning police vehicles or tearing down posters of Hosni Mubarak. But these images and ideas don't seem to be penetrating. A glance through two of the biggest newspapers, As-Sabah and Al-Masa', lead you to believe that the protests are only tangentially relevant to Moroccans. There are no attempts to apply Tunisians' and Egyptians' grievances to a Moroccan context. On Facebook, my students have posted pictures of the Egyptian protesters along with words of support and solidarity, and then proclaim their love for Morocco's King Muhammad VI. How can you identify with the protesters of two revolutions against authoritarian governments and still do that?

Why have the events in Tunisia and Egypt failed to generate the same reaction in Morocco as they have elsewhere in the Arab world?

Reading reports from the past weeks has made it clear to me that life for the average Moroccan is very different than that of a Tunisian or an Egyptian. Yes, Morocco is a poor country with high unemployment. The GDP per capita is significantly lower than Egypt's and nearly half that of Tunisia. Yet, the poverty is not oppressive. Life necessities are cheap in Morocco. People are poor but do not starve. The Moroccan government also tolerates"underground economic activities" which provide money and support for many young, uneducated Moroccans. The most notable of these is the drug trade, which according to WikiLeaks, generates more money than Tourism, the largest sector of the Moroccan economy.

A second, key difference, concerns education. As one commentator pointed out, Tunisia is an exception in the Arab world in that it has a large, educated middle class. The middle class' dissatisfaction with the country's economic prospects fueled the protests that eventually led to Ben Ali's downfall. Egyptians, while not nearly as wealthy as Tunisians, are similarly educated. Both countries post literacy rates in the 70s and both protests movements have utilized social (especially Tunisia) and print media (especially Egypt) for organizational purposes. Morocco is a completely different story.

At best, 50% of Moroccans are literate and many well-educated Moroccans are ex-pats living in Europe or North America. While this may seem insignificant, I think it's a huge factor. Moroccans' illiteracy hampers the spread of information in general, and would definitely impede the organization of any type of protest movement. Additionally, the Moroccans who identify the most with Tunisia and Egypt don't live in Morocco. They've already exercised their discontent by leaving the country. This last point deserves some elaboration.

There is a class of Moroccans who are wealthy and educated and unhappy with the current political system, but their influence on average Moroccan life is unclear. Many  comments at web sites catering to Moroccan expats are critical of the political status quo, and since the Tunisian protests, they have  been vocal about the need for some sort of change in Morocco. Whether these views are valid or not, they only represent a tiny, and, honestly, insignificant portion of the Moroccan citizenry. These people are both literate and English speakers, which alienates them from about 98% of Moroccans. Additionally, they're expats. As one Egyptian commentator wrote, "people remember those who abandoned them in their quest for democracy." In other words, I don't think being centered in North America or Europe helps thier credibility with the Moroccan people.

And this brings me to my last point: there is no credible opposition to the King.

Morocco is a parliamentary monarchy that has a prime minister, political parties and elections. But in reality, it's something else. Parliament and the lesser bodies of government are where corrupt officials take bribes and appoint their sons- and daughters-in-law to influential posts. This corruption is obvious and derided by the Moroccan people. It's not uncommon for a Moroccan to say that the best way to make money in the country is to get into politics, but that you can only do that if you know the right people.

The King is seen as the only credible member of government despite his overwhelming and unquestionable political powers. And there's good reason for this. Royal initiatives, like infrastructure development and some social reforms, are completed on time and relatively efficiently. In other words, he gets things done when other Moroccan politicians don't. Combine that with the legacy of the Alaouite Dynasty, which has ruled Morocco for nearly four hundred years, and Muhammad VI is seen less as a despot and more as a benevolent and beloved monarch.

Now it's true that the King has the power to end the corruption that plagues parliament, the police and the military. Allowing his political opponents to profit in their subordinate positions decreases their desire for change. Additionally, their corruption draws the ire and attention of the people. So while his policies may leave something to be desired in the eyes of some Moroccans, the alternatives are much much worse.

The commentator who describe Tunisia as an exception in the Middle East may be eating his words in the next few days depending on Egypt's outcome. This doesn't mean Moroccans are happy with the state of affairs in their country. Poverty, unemployment, education, and political freedom are just a few issues that Moroccans feel must be addressed. But for now, the situation does not seem dire.

More than anything, Moroccans love stability. This is why they love the King. They tolerate the political and social status quo because it still meets their needs and because they don't have to worry about what tomorrow will bring. Because of this mindset, I don't think radical change is anything many Moroccans feel is necessary. Speaking to a Moroccan friend he said that while things here are not good, they are getting better. "Maybe five or ten years from now, but not now," he added. As long as this attitude persists, Morocco will stay stable.

 

Comments (49)  

 
MOOR
0 #1 keeping it realMOOR 2011-01-30 01:35
in my opinion no, 3 reasons:
1- The current king is actually trying - people genuinely like him unlike his father who was Feared.
2- ruthlessness of the police and the military. they will shoot at unarmed civilians and they have in the past 1965, 1981...
3- The psychic of Moroccans for the most part, i know cuz i m what of them, is sucked out of courage and there is a lack of willingness to sacrifice. No one is willing to pay the price but everyone is willing to reap the benefits.

