There was joy on the streets of Amsterdam this Easter as the King of Morocco visited the city and informally mingled with surprised local fans.
The atmosphere was playful as the affable billionaire and absolute ruler of the destitute North African country posed for selfies with young Amsterdam locals of Moroccan descent, joking that “Of course, back home, I would have you and your families all raped and killed for even asking”.
Such a large crowd gathered to applaud and cheer the king as he walked about that, for those few hours, muggings and housebreakings in Amsterdam dropped to their lowest levels in several years.
With an estimated personal wealth of between 5 and 20 billion US dollars, making him possibly the richest man in Africa (but we don’t really know because, of course, royal families are particularly adept at hiding their money), King Mohammed VI’s cost to the Moroccan taxpayer is $20m per month, which works out at roughly one dollar per second.
To put that into context, if he spent half a minute in Lidl, trying to decide between the the €1.68 couscous and the fancier couscous that has the gold lettering but which costs €2.32 … well, frankly, it would be a poor use of 30 of his seconds, he should just buy the more expensive one, that dollar he is making each and every second is already more than that price difference, each second that he stands there, looking like a royal idiot, trying to figure it out.
Another small dab of context: six million Moroccans must survive on less than one dollar per day, so, they should definitely take as much time as they need in Lidl to work out the best deal. In fact, they should probably just slip both packets into their pockets while the security staff are watching the Syrians.
This is not the first time that the Moroccan king has displayed a common touch. He offers a helpful “I Love the King” app and a Facebook page that includes plenty of photos of his stay in Amsterdam and the insights into the city’s impact upon his state of mind, including that he has been “feeling happy”, “feeling fantastic”, “feeling proud”, “feeling cool”, “feeling loved” and “feeling puzzled”, suggesting that he may have encountered [Amsterdam’s famous retractable public toilets]. In any case, clearly a man awash with feelings.
Rumors abound that his real reason for visiting Amsterdam is to meet with the Dutch government regarding their plans to drastically reduce the amount of money they pay in benefits to people living in Morocco, usually the dependents of Moroccans living in the Netherlands. The Dutch government wishes to reduce the amounts paid so that they are in line with the actual cost of living in Morocco, rather than the much higher cost of living in The Netherlands. The current discrepancy means that the only wealthy people in Morocco are the King and the recipients of Dutch benefits.