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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Vives inquiétudes après l’attentat de Marrakech

by Hassane Zerrouky

Intense Worry After Marrakesh Bombing

Translated Saturday 14 May 2011, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Derek Hanson

The forces for change fear that this terrorist act will be exploited by conservative circles to slow down the democratic dissent advocated by the February 20 Movement.

Three days after the Marrakesh bombing – which took a toll of 16 lives, including seven French people – King Mohammed VI came and firmly condemned it. But the question on everyone’s lips is: will this deed ring the death knell on the peaceful democratic demands put forward by the May 20 Movement?

May Day march and celebration spoiled.

On the evening of April 28, Communication Minister Khalid Naciri emphasized that the reforms will continue. However the bombing took place at the very time when the mobilization for a parliamentary monarchy was broadening, a bombing which simultaneously spoiled the May Day celebrations: The February 20 Movement and the forces backing it, such as the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH) were preparing to make May Day a high point of the mobilization. They had called for people to participate in the marches organized by the two big trade union confederations, the Moroccan Union of Labor (UMT) and the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT).

While AQMI is mentioned most often, even though the terrorist organization had not claimed responsibility as of April 30, many in Morocco think that the deed came at just the right time for the conservative circles of the “Makhzen.” In any case, this is the point of view of the journalist Ali Lmrabet, who wrote in his on-line newspaper Demain le Maroc (Morocco Tomorrow) “By committing this bombing, today and now, when the regime is backed into a corner and is forced to make concessions, the terrorists, the physical or intellectual initiators, have shown themselves to be the strategic allies of the autocracy that governs us. Now, the regime will have a great deal of latitude to refuse or to weaken, in the name of the endless struggle against terrorism, the openings that it had promised.” Voices have indeed been raised, indirectly condemning the actors of the democratic revolt movement, reproaching them for their radicalism, and even for having called for the freeing of political prisoners. [1]

The first collateral victim.

For the moment, the bombing has claimed a first collateral victim, Rachid Nini, the director of the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Massa, who has been behind bars since April 28 for acts that do not have anything to do with the terrorist deed, but for articles implicating a member of the king’s inner circle, Fouad Al Himma, the leader of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) for corruption and “violations of constituted bodies.” The journalists’ trade union, like the AMDH, did not fail to condemn Nini’s arrest.

Another source of worry: the Marrakesh bombing is a hard blow to tourism (which represents 10% of GDP) and which is the country’s main resource.

[1Mohamed Fuzazi, the eulogist of radical Islamism, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his implication in the May 2003 Casablanca bombings, figured among the 190 prisoners pardoned by the Moroccan monarch on April 14, 2011.

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