By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, September 8, 2012
On the eve of the new school year, poor parents hasten to meet their children’s needs, ranging from buying them new clothing to providing them with school supplies. No sooner does the school year begin than the poor parents hurry up to buy a ram for Eid Elkabir, the Slaughter Feast. And this was also the case with Ramadan when the poor spent all that they had accumulated throughout the whole year on food and drink.
Most of what the poor Moroccan masses think about is to exert themselves hard enough to provide their children with a better life even if it may be to the detriment of their purchasing power, especially now that most poor parents have resorted to loans, which they have to pay back in the coming years.
Nowadays, nearly everyone has recourse to loans. However, in the case of the poor, it would be a life-long challenge, for it takes them much time to pay back what they have borrowed. The loans haunt the poor because they are afraid they can not afford the means for repayment. With the current economic crisis plaguing Morocco, only the poor are the victims who feel alone the true taste of poverty.
Poor Moroccans find it challenging to make, both, ends meet when they are faced with the risk of unemployment with no fixed jobs, and with the challenge of soaring prices. In many major cities, poor Moroccans do not necessarily work to amass enough money for the future; they rather work to pay the rent, to send their children to school and most importantly to survive. “It is the bitter truth” that Abdelilah Benkirane himself, Morocco’s head of government, admitted.
The debate among the poor now revolves around the financial calamities their lives are fraught with. No sooner do they get rid of the expenditures of Ramadan than they begin to think about the expenses of school. No sooner do they spend a fortune on the necessities of a new school year than the time of buying a ram on the occasion of Eid Elkbir comes.
No sooner does Eid Feast come to an end than they begin to think about the travel expenses during the holidays. And when there is no feast to celebrate, the rent and quest for survival begin to haunt their minds and homes. In the process, loans accumulate and financial calamities knock on the doors of the poor, one after another.
Moroccans are now addicted to loans as though it were a way of life, and we forget that it is only the poor that pay the price in the end, particularly when they take out loans to cover all the expenses of their lives. It is crystal clear that taking loans by the poor from banks is a clear sign that they are unable to lead a financially stable life and therefore they have no other choice but to go beyond their actual means at hand. Oddly, on the eve of Eid Elkbir Feast, many poor families insist on buying a big ram whether they can afford it or not.
What matters for them, instead, is that they want to emulate their neighbors, and it is here where consumerism has emanated and developed. At this point, we end up consuming things we can not afford or do not need in the first place. Even Islam condemns the culture of consumerism, which to an extent caused us to go through hard financial times.
“We have no other choice. Taking loans from banks are the last resort for us. At least, it is better than begging from one another,” many poor families claim.
“If we do not resort to loans, we will never be able to live during these tight times. Loans are consoling even if it will take us years to pay them back,” other poor Moroccans say.
Wherever we go in Morocco, we spot Moroccans working day in and day out, not necessarily to earn their daily livelihood, but to reserve a sum of their earnings for their previous loans. Poor Moroccans on the verge of marriage, also, take loans to cover their wedding expenses, for loans are tempting at first sight and couples feel vulnerable to them in the face of society’s expectations. Moroccans wait for their fellows to celebrate their weddings at any cost, be them financially able to cover them or not.
“I just took a loan of MAD 25,000 to cover my wedding expenses,” a teacher of French told me the other day. His family insisted on him celebrating the wedding at any rate. In this regard, this insistence simply gives us the impression that the Moroccan mentality is haunted by loans from all sides.
It is really sad that Moroccans aren’t aware that excessive reliance on loans will get them nowhere but to more poverty if not to insolvency. Loans, many Moroccans fail to know, can make one perspire non-stop and make their heads shine with unpaid-for sweat. We Moroccans must admit that we are living under hard conditions that might put our lives in jeopardy at any time, if we continue to rely on loans for our livelihood. Some can’t help but to take out loans..
Regrettably, the Moroccan government hasn’t raised Moroccans’ awareness that they are leading themselves astray by their reliance on these loans, perhaps because the government itself is already trapped and mired in the same boat. It is at this point where the government must intervene to prevent the poor from running after this tempting illusory way of living: loans. At the very least, it is incumbent on the government to do its utmost to better the lives of Moroccans either through offering them opportunities of dignified livelihood rather than loans or through raising their awareness about the dangers and the hazardous effects of indebtedness.
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed