By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, September 1, 2012
A picture of a young Moroccan who has invented a small plane has circulated across many Facebook pages and has been shared by many Moroccan Facebook members. The picture depicts a 22-year-old ambitious Moroccan named Mohamed Nhemed who has broken a record among his fellow Moroccans and went on to invent a small, two-engine plane which can fly 120 km at an altitude of 33 meters. Strangest of all is that he resorted to the simplest, down-to-earth tools to come up with such a fine plane. In all frankness, Nhemed at the very least deserves a pat from us on his shoulder for his ‘breakthrough’.
Yet, as a rule, nothing escapes our authorities. No sooner had the ambitious Mohamed Nhemed put the final touches on his invention than the authorities hastened to confiscate it from him, threatening that it is a danger, accusing the inventor of causing chaos with his ‘ so-called plane’, and describing the invention as nothing but triviality. Frankly, this attitude on the part of the authorities must not be new to us Moroccans, for never have we encouraged our youth to invent. Quite the contrary, our officials do their utmost to kill the ambition in such youth as Nhemed.
No matter what the reasons the officials based their confiscation on, either out of safety concerns or others, the plane’s inventor must be motivated and encouraged rather than ignored and left behind. According to Nhemed, high-ranking officials made fun of him and looked down on his small plane, which they deemed as an undeserved, chaotic, so-called invention. In this regard, I would like to advise these ignorant officials to learn from how developed countries treat their novice inventors. I recommend that the officials read about Thomas Edison who undertook 3,000 attempts to manufacture the light bulb. If he had listened to such officials we have here in Morocco, I don’t think he would have invented the light bulb and lit the whole world.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes. Regrettably, some envious high-ranking officials warned the young Moroccan not to fly and not to touch his plane anymore because it may put him and other people in jeopardy. At this point, we may ask what is wrong with invention even if it might be dangerous? Why do we warn others against invention? Are we not mature enough to learn from the history of distinguished inventors who tried their hand at the most trivial and silliest inventions? Yet, towards the end of their academic lives, they made history and benefited humankind. Instead of integrating our novice inventor into our community to help make Morocco move forward, our authorities instill in him fear and throw threats at his face as though he committed a grave crime. It is so sad that invention in Morocco is indistinguishable from committing a crime. So, what crime did Nhemed commit so as to be treated contemptuously by the ignorant gendarmes?
At a time when developed countries send an envoy made of plane specialists to aid their novice inventors, our Moroccan authorities have sent Nhemed an envoy made of security officers, not to help him realize his dreams, but to fetch him and blame him for bringing about chaos. At a time when developed countries encourage imaginative children when they invent little, trivial puppets, our country makes fun of those who invent small planes.
Most pitying of all is the act of preventing Nhemed from using and celebrating his invention on the grounds that it is full of defects. Yes, it is, but isn’t it much better than no invention whatsoever? All this boils down to the fact that in Morocco, an invention becomes a danger, while in Germany, it becomes a symbol of improvement, and that in Morocco, an invention becomes a weakness and a defect, while in Japan, it becomes a strength and a power.
Nhemed made many attempts to impart to king Mohamed VI the news of his invention and to dedicate it to him as well. But, all his attempts came to no fruition. He is not to blame, for the path he has been following in Morocco is fraught with stumbling blocks. If he were a singer, he would instantly receive much attention from the authorities and the latter would spur him to make his debut at one of the national festivals. As for invention, it is deprecated in Morocco, and no high-ranking official can bear to see a Moroccan with the skills to invent. High-ranking officials are good at killing spirits and making the budding inventors dispirited, especially if an invention is at the expense of their agendas.
Moroccan novice inventors are not different from German or Japanese ones. In addition to what a notable thinker once wrote on the issue, the difference simply lies in that we Moroccans repress budding inventors until they give up the fight, whereas Germans and Americans encourage unsuccessful inventors until they succeed at last. Nhemed’s likes are countless, and only when they travel abroad and turn their names into household words does Morocco begin to pride itself on one of the greatest Moroccan inventors. Do you still remember Kamal Oudrhiri, a Moroccan in charge of monitoring NASA’s mission to Mars? I am afraid he had the same story of neglect and contempt here in Morocco.
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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