INEZGANE, Morocco - Open mindedness, scientific curiosity and willingness to grow intellectually and emotionally are great assets for people to go the extra mile and build bridges of understanding and mutual trust between world people.
INEZGANE, Morocco – Open mindedness, scientific curiosity and willingness to grow intellectually and emotionally are great assets for people to go the extra mile and build bridges of understanding and mutual trust between world people.
My experience as a Fulbright exchange teacher was interesting, rewarding and very much gratifying in this respect. I had the feeling that the experience was very much appreciated by all; students, teachers and administrators. Within this unique experience I tried my best in the least to give as much as I received. I felt a great commitment towards my American students, very much the same as towards my Moroccan ones. I felt I had to do my best to make them benefit from my presence among them and within their institution. I also tried as much as I could to get in touch with my American colleagues and have constructive discussions with them.
The last thing I did before getting back home was planting a tree in Morristown, Indiana. One of my students suggested it ought to have a name composed of seven letters. The best seven- letter- word I could think of was ‘Morocco’. So, that tree was called Morocco. My hope is that it will solidly root itself and grow tall and strong as a symbol of Moroccan-American friendship. In my exchange partner’s classroom there was a quotation that read: “Kind hearts, like garden flowers bring grace and harmony into our world.” These wise words could sum up the standpoint of an American colleague in reaction to someone who did not seem to be for the ‘bridge building’ approach and spirit. It all came through a forwarded e-mail my colleague received.
The message preached religious misunderstanding, mistrust and prejudice towards people from other civilizations. Seemingly, this whole process of e-mail forwarding started in reaction to some extremist cleric from the Middle East. The whole thing boiled down to a yet further extremist reaction from someone who appointed himself defendant of western values. I suppose, all rational people would agree, that no two wrongs would make a right.
It seems that this philosophical quote by Bertrand Russell: “it is either co-existence or non-existence” takes it over all extremism and all the one track mindedness certain people round the world tend to wrongly voice every now and then. These were my American colleague’s words in response to her friend: “I am deeply offended by the forwarded message that I have just received from you. Please understand that I do NOT blame you for forwarding it to me specifically. It’s just that I was devastated to see such mistrust and prejudice being perpetuated via the internet. E-mails such as this one are the reasons for the stereotyping that so many Americans and friends of our country face.” Please, do not include me anymore in your forward list”.
After reading these fine and illuminating words from my much esteemed colleague Ms. S , I couldn’t help but hold her in esteem and count her among the successful communicators and tolerant bridge builders who strive to do a fine, courageous, and remarkable job in bringing people together and making their lives more stable in this rough world of ours. Before I conclude, I would like to reiterate the following message: “When you build bridges you can keep crossing them.” I wish more and more people could make some of the wise and kind words from the human inventory for peace as their source of inspiration and relentlessly work towards achieving the message they convey for a better future in a better world for each and all.
Articles written by Mohamed El Hassan Abou El Fadel in Morocco World News are taken from his Cultural Journals. The articles feature his reflections on an important part of his educational and cultural experiences in the US as an American Field Service exchange student, a Fulbright exchange teacher and a University of Delaware alumnus.
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