By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Smara, July 24, 2013
Every day they sit in same cafés, booking the same chairs and tables, meeting the same friends, talking about the same topics and subjects, drinking the same coffee from the same cups and doing the same “Walo” or nothing. They are not illiterate and they are not ignorant. Most of them have spent decades of their lives in schools, high schools and universities. They have good jobs and families, but they chose to stop reading. Thus they choose gossip.
In many Moroccan cities, I keep moving between cafés to look for a certain space where I can find people reading their books, stories, novels or magazines. The place I am looking for seems hard to find, at least in the south. The simplest conclusion that we reach is that our people do not read. They spend most of their mornings and evenings together with their friends talking about each other’s personal and private lives. They work hard to gather information about their friends, colleagues, students, neighbors, headmasters, wives, and friends’ wives as well. They have files of detailed information about the people they know and those they do not know.
Their heads are like a computer, the only thing you need to do is to Google the name of a person and then, on the spot, the files and mouths are opened with specific details about what they do, drink, eat, play, like or hate. They can tell you about the person’s childhood, school and university days, their work, their past, their present and even about their future plans. They share what they know about each other with one another.
At home, some of them ask their wives to tell them the news of the neighbors and the neighborhoods, what they heard in women’s public bathrooms (Hammams), and as soon as they eat their lunch, they rush to the same cafés to tell their friend what they heard from their wives at home. This is how most teachers in our country spend their days unfortunately.
Of course, there are exceptions. But the majority of teachers who work in administrations, delegations, academies and those who are members of Unions and political parties are living their lives this way: gossip is their main activity they do and they are masters of it. Some of them are like secret detectives. They inform the administration, and even the police, about what is happening in others’ classrooms and schools. The only thing they search for is each other’s mistakes, speeches, and deeds. They open their eyes and ears to see and hear before they open their mouths to inform and spread the news.
Undoubtedly, we are a nation of reading because the first verse and verb that God asked the prophet Mohamed to do is “Read”. Yes, reading is the first command Muslims are asked to do, because it is only through reading that we can understand our religion, worship God correctly and perfectly, fight evil and achieve cultural, religious, social and economic development. But, the truth that we always hide is that we are a nation that does not read.
Nobody, in a general sense, reads in our communities: parents do not read, teachers do not read, and the result is a generation of students and learners who do not read because reading is not considered a priority inside our culture. We spend half of our lives eating, sleeping and gossiping. It is a shame to see herds of teachers and crowds of intellectuals sitting by day and by night in cafés without daring to open a book or share their ideas and knowledge in cultural centers with the public.
This is the opposite for tourists who visit our cities, villages, mountains, and beaches. Tourists always hold a book, a play, a magazine or a novel. They read as they drink their coffees, while they enjoy the sun on our beaches, while the only thing we do is open our eyes and mouths to watch each other, and then talk about one another. The gossipers sit outside cafés watching the passersby.
They pay attention to what their clothes and shoes. They learn by heart the morphology of women’s bodies. They keep changing the direction of their heads and necks up and down and from the left to the right all day. A lot of energy, hard work and intelligence is wasted in doing nothing, talking about nothing, sewing nothing, and the result is harvesting nothing as Shakespeare said because ‘nothing comes out of nothing”. Gossip is a bad social habit.
For some teachers, it is a job and hobby. They should understand that they should close their eyes and mouths and invest their energy in developing themselves and their communities. Our nation needs a generation of fathers and mothers who read. Development is the son of reading and working, not the result of mere talking and gossiping.
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