For a moment, I didn’t grasp the situation, and then suddenly my brain kicked into high gear. It’s a real shock that I’m experiencing, perched alone on my nearly one-meter high bed, alone in my room and alone in the entire house.
My initial reaction is to get down on the floor to be in contact with solid ground. I watch the walls shake, all the objects, and all my books on the shelves moving.
It’s the end; my brain is sending me signals that it’s the end, and I must recite the ‘Shahada: ‘There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His prophet.’ The seconds ticked by at a monstrously slow pace, and the tremor seemed to last an eternity, while I awaited the apocalypse, my body and mind surrendered to God and His immeasurable will. I resisted fear and the psychological chaos it engenders with all my strength. I surrendered to divine will; there’s no escape. I waited for everything to collapse.
Suddenly, the tremor stops as if by magic; everything is calm around me, and outside, too, there is calmness.
My first thought goes to my family members, and I exchange short text messages with them. I turn on the television to listen to the news and find out where this tremor originated from.
Medi 1, our news channel, was broadcasting a program unrelated to the earthquake, showing no immediate reaction. It’s only an hour later that the ‘Breaking News’ begins to acknowledge the reality of the moment and reveals the epicenter of the earthquake and the monstrous damage it has caused.
Our national channels are deplorable. They are not prepared to promptly cover events like this or to disseminate information in emergencies. Our national channels are behind the times, despite Morocco’s progress. This is a situation I lament because it hampers our country’s efforts and advancement, providing an opportunity for international channels to distort our country’s image and spread inaccuracies, or even lies, about our crisis management.
The fateful weekend in need of ending has left an indelible mark on me.
When images of the disaster begin to appear on the screen, the horror becomes more tangible; it pierces through the screen. An entire region, a cluster of small mountain villages, has been buried under the rubble. The earth shook under natural tectonic pressure, causing the catastrophe. The peaceful small villages, or more precisely, ‘Douars,’ in the High Atlas, have been flattened, crushed, and abruptly ceased to exist.
The number of victims keeps rising. Stone and clay structures collapsed like houses of cards, burying their inhabitants under debris and thick dust.
It’s a natural disaster where the earth blends with the rubble, where you can’t distinguish the small houses from the mountain. The landscape remains the same; these cottages were built to blend with the scenery, to harmonize with the contours of the hills and mountains of the High Atlas. In the disaster caused by the earthquake, you see more than just stones and scattered bits of wood here and there.
English version of: Maroc, terrible secousse dans le Grand Atlas !