A traffic police officer routinely pulled over a vehicle that ran a traffic light. The driver got out of the car, verbally attacked him, drew a handgun out and shot him, then walked up to him and kicked him in the gut before he jumped back into his car to wait for the police. Upon arriving, the police drove the perp away more concerned for his safety and comfort than for the wounded police officer. The shooter was connected to the Moroccan royal family. A shrif. A master. And we thought slavery was abolished.
Agent Mouhib, congratulations! You are now a prime candidate for a “GRIMA,” possibly a hefty bonus, and a promotion. Do not be surprised if you are handed your Permanent Change of Station orders as soon as you’re back on your feet; you are no longer wanted where people know you. High ranking officials, your commanding officer, Charqi Idraiss included, pursuing to protocol doctrines in our country, are going to pamper you, and if that does not work, threaten you, to coerce you to keep your mouth shut. Didn’t you see how they posted guards by your hospital room to prevent anyone from talking to you; how fast they segued into explanations and proclaimed your assailant, Hassan Al Ya’koubi, the in-law of the king of Morocco and a successful businessman, suffering from a mental illness; “ma diroush fih ‘akalkoum, rah hbeel meskin (don’t mind him, the poor man is crazy),” they’re saying. didn’t you hear how fast they are trying to cover this up? It is disturbing in no small measure.
In a democratic country, Al Ya’koubi would have been pulled out of the car and handcuffed at the scene; he would be sitting in jail waiting to appear before a judge to be charged with assault and battery on, and attempted murder of a uniformed police officer during the course of official duties. But here in Morocco, the sentence had already been cast the moment he shot and kicked you like a piece of trash, then calmly, remorselessly sat in his car making phone calls and waiting for your colleagues. You would think an insane man would turn his weapon against the crowd.
In a democratic country, even cops are not authorized fragmentary rounds because their use is inhumane and causes devastating internal injury. They are however used by criminals.
In a democratic country, even if, in the goodness of your heart, you decided to forgive your attacker, the government, as a true representative of the people, out of concern for their safety, would not concede its right to unleash the full wrath of the law on a psychopathic criminal who represents a serious danger to people. But here in Morocco, the safety and comfort of your high ranking attacker supersedes that of the common people; he is above the law. From a distorted perspective, you could say that the government is his representative against you.
Does the uniform you so proudly wear make you a representative of the law? A protector of the people? Does it command respect? Not by all it seems. Is there a law that punishes those who disrespect a uniformed officer (let alone shooting and then kicking him)? Of course there is. Will it apply to Al Ya’koubi? Let’s use Erraji as a standard for this one.
Are we all equal before the law, or are some more equal than others?
But I was told that the king does not stand for such overbearing, criminal attitudes as that displayed by Al Ya’koubi, nor does he stand for the actions of the officials who, by their toadyism, deride his efforts to drive Morocco into the 21st century.
This is an epochal moment. Let us hope.
Ahmed T. B. Copyright © 2008