Mama Assia, The Moroccan Mother Theresa

On Friday, November 2, 2012, Assia El Ouadie Known as Mama Assia passed away. A date that the Moroccan and even Arab human rights activists will remember for ever.  Everybody will continue to commemorate this exceptional and unique Moroccan lady who devoted her entire life to fight injustice and to stand along all victims of human rights.  On her deathbed, members of her family and close friends heard her saying in tears : “Oh if God gives me the opportunity to live a year or two, just to serve my children and all vicitms of social injustice. I have not yet finished the job. ”

It was young prisoners in Moroccan juvenile deliquency centers that gave her the name “Mama Assia.” Her personality was unique, marked by both extreme generosity towards the weakest, the excluded, the marginalized, the abused and rare wisdom against the powerful.

She was on permanent contact with human rights activists and women victims of violence. In the 70s when she was a judge, she commited herself to the defense of juvenile deliquents who were in custody and as a lawyer she never hesitated to take defense of political prisoners and missing persons and their families especially during the years of lead. She put all her energy to the creation of the Observatory of Prisons. Later, she returned to the bench and spent the rest of her life to the cause of women and minors in detention.

Within a decade, Assia has shed light on the prison world. This institution, which is scary, disturbing, which does not interest many people.

Mama Assia lifted the veil on what affects humans in a context of poverty, delinquency, psychopathology and causing negative reactions in society.

She always tried to shape what becomes emotionally unbearable. Assia raised mountains, has provided hope.  Creating the levers of a collective reaction around her cause, she attracted the attention and affection of the people from the bottom to the top of the state.

Mama Assia, Moroccan Mother Theresa has built her work on love, altruism, compassion and determination. She found total and unconditional support from King Mohammed VI.  A foundation has been created “the Mohammed VI Foundation for the reintegration of young offenders” to mobilize the skills and provide the funds to put up a new approach to prisons.

Mama Assia’s words were always : “prison is a humiliation, a space where prevailing confinement, marginality, and exclusion, put a name to human suffering, to make visible the evils of the prison, propose actions, a new approach that emphasizes the integration of young children and their social environment.” This program was Mama Assia.

A challenge in a society as a whole. Assia has by her intelligence, fight, her determination to upset the establishment. One thing is clear, it moves the lines! Moroccans respected her because she was a woman courage. She was afraid because she had clean hands. Never in the modern history of the country, a disappearance has affected so many people.

At her funeral, the whole Morocco was represented : officials, politicians, actors of civil society, human rights activists, economic actors, families generations of former political prisoners… Those above and those below.
At her funeral,  Royal Advisors alongside former youth juvenile inmates of the prison Oukacha.

The country has lost a great soul, whose primary purpose was to help those who nobody cares for.

Mama Assia remain the eternal warrior of human misery, injustice and indifference. The love she gave to children and young juvenile detainees so that they can survive and rebuild their lives and seek better future.


Said Temsamani

Political analyst and Senior Fellow at Meridian International Center, Washington DC 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>