As social and political unrest sweeps across the Arab world, the North African nation of Morocco is making constitutional reforms to quiet demands for among many things an end to widespread corruption and basic human rights.
In comparison to Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, the protests in Morocco have been relatively small and peaceful. In a country with high unemployment, food shortages, inadequate health care and a lack of housing, Moroccans are demanding a change. Almost two weeks ago, King Mohammed VI introduced a comprehensive package of constitutional amendments that include handing over some powers to the country's regions, improving the independence of the courts and more.
King Mohammed VI is from a dynasty that dates back centuries and is fairly popular. Some foreign analysts believe the King's decision to address his citizens' concerns before a revolution begins will promote stability in a region rocked with turmoil. Morocco supported the U.N. Security Council resolution allowing military action to protect civilians in Libya last week.
"Today, we are here to say that we are all Moroccans. We love our country, we love our king, but we are against corruption and economic and political monopolies." Moroccan Man (through translator)
"To expand personal and organizational freedoms and ensure their practice, to promote a human rights network in all its political, economic, social, developmental, cultural and environmental aspects." King Mohammed VI, Morocco (through translator)
"So, he has a great deal more flexibility. And we're a long, long ways from a real revolution in the streets. I don't think it will come about in the next years at all. My guess is that he'll have the amount of accommodation needed to keep things fairly quiet, but that accommodation has to be real accommodation, not just sort of figurehead accommodation." Andrew Pierre, U.S. Institute of Peace
1. Where is Morocco?
2. What is a Monarch?
3. What is a constitution?
1. If you were King or Queen of Morocco, how would you address the concerns of your citizens?
2. How would you compare or contrast the uprisings in Morocco to those in other North African and Middle Eastern countries?
3. Do you think Morocco is a valuable ally for Western countries? Why or why not?