In other words, not gona happen though there were little "incidents" in the city of Fez and near the house of the governor of Casablanca a couple of days ago or so! The latter incident the military was called in directly, not even the police, as reported!
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Robert
0 #2 Status quo in Morocco can not last longRobert 2011-01-30 01:51
In Morocco, the absolute power exercised by the king, backed by the famous article 19 of the constitution, is a real impediment for the country's development. Article 19 concentrates tremendous power in the hand of one person. At the end of the day, the king of Morocco is a human being who’s mistakes amplify in the million fold because of the absolute power. Hillary mentioned today to an orderly transition to REAL DEMOCRACY in Egypt in needed. Her statement applies 100% to Morocco before things get out of hands. Prevention is better than treatment. Moroccans are desperate for a real democracy and will live up to such dream. It is shameful that the best educated Moroccans have to immigrate to give the best of their productive life abroad.
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Moroccan Dude
0 #3 Not quite true...Moroccan Dude 2011-01-30 02:00
With all due respect to the author of this article, I do not agree with his explanation of why people adore the king. There may be a sliver of truth in his statement but there is also something called Stockholm syndrome that some Moroccans may be experiencing. That said, when the majority of the population is held hostage for decades if not centuries (as you mentioned with the alaouite dynasty) then that same population starts to adore its captor whenever there is the slightest gesture of kindness (kindness is very subjective). You are right when you say that the Moroccan expats' opinion is of no relevance to Moroccans still living there but we believe that every bit counts...Also, your figure that 50% of Moroccans are literate is a debatable and in my opinion may be higher than that which maybe a main reason why the wave of protest may not reach morocco. When the majority of the population is illiterate, it's very hard for anything to penetrate...
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man en blanc
0 #4 And that's $160 Billion question!man en blanc 2011-01-30 02:09
Why doesn't our king put a halt to the chronic corruption?

It is common knowledge in Morocco that the king is deeply revered, but his inner circle has been sucking the oxygen out the Moroccan economy for decades now! I don't believe that these greedy underlings are so valuable as to grant them carte blanche. And they are a source of burning frustrations across our nation.

Our king doesn't need, nor deserve this headache.

God bless Morocco!
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Amon
0 #5 Good ArticleAmon 2011-01-30 02:18
Good post with some real insightful views. It good to see some intelligent informed opinion emanating from a foreigner currently residing in Morocco. So much better than the tepid, dull, 'I love myself' rubbish we get from that blog known to many as 'The Spew from Fez'. The second part of your article especially rings true. Thanks.
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Morcelli
0 #6 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Morcelli 2011-01-30 03:28
As of today this will not reach Morocco. The reason is pretty simple.
No one knows what will happen in Tunisia and Egypt. Moroccan want to see what will come out of this
Moroccans like their monarch but hate his government.
Moroccans see the king as unifier. They know without the king, we will get a Moroccan Mubarak or Labidine.
Moroccan king is trying, his government is stealing. Moroccans know who the thief in the crowd is.
Morocco has been a monarchy for more than 1000 year, not a 50 year republic.

This does not mean that the king is immune, the king needs to push for social and judicial reforms, Moroccans can only be patient to a certain degree, Anything can happen and can happen any minute, because the poverty and injustice in rampant in Morocco. When you are poor and ma7gour, what do you have to lose? and the king should know this if he does not already. Being a good and caring king is not enough when your subjects belly is empty.
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Merouane
0 #7 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Merouane 2011-01-30 03:56
We're all Moroccans. If you think the system is broke in Morocco, well it's probably just you! The world consists of different economies, Some are manufacturing economies, and those jobs can be divided into other major categories, Cheap labor manufacturing is already dominated by the far east, and high tech manufacturing is spread out over areas where the labor force allows for high tech manufacturing. World leaders are moving away from manufacturing, and to Services Jobs, Morocco can't attract enough foreign investment and jobs because the literacy rate is abysmal, we should all be ashamed, Gov and people. Education: Years compulsory--9. Literacy (definition--ag e 15 and over can read and write)--total population 52.3%; male 65.7%; female 39.6% Source:
This means 60% of women in 2004 could not read or write their names!!! 40% of Men could not do the same! Are you joking?
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5431.htm

The general agreement amongst young people is that the education is not going to lead to a job anyway so why do it? That's like saying "Me Sleeping with my wife is not going to guarantee the conception of a baby, so why do it?" Well that's not a good example because Sex is Fun anyway :-), but the population has to be educated and ready for the opportunity, our literacy rate is just not acceptable, blaming the King or the Gov for that is not acceptable either. Educate yourselves, and your kids.

In a fast changing world, we can't wait for the older population to die out to improve our literacy rating, but I would argue that there are plenty of public school graduates who are very well prepared to be productive members of society, and they have proven so, and education is generally available, not under the optimal conditions all the time, but it's available even in some far places. Services Jobs are already going elsewhere, to countries that have equipped themselves with what is needed years ago. we are ranked 162 out of 180 worldwide in literacy. between Mauritania and Pakistan, Tunisia is 128 near Algeria, and Egypt is 148 with India, Maybe if we thought about it. and made it easier for a kid whose parents are illiterate, to learn Arabic French and all the other subjects at the same time, we would improve the drop out rate; because the solution seems to always be "build more schools" But it's never things like requiring the parents of kids in school to be at least literate in Arabic, and require special care with the other mandated courses. And it's always about the Gov, never about the people, All the families that accept young house maids when they know that the kid should be in school! You are contributing to the overall problem. Not all families are able to provide a home environment suitable to back the education at school.

The infrastructure in Morocco is better than in most neighboring countries, and it's improving still, so instead of taking the country from a stable system to who knows what? Let's do what we can to improve ourselves instead, because the government that's ruling you won't matter if 60% of the people you live with can't read or write.

About Corruption: Most people who complain about the corruption engage in it, Gandhi once said "Be the change you want to see in the world", I dare say no more.

