MUHAMMAD: Moroccans Just Don't Get It

Askia Muhammad | 1/22/2014, 3 p.m.
On a recent trip to Morocco, I saw and learned much which helped me connect emotionally, fraternally, culturally, religiously, and ...
Askia Muhammad

But some in the region say they are an independent people and want to be free. The Polisarios, as they are known, claim independence and their claim is supported by Algeria. In the meantime, the Moroccans have invested billions of dollars in infrastructure, and indeed in subsistence payments to Saharan leaders and people in an effort to woo them into choosing “sovereignty” as a province of Morocco.

Without attempting to judge the merits of the claim of either side, the Moroccans have a huge problem, and they don’t even perceive it. You see, in the 1960s, the symbol of world uprising against western imperialism was the film, “The Battle of Algiers,” arguably one of the greatest films of all time, which romanticized the Algerian struggle from 1954-1962 against the French.

The Moroccans also don’t recognize that Frantz Fanon, an Algerian psychiatrist is a folk hero among the downtrodden – especially Blacks in the U.S. – whose analysis of the degree to which colonial mentality immobilizes subject people is also a part of the vocabulary of people yearning to be free.

So, for the Moroccans to preach – rightly or wrongly – that the Algerians are the cause of everything that’s wrong in the Sahara, is a very, very hard case for them to win among emerging nations, and they don’t even realize the difficulty they have convincing that world which has seen Morocco’s chief ally – the USA – as the main culprit which has hampered their development over the last 75 years.