is in the region of North Africa. This country has been in the news lately due to discrimination occurring in the area called the Rif. The region refers to the Rif Mountains at AL-HOCEIMA on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast (see top of map). The area is mostly inhabited by Berbers (explained in the 5/20/2017 post). The Berbers feel there have been official abuses and corruption, and they have not been supported by the government. The central government of Morocco is in Rabat.
During the Arab Spring movement of 2/20/11 through the Spring of 2012, Morocco’s women protested against abuses and corruption. There were calls mainly for reforms, a new constitution, a more democratic government, basic human rights, and an improvement of the quality of life. The Arab Spring movement may have lost its momentum in recent years, but its legacy is still alive in terms of organizing tactics and aspiration. Instead of understanding what caused the poor people to rise up, many Moroccans are stating the protesters are attempting to cause chaos. Civil society leaders and intellectuals have come out to condemn the government’s use of force and crackdowns of activists.
Many people from the Rif region have left the area for Europe to better their life. They return only to temporarily build homes for their retirement or to use the houses for vacation. Perhaps the lack of trust for the political establishment is what is really behind the recent protests in Morocco, and what is occurring now in 2017 is not completely disconnected from the Arab Spring movement.
There have been protests and a movement known as the Popular Movement (al-Hirak-al-Shaabi) has emerged led by Nasser Zefzafi. At 39 years of age, Zefzafi used internet videos to express his fiery views, and he and dozens of protesters numbering approximately 70 have been arrested and jailed. In addition to the Popular Movement (MP), two other movements, among many more, are predominate; namely, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) and Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD). The country is aspiring to be a democracy. Members of political parties are calling for the immediate release of all the Hirak protesters who were arrested. After the arrest of Zefzafi, 600 lawyers volunteered to defend the detainees demonstrating that the Hirak movement has the backing of different components of the Moroccan society.
The recent web of protests began after Zefzafi interrupted a preacher’s sermon at a mosque in Al-Hoceima. He called the preacher a “liar” and asked whether mosques are built to serve God or those in power. He was then arrested with claims he had”obstructed, in the company of a group of individuals, the freedom of worship”. Yet many believe, by stating that religion should not be used for political ends, Zefzafi was actually attempting to protect the sanctity of the mosque as a place of worship. He was also criticized for the lack of structure and eloquence in his intervention at the mosque, but he is not a highly educated person. However, even though he was not well-educated, the people of the Rif region designated him to be their leader because he represents an alternative to the well-polished speeches of politicians whom he considers to be pawns.
It remains to be seen how the country shall evolve from this difficult turn of events. Today, Moroccan authorities have accused Zefrafi and his supporters of “undermining the security of the state”. King Mohammed VI was sensitive to the movement and offered constitutional reforms and and elections. The king is of Arabic Berber descent and follows the Islamic religion. He is a direct descendant of the Islam prophet Mohammed. The wars in such countries as Syria and Libya put a damper on a large scale change of government.
has a modern day slave market for its economy, and human trafficking has reached horrific numbers. Even before Qaddafi, migrants from sub-Saharan Africa (African countries below Libya and the Sahara desert) came to Libya for economic reasons and a way through to Europe. Qaddafi not only funded the African Union but proposed an even more ambitious idea called “The United States of Africa” which never came to be. Upon the death of Qaddafi in 2011 in Sirte, the self-appointed National Transitional Council (NTC) and its fighters was formed to end racism, discrimination, and terrorism and to be substituted with equality, justice, peace, and freedom. The council lasted for ten (10) months from February 2011 to October 2011. Opposition fighters captured Tripoli and took over the country until today. Libya is part of North Africa, and it is considered part of the MENA region; therefore, it is part of the Arab region and separated from the sub-Saharan African region.
Libya is a marketplace for human lives. Sub-Saharan migrants came north to Libya to participate in Libya’s oil wealth. They endured the resentment of Libya’s Arab population so they could send money home to their families. The Arabs regarded blacks as their inferiors and do not like dark skins. There is no recognizable government in control of the country. This void then has been taken over by armed groups such as ISIS that is making it their headquarters, and al-Qaeda and Boko Haram….all of which compete for territory.
Men and women are living in warehouses, prisons, and courtyards. In addition, they are sold from smugglers to militia to traffickers, and back again…they operate as a network. The men and women are often paying for this transactions. They may be placed on a boat going to Europe after many months or years of this situation occurring. Mainly dark skinned people face discrimination, and a person who speaks the Arab language is preferred.
According to a study by the International Organization for Migration, half of the migrants who reached southern Italy state they had been held against their will in Libya (often for a ransom), and it took more than six (6) months to arrive in Europe. The journeys began at home or from the Horn of Africa where they fled political persecution in places like Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, or Sudan, or from Senegal, Nigeria, or the Ivory Coast located in sub-Saharan Africa.
A United Nations official stated three million migrants have arrived into Libya, and perhaps more than 60% stay in the country as servants who earn their way out of detention centers or a way out by boat. These migrant people are not just smuggled but are bought and sold on a daily basis while the detention centers serve as distribution points. According to human rights activists, the centers are controlled by Arab militia who traffic in black bodies which may be referred to as slavery. These militia also control the surrounding sea. Since 2011, there is no money in the banks, and public workers go unpaid. The black market is booming. Libya’s economy has deteriorated into a primitive state…in addition to oil, it now trades in the market of humans.
The world is full of strife. It is difficult to understand that God’s aim and purpose for Planet Earth is to have people understand and love one another. Understanding and knowing the racial inequities around the world shall assist in balancing for the good of Mankind.