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Moroccans Protest Algerian Campaign to Change Morocco’s Founding Date on Google

Rabat – Some Moroccans have taken to social media to protest the inaccurate results that come up when searching for Morocco’s founding date. The Google search engine shows the date of Morocco’s foundation as 7 April 1956, infuriating Moroccan netizens. Many have attributed this change to an organized campaign by activists from Algeria, which has long appeared to take issue with the fact that it is a relatively young postcolonial country where Morocco is an ancient, centuries-old kingdom.

While 1956 marked the country’s independence from French occupation, several Moroccan netizens have pointed out that the actual founding of Morocco goes much further back. “How can we be founded in 1956 when we were the first state to recognize America’s independence in 1777?” Mohamed Lazar, a digital content creator, wrote on his Facebook page. Some have also attached screenshots of the web search result prior to the change, which showed Morocco’s founding year as 789, suggesting that there might be an organized campaign to change the date on the search engine.

Specifically, some have explicitly said they suspectAlgerian activists of deliberately orchestrating the change by reporting the original founding date as inaccurate. Others have suggested that said activists might have altered Morocco’s historical information on Wikipedia, which Google sometimes uses for answers it displays on its search results page. In terms of motives, some have attributed the perceived campaign of deceptive historical revisionism to patriotic Algerian activists who want to spread the narrative that Morocco is a “French-created state” with no significant history before the protectorate period.

“This is planned as part of the Algerian ruling regime’s hostile policy against Morocco,” Algerian journalist and analyst Oualid Kebir told Morocco World News (MWN), citing similar past incidents of Algerian campaigns to change dates for the foundation of both Morocco and Algeria on Wikipedia.

“Of course this will anger Moroccans, or rather has already angered them,” he added. “Morocco was not founded in 1956, but it is a state that existed over centuries, a fact that cannot be changed by Google, Wikipedia, or the ruling Algerian regime that has a historical [inferiority] complex.”

Although Morocco gained its independence from France in 1956, the country’s history goes back several centuries. The Moroccan state was created in 788, when the Idrisid dynasty settled in the city of Volubilis, also known as Walili. Soon after, during the reign of Idriss II, the capital was relocated to Fez, as the city prospered economically and culturally.

Several dynasties came after that, with the current Alaouite dynasty originating from the 17th century. Notably during this period, Morocco became the first country to recognize American independence, and underwent French occupation from which it gained independence in 1956.

This latest, apparently Algerian-sponsored campaign comes in the context of decades of tensions between Morocco and Algeria over the latter’s support for the Polisario Front – an armed group claiming independence in the Western Sahara region in southern Morocco. Tensions peaked in the summer of 2021, when Algeria severed ties with Morocco and accused Morocco — without proof — of being behind wildfires that devastated some of the country’s regions during that summer. Morocco has continued to deny the allegations and has since offered to open “a sincere” dialogue with Algeria to resolve the decades-long diplomatic tensions.

Source: MWN