Will the popular protests in North Africa affect Europe?

Will the popular protests in North Africa affect Europe?

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

This scientific principle is fully applicable to the political climate of North African countries as well. Indeed, a mere slap to the street vendor 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 killed 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 Moroccans call him, has caused strong protests in northern Morocco, before then 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. Even more intensely after the arrest of dozens of the movement’s leaders arbitrarily, including the young Nasser al-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 aspiring young people, and the spread of corruption are the most important causes of this social upraising.

This is not surprising while it was predicted several years ago, by the Moroccan futurist mahdi el Mandjra. 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 Mandjra, 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 to Europe comparably to the Middle East. For instance, 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.

The increasingly deteriorating 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 sensitive sectors such judiciary and health, and also laying the groundwork for a real education system before things become uncontrollable.

 

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Lhoussein Mabrouk
Lhoussein Mabrouk is a doctoral student in Engineering Sciences at the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakesh in partnership with the University of Grenoble. His field of study revolves around artificial intelligence and electronic engineering. Lhoussein has a keen interest in the Amazigh culture, history, language, and the analysis of economic, social and political transformations in North Africa.