Monday, June 04, 2007

Sensationalist, and likely duped BBC journalist slams Morocco.

I'm no apologist for Morocco. The country has its problems. There are things that really irritate me. Poor driving and road condition top the list. Bureaucracy overload comes a close second.
A recent article about Morocco, posted today on the BBC website is nothing short of the worst sensationalist journalism I've read from them. I've always held the BBC in the highest of regards. What was written today was more like what I'd expect from some low class tabloid. Sure, in a round about way, the BBC reported the facts. However, other facts and deeper digging seem to have been ignored, as though an attempt is being made to paint Morocco as badly as possible. Did the Moroccan government do something to piss the BBC off recently? Is this payback? Or am I missing something? Is this some Moroccan government sponsored reverse mentality propaganda to increase aid handouts in time for the G8 summit?

It's certainly shoddy reporting. Richard Hamilton regurgitated BS from somewhere.

In summary, the article describes a so-called hard luck family who live in public toilets not far from the capital Rabat. The article says the father worked in the toilets for twenty-three years, and when his daughter was kidnapped several years ago, he had to pay all his money to find her and get her back. They lost their appartment and he moved into the toilets with his family.

I wouldn't put too much stock in what the "toilet guy" says. Perhaps, events in some form or another like he said might have happened. I doubt he'd pass a lie detector test on all the facts however.

First of all, what are these toilets and how did he get his job? Likely, he came off the street and worked for tips, one of countless toilet people who leave a dish for tips on a rickety wooden chair outside public toilets. Inside, the toilets always seem to remain filthy and stinking. The "toilet cleaners" don't put their "not so hard" earned money to good use and invest in a bottle of bleach every so often.
If I ever take a piss in a Moroccan public toilet without having to hold my breath from the hideous stench, I'll tip the guy generously. Case in point, the "toilet" family complains about rats. If their are rats in the toilets, he can't be doing a very good cleaning job can he?

Secondly, even the beggars here in Rabat make more than a dollar a day. Which is what his salary was described as.

The BBC corrospondent describes abject poverty here in Morocco. I think we have different opinions on abject poverty.

I see abject poverty as the scene in Darfur, where people are destitute and rely on handouts just to survive to the next day.

When's the last time you heard of people starving to death in Morocco?

The BBC article finishes with the quote, "It reflects the huge gap between rich and poor in Morocco: some people live in luxury, others live literally in a toilet."

A huge gap between rich and poor? Not so much as in some countries. The majority of the so called rich here are lower-middle class to middle class by Western standards. When someone writes of a huge wealth divide, I think of Russia, where a quarter of the country's wealth is owned by a mere one-hundred people. Here in Morocco, there is opportunity enough to work and provide the bare necessities for a family - a roof and bread on the table. Living in the toilets was 100% this man's decision.

A likely scenario - the man chose to move his family into the toilets because he's trying to cash in on a government handout in the form of a relocation package. Either that, or he's using his "toilet people" status as leverage to increase the begging income for the rest of his family. Come the month of Ramadan, Moroccans are their most generous with almsgiving. A family living in the toilets is in perfect condition for sympathy generosity.

Even more likely still, the guys pathological lying is what got him down the toilet in the first place. The exact same place as where this shoddily researched article belongs.

2 comments:

taamarbuuta said...

Did you see also that his carte nationale says he was born in 1979, making it nearly impossible for him to have worked in the toilets for 20 years?

Interesting take on the article.

Daniel said...

I agree that it's unlikely, though possible that at eight years old he started begging/"working" at the toilets. Beggars seem to be stuck with the handout mentality from generation to generation, and tend to stick to the same area where they feel the money is good. He describes his job as work, although I suspect its more likely a good spot for strategic begging. Again, as for working their since he was eight, perhaps should translate as he first begged their when he was eight, moved around a bit and returned there cuz the money was good.