By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, January 8, 2012
“Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered, either by themselves or by others,” said Mark Twain. I definitely agree with this American novelist on this idea. In our everyday life, many people live and then die without even discovering that they might have been geniuses in their lifetime. And others very well know that their mind is tinted with genius, but unfortunately for them, other people don’t know or recognize their being geniuses. When I was a child, I had some friends who played the guitar beautifully. When I was a student, I studied with some classmates who raised their hands every time our teacher posed a question. And when I became a teacher, I found out that some of my colleagues are excellent writers. These examples are just to name but a few.
The bitter reality that we face daily is that the people I have been talking about do not continue their way towards becoming geniuses for one reason or the other. The main stumbling blocks are poverty, family problems, indifference on the part of teachers, etc. I had a friend who left for South Africa, simply because he was forced by his family. This friend ranked second at the university and his mastery of English was exceptionally good. However, before arriving in South Africa, he was shocked to find out that his B.A. degree had been stolen. From that time on, he lost hope and became despondent about his future.
His remarkable timidity also prevented him from applying for the position of teacher. When I was with him, I used to read some of his amazing articles and poems. Really unputdownable works! However, few of his acquaintances and friends showed interest in his creativity. Now he is working in a hotel in South Africa. The other day, he gave me a call to tell me that he had turned over a new leaf and began to make money. Concerning his much cherished pursuits, reading and writing, he added that he gave up on them altogether and said that he and his family needed financial support.
I was so sad to hear all these incidents that befell this close friend. During our university days, we promised each other that we would one day do post-graduate studies together. I can describe this friend as a genius who lived undiscovered by others. To my consternation, I learned from him later on that he would not come back to Morocco until he made enough money to set up a business in his native country. At that instant, I was certain that all his hopes were dashed and that the only goal left for him was to start a family and settle down. And that was exactly what he said he would do once he returned.
Fouad is another friend of mine who was a painter and a sculptor. I always pay him visits in his workshop. I am transfixed by his amazing paintings, which describe almost every aspect of nature and life, such as rivers, cascades, trees, limp beings, sight and hearing loss, to name but a few. I still remember that whenever I raised a topic, he would indirectly reply to me by painting a picture illustrating my ideas. For instance, once I mentioned “latent geniuses” to him, and after some time, I saw a drawing hung on his house corridor illustrating a brick-layered floor. Some of the red bricks were peeling off, changing their color. The mystery to me here is that some spots began to appear blackish and others whitish.
The calamity that befell Fouad was that he was once visited by a wealthy ex-neighbor who lived abroad and who suggested that Fouad give him all his paintings and drawings so as to publicize them in a foreign country. This, he told him, would bring him acclaim and fame. For seven years now, poor Fouad, has not heard anything from the wealthy man. Because he had naively trusted that man, he was no longer keen on, or fond of, painting and sculpturing. He lately got married to a young girl. The latter, sometimes by mistake, throws away his new attempts at his art. This would add to his despondency and eventually resulted in his complete, definite withdrawal from this pursuit.
I might well describe this friend as a genius who lived undiscovered by both himself and others. Had he discovered the genius inside him, he would not have stopped painting and sculpturing. This brings me back to another friend who disowned writing in English to become a primary school teacher of Arabic and French. “It was the fault of my professors,” he said to me when I enquired why he abandoned his specialty and chose another one. This friend used to publish fine articles in an English-language newspaper, but when he joined the training center, he stopped doing so.
The fact that he was married did not allow him to attend classes on a regular basis. Surprisingly, though, he still managed most of the time to get excellent grades. However, during his second year of studies, there were some professors who deemed class attendance a must. And as a result, they gave him very low grades, not because he deserved them, but because these professors were too indolent to correct the exam papers. They thought that class attendance and participation would suffice. Because of this misfortune, he had no choice but to become a primary school teacher. He admitted that he unconsciously abandoned English, the language he used to write in and that it was too late to return to it.
This man is also among geniuses who once lived undiscovered mainly by himself. It is a real pity that people like these are countless. And the crux of the matter lies in that they are undiscovered either by themselves or by others.
Omar Bihmidine is high school teacher of English. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and articles, many of which have been published in Sous Pens magazine, in the ALC magazine in Agadir, and in the late Casablanca analyst newspaper .
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
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