By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Smara, Morocco, January 03, 2013
There has always been a rational and a national relationship between eating and reading in our beloved kingdom. People read either because they want to eat, to get a job and an income to afford what they cook and what they eat.
Unfortunately, the relationship between the two verbs should be pondered over. What we should take for granted is that our learning process does not end upon getting a university degree, or by holding a Master or PhD. Our learning starts with every sunrise and every morning. Every day we live is a second chance to widen our knowledge, broaden our know-how and sharpen our skills and experiences, correct our mistakes, revise our previous days’ lessons and do our duties and homework or lifework.
What we see in our daily lives are heads that wither day after day and knowledge that entombs itself year after year. Schooled people, who have spent decades of their lives attending schools, turn out to be self-destroyers and head-cutters. They stop reading and forget about learning. Once they receive their academic degrees, they close the chapters of learning and the process of forgetting starts. They engrave their pens and books. This is a bitter reality.
I know a great number of people who hate books and who do not dare to walk with a book in their hand while being in public gardens, on the beach or in a café. They feel shy and shameful to be seen with their stories, novels or books. They believe that they should not be seen reading because that would mean they are not like others. But, why should we be like the herds? Why should we force ourselves and our heads to be like headless and un-thoughtful beings?
Thursday is the market day where I work for instance. Early in the mornings, fathers and mothers take their bags and go to the market. They buy all kinds of vegetables and fruits and they come back, content waiting for the next Thursday to go there again. They walk side by side only from the market day to the market day. They talk about prices of tomatoes and potatoes and the rise in prices.
I rarely see those couples walking hand in hand and side by side on the other days of the week having an errand and enjoying themselves in a public garden. They never dare to go into a book store so as to buy books for their kids. Parents in Morocco, most of them, buy books once a year. They buy them at the beginning of the school year and their kids sell them at the end of the year.
What will change our lifestyle is what we read, not what we eat, what we think, not what we swallow, wear and drink. Beautiful illiterate faces are ugly and well-dressed empty heads are naked. When living is watered by reading there is contentment in life and when living is watered by the water of ignorance, that’s death in its bitter meaning.
The social projects and the change we desire and talk about is going to come from within our minds not out of stomachs. The progress of our regions and country will come from the schools and the libraries not from the ‘souks,’ the shops and supermarkets. Our leaders must invest in education that encourages reading not in an education of eating.
Recently, everybody was talking about the biggest eater in Morocco. A person who has nothing in this world but his belly, a person who thinks about nothing but merely about what to eat and who will pay for his meals while he enjoys laziness and unemployment.
The man is proud of eating more than four families can eat with absolutely no feeling of shame. He is looking for who will help him break the record in eating to bring us a golden medal made of omelet or couscous. What surprised me is that instead of introducing to Moroccans the biggest reader, we are telling them about this source of national ‘pride’ – “The biggest eater.”