Algeria-Morocco: The Politics of Hate

Reading what Moroccans and Algerians say to and about each other on social media and especially in their respective news media makes one realize the level of hatred that has simmered between the two peoples in the last five decades. The sad part is that even after more than 50 years of separation of two peoples who could not be more similar, there is no end in sight. The animosity of one toward the other is only getting stronger, thanks to the news media that has sold its soul to their respective governments to stay in business.

There are many Moroccans and Algerians who genuinely believe that their countries should overcome their differences and work on a lasting peace, which would benefit the people of the Maghreb. Unfortunately, there are many others who believe that Algeria and Morocco are better off going their separate ways.

I don’t want to single out Algeria’s regime, but unfortunately there is no way around it. The regime in Algeria believes that Morocco needs Algeria more than it needs Morocco; the regime, with the help of its soulless media, is telling the Algerian people that Morocco has nothing tangible to offer. The Algerian regime insists that Morocco is out to harm and even kill Algerians with drugs, and that there is a master plan, engineered within the Moroccan royal palace, to get all Algerians addicted to drugs.

Just recently, an Algerian news outlet that is very close to the military regime accused Morocco of “making deals with the terrorist group ISIS to blow up Tunisian tourist resorts in order for the tourists to flock Morocco instead.”

Another Algerian media outlet announced to its readers that Morocco’s eastern cities are “experiencing famine during Ramadan thanks to the Algerian security forces, which are vigilantly preventing Algerian consumer products from reaching eastern Morocco.”

While these allegations are pathetic and ridiculous at best, they do find willing ears among the Algerian population.

When news media keeps repeating the same thing over and over again, many people start to believe what they hear. For example, American news outlet Fox News makes some of the most outrageous allegations about Muslims, causing many Americans to believe the nonsense that they are being fed. The same thing is taking place in Algeria and, of course, in Morocco as well.

The news media in both countries work under tremendous constraints and cannot freely interpret events at face value. They are forced to twist the truth to make it acceptable to their respective audiences.

One thing that I am absolutely sure about, and I have no doubt that Algerians themselves can attest to this fact, is that Moroccans are more open to turn the page and start anew than Algerians.

Let the plunge in oil prices make the people of Algeria realize that sooner or later our two people will have to unite, and they should not bank on oil to be their eternal savior. Our separation is creating jobs in France, Spain, Germany, China, and Russia. Every dinar or dirham we spend on weaponry to intimidate each other benefits everyone but us. Is this all what we can manage to be good at? Starving our people to create jobs in other countries? Are we that i stupid? For how long we are going to be this foolish? Will this be our gift to the next generation?

Algeria did everything in its power to see Morocco at odds with France. What happened next? Morocco secured the construction of a new car manufacturing company, while Algeria secured an empty promise from President Hollande. Is this what Algerians expect from their leaders?

Unless we start working on changing the status quo, we will leave this earth with nothing to be proud of, not even the courage to start a new beginning with each other. I am sure that is how all of you want to depart. Right now, it looks like Bouteflika is going to die in office, and the military regime will have to decide between Abelmalek Sellal or Ahmed Ouyahia to be the next president. The ultimate decision will be based on who’s going to be more anti- Morocco. Incidentally, both of them accused Mohammed VI as being the “mastermind” of the latest ethnic fighting in Ghardaia.

By Majid Morcili