FRENCH PAPERS, Fri., 29th April, 2011: the Marrakesh bombing shares the front pages with the wedding of the century. Papers argue the attack in Morocco is a blow to the democratic aspirations of people in the Arab world. And, the French, curious at the British royal extravaganza, remain fascinated by the kitsch daring to ask: have they consummated before getting to the altar?
Liberation leads with “everything you wanted to know about the Royal Wedding but never dared to ask”. And has a pun: “Prince Me, I am Dreaming.” The main headline though is on the Marrakech attack, “Marrakech Place Terreur”, Terror Square. That’s an echo of Tahrir Square where Egypt’s protests were held. A photograph shows people looking at the blood spilt in Thursday’s bombing on Jamaa El Fna Square, the city’s main tourist spot and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The coverage on the inside pages says that the shadow of terrorism has fallen across the Arab Uprisings. It says there was a series of attacks in Morocco in 2003 and during the middle of the last decade. The government rounded up Islamists. There are currently around 700 to 800 in jail. King Mohammed the 6th pardoned 96 political prisoners on the 14th of April, including members of an organization called Salafia Jihadia.
Liberation’s editorial by Nicolas Demorand says the Marrakech bombing is “tragic” because it is an attack on tourists and the democratic aspirations of the Arab Spring protests. People power had taken centre stage in the battle ageing autocrats depriving terrorist groups of a monopoly on militancy.
Rue 89, the online news paper, asks “who gains from the attack?” Debate online in Morocco wondered whether it was the work of Islamist militants or Pro-Polisario Saharaoui forces, the independence movement for the Western Sahara which Rabat sees as Moroccan soil.
Le Monde, meanwhile, takes a broader look at the uprisings in Arab countries and asks whether they are advancing the cause of women. It says they have taken part massively in street protests and been at the forefront of campaigns on the Web but are not edging up the Women’s Freedom Index. Saudi Arabia is ranked at the bottom and Tunisia at the top in the Arab World. The paper says that even there the transition government only has two female ministers.
Most papers have pages on Britain’s royal wedding. Le Figaro argues the prince is nothing but an ordinary lad, it’s his destiny that is extraordinary. It notes that St. Andrews University had a 44 percent increase in applicants when he was a student there, many female. Kate Middleton was one of them and is now becoming the the “princesse du milieu », the « Princess of the Middle». It argues that that middling--ness extends too her beauty and intelligence.
Aujourd’hui-en-France/Le Parisien says a real life Cinderella has become a Princess. It contrasts the life paths of William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten Windson with Commoner Kate. There is a royal family tree with tea mugs. And a review of some of the souvenirs: from sweets to dolls to royal tea bags.