Opinionista Youssef Amrani 7 April 2020

Covid-19: Solidarity from Morocco

Amid the fear of lockdown spreading throughout our societies in these difficult times, the response that we have witnessed from many of our leaders is one of openness. Openness to our fellow human beings, to our humanity, which we have for too long undermined in the frantic race of an apparently unsustainable model of globalisation.

It has become clear that the unprecedented threat we are facing today is nothing like what we are used to dealing with. We cannot afford to use the same mechanisms to face these new challenges without taking the risk of being overrun by a situation over which we are not allowed to lose control. Joint responses and solidarity are today at the forefront of our shared ambition to overcome this health crisis which has propelled us into uncharted territory.

A refocus of priorities has become a necessity to challenge our comfort zones in a crisis that still carries healing, reminding us of our vulnerability and pushing us even further towards a genuine and most needed sense of responsibility.

Cradle of humanity and land of values, Africa is perhaps the most eloquent example of this active solidarity taking place to stop the spread of the virus and preserve our humanity from a much-feared decline. The human element, with all its complexities, is at the heart of a forward-looking continental agenda backed by a clear vision and strong leadership.

The boundaries of the possible, as well as the imperatives of unity, have shifted. The most highly commendable initiative taken by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, chairperson of the African Union (AU), to urge the AU to act in solidarity against the threat we all are facing as a continent, is evidence of African awareness. An awareness that more than ever rests on the fundamentals of altruism, respect and empathy. President Ramaphosa made it very clear that a continental co-ordinated response was more important than ever before in order to stop the rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The future is built together far from any division and today the continent seems to fully grasp this reality and align itself with the requirements thereof. In the urgency of the situation, our leaders have made courageous choices, despite the devastating economic costs involved for our developing countries.

Today the mistake would have been to put economic ambitions and health requirements on the same level of urgency. Neither one nor the other must be neglected. The priority today is to support our societies as closely as possible to bring this deadly virus to its knees.

In this sense, Morocco spared no effort to protect its people and, hence, our humanity from a virus that proliferates around the world regardless of our national peculiarities. Morocco’s widespread solidarity is a shining example of how those in society are helping one another in such a period of crisis. A profound sense of patriotism has driven people from all backgrounds to come together to combat this virus and care for those who will be impacted. The virus targets no specific social category, no specific nationality, no specific religion. It attacks mankind in all our vulnerability, reminding us every day of the simplicity of our condition and the uniqueness of our existence.

More than ever, Africa must take responsibility for its own destiny through a renewed commitment that puts human development at the heart of its priorities. The continent is not predestined to be passive in a world where multilateralism has shown its limits. Today, though financial and technical assistance from other horizons is obviously welcome, it will certainly not be enough to save a continent that faces multiple challenges. With all clarity and responsibility, we must work internally, by our own means, to review realities that are now obsolete.

All states are today fighting against a single unprecedented crisis that threatens not only global health, but also peace and human security in Africa. Any potential spread of Covid-19 in the continent constitutes a social and economic as well as a security threat, like HIV and Ebola, and risks undermining Africa’s efforts to achieve the goal of peace on the continent. 

If the time is now for action, the moment for reflection will inevitably come. It will then be necessary for the continent to engage in an introspective assessment of the shortcomings and weaknesses, which we will inevitably be made guilty of amid the rush imposed by the current urgent situation.

In the future, our action will have to be based on more proactive and pre-emptive strategies. We need therefore to promote a new model of development that breaks with the norms of the past. A model that is in line with the realities of a continent with vast potential.

It is this ambition that is at the very heart of the vision carried at the highest level by King Mohammed VI for an African continent that resolutely moves forward on the path of emergence.

Comprehensive in its approach, inclusive in its focus and supportive in its action, this vision is expressed through Morocco’s firm and unwavering commitments towards Africa. Morocco and South Africa have committed to work together and unify their forces for an integrated, stable and prosperous Africa, devoid of conflicts. Our ambition is to spread and build up throughout the continent peace, security, social justice and environment-friendly policies for the well-being of our generation and the ones to come.

More than ever, policies of solidarity are needed. To face this global challenge, we have to provide common responses. Africa will not be downgraded to lesser levels of priority because our vivacity, our youth and our ambitions are at the forefront of the fight against this global challenge. We are not making any concessions to the virus-enemy as we are not permitting ourselves any show of laxity or selfishness in the efforts being undertaken.

Today, Africa is an example of ambition and a model of commitment. Let us persevere along this path and we will overcome not only this epidemic, but also the rest of the trials endured by our continent and its people, looking forward to a future of peace and security in Africa. Only then will we achieve our aim to build an audacious, secure, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about love in times of cholera. Today, in the face of this virus, Africa writes a noble letter of empathy and solidarity. Far from all division or isolation, the continent will take its place in the great community of nations legitimately contributing its voice to the international community. DM

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