Muhammad al-Rabbaa, who died last Wednesday at the age of 81, is considered the historical leader of all the struggles of foreign workers in the Netherlands.
His biography summarizes the story of a man who remained faithful to the principles of sacrifice and loyalty, who spent a life full of chastity, courage, determination and determination until his last breath.
Tears flowed everywhere over his departure, as many cried, in the Netherlands and in all the countries of the European Union diaspora, as immigrants from all foreign communities lamented. .
Although Muhammad al-Rabba’ had lived for the past few years under the weight of illness, the most dangerous of which was that he suffered from a severe cerebral haemorrhage, as he could no longer stand, read or write, nor remember, and lived his last years in a center for the disabled, but the news of his death shocked all those who accompanied him and gathered them in the common struggle, and those who knew him closely. The deceased fought for the interests of foreign communities, including Arab and Islamic communities in the Netherlands, and achieved what other Dutch Moroccans and their ilk of foreigners, who reached administrative positions and prestigious ministerial offices in the Netherlands, have failed to do, and he is credited with facilitating laws on family reunification and recognizing the right of their participation in elections, simplifying the conditions for obtaining Dutch citizenship, protection against racism and support for minority culture.
One of the distinctive signs of Mohammed Al Rabaa, elegant, polite and handsome, is his soft and friendly smile. He was a calm person, loving to listen, and always managing to use a biting irony in his confrontation with racist extremism. And when he raises his eyebrows and waves his hands, it’s a sign of his immersion in persuasion, galvanizing and strengthening his determination in favor of noble human ends.
Mohamed Rabaa was born on March 8, 1941 in the city of Berrechid (40 km south of Casablanca), and lived his childhood and early youth in the city of Mohammedia, near Al Bayda. As for his father, he worked as a driver for a large landowner.
At the age of twenty-five, Al-Rabbaa was a student in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rabat and a member of the Organization of the National Union of Moroccan Students. Participated in the “bloody uprising of March 23, 1965”. For fear of being chased by the secret services, after several students had been taken to the military discipline barracks of the Middle Atlas, and faced with the onslaught of the ferocious machine of repression, which caused thousands of victims, deaths, Kidnapped and Detained, Muhammad al-Rabbaa decided to flee from the kingdom of Hassan II in 1966, less than a year after the assassination of the leftist leader, Mahdi Benbarka.
In the busy port of Ceuta, the ship did not know the destination of the ship he had snuck into as an illegal immigrant without identity papers or a passport, but after sailing the ship docked in the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and its port was the largest port in the world. The Netherlands is the country that was associated with milk in the memory of the four-year-old, because, as he said later, he was young and heard adults talk about Holland, “the country good things and dairy cows, and that the milk is distributed there at the doors of the houses and on the sidewalks.”
The first year he arrived in the Netherlands, he worked as a firefighter, then as a worker in a shipyard, as a worker in a textile factory, in a cannery, and also tried to sell bags as a street vendor.
The following year, 1967, she enrolled in the faculty of economics at the University of Amsterdam. It seemed to him more useful than studying philosophy. Then he quickly becomes acquainted with the homeland of the most famous international artists: Van Gogh and Rembrandt, and realizes inside the university campus that the forbidden policy he seeks to practice in his country, Morocco, does not is not an impossible dream, the price of which is abuse and prisons, but rather it is here about civilizational gains. He therefore chose to give up his refugee status, to integrate into the host society and to obtain Dutch nationality.
But the year 1967 was not normal, because it was the date when the Six Day War took place in the Middle East between the Arabs and Israel. Al-Rabbaa was involved in a fundraising campaign for Palestinian Moroccans residing in the Netherlands. For the first time in the Netherlands, he clashed with the “long arm of King Hassan II”.
After this incident, the weightlifter took it upon himself to continue fighting against the Moroccan regime in Holland as well. He fought the “friendships of Moroccan workers and traders” in the Netherlands, which the Moroccan regime established in 1973, as a means of maintaining its control over Moroccan migrant workers.
In 1974, Rabaa graduated as an economist and began working in the field of social work abroad, on the advice of his wife, developmental psychologist Lisbeth Schroeder. In 1975, he became director of the Boest Brabant Foreigners Foundation.
For decades that have exceeded half a century, and as an intellectual, economic and human rights executive and collective actor, Al-Rabbaa has devoted his efforts to serving migration and human rights issues. man, dedicating his fight to the fight against racism, discrimination, xenophobia and the policies of discrimination and exclusion. As a result of his stances and struggles against racist and far-right tendencies, the name of Mohamed Al Rabaa has become one of the most famous political figures in the Netherlands, and voters have granted him their confidence to become the first MP of Moroccan origin to win. member of the Dutch parliament.
