Shameless self-promotion is something Moroccans typically shy away from, not only because bragging is not cool, but also because we're traditionally raised to be humble, and shyness is almost regarded as a noble virtue. We're taught to let others brag about us if there is indeed something worth bragging about. Kind of ridiculous if you're in a field that requires branding and Marketing to drum up business, no? And not a good thing if you're part of a cause that needs exposure to connect with the people, communicate, and reach far and wide. But this is probably why it took this long for us to finally get to know a little bit more about at least one of the leading members of Morocco's February 20 Youth Movement. Sure it's all about the cause, as it should be. We know all that from the slogans, the flyers, the ongoing public debates, the lists of demands, etc., but sometimes it's necessary to give a cause a human face to make it go the distance. More often than not, people are more inclined to support a cause if they're able to connect with those behind it and identify with them closely.
So with that said, if you haven't already heard of Selma Maarouf in the last couple of days, allow me to brag about her.
I seriously admire this girl! She is so incredibly courageous and smart, and so adorable too! I look forward to getting to know all the others on the team too.
Selma Maarouf: “I can say without fear of self deception that we will win; not only because truth and reason are on our side, but because we are ready to do whatever is necessary to get our rights back.”
On Sunday May 15th, Selma took part in a protest in Rabat where she was beaten, brutalized and harassed by security officers, leaving her badly bruised yet still fearless and determined as ever: Here is her account of the situation.
Many of us have seen Selma Maarouf on the first video calling for change in Morocco. She looked us straight in the eyes with her big brown eyes, as she declared: “I am Moroccan and I will go out on February 20 to demand that education is accessible to everyone and not a privilege of the wealthy.”
In just one video, she and her fellow feb20 youth had reached out to the world and rallied generations of Moroccans. Selma planted the seeds of hope in our hearts.
Selma stood at the forefront of every protest that took place in Rabat. With her brother Ghassane, they have been consistently spotted at every protest, nose to nose with security forces at times, but always undeterred and resolved: Selma raising a Facebook sign, handing a flower to a security officer, or defiantly standing up to the baltagui trying to intimidate her. A real ball of fire, hope, and courage! One might rightly say that where there is a will, there is Selma!