Following the publication of the draft constitutional revision of the Moroccan monarchy, to be submitted to a referendum on 1 July 2011, the public opinion is divided especially concerning the introduction of Tamazight as an official language.
Beyond the lack of clarity on the terms of the "formalization" of Tamazight, the text remains faithful to the constants that are so dear to the Arab-Muslim monarchy.
We publish below the reaction of the Amazigh Observatory of Rights and Freedoms (Observatoire amazigh des droits et libértés, OADL), and the editor at Tamazgha.fr will certainly come back on this new trickery ...
Regarding the proposed new constitution submitted to referendum
The draft of the new constitution examined by OADL (French acronym for Observatoire amazigh des droits et libertés, Amazigh Observatory of Rights and Freedoms) will be submitted on 1 July to a referendum. Based upon its contents and following the royal speech that followed the publication, all supporting bodies of the Amazigh movement and the national and international public opinion must be informed that:
1 - The anti-democratic method used for developing the draft document, written by the committee on the revision of the constitution followed by a team chaired by Mouatassim, resulted in something that was no surprise: a project put together in a sealed atmosphere, characterized by ambiguity, confusion and lack of transparency and visibility. At the end of this process, the relevant forces of the nation have been deliberately excluded. As for the Moroccan political parties, they were simply set aside and placed in a humiliating position of inferiority. The commission, which refused them access to the project during its development, gave them less than 24 hours to make their remarks. The final text of the constitution was drawn up secretly without any real consultation and strictly under the adviser to the king. The ultimate goal of the authorities is to scandalously rush the new constitution to a referendum and at the same time refuse the right to anyone to discuss its final content. Also, OADL strongly condemns the fact that some archaic conservative parties have been mobilized by the authorities, towards the end of the writing of the constitution, to counter the claims of the country’s democratic forces and undermine all new the articles of the constitution.
2 - The final constitutional text submitted to referendum is a revision that seems at first to provide a set of rights, but it is in fact a continuation of the principles that have always been the fertile crucible of the absolutist and arbitrary political traditions, with no change to the nature of the regime and the institutional architecture in which the king reigns and governs forever and gives himself excessive powers; as a result, no "gains" are real, because everything was done to hinder them. No business renewal has been made that could disrupt current practices and impact the governance of the country. As a Consequence, Morocco, while still in a serious situation and tense political climate, is about to miss its chance; a rendezvous with history. Parliamentary monarchy, as claimed, will not see the day.
3 - It goes without saying that the formalization of the Amazigh language is an asset and an important step forward. This is the fruit of the enormous sacrifices made by generations of activists in the Amazigh cause in Morocco, and their allies in civil and political national organizations. However, the configuration used lends itself to many interpretations. In fact, the fact that the formalization of Arabic and Tamazight appears in two separate paragraphs suggests that there is definitely a hierarchical relationship between a first official language, Arabic, and a second one, Tamazight. As a language is closely linked to the identity of its people, the unfortunate results of the new constitution divide Moroccans into two distinct categories: first-class citizens and second class citizens.
4 - The evocation of a constitutional law defining "the process of implementation of our language’s official character and the terms of its integration in the school system and of public daily life priorities" makes us wonder legitimately after decades of violation of our dignity and events of the past and present, which taught us to be careful. Will this new law reconsider everything and start all over from scratch? Or will it take into account the gains made in recent years, particularly in the teaching of Tamazight, despite all the obstacles due to lack of legal protection of this language? How long will the new process take, and with what budget? It seems that an inevitable and even harder struggle still awaits defenders of Amazigh language and culture.
5 - The constitutionality of all consultative bodies set up by the king before, and the exclusion of the official institution dedicated to the Amazigh (IRCAM) from this institutional list draws our attention and makes us question the real intent in the management of Tamazight.
6 - The constitutionality of the Moroccan identity dimensions as stipulated in the constitution, "its unity, forged by the convergence of its Arab-Islamic components, Amazigh and Sahraro-Hassani, was fed by its African, Andalusian, Hebrew and Mediterranean tributaries", has not met the specifics on the Amazigh language nor did it respect the chronological order in the statement, knowing that Tamazight is the first and native component. It also eclipses our African roots, which were mentioned as a mere tributary.
7 - The new constitution totally ignores Morocco‘s land ties to Africa; it reduces the connection with our African continent to the "relations of cooperation and solidarity with the peoples of Africa”. On the other hand, it claims our "belonging to the Arab-Islamic Ummah", thus denying the historical and geographical realities of our country. This makes us lose all ability to take advantage of far greater geographical and civilizational assets than those related to the Middle East.
8 – The removal from the final version of the constitution of the part dealing with the civil character of the State and the freedom of conscience, which are the very bases of any constitution of a democratic society, is in itself a real failure in this new constitution. Especially, the specific "Islamic character" of the State contradicts the commitment to respect and comply with international standards on domestic jurisdictions. No effort is made by the Muslim legal experts to understand and benefit from the important stakes of modern life.
9 - Although the new constitution contains some progress, including a number of rights and freedoms, it falls short of the aspirations of the public as they have been clearly expressed by the movement of 20 February. Our civil society and progressive political parties have a duty to continue their struggle to build a truly democratic and modern society based on the principles of freedom, equality, justice and dignity, and on a contract that is dedicated once and for all to popular sovereignty.
Rabat, 17 Juine 2011
For an English traslation of the new constitution, visit the following link:
The original French and Arabic versions can be dowloaded right here, Click on the Adobe Pdf icon below to download it.
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