Smara, Morocco – One of the reasons that will never let Arabs develop is the way they view themselves. We think of ourselves as animals all the time.
We compare our children and students to dogs, monkeys and donkeys. We describe our neighbors and friends as scorpions, serpents and cobras. Our leaders are treated as lions, foxes and tigers. When we blame ourselves or regret something, we say to ourselves “I am the donkey. I deserve what happens to me”. This perception of the self as animals has affected, directly or indirectly, the way some men in our countries see themselves and their life stages.
In Morocco, for the moment, many uneducated and even educated people think of their lives in terms of passing from the stage of being a lion, to the stage of being a donkey arriving to the stage of being a dog. This appears so strange in fact. But some men think of it as a truth and they accept it the way it is and use it as a fatal justification to give legitimacy to living their lives the way they should not in fact.
As a teacher, I have spent many days and night reading many philosophers and psychologists ‘theories of being and their stage of children and humans’ development like Freud, Jung and Piaget. These men spent their lives studying children and humans before they end up writing their stages of development based on research, theory and science. On the other hand, a friend of mine lately shocked me by his theory of man’s life when he departmentalized a man’s life into three stages.
My friend said that the first stage of a man’s life is the stage of being a lion. This is the stage that precedes marriage. Before an Arab marries, he thinks of himself as a lion in the jungle. He is the king of the forest. He has the right to do whatever he wants, the way he wants, when he wants without anyone’s interference in their lives. At this stage of his life, the man can fall in love with whomever he likes, go wherever he wants, comes to his home whenever he wishes, and wear what he wants. This is the stage of total freedom.
Secondly, when one marries, he changes from being a lion to being a donkey. My friend and many of this theory’s followers believe that when a husband has children and a wife, he is doomed to spend his time working hard to earn more money, more food, and more clothes for them. He works as hard as a donkey to satisfy and afford their basic needs. He forgets about his own needs. He doesn’t take care of his look, his clothes and his food. All what matters for him is to see his children eat and wear the clothes they want and grow up the way they want.
Fathers and husbands forget about their own life. Their lives stop at that point. All they think about is their children and their future. Those fathers stop dreaming of better lives for themselves, of studying, travelling and enjoying life. For this category of fathers/donkeys, their only duty is to work as a donkey to serve their offspring and wives.
When they become old, time comes to move to the third stage of their lives: being a dog. Meaning that the old men spend their whole days and nights barking like dogs at home. They shout at everyone and everything. They criticize their children’s style of clothing, eating, and their friends. They comment on their wives’ every single deed no matter how small or big, good or bad. They have always something to say about the food their wives cook. When the kids open the doors, the old parents ask them to close the windows and when the kids close the windows, the old men ask them to open the doors. It is never easy to satisfy their desires. That is why our theorist describes them as dogs. They keep barking and screaming all the time.
Writing about these stages of some men’s lives has to push us to ask ourselves if this is the right life we deserve to live. Why should we not see ourselves as humans moving from childhood, singlehood, adulthood and marital life and stop viewing ourselves as lions, donkeys then dogs. Investments in people’s minds should take place before we invest in infrastructure. We should see ourselves as humans and citizens who have the right to lead a life of humans not a life of animals because we are living and we are born to live at home not in a zoo.
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