Merouane/
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Pul
0 #8 The peoplePul 2011-01-30 04:30
Whilst the king is try, and doing his best and making excellent progress with growth and development of the country, the one downfall will be the Moroccan people themselves.

When a school shut their doors halfway through a morning and chuck the kids out on the street without notice because they don't have enough teachers, When tourists visit the country and are faced with a rowdy crowd of taxi drivers arguing over how much and who's going to get "it", when policemen participate in extensive tolerance of cartels. When the "helpful" clerk in the local admin office asks if you have a "gift" for him. When the taxi driver charges the tourist more than the local, simply because he can. When the waiter in the restaraunt expects tips for poor and lazy service, not satisfied with being paid for his work like everyone else is. When the hotel a tourist stays at once doesn't have any channels tuned in on the television and they promise to fix it. When the tourist returns 2 weeks later to find it still hasn't been touched. When the waiter tells the tourist he hasn't got Coca cola, then after a protest, the waiter manages to produce a bottle of Coca Cola.

Niggly things? yes.
But exactly the same niggly things that led to Tunisia's downfall.
Tourists were let down by the ordinary working people of Tunisia, which resulted in a downturn in it's tourism levels, which resulted in a downwards spiraling economy, which resulted in protests, which resulted in the government being overthrown.

Morocco is next.

Perhaps not now, perhaps in 5 years time.
The downturn has already started.
People are getting lazy with their work efforts.
Tourists are noticing.
In the end, unless it is changed, the tourists will stop coming.
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Sihmed
0 #9 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Sihmed 2011-01-30 04:44
Morocco has had a reliable pressure relief valve in place in the form of immigration. Many Moroccans who face hardship simply take their problems to Europe and America. This move largely saves the immigrant and negates all burdens and threats he/she amounts to for the state. The end result is a flow of remittances, investment, aggregate expenditure etc. Egyptian immigration has been proportionally minuscule in comparison, and overwhelmingly in the direction of non-industriali sed countries. Perhaps if over the years, it came to be that 12 million Egyptians resided in industrial countries, Egyptians would likely be less desperate, and less in need to revolt as they have done. I am certain immigration is but one facet of the true reason for why Egyptians are exploding with rage and Moroccans are not. Morocco has to revolt sometime though, it may be soon, it may be in the distance.
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Moroccan
0 #10 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Moroccan 2011-01-30 05:58
Again a westerner (who teaches english) who has lived a couple of years Morocco and starts writing about a subject he visibly does not understand.

Anyhow its a waist time to point out all the flaws in this article knowing the author has little or no expertise or experience on the subject. If the author understood Arabic or was curious, he would have visited and read the Arabic forums, blogs, Facebooks pages, tweets, who tell a completely different story but here again we touch upon the question of expertise. Unlike the author I have lived all my life in morocco except for university studies and my revenues are probably smaller than his Fullbright scholarship so I am not one the so called "wealthy expats critical of the political status quo". Loving my country means looking at the problems and not hiding behind propaganda, auto censorship or personal interests (a teacher position in a university) especially during an unstable period. If my country goes up in to flames because of a revolution that turns bad, I can't flee to another country like the author. So have look at the comments worrying about a contagion and ask yourself in all honesty if all these people are just wealthy and grumpy people as the author portrays them.
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nuagepassager
0 #11 not quitenuagepassager 2011-01-30 07:07
Riots have been going on for ever in Morocco, as recently as a few months ago. Revolution on the other hand will never happen for the simple reason that there is no need for a fundamental change. Now, poverty, corruption or drug trade or illeteracy are bad but hardly define who the moroccans are (compare to Mexico, Colombia, or any inner city in the US). This is an old story. The parameter missing in your analysis is History and geopolitics.

Faith and territorial integrity is more important. The second the King threathens the fundamentals he will be removed and his next in line put in place. In Moroco, the leader's role is to guarantee the perennity of Idris's Nation since the 8th century. This requires legitimacy that a Moubarak or Ben Ali or Bouteflika can never possess.

Everything else is negotiable, including democratic, economocic and social development. Governments can come and go. In fact you can start to see how the King's role will evolve in the future as democratically elected governments fall short of the population expectations.
He is the symbol that unite Amazighs and Arabs together under one nation called AL-Maghrib.

The question is how fast and carefully can Morocco transition to the democratic governance target model. The main objective is the resolution of the Sahara issue followed by normalization of relations with Algeria.



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Moh
0 #12 Enough is enoughMoh 2011-01-30 08:45
Here is what happened in Morocco in the last 10 years or so:

1. More debt (The country is broke. It is surviving on credit. This is dangerous)
2. The rich have become extremely rich (How?)
3. Prostitution, sexual diseases, casinos all over the place, night clubs all over the
place, unemployment, divorce, ....
4. Music festivals that seem to never end
5. More debt
6. More debt
7. You know why I keep insisting on "More debt"? Because it is the most dangerous
threat to Morocco or any nation for that matter.

Please folks, we used to hear that Tunisia was a model until we actually saw it for what it is. Most visitors to Tunisia never made it out of downtown Tunis and the resort towns. Morocco is the same. When winter hits people die of cold in the mountains. When flooding hits there is no help. Earthquake hits there is no help. But there is
plenty for Elton John and them people.

Morocco is a bit better off but, and it is a HUGE BUT, at what cost?

Don't forget, Mick Jagger will soon be in town.
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Moroccan
0 #13 By the way Moroccan 2011-01-30 08:53
I am adding some facts to my previous comment to show how this article lacks insight, is completely disconnected from Moroccan reality and is written by someone who has no expertise about Morocco:

- Since the Tunisian revolution, 4 self immolation attempts in Morocco

- Violent protests in Tangiers of unemployed graduate on Sunday (the article is in Arabic and there is a video on youtube)

- Egypt, like Morocco, had a compensation system for basic commodities to keep their prices down (oil, sugar, wheat , cooking gas) however that didn't avoid a revolution.

