Meanwhile in Morocco...

Part 2: Soup, activism and stories

23 May 2011

Compared to some Arab countries, Moroccan society has been fairly stable since the death of King Hassan II in 1999. His dictatorial rule has left the country strained, both domestically and internationally. In the mean time the protests in Morocco are getting more intense and police starts to crack down. How does a country cope with a past it's not allowed to talk about? And how does it address problems resulting from this past? We're joined by two political activists and two journalists from Morocco to discuss these and other questions. Please RSVP if you want to eat someting with us in the break.


Moroccan Resistance -


In 1965 King Hassan II dissolved Parliament, leaving himself the sole ruler. Two attempts were made on his life in the early 70s, and during the following decades violence and oppression ruled the country. King Hassan II's death in 1999 meant the end of his dictatorship. His son, Mohammad VI, distanced himself from his father's reign and came to power relatively quietly. But although the new king far much more liberal, the country has still not recovered from decades of oppression. Morocco is trying to come to terms with its past, while at the same time dealing with contemporary human rights issues. Joining us are four speakers.


Fatna El Bouih

From 1965 onward King Hassan II ruled Morocco as a dictator. Those who opposed his rule often disappeared and ended up dead. One of the surviving political activists is Fatna El Bouih. Fatna El Bouih was first arrested as an 18-year-old student. Over the next decade she was arrested many times, tortured and kept imprisoned under harsh conditions. She is the founder of several organizations that fight for prisoner- and women's rights. Fatna will present the work of the national reconciliation program IER and the projects undertaken to reconsider the dictatorial period.

Ghassan El Karmouni

Ghassan El Karmouni is a young activist in the 20th of February Movement in Morocco. This movement is calling for political reforms in Morocco and a limitation of the power of the king. In his lecture, From Contestation to Resistance, he'll point out several issues that have led to social unrest, and give an insiders account of the movement.

Abderrahim Kassou

Abderrahim Kassou is the director of Casamemoire. Casamemoire is a non governmental organization that strives to protect 20th century heritage in Morocco. He is also one of the founders of the Moroccan Forum of Alternatives (FMAS). Kassou will talk about the importance of cultural activities when trying to build a new relationship between citizens and the public space, in a country where both are problematic.

Hicham Houdaifa

Houdaifa worked as a correspondent for Afrique Magazine in the USA and as a journalist for Le Journal until the closing of the magazine in 2010. Hicham's work focuses mainly on human rights issues, and in particular on freedom of the press. He will talk about freedom of expression and the relationship between power and the media in Morocco during the past decade.

More information

Meanwhile in Morocco... takes place at Mediamatic Bank, Vijzelstraat 68 Amsterdam. Doors open at 18.30 and the program starts at 19.00. Tickets are €5,-.

On Sunday May 22nd, Fatna El Bouih will be giving an introduction to the movie Nos Lieux Interdits by Leila Kilani. Find out more about that here.

Meanwhile in Morocco... is part of the Pièce de Résistance exhibition.