By Hicham Kasmi
By Hicham Kasmi
Morocco World News
Meknes, Morocco, January 31, 2013
Whenever reading about youth, one is likely to encounter such expressions as: Youth are energetic, youth are creative, youth are idealistic, and youth are perfection seekers. Indeed, this is quite true because youth approach many things with a clean state and are not affected by the accumulated prejudices coming from previous life experiences These characteristics are supposed to render youth a very essential part of society because they have the potential and energy needed to develop any country, in addition to the imagination to create new ideas. However, youth in reality may not always enjoy these criteria, and may not direct their attention and energy in the right direction.
Politics, as an example, is a very important domain that is worth the interest of youth, because it is the platform that can make their ideas remarkable and influencing. However, in Morocco, which constitutes our main concern, youth do not seem to be interested in politics nor they have a good attitude towards politicians. Politics in the Moroccan youth perception is synonymous with corruption, and politicians are held accountable for the miserable situation of the country. These ideas, in turn, hinder Moroccan youth from invading the world of politics. Still, there are two important questions that come to the surface: Why do Moroccan youth abandon politics? And is it the right thing to do?
In attempting to understand the poor participation of Moroccan youth in politics, one should take a step backward in Moroccan history. Among the things the Moroccan youth inherited is the fear from “Almakhzen” (authorities) coming from “Sanawat Arasas” (years of lead) when demonstrations were faced by force, and youth were sent to prisons as the famous “Derb moulay chrif.” I think that the dark history of Morocco is still affecting the youth’s perception of politics, and pushes them to reconsider the idea of participating in political life. This may account for the famous answer I got from the majority of my respondents: “Siyassa fiha ghi sda3 olmashakil” or in English, “politics is too risky.”
Evidently, media is shaping our point of views, attitudes and all aspects of life regardless of age or gender; it is the glass through which we see the world. Youth, hence, are not an exception. It is not an exaggeration to say that the interests and tendencies of youth are shaped by media. So do media encourage youth to participate in the political life?
From my point of view, I would never hesitate to assert that the media does not encourage and orient youth towards politics. Whenever you turn on TV, you find one of these so called “programs” inviting an “artist” and asking him/her such typical questions as “what are your latest projects?” and “would you please share your career with the audience”. The interviewee starts preaching about his career and the privileged life s/he is having now. Youth, are by consequence affected and relate success to artists, and ironically every young man or woman starts dreaming of taking “the flag of the Moroccan art or sport” very high, but only few are left to express some interest in politics or devote as much time as they spend analyzing football matches or Turkish TV series to analyze political events.
One paradox in Morocco is that youth constitute a large part of Moroccan society, but they have a poor representation in the Moroccan political realm. According to an article published by Hibapress, a Moroccan e-news website, on November 16, 2012, the percentage of Moroccan youth participation in politics is only 1%. While the exact number maybe questioned, the poor participation of youth can be backed by variant examples, and the individual can follow the older ages of many Moroccan politicians because they have been in “the political struggle” for decades.
I think that monopolizing the political scene by old people hinders the ambitions of youth who need some space to express their creative ideas. It goes without saying that old people are valuable and have a lot to contribute with their long experience, but this doesn’t mean underestimating the value of youth, the latter who should be given the chance to express their ideas and updated way of thinking.
Up to now, I have stated some of the obstacles that justify the poor participation of Moroccan youth in politics. Now it is time to ask the following question: is it right to abandon politics? We can categorize youth abandoning politics into two groups based on their reasons: first there are those who are not interested in politics, because they are busy with art sports or other fields. The second group consists of those who reject politics because they have morals and principles to save. In both cases, I say that youth should invade politics, and participate in elections and parties. The counter opinion, however, may proclaim, “how can you ask youth to participate in corrupted parties?” I say, “when youth withdraw from politics they are neither candidates, party members, nor voters. They are, by consequence, helping corrupted candidates to win because the latter find no competition and only voters who take bribes will vote.”
To conclude this article, I say that all Moroccan youth aspire for change, for a better life, equality and dignity. However, these demands and others require more than just watching and criticizing, more than the discussions we have in the hidden shadows whispering and condemning the status-quo. It requires from all of us, starting with the writer himself, to invade the over-crowded world of politics and struggle to have a position and scream our thoughts, ideas, and demands very loudly so they no longer remain buried in our minds and hearts. We should all be aware that a different tomorrow means planning and working hard, starting now.
Kasmi Hicham is a master student at the Faculty of Art in the University of Moulay Ismail, Meknes. He obtained his BA in collaborative learning from the same University.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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