Casablanca celebrates equal rights.
Summary: Even though equality between the sexes was stipulated in Morocco's 2011 constitution, rights activists say the principle still lacks widespread acceptance. So they organised a celebration in Casablanca to deliver their message.
The "Equality Festival", held October 25th by the Civil Alliance to Apply Article 19, featured musical performances, art shows, film screenings, panel discussions, poetry readings and a showcase of products made by women's co-operatives.
The goal: to show that gender parity helps all Moroccans.
"This festive day is to say that we will continue the march to achieve equality," Democratic League for Women's Rights chief Fouzia Assouli told Magharebia amidst the crowd gathered at United Nations Square.
"It's a holiday for all players in civil society, not only women," Assouli said. "They are saying with one voice that the issue of equality is an issue of dignity that reinforces the modernity and democracy of society."
She added, "From now on we will not allow some conservative ideas to disrupt this process."
Rachida Lakhal, a member of the "Dhameer" movement, agreed that preconceptions cannot be allowed to limit the work of women and artists, or subject them to censorship.
"We are determined to continue to fight by all available means and weapons of culture, creativity, and production, both intellectual and artistic," she told Magharebia.
Also attending the celebration was Amazigh activist Ahmed Assid. "Creative women, whether in the cinema, or theatre, or writing, or fine art, contribute to this permanent peaceful revolution," he said.
Sarah Sojar, a member of the youth-led "February 20 Movement, hailed the event for reminding Moroccans that the issue of equality is important for all citizens.
"The heavy presence of both genders on this occasion is evidence that Moroccans, especially young people, are aware of the rights of women, and they are with Morocco, and for freedom and justice between men and women," she said.
Parliamentary deputy Khadija Rouissi of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) also praised the high participation of men and women at the festival, "which highlights that the idea 'society is against equality' is not real".
"This community is determined today to implement the Constitution, a guarantor of the right to equality," she said.
"All those who believe in the principles of democracy, modern Morocco, the truth and the law must block destructive ideas that might take us back to old eras." the MP added.
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