- Gini index in Tunisia is the same than in Morocco (in layman's term, wealth distribution inequalities are the same in Tunisia than in Morocco)

- Poverty level in Morocco is much higher than in Tunisia. Roughly 20% of the population live with less than 2 dollars/day

- Corruption perception index in Morocco is lower (= more corrupt) than in Tunisia.

- literacy in Morocco is roughly 60% (latest UNDP stats) not too far from Egypt 71%.

- youth unemployment (35% source: WEF 2011, HCP stats are a scam)

One final remark, Matt, just because you have lived a couple of years in Morocco doesn't mean you understand better Morocco's situation than Moroccan expats even the ones who have never lived in their countries. There is a lot of built up risks, linked to the exasperation of many Moroccans that you can't understand or see just by going to cafes, reading newspapers or watching TV (in a country that has little freedom press) or teaching people at school. I remember after Tunisia a lot of so called western ""experts"" were saying that Tunisia was the exception because of high level education and then Egypt came along and then they found another explanation. And after that, when you had protests in Jordan asking for the removal of their head of state (I hope you know the type and longevity of Jordan Regime), they found another explanation.

Morocco gained its independence 50 years ago, I still feel its like an economic and intellectual colony of mostly France and the USA. With Mckinsey consultants and french companies questionably influencing our already Tunisian style economy and people like you making a dishonest analysis based on impressions rather than facts, stats and a real know how of Moroccan people.
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Amazigh
0 #14 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Amazigh 2011-01-30 10:17
Corruptions is rampant and Moroccans are feed up with it. it has been over 10 years with no tangible results.Unemplo yment is high, corruption is worst then ever, and the selling of most valuable assets of the government to European companies
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man en blanc
0 #15 GOD BLESS MOROCCO! man en blanc 2011-01-30 10:31
Debts! Schmets! I can name over hundred countries that are so delinquent, they make Morocco look like Monaco! Scaremongering tactics just don't work on Moroccans.

Morocco will end up as the ONLY stable nation in a valley of smoldering ashes. i.e. the Arab world. Tourists from all over the world will flock to Morocco where we will take them on safaris to visit the ruins of Algeria, Tunisia and whatever might be left of Egypt!

Arab/Moslem countries are the quintessential humpty dumpty of lore! They are maddeningly fragile! Once broken, they can NEVER be put back together! Too many generations of pent-up Hogra! I can guarantee that Egypt, Tunisia and other candidates in the making will travel the Somalia route before they can detect a whiff of downtown Nouakchott!

PEACE!
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Moroccan Patriot
0 #16 Ticking time bomb - Moroccan Patriot 2011-01-30 10:56
Morocco has a large young population that is kept in line now through propaganda and myths, eventually when these youth get just a little older and realize that they cannot find a job, cannot afford a home and cannot get married, then the fear that has kept them shackled will dissipate and revolution will become the norm
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Obori
0 #17 With no long vision the stability will end..Obori 2011-01-30 12:59
Tunisians have better living standards and have less illiterate than Moroccans. Women have more rights. The country over all was a model for Arab countries with the exception of lack of civil liberties. Morocco had solved the issue of political prisoners and oppression years ago. In Morocco, 2M TV, for example, and since late eighties talked about corruption, wrong doings and all the negatives of the government. People can talk about anything as long as they don't oppose the monarchy system and the Territorial integrity. You can't have that in most Arab countries where opponents are rushed to prisons. Poverty alone does not make people revolt. India is poor but still has democracy.
There are major aspects that are helps Morocco to stay stable: More than 10% of Moroccans live in industrialized countries and the Sahara conflict of which all Moroccans agree that it is for now the number one issue.
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Moroccan
0 #18 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Moroccan 2011-01-30 17:43
What is happening in the Arab world should appear clear to you. First Tunisia, then Egypt ... the Muslim Brotherhood gradually taking power in Egypt ... I feel like it is pretty obvious that the radicals are attempting to take over the Maghreb and are brainwashing the illiterate in believing that the government is authoritarian and does not want its best. Moroccans have to unite against the media attempting to distort the true image of Morocco. Obviously, everything is far from perfect in Morocco but you have to recognize that people do not starve, and are free compared to other oppressive regimes in the world. Change will happen, but revolution is not the key to change. What Morocco needs is unity and efforts of the people. We are in the right direction and I believe many good changes have been made. Many are yet to come but Moroccans love their country and I strongly believe that we will do everything to fight against false media and false rumors spreading around the world about our beloved country.
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borsa
0 #19 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?borsa 2011-01-30 20:00
I don't see revolution occurring in Morocco and I don't think a revolution will actually benefit Morocco. Morocco needs evolution and I believe we are seeing that happen, admittedly the path of progress is slow but it is moving in the right direction and the King of Morocco will do well to analyse what caused the people in Egypt and Tunisia to revolt and implement policies to speed up the path of progress.

Those who call for revolution seem to think social ills and injustice can easily be solved over night. Like I have said before, lets see where Tunisia and Egypt go from here rather than fantasizing about revolution let's all help Morocco in whatever capacity we can rather than assuming the grass is always greener after a revolution.

