Marrakech remembers Argana Café terror attack
By Siham Ali for Magharebia in Marrakech – 30/04/12
Moroccans and international visitors on Saturday (April 28th) gathered in solidarity to mark the first anniversary of the Argana Café bombing in Marrakech.
Relatives of the victims, members of the public and many diplomatic and political figures attended the event. A commemorative stone bearing the names of the dead was unveiled, an olive tree was planted as a symbol of peace and 17 doves were released.
The country's deadliest terror attack since the 2003 Casablanca bombings, the Argana Café blast claimed 17 lives and injured 21 people.
"I just can't forget this terrible incident," said Laila, whose husband Yassine Bouzidi died in the attack, She explained that she and her two daughters were going through hell as they struggle to survive without his love and support. "It's as if it happened yesterday," she said.
Morocco is more determined than ever before to continue its fierce battle against all forms of terrorism and extremism, Moroccan Interior Minister Mohand Laenser said. He stressed that Moroccans are known for their rejection of violence and their commitment to the values of tolerance, love, peace, brotherhood and co-existence.
This view was echoed by the Moroccan Association of Victims of Terrorism president Souad El Khammal. She said that despite religious differences, everyone is rallying to reject terrorism once again and calling for peace and tolerance.
A message read on behalf of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that the people of France were "determined never to bow to intimidation and mindless violence". It also said that, contrary to the intent of the terrorists, these attacks "bring people closer together".
French Association of Terrorism Victims head Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc described the ceremony as "highly moving" and a "symbol of solidarity" between the victims, regardless of religion. This will help to bring nations together in the fight against terrorism, he said.
"This appalling act of terrorism was not only an attack on Morocco and Marrakech; it was also a desperate attempt to upset the close relationship between Morocco and the United States, which stand united in their commitment to the ideals of brotherhood, harmony, understanding, democracy and progress," King Mohammed VI said in a message read by Moroccan Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid.
The king reiterated his vigorous condemnation of all forms of terrorism as contrary to the values of tolerance advocated by Islam. He reaffirmed Morocco's unrelenting desire to combat terrorism by implementing a multi-dimensional strategy based on security, democratic progress, development, cultural creativity and enlightened thinking, in accordance with the rule of law and the justice system.
As the families of victims remembered their losses, they also praised the Moroccan courts, which on March 9th dismissed an appeal to overturn the death sentence of Adil Othmani, mastermind of the attack.
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