By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, December 17, 2012
Whenever I write an article that is critical of a category of our society, some readers instantly set out to criticize me for the sole reason that I criticize others. No doubt, criticizing is the easiest thing to do, and when one sets out to criticize others for something out of place, it does not mean that the criticizer is wiser than the criticized.
For instance, instead of criticizing the content of the article or the perspective from which it is written, they go on to criticize me, saying that I should stop criticizing others. “You criticize a lot; you must stop doing so,” some of them say. Unfortunately, what they do not bear in mind is that they too criticize me, and the common denominator between them and me is that we all indulge in criticism. I think the only difference between us is that they criticize me by name, while I criticize others anonymously.
By nature, no one likes to be criticized. And to be criticized constructively is much praised by some people. Criticizing an article in which one expresses his or her point of view is universally praised. Yet, to criticize a man or woman who has written a certain article just because he or she harshly criticizes others is a different matter.
It is here where my vision and that of those readers collide. In my view, I criticize whenever I notice something amiss. In all frankness, I have even anonymously criticized myself many times, but I do not reveal this secret. I always believe in the power of criticism as long as it is constructive. Without criticism, we can not fully grasp our weaknesses and strengths.
Among the remarks I received shortly after writing “Teachers who teach things they do not even master” are thus: ‘Who do you think you are?’ ,’Don’t you make mistakes yourself?’; ‘Are you perfect?’; ‘Are you implying that you master what you teach?’ and so forth. Yes, I make mistakes. In earnest, I do not know what all these questions have to do with me and why I am included in these questions.
Instead of disproving that there are public school teachers who teach what they themselves do not master, they have chosen to castigate me and relate the content to me. So long as I criticize teachers anonymously and in general, is there anything wrong in this simple act? What is the use of “Who” in the title if it was not meant to avoid generalizations. It is a pity that the remarks have been made by teachers themselves.
As we know, the birth of readers is necessitated by the death of writers. For readers to interact meaningfully with a certain text, they must forget about the writer, discuss ideas and tout attitudes. Resorting to the writer can assist in comprehending the text more, not necessarily in succeeding in criticism.
Our problem is that we have a serious misconception what good criticism is in that we criticize the person that writes, not the ideas laid down by the writer. As regards my articles on women, many readers have written to me, remarking that I am a misogynist and that I have a complex against the fair sex. It is also a pity that they criticized me solely for criticizing some wrong practices, such as the conditions set by women on the proposal day. Why don’t they, for instance, criticize some of the ideas that may not match theirs? Why don’t they also write in response to some points at which I might have gone astray?
For nations to move forward, they must learn from one another and simultaneously criticize each other on the basis of their own ideas, not on the basis of their different personalities. If we set out to relate our wrong practices in society to ‘perpetrators’, I do not think we will succeed in reaching genuine understanding and effective communication. Readers who advise me not to criticize must have forgotten that in criticizing, we learn, benefit one another, draw our attention to signs of social hypocrisy, and succeed to do away with as much evil as possible.
Many great people, including Mahatma Ghandi, have mentioned in their auto-biographies that thanks to criticism, they have become what they are. But, they have not at any point in their lives appreciated the act of criticizing their personality as such. Winston Churchill once wrote that if we stop at each dog that barks, we will never reach our destination. It is crystal clear that he was hinting at people that criticize others for the sake of criticizing, nothing more. I would conclude by saying that great minds criticize attitudes, average people criticize ideas, and small minds criticize people who criticize wrong practices.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy