Sidi Ifni – “Is Morocco the Most Beautiful Country in the World?” For some of us, it is. While for the rest, it is not.
For instance, if you happen to be a tourist from any corner of the world and you come to visit tourist attractions in Marrakech, Fez, or Tangiers, you may conclude that Morocco really is the most beautiful place on Earth. On the other hand, if you happen to be a Moroccan native, living in the remote and chilly Atlas Mountains or another neglected part of Morocco, you may curse Morocco for the rest of your life, especially if you are continually denied your basics rights to education, health, a dignified livelihood, and the like.
As a country, Morocco remains Morocco. But, one’s life experiences in this land determine whether you believe it to be the most beautiful country in the world (as we often hear some of our officials say-especially those teaching us to be patriotic and show our nationalism). If we, for example, pose the same question to a Moroccan woman who has just given birth outside the hospital with little help from the medical staff, she will no longer look upon Morocco as the most beautiful country in the world.
Even so, if we ask a Moroccan born with a silver spoon in his mouth, while he is spending his Winter at a deluxe hotel in Ifrane, he will certainly say that Morocco is the most beautiful place in the world. He or she may even go on to wonder why others don’t think the same. Students studying at Al Akhawayan University may like to study in Morocco, whereas students studying at Ibn Zohr University have cursed Morocco’s education many times. Morocco is often deemed the most beautiful for the former, the least beautiful for the latter. So, it is all a matter of who is asked. Morocco remains the most beautiful for those Moroccans who are leading a happy, secure life, whereas it is the worst or ugliest for those who toil day in and day out just to make ends meet.
It goes without saying that many foreign visitors to Morocco have asked themselves why Moroccans curse their home country and forsake it for the chance to live in a “better” country. “Is Morocco not the most beautiful country in the world?” many foreigners ask. Of course, foreigners ask themselves this question when they read about Morocco, they visit the long coastal lands, they go fishing and discover how rich the Atlantic Ocean is, they experience the energy of the solar power in Ouarzazat and after they spot the ice-capped mountains in Ifrane. “Oh, how beautiful Morocco is!” they exclaim in amazement.
Yet, what is still a mystery is why the majority of Moroccans have never dared to utter the same thing about their home country. Simply put, they are so consumed with the hardships of their life that they do not have the time to look at how much Morocco could offer them. Some Moroccans give their care to their home country, but get nothing in return. Over time, they forget that Morocco is beautiful as a land. This is simply why the majority of Moroccans do not deem Morocco as the most beautiful country in the world.
At a distance of 350 km from Marrakech, Zagora, my previous place of work, is much acclaimed and appreciated by foreign tourists for its pollution-free atmosphere, its strong sun and abundant sand dunes. Many tourists like to go on Safari on the outskirts of Zagora. As a teacher who used to work there, I wondered, many times, why tourists liked Zagora even though the majority of its people are impoverished, there is a scarcity of public transport, students have to go on foot for miles just to reach school and nearly all people have no access to health centers.
I supposed that the foreign visitors were merely tourist whose only concern was to go on holiday and enjoy themselves, while Zagora dwellers live there and encounter the difficulties of life in Morocco. As a teacher, I spent my two working days commuting and hitch-hiking. Let’s be clear: Morocco remains the most beautiful country in the world for others, whereas for my fellow Moroccans, it is the other way around.
Needless to say, Morocco would unanimously remain the most beautiful if it were governed by transparent and honest people. No Moroccan dislikes the beautiful, charming land, but, rather, the lack of democracy. Moroccans, at heart, deem Morocco to be the most beautiful place in the world. But, eventually the daily, bitter realities, ranging from a deplorable education system to a degraded living, set in and they begin to dislike Morocco in spite of themselves and go on to turn a blind eye to the exquisite beauty of their home country. They do this not because they want to, but, simply, because their eyes have been blurred by the countless crises Morocco has been plagued with. Is Morocco the most beautiful country in the world? It is up to you tell depending on your personal experiences.