– by Lydia Beyoud
This weekend saw two deadly fires, one in a mattress and another in a textile factory, break out in Morocco’s economic capital, Casablanca. Dozens of people died from asphyxia after being locked into their workplace by employers. The Moroccan blogosphere responds with questions and expressions of anger and sadness.
In a post entitled “Morocco in Mourning [fr]” the author of Zainabiqualified these incidents as a “national catastrophe [fr].” He went on to add: “When we see [major Moroccan media source] 2M covering royal activities before speaking about these victims, we feel even worse, even more unhappy. Upsetting, saddening, revolting! [fr]”
Blogger Moi dans tous mes etats [Me, in all my states] questions the process of implementing workplace safety measures in a post entitled “Welcome tohell in casablanca : 55 sur 100 … c’est beaucoup!!”(Welcome to Hell in Casablanca: 55 out of 100…that’s a lot!), as well as calling upon Moroccan unions to remember these events come May Day:
55% is a large number…
55% of the workers in the Lyssasfa factory died in a fire [there]…
55 out of 100 died mainly from asphixia…
55 out of 100 died because the boss locked the factory so that the proletariat would work…
55 out of 100 are dead and the fire hydrants didn’t work…
55 out of 100 are victims of corruption and barbarous capitalism…
Where were the security checks by the workplace inspectors?
Where was the guy who approved the factory without checking the security installations?
What good does it do now to talk about workplace safety?
I hope that on May 1st [International Worker’s Day], our unions will also speak about workplace conditions…
For now, I present my sincere condolences to the victims’ families.
Anglophone blogger Adilski at A Moro in America reminds readers that all of Moroccan society is implicated in such tragedies in small ways:
Everybody knows that corruption and lack of laws’ enforcement is the main cause of this tragic event. But, there is a sense of complicity amongst all groups within the Moroccan society who turn the blind eye on violations and lax attitude towards the violation of laws. We all let it slide when Mqeddem takes few dozen Dirhams to let you build an extra room in your building or expand a garden to the public domain. We don’t complain when a Gendarme lets it slide for 30 Dirhams when your buddy was 20 kms above the legal speed, but we complain about the high rate of accidents in Morocco. The pig picture of the country’s situation is made up of small details; and we are almost involved in all those small details. If we turn the blind eye on the small violations, we get paid back in big calamities such as the horrendous road accidents and the mass deaths of impoverished workers at a sweat shop of highly inflammable material.[en]
Besides venting his own anger and dismay at this weekend’s recent events, Jamal, the author of Comment Vous le dire? (How can I tell you?) questions the entire administrative apparatus which allowed for the factory to pass safety checks in the first place, and calls for an examination of all documents related to the construction of these sites:
It’s horrible to see so many human lives sacrificed on the altar of the greediness of some and the cupidity of others.
These metaphors might be shocking, I know! Nevertheless the intention, as you may suspect, lies not therein.
The goal is to say how suddenly, unfortunately and unacceptably a tragedy that takes over 50 victims can happen in such a short period of time. It’s also to say how much anger I have, as much as millions of Moroccans, who can neither understand nor admit that so many victims can be lost in such a short time, due to carelessness and recklessness.
We have raised in multiple circumstances and drawn the attention of public services several times to the catastrophes that can occur at any moment from not respecting construction and safety regulations when buildings are being built for habitation, industry or businesses.
The View from Fez also reports that:
King Mohammed VI sent a condolence message to the families of the victims and vowed to take in charge the hospitals and burial expenses of the victims.