By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World news
Sidi Ifni, Nov 11, 2012
Is it not high time that Moroccans, the intelligentsia in particular, called for voicing their concerns in the most widely-spoken language worldwide? Is it not high time that Moroccan students and teachers of English demanded that they stay in touch with the latest, authentic news in English to best comprehend what is going on in their society, making use of the language they learn and teach? Would it not be an advantage for us to use English, in its both written and spoken forms, to impart to the whole world that Morocco is also a land of investment potential, especially since this is the global language of the international business community?
At a time when many countries have put into practice the truism that language is power, we Moroccans are still ignoring this power, which if used sufficiently enough, will make the world identify with us more deeply and meaningfully. Media, like language, is also power. Yet, it appears that our Moroccan media has been more French than the French and rarely represent the Moroccan masses. Since English is spoken in nearly all corners of the world, is it not common sense to raise our concerns and impart what we want to impart via this language?
One of the misconceptions we have about English as a foreign language taught in Morocco is that not every Moroccan speaks and writes good English. Yet, according to the Ministry of Education, the language the Moroccan masses are extremely poor at is French, and when the Moroccan media uses it to broadcast news, it usually addresses the educated elite. Certainly, this does not necessarily lead us to conclude that English addresses most Moroccans, but rather that we must capitalize on English to tell our stories, share our troubles, communicate our traditions, and to cross-culturally exchange ideas and beliefs as far as China.
Surprising though it may be, many Moroccans are excellent masters of English in the written and spoken mediums. What still renders Moroccan writers and speakers of English unknowingly self-effacing is the Moroccan media has not yet thought about including English as an equally vital tool of communication, especially in the presence of the current, globalized world.
Nobody can deny that many attempts have been made to bring to life a Moroccan English-based voice, but they have all come to no fruition, mainly because the government has not been percipient enough to deem English as an inescapable means of communication here in Morocco. In Casablanca, Mohamed Oujetti, a professor at Ain Shock University, along with his colleagues, launched the first Moroccan English-language newspaper, but it lived shortly, no more than two years.
Moroccan aspirants to this newspaper and its loyal readers were astounded by its sudden death. If they had delved into the reasons behind the demise of this newspaper, they would have discovered and unveiled many motives, some of which are ideology-related reasons and negligence of the English language in many state institutions.
Whatever the reasons, the absence of English in Moroccan media does Morocco harm. It prevents many talented writers in English from appearing on their state television, speaking in English, the language they feel more acquainted with. It prevents our young learners of English to tune into an English language channel and dissuades them in the first place from having more interest in learning English they do not have their own English channel to provide them with this slightest impetus. Regardless of whether the Moroccan audience takes interest in watching programs in English, is there any harm in airing them? At the very least, they will be for the benefit of our children and eager learners of this universal language.
Still, Moroccans can learn English without any help from the Moroccan media. But, to teach others, English-speaking countries, in particular, about our culture and identity, we must do our best to develop a voice in English, especially at a time when many Moroccan masters of English write in a compelling manner. Most of them are impatiently waiting for the Moroccan media to open its arms to another language whose speakers are known for their outspokenness, bravery, plain truth, and accuracy of their writing content.
Just because our Moroccan media is still carefree and neglectful of English as an invaluable means of communication, many journalists, writers, bloggers, public speakers have either died undiscovered or left their home country for an English-speaking one where they can speak their mind in the language they feel solace in, especially as regards to politics, literature, advertising, science, cross-cultural communication and the like.
Foreigners from America and England themselves have admitted to and praised the talents of Moroccans speaking and writing English. Some of them still wonder how Moroccans could have seized such a fluent and accurate mastery of English even though the latter is not their mother tongue. Why don’t we then take advantage of our talents in this amazing language as soon as possible? No doubt, the best of this language can be demonstrated best in Moroccan media.
We must remind ourselves that Moroccan media which gives an image, either true or false, about Moroccan identity tells a lot about who Moroccans really are. What if English were used along with Arabic and French? Undoubtedly, Morocco would immediately gain more presence in world issues than ever before. For instance, the Sahara issue would be communicated more convincingly if our Moroccan media used English, the language the United Nations usually tends to focus on and comprehend best.
No matter who and what has been behind the absence of English in the Moroccan media, going without this language is causing Morocco more harm than good, and killing Moroccan spirits who have waited with bated breath to voice their opinions about their current fields, ranging from politics to education. Competence per se in English has never been an issue. In fact, the crux of the matter as a whole mainly consists in the marginalization, neglect and seclusion this language has suffered from for decades in Morocco.
With the setting up of online Moroccan English-language news outlets, Moroccan speakers and writers of English are now taking a great delight in keeping up with up-to-the-minute news, articles, and stories about their home country in particular and the world at large. Given the fact that Moroccan culture and concerns have been scarcely delineated in English, very few online news outlets are currently breaking ground to come up with the most original stories about Morocco in virtually all respects.
According to many interviewed American and English visitors to Morocco, Morocco World News website has to a larger extent lived up to the expectations of many Moroccans who have been crestfallen about the Moroccan media. Since I first became acquainted with this lovely language English, I have always looked forward to a Moroccan media where I can publish my works in English and share them with an audience that too takes delight in the same pursuit as mine.
Since I began writing for and getting published on Morocco World News, I have polished my writing style and have identified with a large audience. So, here, I have become aware of the vital role media plays in the professional development of one’s skills and competencies, especially in a language which is seldom used in the Moroccan context. Morocco World News has served the purpose of enlightening the path I have long pursued so long as Moroccan English-based media is still in its embryo. Although supplanting the missing void through Morocco World News, Moroccan media still have a lot of opportunity to offer avid followers of putting pen to paper in English.