By Salem Al Ketbi
I visited Morocco a lot these last years, during and after my doctorate studies. I have always loved people, moral values, Islamic inheritance and history of the Kingdom.
But my visit this month is quite special. I will go (to Morocco) to participate in a conference in November, a month of national will and of determination for Moroccan people. This month two exceptional events are celebrated with a deep historical symbolism. The anniversary of the Green March and the Independence day are the characteristic of the Kingdom’s history. The present witnesses the celebrated historical moments.
The Green March was when Moroccans took control of their destiny and showed that they could rally around their leadership. Today, amid the erosive waves of globalization, the values of patriotism, loyalty and love of the country should be passed on to our children.
The Green March was not an ordinary gathering. It was not just a mass popular demonstration to defend the land, the nation and sovereignty. It was a milestone in the history of Morocco and a turning point where the relationship between the people and their leaders was tested. The results were impressive. The immediate popular support for the late King Hassan II was like a vote of confidence in his determination to protect the restored sovereignty against the colonial power.
The Green March was also a lesson in capitalizing on patriotism and using soft power to acquire rights and preserve strategic interests. The demonstrators were neither aggressive nor impulsive. Peacefully carrying Korans and flags, their sole purpose was to answer the call of a wise and committed leader. The March was a lesson of patriotism, of discipline, and of loyalty that manifested itself in the masses of people. The late King Hassan II said: “To send Moroccans to the Green March was not the hardest thing. How they would return to their cities when asked, systematically and in an organised manner, to believe that triumph was on their side, was more difficult. “
The other event, the Independence Day, marks a great memory for the Moroccan people, then under colonial domination. United and led by King Mohammed V, Moroccans opposed all plans for division and colonial submission. Their determination resulted in an unprecedented revolution, the revolution of the king and the people. After the colonists surrendered to this overwhelming national will, Morocco gained independence.
Repulsing the occupying powers is not the end of the journey, but the beginning of another challenge. True independence is decolonization and cultural, economic, military and political progress.
When the king was brought back to the country in 1955, Morocco practically became independent. It all came after a historic struggle in which many Moroccans made sacrifices and gave lessons in patriotism. The relationship between the king and his people has been a symbol of national cohesion since then.
Celebrating Independence Day gives the people a push to continue the path of progress. In Morocco, the future looks promising. The kingdom has surpassed many historic challenges thanks to the will of the people and the leadership to maintain a safe and stable country.
Best wishes for a bright future to the brave people of Morocco.