Lets not forget a revolution can just as well mark the dawn of worse things to come.
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Apache
0 #20 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Apache 2011-01-30 21:57
Morcelli and Co,
I am very tired of this statement "the king is good but his entourage is bad".
well, I am sure he is a good person no question about that. but how long are we going to make excuses for him. Isn't he the one who picks the government? isn't the ultimate decision his in just about every aspect of the Moroccan life? isn't he the ultimate power in the country?
It's like saying we have this really good coach that keeps building really bad teams. At some point the coach is responsible.

So Mr Morcelli, let me say what you are unable to say: the king is the ultimate power, he chooses these cronies on purpose. He let's them suck the life out of the average Moroccan people and in return they show their allegiance to the palace and keep things peaceful. In short, that's how the government paints Morocco as a peaceful prosperous Switzerland where people love their king, and so they all lived happily ever after.

I think it would be wise for the king to be proactive about the situation in Morocco. don't wait for a massive uprising before making reforms. And besides, even if nothing happens in Morocco, am very certain that foreign investors as well as tourists will look at Morocco with a different set of glasses given what is going on in our neighboring countries. So we might as well kiss our tourism aspirations good bye.
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Ayoub Kabli
0 #21 selfemployedAyoub Kabli 2011-01-30 22:17
Yes Morocco has a lot of problems.but I have said before that our so called democracy suits our way of living and I can assure a lot of haters that most of us like it just as it is. we complain and life goes on , because we all know that there is no real democracy.we have good Hash and beautiful people in Morocco, so who needs a revolution.
the people who keep insisting that we have a prostitution problem.I want them to please name one country where prostitution dose not exist? we have everything in Morocco, but you are free to make your own choices.at last to all the Moroccan haters;Polisari o and there supporters should know that Moroccans like to work hard and party harder.so please get rid of your venom and shed your skin and come and join the Moroccan revolution and party with us. you are more then welcome.
come good people.
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Elmajed
0 #22 Interesting Article, But!Elmajed 2011-01-30 22:23
The Author may not be Moroccan who has lived there on 2 years or so, but his analysis so far on why the revolt will not happen in Morocco, is slightly true. The author may be wrong on some numbers concerning the Literacy's numbers, but that's debatable as some of yopu mentioned. His comments regarding why this revolts will not occur soon in Morocco are valid, especially the point regarding the Moroccans love for their king because they see him working his butt off all the time to make changes and make life better for them. I can understand where the Author comes from, he is living in Morocco as a guest and can compare his life ther to whereever he lived before, I'm sure in a democratic society I hope. But, the Author is not aware of the situation of those Exparts Moroccan who now live abroad and have a diferent take than him regarding their country. The Author may not be aware of the frustration of those Moroccans who now live abroad (Europe and N. America. Some and almost the majority of them left Morocco for a better life for themselves and thier families back home. I don't think the Autor is aware of the social structure of the Moroccan families, I hope the Author does more analysis of this issue first before he can write of the Political and Economical situation of our country. I don't think the Author is that knowlegeable of the deep divide that divide Moroccans today and has been for years and that is the Regionalism effect. May be the Author is living a nice life in a nice Villa or a nice Condo in the city wher he is living now (may be Meknes?)and a very nice salary, may be he feels like he is on a vacation all the time. Morocco is well described by Moroccans only and not by someone who is enjoying his days on a sunny vacation or a snowy mountains wher he is geting a cheap left for some nice sking days and at the end of his journey he leaves Morocca for Moroccans to deal with its problems and challenges years to come.
I wish I could hear some real analysis of Morocco from Moroccans who are living there and have the guts to talk sense and tell it as it.
One imortant point was mentioned above by "Robert" I believe and that si regarding Article 19 which noe mentioned here. I don't think a lot of people are aware of that article in the Moroccan constitution. Moroccans need to go back to their Constitution and make some dramatic changes in order to try to balance the powers of governance. The King is the most poerfull person in the whole country and by giving some powers to other institutions in the Govt, may help improve the Democratic Reforms in the countr. It's a long shot buty can be done and needs to be intiated by the king himself to get the debate going. I can't imagine anyone among the political parties to talk about. I hope they do, because having an election and a parlement is not really a democracy.

From avery Proud Moroccan who loves his country and want peace and tranquilty for his people, I hope.
May God Bless Morocco and All Moroccans.
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Moussa-Geneve
0 #23 What a joke! read this if you have doubtsMoussa-Geneve 2011-01-30 23:06
I have never witnessed a people as delusional as my fellow Moroccans. Our king has been trying to democratize the country.., it's the Fassi mafia blah blah. Let me point out something to you: our king owns 50% of the Moroccan stock market. What democracy have we in Morocco? please enlighten me! The country is plagued with rife cronyism and corruption!
The folk demand a constitutional monarchy like Spain reducing king's role to symbolism and charity work.
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riffi
0 #24 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?riffi 2011-01-31 03:27
M6 can not change things in 10 years.furthermo re the last 2 elections the Moroccans did not go to vote in mass(only 35%) and the elections were transparent if they were not you will see a fake 99.99% as usual.the king put el fassi because his party was in majority in parliament.I don't want to hear my Moroccan brothers and sisters complaining they had a window of opportunity and they did not use it.This actual government of al fassi is a mafia like I said before, the whole family is present in the government.the Moroccan justice minister lately could not pass certain laws because they were blocked by the istiqlal party.Don't take me wrong I am not defending the king but we have to give to Cesar what belong to Cesar.The most important area that Morocco has to concentrate is the justice that has to be independent.Liv ing during hassan2 era it was not only hell,as a berber from the north i felt like living in an apartheid country and I am sure that was for the most Moroccan citizens.So Moroccan citizen you want to make change go in mass to cast you ballot and go for evolution and not revolution,it is time to strike the "R"
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Agadir
0 #25 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Agadir 2011-01-31 13:55
The article is well put, and it totally hits good points.Why do we want less for ourselves? Most moroccan are only concerned about having food on the table and security, witch are important.But, when are we going to reach our full potentials? When are we going to have free decmocracy? when are we able to have free election? freedom of speech? when are we able to be a strong force in the world economy? We cannot just wait for the king to decide for us. We need to decide for ourselves. We should start pointing fingers, and I would rather take my chances...
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Apache
0 #26 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?Apache 2011-01-31 23:35
Is King Mohammed going to follow the steps of the king of Jordan and order immediate reforms or is he going to wait and see?

