By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Sidi Ifni – It is to our sheer dismay that what has characterized the Moroccan government for the last few years is that whenever it wants to give ‘charity,’ it begins next door rather than home. What I mean by ‘charity’ is the large fortune foreign investors make because of the exaggerated generosity of our government. Instead of reserving some state capital to local businesses and inciting Moroccans themselves to invest in their own country, the Moroccan government goes astray and looks for foreigners to do the job.
Doubtless, boosting foreign investment in our country is of great value to our economy, but the bottom line here is that foreigners, some of whom are incompetent, make fortunes out of us, while we Moroccans get impoverished. For a better comprehension of what I am hinting at, simply think of who has benefited from millions of dirhams out of the education field, out of sport, especially football, out of the transportation sector, and out of a number of other lucrative projects.
Clearly, they are foreigners who, to our consternation, have taken more than they deserve and have left us stranded and “handicapped.” Undeniably, they have also left us with failures, one after another, at football, with a worse-off educational system, and with more traffic accidents. It is thanks to the Moroccan government that foreign investors have made a fortune and that other foreign governments, the French, in particular, have employed their unemployed.
With regards to sport, it is unanimously sheer folly that our government gave millions to Eric Gerets, a Belgian coach, to train our national football team with no results appearing on the horizons. What is even worse is that this Belgian coach hasn’t contributed anything to making our ‘Atlas Lions’ win at least a few of its matches. Quite the contrary, all that we have witnessed as Moroccan viewers have been ignominious losses. It is the latter that render us cry over the millions given to this coach every month. If they were given to any Moroccan coach, we would not regret anything even though we were faced with losses.
Yet, the Moroccan Federation has generously showered Eric Gerets with millions since he set foot in Moroccan football. If the Federation had employed a successful Moroccan coach, it would not have paid as much as it did for Gerets. Additionally aggravating is that our Federation pays foreigners more than they pay Moroccans whether the former bring about success or not. We tend to give others more value, for we underestimate our competencies and skills.
If my memory serves me accurately, I do not think that there has ever been a Moroccan coach who has brought about as much as ignominy as the notorious Eric Gerets has done. Bearing this in mind, however, whenever we set to reward our fellow Moroccans, we usually overwork and underpay them, especially under the false impression that Moroccans must always be paid less than foreigners. It is usually behind the silly misconception that Moroccans are just Moroccans.
Our education field falls in the same abyss. At a time when other countries invest in their own education specialists, our ministry of education seeks solace in foreign specialists and gets itself ready to pay them as much as they demand. Besides, if we happen to draw a simple analogy between the fortune foreigners make out of us to the number of recognized accomplishments, we will find no scope for comparison at all: a waste of public funds with nothing positive in return.
We must, therefore, admit that in Morocco, there are many education specialists who are more acutely aware of the conditions under which the educational system survives and who have more hands-on experience. But, as usual, we do not invite them to try their hands at the profession even if we very well know that they will not ask as much from us as foreigners do. In earnest, we usually look down on them, claiming that they do not deserve to make an attempt to solve or alleviate the predicament our education system suffers from.
It is not long ago that we called on Belgian Xavier Rogers, scholar and researcher, to apply Pedagogy of Integration in our schools. What has he done to the Emergency Plan 2009-2012? He simply devoured billions out of the Ministry of Education’s budget. Our education has remained as deplorable as it used to be before the Emergency Plan. Oh, sorry! It has even gotten worse than before.
Is it not a shame that the Ministry has devoted more than three million dollars to the Plan with no improvement seen in our education? Are we not yet aware where these millions have gone? Most of them have gone to the pockets of the Belgian researcher. Frankly, we must not blame him, for he did his job. Instead, we must blame ourselves for giving charity to Xavier Rogers, and not hiring Moroccan specialists. Is it not by coincidence that Belgian coach Eric Gerets and Xavier Rogers have a lot in common: larger-than-life payments and failures.
I hope you still remember the worst-ever accident that occurred in Tichka’s snakelike, shoddy roads, which claimed 44 lives and left 23 injured. Here, the question that we must ask is: why has the government not built a tunnel through Tichka’s mountainous road? Simply, for the government, charity does not begin next door. Building tunnels in such a remote place will benefit the neglected Moroccans in Zagora and the surrounding areas, whereas importing the extremely costly TGV project, a sophisticated, high-speed train, will benefit the French government, especially the unemployed French engineers. Doesn’t Moroccan “charity” begin next door?
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