Observant travellers have been quick to inform The View from Fez that the controversial "Eiffel Tower of Fez" has suddenly disappeared. Yet nobody in Fez knows where it is or if it will suddenly appear again. The vanishing act appears to have taken place on late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
Back in early October, The View from Fez and other social media raised concerns about the erection and a petition was launched on Facebook calling for the destruction of the Eiffel tower. As the petition author said at the time, "I run this petition to initiate a debate and perhaps succeed in demolishing this "horror".
The petition said that many people “were surprised” after seeing a replica of the Eiffel Tower under construction in one of the main areas of the city of Fez.
The author added that “This historic city has, for more than 12 centuries, stood for a rich and varied cultural heritage, renowned worldwide. So I therefore believe that in a strategic city like Fez, the construction of an ordinary replica of the Eiffel Tower is simply not appropriate.”
Larbi Arbaoui, writing for Morocco World News reports that after the tower was built, the people of Fez wondered why Hamdi Chabat, the Mayor of the city and Secretary General of the Istiqlal party, decided to build such a “monument,” which symbolizes the French culture, instead of renovating and restoring the historic and crumbling buildings in Fez that have a significant and a special place in the history of the Kingdom and in popular memory.
Many Moroccans have also questioned the need for an Arc de Triomphe which the mayor of Fez is intending to build at the entrance to the city of Fez on the road to Meknes, knowing that the French Arc de Triomphe was built by Napoleon Bonaparte for the French to remember the victories of their army in the Battle of Austerlitz.
Larbi Arbaoui writes that the workers in Fez who feel the brunt of the economic crisis that the city has been going through for decades are more concerned with finding a decent job to feed their families than seeing what they deem as “unnecessary” monuments that neither represent the history of this city nor its culture.
And, as one non-Moroccan Fez resident told The View from Fez,"questions need to be asked about where the money for the construction and now deconstruction, came from".
Fez residents are quick to point out that instead of embarking on this extravagant project, Mr. Chabat would be better-off safeguarding the precious and unique monuments that are scattered in every corner of the Fez Medina. Simply repairing the wall fountains and providing them with running water would be a good start. And then, as a responsible mayor, enforce the ban on motorbikes in the Medina...