Communication of His Excellency Dr Nourdine Benomar Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco in Hungary on the occasion of the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the presentation of the Manifest of Independence
The Kingdom of Morocco celebrated on January 11th 2014, the 70th anniversary of the presentation of the Manifest of Independence, a moment that marked a turning point in the history and in the struggle process for the recovery of the freedom and the independence of the Kingdom of Morocco.
Indeed, on January 11th 1944, a group of Moroccan nationalists submitted to the authorities of the French protectorate the Manifest of Independence (Watiqat Al Istiqlal) requesting an unconditional independence and the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco.
Brief historical overview:
- The Kingdom of Morocco has always been a free and sovereign country which has maintained its independence for nearly thirteen centuries until the protectorate was imposed in a special circumstances;
- In 1906, and under the Algesiras Act, Morocco became a country under international protection;
- On March 30th, 1912, Sultan Moulay Abdelhafid, has under the then circumstances, been forced to sign the treaty of protectorate (Fez Agreement) which has divided the country into supervision areas divided between the French protectorate (in the centre of Morocco) and the Spanish protectorate (Northern and Southern parts of the Kingdom), while the city of Tangier was considered as international zone;
- Since then, popular revolts at small and large scale, has been registered. Thus and in order to mention few of them:
• In 1912, the southern tribes of Morocco led by Hiba Ben Maa Aïnaine, conducted a revolutionary struggle that lasted till 1934;
• In 1914, the Battle of El Hri in the Middle Atlas was conducted by Moha Ou Hammou Ezzayani;
• In the North, the population of the Rif, led by Mohamed ben Abdelkrim El Khattabi revolted against the Spanish in 1921. The "Anoual Battle" or the "Rif War" was violent and fierce. The French and the Spanish Alliance let to the defeat of the Moroccan in 1926;
• The Boughafer battles in the province of Ouarzazate conducted by Assou Baslam in 1933, and the Battle of Jbel Baddou in the province of Errachidia, conducted the same year by Zaid Skounti.
- The fight was also political, in fact, since 1927, the process begins with the publication of a nationalist press in French (the Arab press was prohibited by the protectorate);
- In 1928, Mohammed V was enthroned at the age of 18 years and fully supports the popular movements;
- In 1930, Moroccan intellectuals and the country's elite, graduates from Al Qaraouyine University in Fez and from the French institutions, were the instigators of a revolt among urban populations, mainly small traders and artisans;
- Guided by the instructions of Sultan Mohammed V, the national movement presented a reform plan to the French government in 1934 and in 1936. During all these stages, and since his accession to the throne, the late King Mohammed V continued to awaken the sense of Moroccan resistance and define its objectives;
- In 1934, Allal Al Fassi, Mohamed Ouazzani and Ahmed Balafrej founded the Party of Moroccan Action (Parti de l'Action Marocaine) and asked France to honor the Agreement of Fez. They also presented a comprehensive reform plan: municipal and regional elections, reform of chambers of commerce, freedom, tax equality for farmers ... This party split in 1937 with the creation of the Istiqlal Party and the Popular Movement, both banned by the protectorate and their leaders exiled abroad.
Towards to the Independence:
The Anfa Casablanca Conference, held on January 1943, offers an opportunity for the late King Mohammed V, to meet the U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Late King Mohammed V ceased this occasion to put the issue of the independence of Morocco on the agenda of the Conference by emphasizing effective participation of Moroccan troops alongside the Allies and the courage they have shown to provide support.
Sultan Mohammed V obtained from the U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, who qualified the Moroccan claim to regain its freedom as logic and legitimate, the support of the United States for the independence of Morocco, after the end of Second World War.
One year after this Conference and led by the late King Mohammed V, Moroccan nationalists, had elaborated a document on the main demands of the Kingdom, primarily, the independence.
Thus, in January 1944, 67 Moroccans including one woman - which was then, an absolutely revolutionary symbol in a completely patriarchal and feudal society - and representing major nationalists from different categories of Moroccan society (oulemas, intellectuals, workers, traders, farmers , ... etc), wrote a Public Manifest calling for the country's independence and submit it to the colonial authorities .
