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Friday, September 5, 2008

Morocco: conscience prisioners nearing death after two months of hunger strike

Ignacio Ramonet, director of Le Monde Diplomatique, writes at Rebelión on the ongoing unrest in Morocco, the silence in European media and the many cases of most brutal torture.

Her name is Zahra Budkur, she is twenty years old, student at Marakech University. After taking part in a protest march, she was beaten by police, jailed along with hundred other protesters in the sinister police station of Jamaâ El Fna square (visited daily by thousand tourists) and brutally tortured. Policemen forced her to remain naked, while she was having her menstruaion, for days before her comrades. In order to protest against this abuse, she began a hunger strike and now is in state of comma. Her life hangs from a thread.

Has anybody in Europe heard of this young woman? Have our media even mentione the tragic situation of Zahra? Not a word. Not either on another student, Abdelkebir El Bahi, thrown by police from a third storey and now bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life because of backbone fracture.

Zero information either on the other 18 sudents from Marakech, arrested with Zahra, who, in order to protest their arrest in Bulharez prision, are in hunger strike since June 11. Some cannot stand anymore, several vomit blood, others are losing their sight and yet others, in comma, had to be hospitalized.

All this among the general indifference and silence. Only their relatives have protested, what has been seen as sign of rebellion, and have been hatefully beaten for it.

All this happens not in any remote country like Tibet, Colombia or South Osetia but just 14 km from Europe, in a country visited every year by millions of Europeans and whose regime enjoys in our media and among our leaders of great tolerance and complacency.

Nevertheless, since last year, all around Morocco protests multiply: urban revolts against living costs and rural uprisings against abuses. The bloodiest mutiny happened last June 7th at Sidi Ifni when a peaceful demonstration against unemployement in that city was repressed with such brutality that caused a major uprising with street barricades, building burnings and attempts of lynching some authorities. In response police forces acted with unmeasured brutality.

The article continues analyzing the silencing of press, the vanished hopes of democratization with the young king (tyrant) Mohammed VI, the feudal latifundist property (and power) structure of the country, the fast growing economy (thanks to the millions of emigrants and their money transfers). But he also comments on the strong dynamics of civil society and its growing political activities, organized both in secularist and islamist groups - the latter being most benefitted from state repression, while it is precisely the alleged threat of islamism what (among other reasons) justifies the blind eye of European authorities and media.

Source: Rebelión: El polvorín Marruecos

Related posts:
- More on the brutal repression in Sidi Ifni
- Morocco attacks Al Jazeera for reporting protests and deaths in Sidi Ifni

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