By Larbi Arbaoui
By Larbi Arbaoui
Morocco World News
Taroudant, Morocco, May 30, 2012
Early Monday morning, I head to the cafe and as usual stopped at the book shop. I tried to quickly scan the displayed today’s newspapers and see if there is a worthwhile story. All those glossy pictures on the covers of magazines and the catchy titles didn’t seem to capture my attention or inflame my curiosity. When I stepped out from the shop, I stole a quick glimpse at those newspapers again and astonishingly came to my gaze the picture of Rachid Nini featuring a column on the front page of the daily newspaper, “Al Massae”. Wonders never cease! Many questions have been blocked my thought as to know why the columnist of “Shuf tshuf” has been written in the front page under a different column title?
After the release of Rachid Nini, the prisoner of conscience, who has been behind bars for one full year, most of his avid fans and readers were yearning to read again his famous column “Shuf Tshuf”. Most people were expecting the famous Moroccan columnist to re-conciliate with his pen and resume his press career. But, to everybody’s dismay, Rachid Nini declared in a column entitled “Istirahat Muharib” the rest of a warrior, on the front page of Almassae (May28,2012), the Moroccan daily newspaper that he founded five years ago, that he gave up writing.
In his article entitled the rest of a warrior, Nini argues that such type of writings in Morocco leads the author to three ends, either silence, self-exile or prison. In the absence of a law protecting the right of the journalist to get the news and the right to protect their sources, Nini has inclined to the virtue of silence believing that “silence is gold” without any explicit and specific reason that led him to favor silence.
Rachid Nini doesn’t want his silence to be understood as that of cowards, hypocrites and wage earners, but as the silence of the wounded warrior who takes his breath up the hill waiting for the coming of his own horse. The metaphor that the journalist used is open to so many interpretations. The readers are to form their own. But, whatever the reasons are, the readers who used to find solace in what he writes won’t excuse his secession. “Once you made the first path, you lost your freedom” a very insightful idea I still recall from an African novel “Season of Migration to the North” by Tayeb Salih. People have to study the expected consequences before making the first step, and I am sure that Rachid Nini is totally cognizant of the secretes of the fourth estate before engaging in such writings.
Now that Nini is set free, he personally announced the prison sentence for his words and come to a full stop by declaring separation with the column “Shuf Tshuf”, which set him behind bars. I was wrong to believe that Nini would come out of jail at full strength and an absolute zeal for his cause and freedom of press. Philip Emeagwali says that “adversities such as being homeless and going to prison have made many people stronger.” But, it seems that the prison is much stronger than some people! Though, it cannot all the time silence many mouths, or conquer all the minds. I cannot put it differently better than Thomas Hobbes’ when he says: “he that is taken and put into prison or chains is not conquered, though overcome; for he is still an enemy.”
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