The signatories demanded the end of the Protectorate and access of the Kingdom of Morocco to its independence.
Late King Mohammed V, as a visionary man, gave his suggestions and proposed amendments to the Manifest of Independence. He also ensured that selection of the persons submitting this Manifest took into consideration the social diversity of the Moroccan society and represents all regions in achieving this historic event.
The Manifest of Independence included in particular claims to the country's independence under the leadership of the King of Morocco, Sidi Mohammed Ben Youssef. It also contains demands to other countries involved to guarantee this independence and integration of the Kingdom of Morocco to the group of countries that have approved the Atlantic Charter.
The document stressed in particular, the need and the importance of undertaking political reforms and the creation of a political system of "Choura" (consultation) that ensure the rights and the obligations of all components of the Moroccan society. The presentation of the Independence Manifesto had, as a consequence, a strong reaction from the French protectorate and a wave of protests, particularly the uprising of 29 January 1944, where many Moroccan lost their lives.
In this climate of struggle that the King and the People of Morocco conducted in a perfect harmony, the colonial authorities and their auxiliaries had tried, in vain, to create a discord between the Sovereign and his people in order to prevent the country access to an ineluctable independence.
In fact, the presentation of this manifest marked a new era. But the response of the protectorate authorities was a strong pressure exerted on the Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef to thwart the independence and conducted a wave of arrests of signatories of the manifest and known nationalists. This reaction of colonialist authorities has resulted in triggering a wave of protests and uprisings that shook all regions of the country.
On April 9th 1947, during his historic visit to Tangier, late Mohammed V gave his memorable speech reaffirming the legitimate aspirations of the Moroccan people to independence and their commitment to the sacred values of the nation and reiterated the same claims contained in the Manifest and refused any concession to the colonial authorities.
The claim for independence and the arguments contained in the manifest were reiterated by the late Sovereign during his visit to France in October 1950. Faced with the action of the Sovereign and the symbiosis between the people and the glorious Alaouite Throne, the colonial authorities decided on, August 20th 1953, to put in exile late King Mohammed V, his companion in the struggle, the late King Hassan II and the Royal family. This operation of exile was in fact an act that triggered the resistance operations, which continued in crescendo until the proclamation of independence and the return of the Royal Family.
Indeed, after the deportation of the Sovereign (20 August 1953), the colonial authorities had lost control and the street protests intensified until talks were held in France, Aix-les-Bains Conference (21 to 27 August 1955). These uprisings that persisted until the return of late King Mohammed V and the Royal Family from their exile on November 16th 1955. A few months later, on March 2nd 1956, the act of Independence was signed marking the end of the protectorate and access to freedom.
Late King Mohammed V has then proclaimed the end of "small jihad " for the recovery of the freedom and the beginning of a new era of the "great jihad " to build a new, free and independent Morocco . The spirit that prevailed during this period was memorable for the history of the Kingdom of Morocco. This spirit was kept as evidenced by the determination shown by the late King Hassan II throughout his reign for the completion of the territorial integrity of the country.
Thus progressively, the Kingdom of Morocco had, recovered Tarfaya in 1958, Sidi Ifni in 1969 and its southern provinces in 1975, thanks to the glorious Green March. Then the country witnessed the return of Laayoune, on February 28th 1976, followed by the return of the province of Oued Eddahab, on August 14th 1979 to the Motherland.
The process of reforms aimed at consolidating democracy and ensuring sustainability for the territorial integrity continued under the reign of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI. Since His accession to the throne, King Mohammed VI has continued to engage the Kingdom of Morocco in the consolidation of the democratic process and to carry out unprecedented series of reforms that have culminated with the reform of the Moroccan Constitution.
Finally, the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the introduction of the Manifest of Independence is an opportunity for the recognition and admiration dedicated to men and women who have made great sacrifices to defend the sacred values of the nation. It is also an occasion to emphasize the importance of the preservation of the memory and the consecration of the culture of citizenship.