I WAS very surprised to read the article published online on Sept 16, 2023, by The Star under the title “Morocco’s King keeps regal distance even in earthquake crisis”, given the fact that it relates to particular aspects that neither Moroccan nor objectively-oriented foreign media have witnessed in the way the King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI has been managing the aftermath of the huge earthquake that hit the Al Haouz region in Morocco.
The very first striking untrue detail lies in the title itself, which underlines that the King keeps a regal distance even in the earthquake crisis.
All Moroccans, the Sovereign's people, whose opinion counts most, do know that it is unfounded and far from reality and not the way some people want it to be for their particular reasons.
Throughout its contemporary as well as ancient history, the Royal Family of the Alawite Dynasty, reigning for the last five centuries, has always been in close touch with the people and the cases to be recalled in this regard are numerous.
The most unforgettable one to be highlighted in this context, not to enlist a lot, is when Mohammed V, the grandfather of Mohammed VI accepted to be exiled in 1953, far from the Throne which he had inherited from his ancestors, instead of accepting to let down Morocco's National Movement of Liberation.
For their part, the Moroccan people reacted in a similar sacrifice-based way, through launching what is known in Morocco as "The revolution of the King and the People” that was crowned with the independence of the country in 1956.
As for King Mohammed VI, one small example of the King's special care will prove the aforesaid title wrong. A few years ago, His Majesty followed with special interest the tragic case of the boy Rayane who unfortunately fell down a narrow well, got stuck and died within despite the tremendous efforts undertaken by the official authorities along with activists from civil society.
The King was the first to call up the boy's parents on that sad occasion to present his condolences and to express his compassion.
How would it be conceivable to assume that one who cared about one single boy would not care about thousands of his own people under the rubble.
Then, the whole world remembers, on the other hand, the moment when the King was brandishing the national flag in his car just like all the other ordinary Moroccan people who went down the streets to express their joy and happiness after Morocco's victories in the Qatar World Cup
Another picture that Moroccans will never forget is when His Majesty went to a small town not far from Rabat and while arriving, he found that it was raining heavily,
He did not think twice about it and got oout the car and went, with wet clothes, to the people who were waiting to welcome him as if telling them "You are under the rain and I am ready to be under the rain just like you".
So numerous are the cases that Moroccans know and which show His Majesty's closeness to the people and which those with bad intentions need to look for, if they are seriously willing to know the truth.
A King of this nature cannot but react properly when being informed of the earthquake that caused the death of over three thousand people.
The necessary meetings were held, the appropriate decisions to deal with the earthquake, the victims, the orphans now and later were taken.
The King then paid a highly appreciated visit to the injured in the hospital during which the whole world lauded those moments when the King bowed to kiss the forehead of a young boy and hugged others including an African immigrant.
And within the same spirit of solidarity expressed by Moroccans, His Majesty the King contributed to the blood donation campaign.
If all these steps seem to be limited and of less importance, something seems to be wrong with the analysis - or let's be clear- the real intentions of the author.
Furthermore, a mere look at the contents of the letter of condolence and sympathy sent by US President Joe Biden to His Majesty, the King, will consolidate what has been stated so far and thrash the attitude of the author of the article.
President Biden praised in an unambiguous way His Majesty's successful management of the crisis and expressed readiness to help if needed.
The article then moves from criticising the earthquake management to the political life in Morocco as if the main objective is not the focus of the main subject but to take it rather as a bridge to extend criticism to other political aspects with a special emphasis on the King's believed relations with those aspects.
Contrary to what is stated in the article, the successive governments have never so far put any blame for their unplanned failures on any restrictions whatsoever.
They consider themselves as the main actors of the successes and as responsible as well as for their failures, as there is room for them to put in place the programmes and action plans which they defend in the Parliament, in full respect of the separation of powers stipulated by the supreme law of the Constitution.
There is no logic in thinking that the King would abort any initiative that would improve the living conditions of Moroccans.
A study of how the socioeconomic situation was in the beginning of this millennium in Morocco and how it has become now will undoubtedly provide an answer for the King's eagemess to see Morocco going forward.
Then, the article criticises the fact that the King retains the right to choose the Head of Government from the political party with the most seats in the Parliament. Isn't it a provision in the Constitution approved by the large majority of Moroccans in the 2017 Referendum?
The next step in the criticism is about what the author considers as human rights violations among critics of some of the policies who are either in jail or have left the country according to him.
Readers are requested to resort to reports by established international human rights associations to find out the situation of human rights in Morocco. And being a journalist gives no one in the world the right to make offences or even crimes and to be set free due to his status as a journalist.
The two or three cases of journalists to which the author maybe refers to, have been tried in the courts like any other Moroccans and the verdicts corresponded to the kind of crimes committed in accordance with the Moroccan penal law in effect
The last point underlined as a source of criticism is the difference in the level of development between regions. Certainly, differences do exist and efforts of development are being undertaken to fill in the gaps and to create a certain balance but what is unacceptable is to raise this question to hint at the fact that only Amazigh regions are deliberately concerned with the under-development.
Saying this means that the author doesn't know Morocco, nor has he ever visited the country. Some regions are still less developed regardless of the ethnicity of the inhabitants. It is due, inter alia, to the wrong Communal Councils Management, shortage of resources and difficult geographic positions
Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Malaysia