After spending a significant amount of time in Morocco, from Fez to Rabat, I have been able to get a clear, but limited, perspective about the country, its inhabitants, and the government.
After a week in Tunis, I have also very much been able to gain some insight into the differences that exist between this democratic nation and Morocco.
One of the most apparent differences that exist between Tunisia and Morocco lies in how the people view and participate in the government. In Tunisia, people believe that participation, whether through civil society or political action (voting, protesting, demonstrating, etc.) is essential to being a citizen in the country. After their dissatisfaction with the oppressive and incompetent Ben Ali regime, the Tunisian people overthrew that government through a series of protests and demonstrations, crafting their own form of democracy from scratch. As a result of actions like this, the Tunisian people have been emboldened and steadfast in holding their government accountable, complete with the idea that the manner to best make change in the country is either from within or by participation. This can explain the abundance of NGOs and CSOs in the country. This is not the case in Morocco. It is almost the complete opposite, arguably due to the differences in governance. In Morocco, the inability of the government and the fact that it is riddled with corruption is no secret to a single person in the country, but the willingness to be assertive in holding both the King and the government accountable is absent. It is important to acknowledge that the people are not allowed to critique the King in any way possible, eliminating the ability of the people to even safely consider calling the King out for his failures. In Morocco, there is either lack of care about what the government it doing, due to the large amounts of emigration, or a hopelessness due to the belief that the voice of the people is not essential to governing the country.
When placing Tunisia and Morocco next to one another, one simple thing becomes clear: no matter the type of governance, nationalism and pride is universal. The one thing that most people can come to agreement about in relation to their government is the nationalistic pride that the country is amazing, even with its shortcomings. In Morocco, throughout my time here, it has become clear that even though people are leaving the country in search of the better opportunities that other countries can offer, they never forget their roots and the strength of the Moroccan blood running in their veins. After speaking with some of the brightest minds that Tunis has to offer, it became even clearer that the people are very much critical of their country, but still hold it very near to their hearts. In America, the case is no different; people are critical of all of the problems that America has to offer but are still proud to be American.