Video: Journalist Debates Minister of Education Over Protest Response

Moroccan Journalist Hassan Tariq debates Minister of Education Lahcen Daoudi over the government's response to recent protests in the city of Taza.

Moroccan Journalist Debates Minister of... by mehdischumann

This video illustrates exactly how contentious the recent events in Taza are and why.

Violence and oppression have existed in Moroccan politics since Independence from France. On the scale of government repression, the clashes between police and protesters that occurred in Taza pale in comparison to earlier moments in the nation's history.

But now, after the Arab Spring and with a new government and constitution, Morocco's political elite have adopted a new tone. They 'recognize' the need for change and say that it will come soon.

The men in the video represent the two forces competing in Morocco's current political arena. Hassan Tariq, a Leftist political journalist, stands for social and political reforms along the same lines as what the February 20 movement calls for. Lahcen Daoudi, a longtime political figure, is a remnant of the old guard. We'll call him a transitional figure, one of several ministers in the new government, the government dedicated to 'change', that have served in other, less conciliatory cabinets.

The debate's tone illustrates the nature of the competition between the old and the new Moroccan politik.

Tariq hounds Daoudi and the government for acting anachronistically; the heavyhanded response to Taza's protesters and the government's statement condemning them doesn't fit the country's new, more open political environment.

Daoudi is trapped from the beginning. His instinct is to dismiss such complaints, and his disdain for Tariq's words is clear. However, he, like his colleagues, can no longer act that way. In the end, he concedes to Tariq, but only bedgrudgingly so.

Looking more broadly, the competition between the keepers of the status quo and its challengers is only going to grow more contentious. The policy makers who have committed themselves to change, now have to act on it. The question is how far will that change go. 'Fixing' the government's response to protesters is one thing, eliminating the corruption and other institutional problems that plague Morocco's government and society is something quite different.

No matter what, these politicians will be held accountable, both by journalists, like Mr. Tariq, and protesters alike.

Special thanks to Camilea El Hakem and Laila Bouariss for their help with the translation.

Originally aired on M1 television on February 8, 2012

Originally posted to Youtube by