Our hearts go out to you, Morocco

12 septembre 2023, 11:43


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I woke up to dozens of messages on my Morocco WhatsApp group on Saturday morning. Photos and footage of utter devastation; Sheer horror. Buildings demolished. Families decimated. Children crying. Parents trying very hard to calm them down. Some are counting the dead. Others, slightly less unfortunate, are trying to catch up on sleep in the middle of the streets, worried the earthquake might retaliate and they would find themselves buried under the walls of their own homes.

Morocco is going through the biggest tragedy it has ever lived since the Agadir earthquake. The whole world was shocked at the scale of human and material damage they have been witness to.

Faced with the harrowing pictures, one cannot help but selfishly think first of one’s close relatives and friends. Marrakesh is the city where I was born and where I worked for eight years as senior lecturer at the English Faculty in Cadi Ayyad University before I made the move to follow my husband to Mauritius that I made my home. It is also the city which harbours a large number of my relatives, friends, ex-colleagues and acquaintances. I wanted to know that everyone was safe.

Then panic suddenly makes way for sadness and sorrow. You helplessly watch as things unfold. You follow the body count as more and more bodies are found in the middle of the rubble following untold damage and destruction. And those are perhaps the lucky ones as more and more people are slowly dying in the debris where help cannot reach. A national and international calamity.

I was heartened by the various messages of sympathy of so many Mauritians. We are at our best in such moments. We always find it in us to come together to the rescue of those suffering, no matter how far away they are from us. The Mauritius I like to see. The Mauritius I will always be proud of.

Now that the dust is settling on one of the saddest chapters in the history of Morocco, it is time to look into how we can translate our sympathy into concrete action to bring some comfort to those who need our help. I am in touch with several organisations and we are looking into the best way to channel the little help we can extend. We are small but capable of the best.

Innocent lives are gone. Indiscriminate damage has been caused. It will take years to rebuild what has been destroyed. It will take forever to heal the wounds opened this week. But in the pain and sadness you, dear Morocco, are going through, be assured that a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean will make its way to bring a little relief from the suffering and pain endured by thousands of your citizens. Our hearts are with you and bleeding for you.