As the youths of the February 20 movement called upon thousands of Moroccans to take to the street and demand political reform, workers in several professions were meanwhile getting ready to make available all the revolution paraphernalia.
As Moroccan protests entered their second month, calligraphers, painters and poster designers, and flag vendors have remarkably prospered as protestors flocked to buy revolutionary symbols they used in their marches.
Before the March 20 protests, launched to object that reforms promised by King Mohamed VI are not enough, hundreds of youths from several Moroccan cities lined up in front of print houses to get pictures of people regarded as international symbols of the revolutions.
The picture most Moroccan youths bought before the protests was that of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. Numerous Guevara pictures were seen in the March 20 protestors, said Murad Habashi, who works in a print shop.
“Guevara is one of the most prominent symbols of revolution,” he told AlArabiya.net. “However, I see a contradiction between carrying a picture of a revolutionary who called for armed struggle and the peaceful nature of Moroccan protests.”
Habashi added that while some of his customers knew the connotation of using Guevara’s pictures, others did not see the connection and just thought of Guevara as a symbol of freedom fighting.
The Palestinian scarves also topped sales as Moroccan youths established Palestine as a symbol of fighting for freedom and justice and professed their solidarity with Palestinians even as they demand internal reforms.
Calligraphy, a profession that does not get state support, also flourished during the protests as members of the February 20 movements and their supporters rushed to write banners that reflect their demands.
Some calligraphers even became famous during the protests and gained the recognition they have been denied before, said calligrapher Mohamed al-Daryoush.
“The calligrapher’s job is usually restricted to specific occasions,” he told AlArabiya.net. “Now, I am earning more money writing banners for the protestors.”
Supporting the king
Sale of Moroccan flags has also flourished since the protests started and specifically after calls for staging demonstrations on March 20 to ask for more democratic reforms.
Unlike Guevara’s photos and Palestinian scarves, most Moroccan youths who bought flags before the start of the March 20 rallies were, in fact, against the demands of the February 20 movement.
Several Moroccan youths took to the streets in support of the king’s promises of constitutional amendments and called their rallies “marches for the love of the king.”
Generally, youths buy flags on national holidays and every now and then government institutions buy flags for specific occasions or ceremonies, said a flag vendor.
“In the past couple of days, I sold flags to dozens of enthusiastic youths,” he told AlArabiya.net.
March 9 movement
Youths who support the king also founded a group on the social networking website Facebook and called it the March 9 Youth Movement after the date on which they king gave his speech and promised political reforms.
According to members of the group, King Mohamed VI joined the people in launching the revolution to reform the country, a revolution similar to one in which both king and people united to get rid of French colonization.
The March 9 youths lashed out at “opportunists” who take advantage of lack of political awareness among several enthusiastic Moroccans and drag them into irresponsible actions in order to achieve their own personal agendas.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)