Based on the mindset of Moroccans lately it sounds like Morocco is heaven and the people and their king are in love with each other more than any time in history.
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man en blanc
0 #27 All quiet on the Western Front.man en blanc 2011-01-31 23:55
king is vacationing in his chalet outside Paris. With him are high ranking military and security officials. I guess the situation in Morocco is firmly in control. I don't know if I should feel reassured or worried.
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khalid ibn al walid
0 #28 Algechiakhalid ibn al walid 2011-02-01 00:02
hoping that the junta of algeria...will fall and with it polisabilo will go away with them...good ridance...
allah al watan al malik
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ssara morocco lover
0 #29 take initiative step up be responsible before accusing anyonessara morocco lover 2011-02-01 00:22
People need to start change from their own self before want to change their country it is rediculious to not be responsible for your own actions and want to blame others for your mistakes for example a person give bribe to someone for to have a service done quicker & when his service is done, s/he will say there is a corruption. I don't want corruption in my country, start from yourself and you will see the change. be responsible for your actions you want to find a job couple blocks away from your house with a good positon and title and you want to excercise the power and control others from the first day in work "be the director" start from entry levl job work had and I guarentee you u will move up in the positions
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Moh
0 #30 One more time Moh 2011-02-01 01:15
Morocco lives on borrowed money. I have never read news about Morocco where borrowing was not mentioned. They are getting ready to borrow close to 5 billion dollars this year to get them through 2011. This is to subsidize everything simply to keep their positions. Read here:
http://ara.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idARACAE71013120110201
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SimohammedNY
0 #31 why should Morocco be an exception?SimohammedNY 2011-02-01 23:32
Granting the Egyptian revolution succeeds and removes the dictator Hossni Mobarak from power, it will not, and i mean it will never, lead to a democratic Egypt (and Tunisia for that matter). This is my argument:

Unlike East Europe which revolted against the oppressive communism after the collapse of the Berlin wall, the Arab world is inherently a tribal world where loyalty and allegiance is to the tribe, which has traditionally been governed by one family. Just look at every single tribe in the Arab world (al-Saoud in Souadi Arabia, Ibn Khalifa in Qatar, Al Nahyan in Arab Emirates; Mawlāy Alī Sharīf'from Tfilalt in Morocco, etc), and you will notice that they have used the same playbook: have the army on your side by giving them the authority to oppress and kill if needed (which is what muscle men/knights have done throughout history because that's what they enjoy doing) and let a minority which represents the so called wlad w bnat 3a'ila (Nobles) stay rich and get richer so that they don't ask for their share or compete with the head of the tribe. And then there are the masses (Commons) who pick up the crumbs and leftovers of the rich. The Commons rebelled once in a while when they become hungry and/or have pay high taxes for nothing to see for (i love the movie "BRAVE HEART"), but they would soon stop after some concessions are made by the head of the tribe/king and things look "normal" for a little while before they go back to the way they were before the uprising. So, it is a playbook that has been used by all tribal societies and it has been executed perfectly to the letter by our rulers. So the question is: should we just give up? Shall we just be content because we are not hungry and there is no violence and chaos? I say, no! we should fight. But unless we cut the head of the snake (get rid of every single one who claim to have some divine powers) and have a free and open society whose people are not loyal to a tribe, but to themselves, these disturbances (I don’t call them revolts or uprisings) will not yield the outcomes we all hope for. The West became prosperous when it got rid of the nobles and powerful kings; it is time for us to use this playbook!
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Moroccan for life
0 #32 Morocco is in the right path although . . . .Moroccan for life 2011-02-03 03:55
Morocco is immune to revolution for the moment. Everyone including myself is saying that the King is doing a great job in developing our country but officials around him are the problem to Morocco and all Moroccans. We all in favor for a better life and we advocate for change to achieve one however we all forget that change should start within self then will trickle down to all society. Since majority of us preach that Morocco is contaminated with corruption, why don’t act and try to make a stop to it by doing the right thing and be a good example to others. Stop giving bribes to police (state troopers) to avoid getting speeding tickets, stop giving money to Government officials to be served first, encourage the idea of making a line to get any service and we should discourage our fellow Moroccan females from selling their body for currency.
Sometimes Moroccans forget that our Government lack natural resources compare to our neighboring/Ara b countries and assume that our Government must provide jobs to every Moroccan. I am totally against the idea of getting everything in silver platter. I strongly believe that it is ok not to work on your field. It is ok to take the initiative and make the best of your job. It is ok to start at lower level and work your way up through any organization and it is ok to obtain a job away from your home and it is ok to work 8 + hours a day without going home for lunch and nap.
Currently, our country is trying to fight literacy by providing educational programs to uneducated people who didn’t get the chance or the privilege to attend school. Our Government is trying so hard to fight slums by providing affordable housing to poor people and middle class (low income housing), the issue with this is some Moroccans who live in the slums sale their new property and settle in a different slums area so the government will provide them with another property and that’s how they game and profit from the system. Those types of people don’t like change, they will never change and they don’t want to see their country improve.
Our parliament consists of many parties and that is one of the biggest issues that our government faces which makes it almost impossible to make a gradual step toward beneficial projects to society. The most important observation is within our society there is discrimination and favoritism. I am not going to mention any ethnic background or point fingers. However I would love to see Moroccans provide guidance to each other without expecting anything in return and treat each other with respect as a fellow Moroccan not just because they have the same ethnicity.
Long live to our king so he can prove to all haters out there that he is a people king and he wants the best for his people. Our support to our king and our unity as one nation will give us the courage to tackle all the obstacles and achieve our goals inchallah.
Respect and prosperity to all Moroccans.
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Dan
0 #33 Time for DemocracyDan 2011-02-03 19:06
I agree with Agadir. It's time for our people to decide for Themselves and have free election and free democracy. The rich are richer and the poor are still leaving on the hole.The change must start from the top.
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Dan
0 #34 Time for DemocracyDan 2011-02-03 19:06
I agree with Agadir. It's time for our people to decide for Themselves and have free election and free democracy. The rich are richer and the poor are still leaving on the hole.The change must start from the top.
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riffi
0 #35 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?riffi 2011-02-08 03:29
Agadir/Said: the change is made by mass voting,the moroccan did not go to vote period.and the election were transparent.rem ember only 35% casted their ballot.We need to push whole morocco with kind of rock the vote,next election.and we all from here had to help at any price.
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Marroki
0 #36 Evolution and not RevolutionMarroki 2011-02-09 00:29
Things will change eventually! The king is doing a great job and changing things slowly but surely. Morocco will remain relatively quite because evolution was and is still happening in Morocco. People are notching these changes which include new motorways here and there and a more corporative and docile, to some extent, police force. It would be difficult for the king to apply sudden dramatic changes as he might annoy the remnants if the old regime and ignite civil war or even initiate his own demise.

He is taking steps against corruption in Morocco but more efferadicating is needed in eradicating this horrible disease.
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ahmed miled
0 #37 Really?ahmed miled 2011-02-09 07:51
You guys must be smoking. You dont do any favor to your own people by repeating the king is best thing since slice bread. Moroccan people are no different than Tunisians, egyptians, algerians, americans, etc.. they want justice, fairness and opportunity. The monarchy does not provide a thing, and as long as we moroccan continue to think the king is god, then we are in trouble. I am moroccan and do not agree with most of the monarchistes in this post.
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sahrane
0 #38 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?sahrane 2011-02-12 13:34
As we say (everybody want to go to paradise but nobody want to die) morocco is dictatorship country no matter how you paint it and when more than 45% of the population live on 2$ a day and you have a king that cost a million $ a day and the royal family that they're living high with yor money , when i hear talking about the governement corruption ,and the king is clean. give me a break !
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Marroki
0 #39 What's the alternative?!Marroki 2011-02-13 06:05
Ahmed, it is easy saying the king needs to go and we need a revolution. But what is the best alternative to the king? He is like i said trying to change things and it is not easy to do this in the short term. This is because there are powers in Morocco who would not be happy with drastic and dramatic sudden changes, and i am talking about remnants of the old regime. At least we know the king's true colours, the police were stripped of most of their powers and no longer intimidate and terrorise people. Foreign investment is increasing, religious tolerance and religious pluralism are common practise. Ok corruption is rife and jobs are scarce but he can not be expectected to solve all the ills of Morocco overnight, Rome wasn't built in one day. Give the the man time because he is shaking things and anyone can see that, even tourists.
I was arrested by the old regime 3 times for going on student demonstetions in the late eighties. So, i can assure that I am not the passive type who'll settle for anything. But I truly believe M6 is the man for the job, and I just don't see an alternative to him unless Ben Barka is resurrected and back to the land of the living.

I do go to Morocco twice a year to visit relatives, and every I go I am filled with pride with what we have achieved compared to many others. But we do have a long way to go, and the road is filled with hurdles. We can either moan or we can stand behind our leader and help him through a long and difficult road.

