Friday , February 23 2018

Will Popular Protests in North Africa Affect Europe?

By Lhoussein Mabrouk  JUNE 10, 2017 

The butterfly theory of Edward Lorentz in the forecasting of climate changes is one of the most astonishing scientific laws. It tells us through his precise calculations that the mere flutter of a butterfly wings in China could cause floods, hurricanes and strong winds in America, Europe or Africa, after successive interactions of air movement if it founds any suitable conditions.

This scientific principle is fully applicable to the political climate of North African countries as well. Indeed, a mere slap to the fruit salesman Mohammed Bouazizi by a Tunisian policewoman had led to the outbreak of successive revolutions in more than 10 countries in 2011. Fadia Hamdi, the policewomen in the small city of Sidi Bouzid, had never expected that her act will cause the fall of several political systems, in addition to many non-expectable economic and social transformations. Thus, this incident was the straw that had divided the back of tyrannical regimes in these countries.

Six years later, after a relatively stormy recession in some of these countries, a new more horrifying scenario has happened this time in the Moroccan city of Al Hoceima. A fish seller was compacted in a garbage container when he was trying to save his goods confiscated by police on October 28, 2016.

The death of young Mouhcine Fikri or “Martyr of living bit” as the Moroccans call him, has caused strong protests in northern Morocco before extending to other cities such as Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier and Agadir in the South. It has been also supported by demonstrations in Spain, Netherlands and most recently in front of the European Commission in Brussels at the beginning of this month.

These demonstrations were peaceful and well organized for several months. However, the state’s disregard for the demands of the people, and its violent intervention sometimes, has exacerbated the conflict between the people and the authorities. More intensely, after the arrest of dozens of the movement’s leaders arbitrarily, including the young Nasser Zafzafi, the mobility main face a week ago.

The poverty and unemployment intense expansion, the weakness of public services, the closed horizon in front of the young people, and the spread of corruption are the most important causes of this social tenseness.

This is not surprising while it was predicted several years ago, by the Moroccan futurist Mahdi Elmandjra. He specified through his thesis about the “Uprising in the humiliation time”, that the Arab people live in darkness that exceeds the level of exploitation to the level of humiliation. According to him, these “Arab and Islamic people that are insulted and are not subject to a fair and democratic government”, will erupt according to the rule that says: “Pressure generates explosion”.

What makes these transformations more influential in the world is the proximity of North African countries from Europe comparably to the Middle East. For instance, the EU countries have received more than 1.5 million migrants in 2015 only from countries as far away as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. If these people have traveled for thousands of kilometers, how will be the case of countries that are only a few kilometers away from Europe, such as Morocco and Algeria?

To be clearer, the proximity of these countries to Europe doesn’t only make the migration relatively easy, but it makes their citizens more sensitive to social differences, and this produces a prevalent collective thinking of leaving the homeland. This is a sufficient answer to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s question “why young Moroccans migrate with Syrian refugees despite the security of their countries?”. We can touch the real answer when we find barely a Moroccan family without residents abroad who makes significant financial transfers to the unemployed members periodically. This establishes a sort of rent economy in its international dimension that does not serve the hosting countries.

And as a conclusion, the increasing deterioration of the situation in these areas will have unexpected results in the north and south of the Mediterranean as well, especially in the absence of serious initiatives, and European contribution to study the problem from its source. It is also necessary that the authorities of these countries undertake urgent socioeconomic reforms, starting by the sensitive sectors such judiciary and health, and also laying the groundwork for the modern school before things became uncontrollable.

Lhoussein Mabrouk

is a young doctoral student from Morocco whose primary research interests include scientific analysis of political issues in Europe-North Africa region.

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