It has been a few years now since you’ve asked: “ where are the riches of this country ?” In your speech of July 2014.
Like many Moroccans, I have long waited for an official, convincing answer from any representative of power and it has been a vain waiting.
Therefore I am compelled to attempt an answer, using careful observations guided by common sense.
Could it be that a system based upon the privilege and comfort of one person is unable to ensure a fair distribution of the riches it generates?
A system inaccurately named - a constitutional monarchy- while the reality is that an oligarchy rules the country, a totalitarian elite operates under the disguise of a democratic framework.
you occupy the highest position in this system, you have the power to terminate the tenure of any minister, to dissolve the parliament, to suspend the constitution, or simply to rule by decree. You also are chief of the army. (1)
To say it in plain and respectful language: Democracy cannot be further and your question about the riches of this country can only be pure sarcasm.
You detain extensive political powers, you also rule as the commander of believers, a direct descendant of Muhammad the prophet from whom you derive a religious dignity that goes as far as making your person sacred, by law, therefore any criticism leveled at you is considered blasphemy.
But have you ever wondered, where did Muhammad obtain his dignity from?
History portrays him as a social and spiritual leader who revolutionized his world unequivocally.
A man who stood by the poor, by the weak, and by the excluded.
A man who wisely adapted the already existent religions to his own time and context, using faith to unit his people around the ideals of sharing and brotherhood.
A man who forbids himself of wearing silk and gold and the attire of kings.
A man who said: “Our, i.e. the prophets, the property cannot be inherited and whatever we leave behind is alms to be given in charity’’
And: ‘’By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut off her hand”
Have you ever wondered what would his answer be to your question about the riches of this country?
In your speech of July 2020,you said that '' monarchy and the people are bricks of the same building''.
You expressed your feelings of affection and consideration for every member of our nation and you said that you ''care about the safety and well-being of every Moroccan citizen as much as you care about your children, especially in these trying times''.
One can only doubt the sincerity of your affirmations.
75% of Moroccan adults have a net worth of less than 10k$, counting both financial and material assets while your net worth is estimated in billions. (2)
Your son, Prince Hassan is one of the richest teenagers in the world, he enjoys everything that luxury can offer from cars and yachts and private jets… While the average Moroccan teenager struggles to access qualitative education and healthcare, the average Moroccan citizen runs the risk of imprisonment for the mere fact of having a consensual sexual relationship.
Don’t you think that it is safe and healthy for your son, Prince Hassan, a handsome young man, to experience emotions and desire and to share the flames of his youth without shame or fear?
Will article 490 of the penal code be applied to him if he does so? (3)
Your divorce from Princesse Salma has been made public in 2018,
Have you been leading a life of complete abstinence ever since? (4)
Please excuse my intrusive question, it’s a simple reaction to the intrusion of the law, made by the system, you are head of.
And where is princess Salma? Her sudden vanishing stirred controversy, her complete withdrawal from public life including the activities of her own foundation and philanthropic work is indeed alarming, many say that she was killed or detained.
Do you consider her a disposable that served your image of a modern monarch at the beginning of your reign?
Do you think she can disappear brutally and abruptly without raising questions?
Did you provide an answer to reinsure the millions of citizens asking about her?
Was she killed? Is she alive? Where is she then?
Is this the image you want to project to the world on how we treat our women? At a time when the attention and support of the international community is your crying need, especially regarding the conflict around the Western Sahara area. (5)
Dear king, in these grime times of a pandemic that has devastated the average Moroccan on many levels, and saw their income decrease drastically, your financial assets seem to be ever-growing. Namely acquiring a sumptuous real estate property facing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, for an estimated price of 100m$ (6)
Where are the riches of this country? you’ve asked in 2014.
The same question preoccupies us, but if we shall formulate it differently, let us say: where did your riches come from?
We ignore how much does it cost to the taxpayer financing your functions.
Constitutional monarchies and democratic frameworks provide thorough financial reviews of their leader's spendings in open and free access to every citizen at all times.
Your system surrounds your financial life by a thick veil of secrecy.
In 2010, Wikileaks has made public the correspondences of the American
ambassador’s in Rabat where your corrupted involvement in every lucrative industry is clearly mentioned. (7)
The correspondence states…’’ to discuss with anyone else would be a waste of time’’ and ‘’while corrupted practices existed during the reign of King Hassan II…they have become much more institutionalized with King Muhammed VI’’ and ‘’Palace coercion plagues Morocco’s real estate’’.
Panama Papers had made public the involvement of your private secretary, friend, and right-hand man in the orchestration of commercial transactions from the British Virgin Islands using several off-shore companies of which you own the totality. (8)
I am one of many who want to know why in 2021 we still live under a paralyzing fear? why do we still suffer many forms of oppression and discrimination for the mere fact of exercising our right to free speech?
And if I address you in English today, it is simply to have the world as my witness, your allies and your opponents alike.
I am saddened I cannot write to you in our mother tongue, for if I do, my letter will be lost in the valley of no sound and no echo.
Maati Mounjub, Omar Raadi, Sulaiman Raissouni, Tawfiq Bouachrine, and many others have asked the same question about the riches of this country, they all have been harassed, detained, and unfairly prosecuted, in sham trials.
Law has largely been instrumentalized to muzzle our journalists and intellectuals.
77 years ago, on the 11th of January 1944, a group of Moroccan intellectuals signed the manifesto of independence and presented it to the colonial administration in a brave and pacific gesture that lead to the independence of the country and the return of your grandfather Mohammed V from exile.
This event was pivotal in the establishment of the monarchy that you represent today, thanks to the people, and yet your inaction in favor of freedom of speech means that you approve of the
abuse and persecution of the thinkers, artists, and intellectuals of our nation.
Unlike many of your opponents, I am not going to criticize the way you misspell your words in a way that indicates the level of preparation and investment in writing and delivering your speeches.
I am not going to criticize the way you dress or speculate on your sexual orientation.
I do look at you through the eyes of compassion and I do remember the wave of hope we all embraced when you became king of Morocco in 1998, the hope of an open and free country, the hope of a new reign lead by an energetic young sovereign, the hope of progress and democracy that you ignited by opening the
political field to opposition, by reforming the constitution regarding family law, by taking the brave step of showing your wife princess Salma and granting her diplomatic functions in an unprecedented symbolic gesture.
Unfortunately, we have immensely regressed ever since, our fundamental rights are under threat, the country is lead by a group of corrupted politicians and powerful lobbyists conceiving and voting tailor-made laws to maintain their privilege, there are more and more testimonies of citizens who report torture and detainment in secret prisons and all sorts of human rights violations, and Salma, the symbolic hope of women's liberation is missing.
This is happening in your reign and under your supervision, you are no stranger to this Moroccan elite, your deep involvement in both the political and economical arenas make you an ultimate example of the conflict of interests.
You are at a historical crossroad, this is your moment to prove that you care about keeping the country safe and united, this is your moment to embrace change, to welcome freedoms, and listen to criticism, this is your moment to show accountability and interest in your functions and make truly significant decisions towards progress and social justice.
You can become a historical leader by changing the status quo, the system you rule over is pyramidal and therefore can be changed from the top.
If you refuse to take the actions kings take to maintain their dignity If you continue treating the Moroccan people as if they were deaf and blinded by ignorance and fear. There will be more letters like this, there will be more voices like mine, there will be more and more waves of freedom shaking the basis of your ailing system.
You are born a king long past the glorious centuries of monarchs, you are born a king in a time of demographic transitions, of social revolutions, and the decay of religious power.
You are born a king, don’t die a fool.
RAMO is born in 1990 near Casablanca, Morocco. He has a background in fine arts and
mathematics, he lives and works currently in Paris. His work aims to explore the spaces between
literature and visual arts through installations, language, and mixed media. He shares his self-reflective
journey on being and belonging through multi-layered works inspired by literature, abstracts,
and pop culture.
His poems have been published in 2017 by The New River Press, In 2019 his installation “The Man
from Mars” Has been shown in the National Museum of History of Immigration ( Palais de la Porte
Dorée), He also performed at Paris Internationale and he is one of Laure Prouvost’s “Deep See Blue
Surrounding You” main performers at the Venise Biennale.
He’s part of l’Atelier des Artistes en Exil and he pursues an academic program in language and
civilization at l’Université de Paris.
(1): Moroccan constitution, 2011.