Protest in front of the parliament building in Rabat
Rabat – Rachid Bougha
Civil and cultural groups in Morocco have, Monday evening, called for a protest in front of the parliament building in Rabat to coincide with the opening day of the UN international book fair. The protesters
chose the slogan, \"Cultural vs. ignorance\" to highlight the necessity and importance of reading and culture over that of festivals and concerts.
According to the organizers, each participant in the group movement will carry a book in which they will read in front of parliament in order to draw the government\'s attention towards the \"disastrous\" situation of reading in Morocco.
The literacy situation in Morocco is terrible as every Moroccan spends less than one GBP on books, whilst the global rate is 1.83 GBP. Moreover, Morocco produces only two thousand new books a year for the equivalent of 60 thousand in France. The rate is also much lower in comparison with other Arab nations.
The world has been celebrating International Book Day every April 23 since 1996, when UNESCO decided to devote a day to promote reading and encourage writers. This day was chosen as it falls on the anniversary of the death and birth of a number of famous writers; the playwright and poet William Shakespeare and the Spanish novelist, Cervantes who wrote \"Don Quixote\".
Despite the world\'s attention towards this day, the Arab world has unfortunately neglected it as a part of the deteriorating condition of literacy and reading. Local and international Statistics state that the average reading rate for Europeans is 200 hours a year, whilst for Arabs it is 6 minutes. Also another statistic shows that for each Arab that reads a book a year, their European counterpart gets through seven books in that space of time.