The battle against the French hegemony in several sectors of Morocco, including linguistics, economy, and politics, is coming to the forefront through a petition as many Moroccans call for dismantling the grip of French in education, media, and public sectors.
The petition also criticizes the government’s provoking insistence on not responding to the Moroccan people’s will regarding the prevalence of Francophone policies in different sectors, although this right is granted by the constitution, expressed in Moroccan Judicial rulings, and confirmed by a recent parliamentary survey.
The petition condemns the illegitimate defense of France’s linguistic interests by some politicians and their persistent refusal to implement constitutional language policies as well as dismissing appeals and complaints against the undue influence of the French language in Morocco.
One of the issues raised in the petition is teaching scientific subjects in French and disregarding the right of students to choose the language in which they prefer to be instructed.
The petition also praised the awareness of the Moroccan people to defend their linguistic rights and sovereignty, and added, “The “No to French” campaign urges all Moroccans to activate their right to reject any document presented to them in the French language and challenge it before the appropriate judiciary.”
“The dominance of French is part of the phenomenon of cultural and economic subordination, as well as Francophone hegemony within Morocco,” explains Abdelkader El Alami, a member of the National Coordination of the Arabic Language, to MoroccoLatestNews.
The French language continues to prevail in several domains in Morocco despite the significant amount of time that has passed since the country gained independence, the explicit recognition of Arabic as the official language in its constitution since 1962, and the subsequent recognition of Arabic and Amazigh as the official languages in Morocco in 2011, according to El Alami.
El Alami further explained that there have been several legal actions taken by the National Coordination for the Arabic Language against the enduring use of the French language in the administrative sector.
“The National Coordination for the Arabic Language has previously filed lawsuits in courts, and there have been judgments declaring any administrative action in the French language as illegitimate, even canceling Moroccan administrative decisions written in a foreign language,” added El Alami.
The Member of the National Coordination raised questions about the persistence of the administration, banking sector, and private sectors in clinging to the French language despite the aforementioned judgments. He also questioned how the ongoing linguistic dominance and hegemony could be justified.
He told MoroccoLatestNews, “There are now uprisings in Africa against France, the French language, and its subordination”, emphasizing that it is time for Morocco to liberate itself from the linguistic dominance and foreign influence, which is followed by economic and political influence, and reclaim its autonomy, dignity, and language.
“Enough of foreign presence on our path,” underscored El Alami.
He even proposed a way to overcome the dominance of French-speaking elites by, “prioritizing bilingual individuals and those who speak three or more languages, as well as by ending the marginalization of the Arabic-speaking elite.”
“Currently, those who have studied in the French mission schools, intentionally or not, are the ones in control. They don’t want the Arabic Language to have its rightful place and this is a flaw that the higher authorities and everyone should be aware of,” he believed.
The Member of the National Coordination concluded the interview by calling for the country to decolonize itself from the French language.
Similar demands for stopping the use of the former colonizer’s language have been raised for a while now, as many people call for implementing constitutional language policies and eliminating French from all sectors in Morocco; Rather, they prefer to substitute it with English.
Several politicians recently refused to use the language of the colonizer, instead, they preferred to speak in English in their public engagements.
Recently, the Minister of Industry and Trade of Morocco, Ryad Mezzour, expressed his refusal to speak in French during an African debate held in Marrakech aimed at addressing health risks. Instead, he preferred to use English, Spanish, or Arabic.
Earlier this year during the annual meeting of the Renew Europe PAC in Marrakech, Moroccan MP Mohammed Ouzzine made the decision to use the English language to discuss Morocco’s bilateral relations, its historical context, as well as Europe’s current concerns, and its connections to Africa.
Nouredine Ayouch, a prominent member of civil society, previously told MoroccoLatestNews that the economic worth of the French language has been declining over the past 15 years or so and the English language is used even in the international seminars held in France.
Ayouch believed that the transition from French to English in Morocco could be possible, providing the example of Rwanda, a perfectly French-speaking country that successfully transitioned into an English-speaking country in less than 10 years.
The English Language is recently gaining more ground in the Moroccan educational system, as Morocco aims to expand English in secondary education starting from this 2024-2023 school year.
The Ministry of Education decided to include English in the curriculum of the first year by 10% and 50% in the second year.
As to the 2025-2024 school year, English will make up 50% in the first year of secondary education and 100% in the second year.
By 2026-2025, the English language will be fully implemented in all levels of secondary education.