The February 20 Movement for Change, an ongoing, activist-led uprising against Morocco’s Makhzen, or ruling elites, will commemorate its one-year anniversary Monday. To remember the continuing struggle, international student at San Diego State Nadir Bouhmouch has assembled a documentary titled “My Makhzen and Me.”
Bouhmouch, a student majoring in both Television, Film and New Media and International Security and Conflict Resolution, returned to his home in Morocco last summer where he collected footage for his project. According to Al-Akhbar English, the self-professed “foreign correspondent in the Middle East,” Bouhmouch’s film chronicles the movement and the tactics used against it by the regime.
The February 20 Movement is the manifestation of a group of Moroccan students who through the use of social media caused tens of thousands to seize the streets and demand change, according to a press release sent by Bouhmouch. The documentary’s objective was to investigate what gave birth to the revolt and the difficulties it faces as it struggles for freedom, democracy, human rights and an end to corruption and poverty, according to Bouhmouch’s press release.
Al-Akhbar said The February 20 Movement called for political reforms, not the ousting of the regime. However, Bouhmouch said they wanted the Moroccan king to step down from any political position of power. Morocco is currently considered a constitutional monarchy.
According to Bouhmouch, the Moroccan state media never mentioned The February 20 Movement’s participants and the international media barely gave coverage to the movement.
Although Bouhmouch was not present during the February 20 Movement, he was present when the campaigns for referendum occurred, with their complementary protests. According to Bouhmouch, the vote for the new constitution, which was assembled by people who were appointed by the king, was supposedly rigged.
“Supposedly 98 percent voted yes for the constitution, which is clearly not the case because I actually drove around to look at the turnout in the election booths and apparently 72 percent (of Moroccans) voted in total — but when you walk around there aren’t any lines, so I don’t see how that’s even possible,” Bouhmouch said.
Sponsored by Amnesty International, the film will be released on Monday, the movement’s anniversary. According to Bouhmouch, the title “My Makhzen and Me” derives from his goal to create a sense of individualism that could inspire the popular response of action.
“I want Moroccans to leave inspired and with the need to do something,” Bouhmouch said. “And I want the rest of the world to question what they are given in the media and realize that everything is not shown on the media. If they really want to know what’s going on in the world they are going to have to look past what’s given to them by mainstream channels like CNN.”