Omar Taky Eddine
Omar Taky Eddine
Morocco World News
Agadir, Oct 24, 2012
In developed countries, students enjoy a special place which distinguishes them from others. They are viewed as the founding pillars of the future of the nation; they are the doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, and workers of the future. Even in our holy book, the Quran, we find that God privileged students with a certain value that not all people have. Allah has said, in Surat Az-Zumar, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” Of course they aren’t. Yet, in spite of the privilege students have in Islam, their circumstances today, especially in the Muslim world, remain heartrending, deplorable and difficult to imagine.
Students in my beloved country, Morocco, are no exception. Upon receiving their baccalaureate, after long, arduous years of study, the majority of Moroccan students find themselves compelled to take their luggage, leave their families behind, and hit the road toward a faraway university, toward the unknown. One of these students is a well-mannered young man named Youssef.
Hoping for a better life and bright future for himself and his parents, Youssef decided, last year, to further his studies at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences in Rabat. The poor financial circumstances of his father, a chariot carrier, made this difficult. However, determined to fulfill his dream, an energetic Youssef left his hometown for Rabat.
Unfortunately, like many other Moroccan students, the beginning of Youssef’s dream was a nightmare. The first difficulty he encountered was finding a place to stay. After spending some nights sleeping in run-down, cheap hotels fully aware that he wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of renting a room in the capital, Youssef made up his mind that there was no other choice but to get a room in the dormitory. After several unsuccessful attempts at convincing the director of the dormitory for a place, and with just few Dirhams in his pocket, Youssef decided to sleep in the library.
I usually saw Youssef at the library, where I spent a lot of time. I never imagined that he was sleeping there. One day I read a moving note that had been stuck to the library door. The message went like this: “Salam Alaykom (peace be upon you). My name is Youssef, I’m 19 years old and I’m from Safi. I’m studying Psychology at the Faculty of Letters. My problem is that I don’t have a room to live in; I’ve spent the whole semester sleeping in the library. The weather is cold now and I cannot bear it any more. I have pain in my bones especially in my knees and my neck. For anyone who can help, please call me on the following number. Allah does not waste the reward of the good-doers. Thank you”.
It was after reading this poignant message that I had the opportunity to meet Youssef, ‘the militant’ and ‘the seeker of knowledge,’ as I came to call him. This student is just one of the hundreds of Moroccan students whose only fault is that they were born in a country that has failed, to a large degree, to provide them with the appropriate conditions for advancing their studies. Such a reality of Moroccan students tears my heart apart. It shows that our country doesn’t care about us. It shows that our country disdains and neglects us.
If we really want our country to have a place among the developed countries, we need to give our students a sense of belonging. If we really want future generations to continue rolling the wheel of progress, we need to take care of them. Students don’t want to hate their country, but sometimes it seems as though their country hates them. Unhealthy food, cheap scholarships, insufficient dormitories, unsuccessful reforms, an ambiguous future, and pathetic university resources make students feel that their country does, indeed, neglect and despise them.
Yet, in spite of all these stumbling blocks facing Moroccan students, they have proven that they can achieve their goals no matter how thorny their conditions are. They are confronting the carelessness of their country with their unconditional love of knowledge. Like Youssef, who has finished all his modules with distinction, Moroccan students can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They have proven that they can achieve their goals thanks to their determination, hard work, and perseverance.
At the time of this writing, the dormitory in Rabat is still closing its gate in the face of the students. Despite all the attempts by students to attract public attention to their problem, nothing has happened so far.
So, dear readers, whenever you see a Moroccan university student, remember the story of Youssef and the ones like him. More crucially, remember that despite all the suffering, we students, are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure a better future for ourselves and thus, for our country. We always bear in mind that the future of this country lies in our hands. We love our country no matter how badly she is treating us, and we will always love her to the last breath, to the last beat of our heart, and to the last drop of our blood.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy