Fez Festival Promotes Constructive Dialogue

This year’s Fez Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco inspired heated discussions about the nature of democracy in the Arab world. The ten-day festival featured inspiring performances by various artists including the renowned Senegalese superstar Youssou N'dour, who performed at the historic Bab Al Makina, attracting a crowd of over three thousand spectators.

Prior to the concert, Mr. N'Dour talked to reporters about February 20th movement – a youth led network of reform seeking demonstrators who call for a more transparent government in Morocco.

Relying mostly on the Internet as a means of communication, the group has gone so far as to press Morocco's King Mohammed to establish a parliamentary monarchy and grant the judiciary full independence – free from the influence of the royal court.

In May, the King appointed an advisory committee whose main aim will be to draw up proposals for constitutional reform by June.

Mr. N'dour praised King Mohammed, saying his response to the demand for change had been wise.

Katherine Marshall, an American developer in charge of organizing the Fez festival, told Al Arabiya of Morocco’s position and its relation to the chain of Arab uprisings.

However, Ms. Marshall also cautioned of possible risks that come with the adoption of this strategy.

Currently, Morocco is one of the only Arab countries that remain unaffected by violent clashes and civil protests. How far this will continue depends largely on the policies that its government pursues.


Youssou N'dour, Senegalese superstar
Katherine Marshall, an American developer

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