ATTAC Morocco, member of the CADTM Network, produced, in spring 2017, a documentary film of 24 minutes and 28 seconds on the social protest movement (Hirak) of the Rif. The documentary traces the heroic struggle process of the inhabitants of the Al Hoceima region in northern Morocco. The story begins with the death of the martyr Mohsen Fikri and exposes the evolution of the facts until they reach their peak in what today is called the Hirak of the Rif, more than a year of popular struggles in the streets and public squares.
We lived the experience of making the film collectively through discussions and meetings on the feasibility, objectives and ideas to be addressed, in a binding, and more particularly repressive context. The scenario and synopsis were discussed and adopted with a very broad consensus.
For the association ATTAC Maroc, this film is a mobilization tool that reflects the point of view of the oppressed and our positions that fully align with the demands of the Rif populations. We at ATTAC Morocco are not and don’t want to be neutral. We consciously align ourselves with the oppressed and put our tools and energy at the service of their struggles without any preconditions.
Through this film we hope to have succeeded in concretizing our alignment with the cause of the Rif, our clear objective being to understand and generalize the lessons of this remarkable uprising, in particular the methods of self-organization and the techniques of communication with the oppressed.
Story and screenplay of the film "Death Over Humiliation"
A woman begins to explain the events in the form of an oral history that briefly tells the reality of the life of the Rif and through it all the stages of the Rif Hirak and its processes.
The spark of the Hirak begins with the death of Mohsen Fikri, crushed in a dumpster, followed by a citizen rally to protest against this humiliating murder, then demonstrations and popular debates to shed light on the crime. The State, feeling the imminent danger, sends its leaders to the demonstrators to persuade them not to mobilize, to return home and let "justice" take its course. Suddenly, a young man in his thirties entered the public debate, opposed the words of the statesmen and presented his criticism. The young man's intervention received the public's approval, and this is how Nasser Zafzafi became one of the most important figures of the Rif Hirak. The mobilizations then turned into a year-long uprising that resulted in the arrest of activists, harassment of the Rif people and the besieging of Al Hoceima and the entire region.
The conditions for making the film and the constraints of documentary work in Morocco
ATTAC Morocco made the film in difficult circumstances of repression and siege of the Rif. The work team moved to the city of Al Hoceima just after the July 20, 2017 march to shoot scenes in the area. But the conditions of the imposed siege prevented a professional shooting. This led us to content ourselves with some YouTube clips and videotapes filmed on 20 July by the participants' mobile phones, when thousands of Rifis took to the streets with many activists from different regions of Morocco.
The atmosphere of intimidation also forced us to receive interviewees in Casablanca instead of filming them and their families in Al Hoceima. A member of the film crew was arrested in Al Hoceima after being followed and watched. He was released right after.
The work of the photographer (sound and image), his effectiveness in denouncing the violations of citizens' rights by the State and the rapid reaction of citizens to its content of struggle, pushes the State to put legal and administrative obstacles to reduce it. One example is the need to obtain a licence from the Moroccan Film Centre, whose director is appointed by royal decree! The purpose of these licenses and administrative documents is to prevent militant associations from implementing their programs, while associations accepted by the regime very easily obtain all kinds of permits and receive generous support from the State.
Art and artists in the service of the popular cause
Many artists in various parts of the "democratic" and despotic capitalist world have resisted measures to ban and restrict their artistic productions, whether in theatre, film or music. The most important of them was the world artist, Charlie Chaplin, who was harassed in a "democratic" country (USA) and militated through his memorable art and positions, upholding the values of freedom and social justice. This is what is now happening to US director Michael Moore, because of his positions against US imperialism. It should also be mentioned that explicit or disguised dictatorships in our region repress any critical art that aligns itself with the positions of the oppressed. The popular Egyptian singer Sheikh Imam was banned. The fingers of Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat were broken. Poets in the Gulf have been imprisoned and artists such as Ahmed Sanoussi are marginalized in Morocco... Prohibitions and blockages are numerous in capitalist society, including the blocking of artistic production.
Finally, we would like to thank all those who contributed to the production of this film, a struggle documentary, and facilitated its release as the Rosa Luxembourg