Morocco is no stranger to terrorism. It struck in 2003, killing 45 people, and resurfaced a few weeks back in the form of a suspected ring leader blowing himself up at an internet cafe. Apparantly the owner interfered with his surfing jihadist websites.
The day after the terror attack, here in Rabat, police stood idly on the streets every few hundred metres. I sometimes wonder whether this is to spread them out so they are not easy targets for mass suicide bombings, but the more likely explanation is they are there to make people feel safe.
And I do feel safe living in Morocco. They have one of the best police communication systems in the world via the blue-jacket information network. The concierges and car guards, who adorn blue jackets and work on every busy street throughout the country, are said to be the eyes and ears of the police.
The general feeling with the government, ie the king, is one of tolerance. Few people speak poorly of the king, although are more critical of the government in general.
In most Western Coutries, it doesn't matter who you are. If you say, "Do you know who I am," to a traffic cop, you're in for trouble. Here in Morocco, the police fumble and mumble and say, "Okay, you can go."
Terrorism is one of those things most people, me included, struggle to comprehend. The horrific murder of innocent people to achieve some political message just doesn't make sense.
I can understand being upset at leaders in the USA, Zimbabwe, or Sudan, for example. Fixed elections, oppressive leadership, corruption, botched wars, idiotic fiscal policies.
But terror attacks are about as successful as putting out a fire with gasoline. Afterwards, people are so filled with shock and horror and outrage that they close their ears to the terrorists political message. They end up hating everything the terrorist stood for. In the end, the conviction of the government to continue the policies that led to terrorism in the first place just gains momentum.
Terrorists attack to protest Palestinian occupation. Fine, not only is Palestine screwed, but Afghanistan is toast, and Iraq after that.
Do Islamic terrorists really believe their sacrifice parallels that of the Muslim prophet, who also stood up to wrongful oppression.
The difference is nobility.
Standing with a small army of followers, yielding a sword and willing to lay down your life to defend your fledgling religion against a huge enemy, proud and unwavering, is noble.
Attaching a bomb to yourself and blowing up innocent people, that is not.
It will never get respect, just outrage.