chapter  3
45 Pages

The Years of Lead

In this chapter I wish to shed light on Morocco’s efforts to come to terms with its past as it is played out in the public sphere through a rhetorical battle between two primary political formations and actors. On one side there are victims’ groups and human rights advocates who have been waging a campaign to account for the past and secure some type of justice while at the same time trying to compel the state to launch reforms that can pave the way to a genuine democratic transition. On the other side there is the state (the monarchy and its political apparatus, the makhzen) which has been focusing its efforts on political survival through an official discourse centered on democratization and respect for human rights, all the while making very little effort toward consequential constitutional reforms. Although a full discussion of democracy and democratization is beyond the scope of this work, I must agree with Robert Dahl and Susan Waltz in their minimalist understanding of democracy as a political system that first and foremost protects citizens from oppression:

For Dahl, the noteworthy advantage of democracy does not lie in the particular policies it may produce, for in their content democratically produced policies may differ little from those arrived at by other political means. Democracy’s major virtue is found, rather, in the protection from massive coercion it extends to those who enjoy the franchise.