Prince Hicham, first member of the Moroccan royal family with a public account on Facebook

Hicham Alaoui
The Moroccan prince Hicham has an account on social networks mainly on Facebook. This information is supposed to be very normal in our time based on communication. However, in reality, it is not normal because he is the first member of the Moroccan royal family to have an account, while the rest of the princes or King Mohamed VI himself remain outside the digital Galaxy.

From time immemorial, the Moroccan royal family does not like much communication, suffice it to say that the kings who ruled Morocco banned the use of printing.  This tool created by Gutenberg was licensed and conditioned at the end of the 19th century. One of the lethal factors in Morocco’s delay is the ban on printing for more than four centuries.

Because of this, that a Moroccan prince has a public account on social networks is an unusual fact for many.  But since it’s Hicham, the King’s cousin, the surprise is relative.

Since the mid-1990s, Hicham has stood out thanks to several initiatives, mainly for writing in the monthly magazine Le Monde Diplomatique an analytical article calling for the democratisation of Morocco and the Arab World.

Since then, the prince has adhered to a political-intellectual dynamic by publishing articles, lecturing at major universities, especially in the United States, and expressing his solidarity with activists and journalists persecuted by dictatorships. For example, he was the only member of an Arab royal family to publicly denounce the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khchoggi. That’s why the press calls him “Rebel Prince” or “Red Prince”.

It is among the few Arab intellectuals that surpasses the million mark on Youtube. His interview with the BBC last January exceeded one million views in three months. His other interview on France 24 in April 2014 is close to two and a half million.

In recent months, he has an account on Facebook, the social network preferred by Moroccans. He is the first member of the Moroccan royal family to open up to the world of digital communication. King Mohamed VI and the rest of the princes and princesses still have no public accounts on Facebook or Twitter.

Hicham sometimes publishes on Facebook his academic and cultural activity at American universities such as Harvard, Davis, Stanford or George Town. Sometimes, photos with his wife, Malika and his daughters Faiza and Hajar, or drinking tea with members of the Moroccan community abroad. Many people react to what you publish, commenting on your activity or simply pointing to Like or sharing the news. And who knows, maybe tomorrow he will opt for Live on Facebook and YouTube debating live issues such as freedoms and social issues such as teaching.

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