By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Es Smara, Morocco, June 2, 2012
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you.”
If we want to understand how a certain machine works, we should go back to its booklet that explains how to use it so as to avoid causing problems. In this context, humans are not an exception. To understand human beings’ nature, from my point of view, we should go back to what their creator said about them because the creator knows better his creatures.
The Holy Qur’an makes the point clearer when it declares openly that the objective behind our creation is to know each and to communicate with one another. The creator made us different because He wants us to be so. That is to say, it is God’s willingness to make us different. Consequently, all attempts to make people similar and alike will be a failure. We should not try to copy each other. Humans are different by nature in terms of races, colors, cultures, languages, religion, beliefs and so on and so forth.
As Moroccans, the inescapable truth that should be understood is that both Amazigh and Arabs have co-existed for centuries and they will keep doing so until the end of the end. We will be living side by side and hand in hand till the end of the human movie on this planet. Yes, we are different and we have to accept our differences. Historically speaking, Moroccans have always considered their diversity and differences as their main point of strength when it comes to the question of ‘Identity’.
Also, history has taught us that Morocco’s independence and freedom are due to the unity of Moroccans while fending off all foreign attempts and colonial conspiracies to divide the country, and to enslave its people .Unfortunately, France tried to divide both Arabs and Amazigh in the 1930s. What we call in books of history ‘Dahir Al Barbari’ is the strongest justification of what we are saying here. Luckily, Moroccans were not so foolish as to perceive and conceive the hidden intentions of the colonizers’ project. Therefore, all Moroccans stood up united, as one body and one mind, and revolted against that colonial conspiracy to sow the seeds of hostility, enmity and hatred between Amazighs and their brothers, the Arabs.
Let’s be frank with ourselves and face our truth. Our history is full of mistakes. Our granfathers and ancestors, God bless them all, were not angels. They were humans the way we are. They sinned the way we sin and they erred just the same way we err today. Their rulers had made mistakes too. This is life indeed. Those who have studied politics and history understand that history of politics, sciences, individual and States is merely the history of their mistakes. As educated and schooled people, we must not stop at our mistakes and cry. We must not stop at the dark points in our history and cast blame. It is easy to destroy, but it is hard to build.
The famous Muslim scholar Al Ghazali said that: “we cannot destroy a city to build a palace.” Building our future starts from accepting the values of forgiveness and reconciliation with our past. Our duty as youth and as Moroccans of the 21st century is to open a new page in the history book of our beloved country. We need to open the door of forgiveness and acceptance. As the proverb goes: “to sin is human and to forgive is divine.” In other words, the great Shakespeare summarized this philosphy in two verbs: “forgive and forget,” which is easier said but harder to believe and to practice in our daily lives.
What frightens me a lot is to hear certain university students, teachers, politicians, and other so called chauvinist ‘Amazigh activists’ speak and write radical speeches and declarations. They show their hatred of all that is Arab and Islamic. Those people in fact, and they are a minority and can be counted on one’s fingers as we say, do not speak on behalf of the rest of Amazigh. They just speak about themselves, as they have no legal authority to talk about all Amazighs. These people speak of revenge and hatred and they are asking all Arabs to go back to the East and take with them their language, culture and even their religion, meaning Islam.
In my opinion, the public, both inside and outside Morocco, should know that not all Amazighs are one. There are those who are Islamists, fundamentalists, Marxists, Muslims, Jews, atheists, terrorists, corrupt, nationalist and traitors. They are like everyone else. Therefore, we should not think that all people who speak Aamzigh are one group. Amazighs are different themselves. So, we should not put all Amzighs in one basket and take them to be one person.
My call as a citizen of this country who is aware of our fathers and forefathers’ mistakes is to let bygones be bygones, to forget our injuries and look forwards to building a brighter and a peaceful future. Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it and to those who leave their past behind them and build the future brick by brick. A wise man once said: “the reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse that it is, and the future less resolved that it will be.”
I am Amzigh myself. I understand the needs and the desires of all ‘Amizighen’ wherever they are. They have suffered and they still suffer from marginalization, poverty, ill-treatment, lack of opportunities, disintegration, segregation, and racism from pervious governments. They paid the price for something they did not do. Just because some Amazigh generals attempted to kill King Hassan II in the 1970s, the regime punished whole regions. This is a page of our history whether we like it or we hate it. But we do not have to stop there and fill young people with hatred, and hostility.
Nowadays, the new king has opened a new page in dealing with the Amazigh issue. Good initiatives were taken to integrate the Amazigh language and culture in the national scene and to fight the marginalization of Amazigh intellectuals, language, culture and regions. Needless to say was the creation of a Royal Institute for Amazigh Culture and the integration of Amazigh language in public life, education and Mass media.
One may argue that this is not enough. Yes, I do agree but this is just the beginning. Certainly, things are not yet the way all Amazigh people want and wish. But we should give time to time as the saying goes. I am hopeful because, frankly speaking, the situation of Amazigh language, culture and people is changing for the better day after day and year after year.
Another issue that must be tackled here has to do with the Arab Spring. Morocco is different than other countries in the east. What makes Morocco an exception is that Morocco is a country of co-existence and integration between cultures, civilizations, languages and religions. Morocco has Muslims and Jews and they live like brothers and sisters in many cities and regions. Besides, Morocco has Arabs and Amazighs and they have created strong links and ties to the extent that it is hard to distinguish between an Amazigh and an Arab. They have married each other and have had strong family ties generation after generation for more than 14 centuries.
Thus, any attempt to light the fire of civil war, racism, and animosity between these components of Moroccan identity will be futile, valueless and meaningless. Our strength and our might lie in our diversity. This is the essence of our existence. So the real question that has to be asked is not ‘to be Amazigh or Arab’, the real question today is to be ‘good citizens’ of Morocco who believe in the national and universal values of human rights, equality, peace, unity, integration, diversity, work, citizenship, ‘unity in diversity’, cooperation, sharing, voluntarism, solidarity and tolerance.
Finally, the following verses are dedicated to everyone who believes in the unity of Morocco and Moroccans, for everyone who believes that change must take place inside our country but peacefully with neither violence nor bloodshed. These verses are written as a response to those who want to push our citizens to shed each other’s blood, and to hate each other:
For all those who want to change
This country to the best or the worst,
I should say that change is not a number nor a month,
Change is not twenty or twenty eight,
Change is not linked to February or a given date,
Change is not to speak out in streets on Sundays,
Change is not strikes, videos, pictures and holidays…
Change is not just asking for rights,
Change is a duty, task, work, belief and fight…
Fighting with love, no violence, no might…
Change is to love and save this land,
With your muscles, your arms and your mind,
Leave the history of hatred, revenge behind,
Be careful; imitation of the east
Will be useless, fruitless in our case.
Imitation of those in the east
Will bring us no peace and no rest.
To every Amazigh and Arab I say
Brothers our Unity is in Diversity.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Rachid Khouya is a teacher of English in Es Smara city, south of Morocco. He obtained a Bachelor Degree in English studies from Ibn Zohr University in Agadir. He published many articles and stories in different regional and national Moroccan newspapers. He is an active member of MATE( Moroccan Association of Teachers of English). He is interested in education, human rights and citizenship.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
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