Casablanca – Moroccans are a different breed of people. They are different enough to make you write an article about the cluster of thoughts, behaviors, and mental states that distinguish them from other people. Now let me list a number of attributes that will help you recognize a typical Moroccan in only two minutes!
Now, seriously—did you really think this article would be about that? Do you really think there is a Moroccan way of thinking? That would imply that we have 193 disparate ways of thinking, since we have 193 nations in the world. How could it get any more nonsensical than this?
I decided to write this article because I know numerous people who still believe things like, “This is how Moroccans think; why should I be surprised?” or, “Well, this is Morocco!” These hollow stereotypes have become methodologies of social analysis in our society.
When an incident or behavior in Morocco does not appeal to some of us, the first thing you expect to hear is one of these hasty “analytical stamps.” Some stick these “stamps” to anything they do not like about Morocco. Those sweeping conclusions have passed unnoticed and are now used ubiquitously. But, they are a far cry from being harmless.
“This is Morocco!”—You often hear Moroccan stand-up comedians say. They have started overusing it lately. You can also hear this phrase uttered by Moroccan “intellectuals,” “artists,” “politicians,” and all those who comment on social phenomena in the Kingdom.
But what does this say? National identity no longer evokes patriotic feelings as much as it does now. This phrase reminds us of all the things that just don’t seem to go right in our country. But the thing we don’t realize (or abstain from accepting) is that this concept of “Moroccaness” we blame is based on our failures.
National identity was a unifying force for many Moroccans in the past. The Arab and Amazigh identities that constitute our “Moroccaness” were also a source of pride and patriotic impulse. Today, the word Moroccan incites laughter or calls forth contempt and disgust. What has led us to reach such stage of “frozen national patriotism”?
Perhaps there is a propensity to take one manifestation of immorality and then amplify it to represent an entire community, ethnic group or nation. Essentialism has taken away our critical thinking, productivity, activism, patriotism, and optimism. We now define ourselves based on our failures, or those of others similar to us.
But why should acts of the minority taint the majority’s impression of itself? An answer to this would account for why concrete progress and development are happening at a snail’s pace. It is because the “It’s Morocco, and it will always be like this,” is the mentality of those who are pessimistic about positive change.
Change starts in the inside before it is reflected on the outside. Any attempt at doing things in reverse is like building a sand castle without understanding why it does not look the way we imagined it. Our ideas about and perceptions of our identities are actions themselves. Even the most revolutionary actions started as “baby ideas” before they were concretized.
How could your child take seriously your speech about being a good citizen when you, the mother and father, sound unconvinced by your own words? Don’t you see where the danger lies? It lies in the fact that those mentalities and states of mind are transmittable via socialization, education, and a plethora of other discourses. We cannot escape them, nor hide them from our kids.
It’s not because you’re Moroccan or live in Morocco that your success always seems out of your reach. Moroccans who “made it” outside of Morocco have exported their success from here—not the opposite. Your success is not beyond these borders, and Morocco is not a maze of failure or pit of losers. I can list many people who have “made it” in a myriad of fields both in and outside the Kingdom.
We tend to not choose our idols and role models wisely. Most of the time, they all come from disparate contexts. Ask a kid today, “who is your idol?” and you’ll get a response like, “My idol is Rihanna!” I’m not saying there is something wrong with having Rihanna as role model, but there is something wrong with thinking that you can just reproduce Rihanna in a completely different context, like in Morocco.
Now this illustration is meant to show our propensity for applying models of success, while still being inconsiderate of our local idiosyncrasies. This is the number one reason we see little to no positive change in our lives. Furthermore, this applies to all fields: politics, education, art, literature, etc. Ultimately, what has worked for others will not necessarily work for us.
What if we start being our own role models, our own archetypes of success? Why not stop your car when at a red light, instead of ignoring it because “all other Moroccans do it”? Why then do you wonder why road regulations are a failure? Why should you take inappropriate examples as modes of conduct? Is it because you want to dodge the responsibility of taking part in positive change?
Yes, you’re Moroccan, and yes, this Morocco! But no, it’s not the reason why you should mythologize positive change or open your heart to cynicism and lack of willingness in all your endeavors.
Start now! Stop feeding on essentialist, frozen ideas of how things could have been better if you were born in a different country or era. Be your own success model even before you succeed. Visualize your success instead of dooming your endeavors to failure before they see daylight. Rid yourself of a lack of long-term vision!
Edited by Katrina Bushko
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed