Friday, May 27, 2005

An alternate view of Morocco

owukori of the Black Looks blog took issue with my essay praising Morocco's King Mohammed VI's modest poverty reduction efforts. Well actually, she took issue with my characterization of Morocco as arguably the most progressive and democratic countries in the Arab world. Upon further reflection, I probably should've phrased it differently. I still contend that Mohammed VI is one of the most progressive leaders in the Arab world, even though that's not an especially high standard. owukori argues that life in rural Morocco is much different ('feudal') than in urban centers. She points to an essay of her own on the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (ERC) set up by Mohammed VI, to investigate human rights' abuses committed during the reign of Hassan II, his father. I'd still argue that the mere fact of the ERC is useful in breaking the silence that weighs so heavily in Morocco; the mere fact of acknowledging that the king's father's rule was imperfect (an enormous understatement!) is an important breach in the idea that you can never criticize the monarchy. However, I do echo her disappointment that specific individuals can not be named to the ERC, ostensibly because some of them are still in positions of power.


At 12:27 PM, Blogger sokari said...

You continue to insist that Mohammed VI is one of the "most progressive...." without presenting one single piece of evidence to back up this statment other than the ERC investigating the crimes of his father King Hassan. As I have said the ERC is no threat to King Mohammed VI and in fact benefits him as it distracts peoples attention away from current human rights abuses, the illegal occupation of Western Sahara, the low status of women and gives an illusion that Morocco and its ruler are open and progressive.
Why is it that the standards used by the west to measure progress and social reform in Africa are lower than those used elsewhere? Why is it that the West expects Africans to have lower expectations of their governments than in the West? Dont we deserve the same or in deed better?

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Brian said...

owukori, I have presented my argument (ERC, family code, etc). And I've presented in your blog my rebuttal to your response. Whether or not you accept my argument is an entirely different matter.

However, there is something more fundamental. You have still not answered the paradox I posed to you in your blog. Specifically...

When westerners hold Africa to the same standards as itself, they are accused of "not respecting African cultures" or "Afro-pessimism" the every popular "imposing western values."

Yet when westerners hold Africa to different standards, the sin of which I am allegedly guilty, they are accused of patronizing Africans, of saying they don't deserve to be treated as well as westerners.

So I invite you to address this paradox before repeating your criticisms again to help enlighten me.

By the way, a fair look at the entireity of my work in this blog would suggest I am far more guilty of the former "crime" than I am of the latter.


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