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When the European Parliament sacrifices #MeToo

By adopting a decision on freedom of expression in Morocco on January 19, 2023, the European Parliament consecrated in lower than 500 phrases a brand new period: that of suspicion on ladies who declare to be victims of rape.

The MEPs – primarily elected from left-wing events – behind the textual content adopted by 356 votes for, 32 towards and 42 abstentions, present their assist for imprisoned Moroccan journalists, recognized for his or her vital positions in direction of the Cherifian kingdom however prosecuted by Moroccan justice for circumstances of rape and sexual assault. One file particularly is making headlines: the one between the journalist Omar Radi, imprisoned, implicated by a colleague, Hafsa Boutaharwho claims to have been sexually assaulted by this man in July 2020. With the facility of the #MeToo motion, a worldwide revolution that has made respect for ladies’s voices a common precept, such an accusation offers this journalist a prerogative: to be heard, to be listened to, and to combine her grievances into the general understanding of the costs towards the person she designates as her attacker. This paradigm shift is clear in lots of European international locations. In France, particularly, being well-known or highly effective not gives immunity from such accusations.

A rustic appears unusually struck by extraterritoriality of the planet ” metoo by the European Parliament: the Morocco. MEPs of their decision “strongly condemn the misuse of sexual assault allegations to discourage journalists from finishing up their duties. Clearly, the European Parliament accuses Rabat of getting recourse to intercourse scandals with a purpose to discredit vital journalists. For MEPs, a brand new order of precedence applies to Morocco: the protection of freedom of expression takes priority over the correct of ladies victims to specific themselves. There’s something to be shocked about right here. Regardless of his repeated requests, journalist Hafsa Boutahar has by no means been heard by MEPs and his appeals to human rights associations had been ignored. The one she accuses of “rape” rejects her model with the argument that the sexual relationship was “consensual”…

What challenges on this case is the invisibilization of the phrase of the sufferer, lady and journalist. #MeToo, planetary motion, would it not cease on the gates of the southern shore of the Mediterranean? Or ought to we word that, for the MEPs who signed this decision, the phrase of a Moroccan is value lower than that of a European?

So long as there are dogmas… Ideology towards ethics, prejudice towards motive.

To think about, the European left has chosen its camp in 2023. Equality between women and men, respect for the voice of the victims have little weight within the face of a deaf battle unleashed towards Morocco. This turning level is unprecedented, the change in tone is drastic. “And this decision is barely the start”, guarantees a Slovenian MP quoted by Le Monde. Nonetheless, the accusation of instrumentalization may flip towards the pusillanimous accusers of Morocco within the face of actions that undermine human rights in different international locations. The indulgence of MEPs appears to differ in geometry and geography. It’s true that Morocco has no oil or gasoline to promote. As for the dedication of King Mohamed VI throughout his Speech from the Throne in July 2022, solemnly asserting that “Morocco’s progress relies on the standing of ladies in society”, remarks then seen by the worldwide press, it’s opportunely occult.

The reason within the angle of the European Parliament lies in one other register. The textual content adopted by the European Parliament constitutes too critical a turning level to attribute it solely to the state of affairs of journalists battling Moroccan energy.

The timing additionally questions. The concomitance with the investigation of the Belgian justice within the European Parliament on presumed information of imputed corruption doesn’t deceive anybody.

What’s stunning is the double requirements that we’re witnessing: the pace with which Morocco known as into query is out of step the place different international locations – particularly gasoline or oil powers – are extra spared. Surprisingly, the imprisonment of dozens of journalists for offenses of opinion, and never frequent legislation crimes, as in Algeria for instance, usually are not the topic of comminatory resolutions on the a part of MEPs.

In actuality, Morocco’s new standing and its assertion as a regional energy are disturbing. Morocco is a companion of Israel and falls inside the scope of the Abraham Accords that are reshaping the Center and Close to East. This can be displeasing in an EU that has largely missed out on this main geopolitical change.

The matter is critical to the purpose that, in an distinctive step, the 2 chambers of the Moroccan Parliament have chosen to answer in a joint declaration on the finish of a plenary assembly of the 2 Assemblies. The Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco strongly denounces a “tendentious marketing campaign” towards Morocco and regrets that “the European Parliament has allowed itself to be carried away by hostile forces inside it”.

Consequently, the Moroccan Parliament decides to rethink its relations with the European Parliament and to topic them to a worldwide reassessment. After France, nonetheless at odds with Morocco regardless of official remarks, it’s Europe’s flip to come back up towards Moroccan firmness. This choice is necessary: it confirms an angle already noticed within the tensions with Paris: it’s Morocco that takes the initiative and formalizes the distancing. An extra affirmation of the political autonomy and maturity of the Cherifian kingdom, that means that it doesn’t want the EU to make sure its improvement.

By Michael Darmon, author and columnist

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