Al-Rabbaa was a founding member of the human rights organization “Le Comité Maroc” engaged in issues of political repression in Morocco. The organization was created in the mid-1970s in response to demand from political prisoners in Moroccan prisons, and was part of a European network of similar committees. In addition to organizing demonstrations, conferences and media campaigns, the “Morocco Committee” in the Netherlands has coined the term “the long arm” to export repression to the subjects of dictatorial regimes abroad, and has published its first special file on “Wadiyat”, accusing the “Wadiyat” of spying on and intimidating the Moroccan community.
It should be noted that the Equity and Reconciliation Commission, created in Morocco in 2004 to investigate the violations of the years of lead, classified the activities of the “Friendliest” among the condemned repressive practices.
Al-Rabba’ used his rise in the Dutch parliament and his chairmanship of the parliamentary group of the Green Party (between 1994 and 2002), as a front to defend the rights of immigrants in the Netherlands abroad. The late lawyer Ahmed Benjelloun, leader of the Social Democratic Vanguard Party, took care, in the weekly “Al-Masar” which he directed, to cover the ground and the intellectual activities of Mohamed Al -Rabba’, by private correspondence, as Al-Rabba’ committed himself, alongside his struggle to respond to the legitimate demands of immigrants, to defending the just causes of the peoples in struggle in Palestine, South Africa and Latin America .
When the Arab Spring revolutions broke out in 2011, Al-Rabbaa rallied to support the “February 20 Movement” in Morocco, and has always been keen to support popular protests and demands of the social and popular movement in Morocco. .
Al-Rabbaa opposed the new constitution drafted by a royal commission in 2011, and called for a boycott of the legislative elections that followed the referendum on the agreed constitution, because, according to al-Rabba’, they are between ” the king and the king”, and that the political parties participating in the electoral process only play a folkloric and marginal role. At a symposium organized by the seminar hall of the Dutch Parliament, Al-Rabbaa, as the main supporter of the “Coordination of the February 20 Youth Movement” in the Netherlands, said that the new constitution does not reduce the powers of the king and that “all the tools of the political game come together in the hands of one person who is the king.
The weightlifter was among the first to put the issue of growing anti-Muslim hatred, or as he called it, “Islamic racism”, on the agenda in the Netherlands. In doing so, he continued to draw attention to other forms of discrimination. It has also always sought to cooperate as widely as possible with many other social organizations. And when the outcry arose against the Indo-British novelist Salman Rushdie and his novel “The Satanic Verses”, and it reached the Netherlands, Al-Rabbaa declared that he “understands” the attempts of Muslims in the -Bas to prevent the publication of the book, but this must be done by legal, judicial and democratic means.
Despite Al-Rabbaa’s notoriety, calling it “spokesperson for immigrants and minorities”, he has always refrained from being its categorical spokesperson. He often managed to keep his balance and walk a fine line, and most of the time he managed to save the day with tact and good humor.
And when the winds of the racist right grew in Europe, especially in the Netherlands, which became one of the countries with the most regression in terms of human rights, the fourth called for confronting the right-wing tide led by right-wing extremist Geert Wilders, which targeted all ethnic minorities in the Netherlands, through pressure. The other parties should enact unjust laws, especially against Dutch people of Moroccan or Turkish origin.
In 2010, the weightlifter filed a complaint against Geert Wilders, accusing him of spreading hate speech and collective insults. However, then-Green Party leader Fimki Halsema viewed the Rabaa initiative as part of a “censorship attempt”, which caused the Rabaa to resign from the Green Party, after many of its positions on immigration issues have deviated from the principles in which the late Muhammad Rabaa believed.
In recent years, the Netherlands has become a source of attraction for top players of Moroccan descent to their home country’s national team, the latest of which is star Tariq Tsoudali, who has contributed with his three decisive goals in Morocco’s qualification for the World Cup. Cup in Qatar.
Who knows? Maybe Mohamed Al-Rabbaa could also have become a famous footballer in the Dutch and European leagues and in the Moroccan national team, because he was a talented player, playing in the Premier League for one of the most prestigious Moroccan clubs. (Al-Ittihad Sports Club Oval), and he was known to be an experienced striker who scored the net. However, Muhammad al-Rabbaa chose to attack from a different position and venture into a wider field, scoring deadly goals in the nets of racism and hostility towards foreigners and defeating defenders of tyranny.
Muhammad al-Rabba’ was a great intellectual, without arrogance or arrogance, he was rather simple as an ear of wheat, with a pure mind, ascetic in worldly pleasures, attached to the problems and concerns of the peoples, giving himself to give and give , without fanaticism to an opinion nor complacency in the integrity of his convictions, theoretician, organizer, executor and leader. An optimist advances the ranks. Which qualifies him to deserve the title “organic intellectual”, in fact, not as a compliment or a metaphor.