A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Almeria, Spain

I am in Almeria, Spain, relaxing a bit with my hosts, Kelly, from the USA, and Hugo, from Spain.
My final day in Morocco was another interesting day of having the police accompany me as I walked from Nador to the port, a distance of some 10 kilometers. They employed the usual tactics, not very discreetly following me with one car behind me, on the shoulder, and another passing slowly by, going back the other way, then passing again. Once I reached the port terminal there were several plain clothes policemen around ( I know this because I asked them and they confirmed it), one offering tea or coffee, which I declined, another at almost the same time telling me to hurry up through passport control. Once through they were waiting to take me into their office and check my bag. They weren't very interested in what was in my bag, but they were very interested in my map, notebooks, and petitions. They asked me again what the petitions were for, what my purpose had been on this pilgrimage, where I was going next, and what my final destination was. When they were satisfied I was not intending to return to Morocco, they thanked me, wished me the best of luck, and released me. I boarded the 'Wisteria', and that was the end of my police escort.
In the end, I believe the police in Morocco are nervous about the anniversary of the 20th of February Movement, which may have people in the streets wanting more reforms. Perhaps they didn't want me reporting on any such possible protests, or perhaps they thought my pilgrimage to Egypt is a pro-democracy, pro-Arab Spring platform. In the first case, I may have 'reported' what I saw in my blog, but they certainly overestimate the size of my audience. Today, for example, 6 people in Morocco have viewed my blog. In the second case, they are simply wrong. I am walking to Egypt to promote peace in the Middle East, and in the world; I am walking to connect people, communities and cultures; and I am walking simply because it is something I am led to do.
Morocco does indeed need progressive political reform; there is a high level of poverty and illiteracy, and as Bob Marley said, "A hungry man is an angry man." There is also clearly a lack of freedom of the press.
May the King of Morocco use his responsibility and leadership, then, to take care of his people, and allow the 20th of February Movement to fade away of its own accord; and this is certainly not a pro-democracy,  pro- Arab Spring statement.

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