Long live Morocco and god save the king
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miss tmurth
0 #40 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?miss tmurth 2011-02-14 00:26
to Mr. morcelli
Morocco is not Danemark..so get over it!!
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merouanee
0 #41 change is a progression.merouanee 2011-02-15 00:08
It's. So easy to write a few words here and say that people should revolt, corruption is so bad in morocco, the king is not to blame. Not to blame.
I'm in morocco now, the king is in a isit to sale fir aid miloud, I saw as the city paved new roads the night before he showed up, thry now pave surrounding streets as well because he might ask them to take a diffrent route. The king doesn't have a magical stick he is surrounded by corrupt politicians abd he knows it, and doing something about it isn't as simple as you think. Those who blame one person know nothingabout managing people and situations. I'm happy we have a kin abd a kingdom, I'm not revolting because our country is fine, and corruption will go away eventually.
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not so free
0 #42 not so freenot so free 2011-02-17 11:43
well i see a lot of comments, here and their, but it seams that missing the point is what we do best. democracy is not giving , it will never knock at your door you have to earn it, and we all saw how inspiring the tunisians and egyptiens were, they have been fighing for it, we should as moroccan be ashamed of standing buy any argument stating that a sovereign state should abide buy the rule of one man, or one family.
and for me to explain why we shouldn't, just makes me sadder.
here is the catch though, i was born to a royal family that has giving me a legacy of a country, i was in my 30's, unexperienced, and willing to make a lot of decisions, also a lot of mistakes,my destiny was to show the way to these people, so called sons and daughters ( the moroccan people) the way to progress and become human,compete on my behalf i must add.
well my advise is to all stand and take a real moment of silence and just think , among us grew many achievers, smarter than the king, among us every day a star is
born to lead us to glory, to a better economy and social life , and we are killing it buy not standing for democracy. thank you
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not so free
0 #43 you ae wrongnot so free 2011-02-17 11:49
if the king can't do it him self so why can't we help?
so amazing how we all want to leave in denial, the prime minister and the goverment are all elected by the king.... learn a little something
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not so free
0 #44 how about thisnot so free 2011-02-17 12:06
the king sees the news and hopefully reads the papers
1) change the constitution
2} every 4 or 5 years we get to elect the leader of morocco as a prime minister
3) free press and free speach
4} no incarserations without prosecution
5} keep the religion "s hand out of the constitution please
6} keep your monorchy and stay as a symbol to our dear country because after all it is our country more than it is yours
7}i know it is hard but i would like a refund please
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Muhammad Jamal
0 #45 easy riderMuhammad Jamal 2011-02-22 07:55
Morocco may be corrupt and Morocco may not be perfect, but to compare it to Tunisa or Egypt is insane. Yes Parliment is rife with corruption, yes the Royal family could probably do alot more for the people. But hey STOP !!! and think for a moment...what is the REAL viable alternative, we all know that in the Arab world when people gain power they steal from the country, at least in Morocco you you have a King that is already wealthy by whatever means and doesn't really need to steal from the country.
I would suggest that people consider this, ask yourself this...How does Hosni Mubarak have a personal wealth of Billions whilst on a Presidents salary ? How does Ben Ali have a equally large personal wealth on a Presidents salary ?. These people (Mubarak and Ben Ali STOLE it) Morocco already relatively poor would suffer far worse in the long run if it followed Tunisa or Egypt.
Yes there must be change and that will only happen when the PEOPLE of Morocco stop encouraging bribery, corruption and dishonesty but refusing to pay up and taking responsibility for their actions, those in power will see a drop in their incomes and perhaps or maybe this might encourage them to work for the mutual benefit of Morocco and it's people, or they'll move aside and allow for others to come along and take up the challenge.
I am not the greatest fan of the Monarchy but beleive they serve a purpose and for now am content with King Mohammed VI, I don't expect him to perform miricles but do expect him to set the ball rolling in his parliment to stop corruption..... and by the way I am NOT Moroccan only married to a Moroccan, I love Morocco more than I love my own country, I love the people the traditions and am very proud of Morocco.
I sincerely wish that change can take place without violence or revolution and that Morocco can still remain a Kingdom (or constitutional Monarchy like the UK) and that those in whom trust has been placed may make that change happen for the benefit of the masses rather than the benefit of their bank accounts and families.
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born in casablanca living in DC
0 #46 REVOLUTIONborn in casablanca living in DC 2011-02-22 14:52
I am a moroccan living in the US and it hurts to go back home and see the living conditions of the poor nothing has changed at all.everyone deserves freedom and the right to speak. give the moroccan people a Democracy it's time for us to elect our own leaders and not have them elected for us.SPEAK UP PEOPLE!
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sahrane
0 #47 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Will Wave of Protests Reach Morocco?sahrane 2011-02-26 13:23
well well(easyrider) ride easy you're a guest,and welcome anytime i'm moroccan i love it , when i'm in vacation i left 27 years ago i've been there 4 times i never saw my best friend for that much ,when you see an 80 years old on his knees to kiss THE GUY hand something wrong when a GUY cost a country one million dollar a day and half the population live on 2 dollars a day something wrong .and a lot of people freezing and the GUY walk on carpets cause he loves the country too much he can't touch it's dirt something wrong . when you have a SR RICHIE living high on the hug cause he was born in the FAMILY something wrong ,give me a break ,they're blood suckers and blowing a smoke screen and the smoker in chief( AZOULAY MOROCCAN) ,but you're flying a balloon test don't blame ME for the paranoia try to talk politics to a moroccan overseas they gonna run away .why ? cause the intimidation machine is working on it's own .never saw a dog giving a birth to a cat ,so poeple who says that he is better than his father it's the time stupid and the PR ,so give it up before it give you down.and welcome to morocco anytime and hope that you have free children not like our parent they got themselfs free from the french but they gave us as slaves to our own poeple if we can call them own .well my friend take one?! for my health .and finally when they come for you what you gonna do?
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Jeff
0 #48 SOSJeff 2011-11-21 05:07
I have been to Morocco many times, amd I investigated the truth about your king and his friends. all is guilty, the king dominate all businesses in there. ONA is the largest corp owned by the king. if you have a company that's doing good, gov will come and make an offer to you, and if you refuse, they will send IRS to you and find ways to shut you down, and take your business away. the Police still take bribe, the customs do too. it's so bad to do business in Morocco. huck!! you can't even take your money out of the country if you want to.
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Moroccan Patriot
0 #49 Agree 100%Moroccan Patriot 2011-11-21 08:00
Morocco has no organized opposition to the Monarchy. This is why the PJD faces such a dilemma to the Monarchy. They are the only ones who have any chance of eventually getting organized, saying no to corruption and creating a relevant opposition party.

I don't think the rulers of Morocco have anything to really worry about, so long as rains are plentiful, as they have been for the past several years, and food staple prices are low.

Nothing is going to change in Morocco, not for a while. In Morocco, people complain, but they would rather deal with the status quo, than have their country turn into a Libya, Tunisia or Egypt. Stability is a cowards way out, and we are a nation of cowards, myself included... when you have kids... you don't really want to worry about stray bullets!
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