Tunis - When I was a child, "to say that memory believes before knowing remembers and that it believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders," I used to rely upon my heart in everything I feel like being into close contact with. Things were perfectly at home. I did not understand. I used to play wherever I liked. I used to sleep wherever I liked. I even remember I used to scream and shout whenever somebody makes the mistake of taking my toys away from me. People were excessively kind with me. They were always there to come to my rescue and bring my toys back to me. What is wrong with them now that I am still a child and a man?
Tunis – When I was a child, “to say that memory believes before knowing remembers and that it believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders,” I used to rely upon my heart in everything I feel like being into close contact with. Things were perfectly at home. I did not understand. I used to play wherever I liked. I used to sleep wherever I liked. I even remember I used to scream and shout whenever somebody makes the mistake of taking my toys away from me. People were excessively kind with me. They were always there to come to my rescue and bring my toys back to me. What is wrong with them now that I am still a child and a man?
I used to scream and shout sometimes for no particular reason. Perhaps it was just for the mere pleasure of it or say when I feel something must take its course or when I feel something is missing. It is absolutely unheard of for me to remain silent. I hated silence deep in my heart. There was no such thing as deception and dupery. But most of all, there was no such thing as hatred. I do not say there was no devilment. This is really to tell no truth. We were devilment in person. But there was no such thing as hatred or mediocrity. Our hearts are not made for such feelings. Our hands are not made for killings. “Dieu, tu ne nous as point donné des coeurs pour nous hair et des mains pour nous égorger. Fais que nous nous aidons mutuellement à supporter ce fardeau pénible d’une vie passagère.” VOLTAIRE, the most unfriendly of all philosophers, makes it in this way. When I was a child, I used to dream of many things. I would dream for instance of flying away high up and up in the sky so much so that I could join the birds in their journey of immigration.
I would dream for another instance of sailing in the sea looking towards the treasure island where I could live alone for some time and search for gold and then come back only to share it with others. I would dream of going to the forest there where I could live with wild animals without being afraid of them. Sometimes, I would be overtaken with fear from the unknown especially when I find my self on my own in the forest. But then, inspite of it, I would go on and grope my way in the forest and strengthen my self with hopes of finding huge creatures who, when seen, I would never relinquish them that I become similar to them they were so dear to me. I would go on and keep going on my way which I thought was endless because had I been of the illusion that my way had an end I would have never tried and tired my self following it to its end. I would go on till your shadows, all of a sudden, fell on me without my knowing of them. So, I laughed and discovered that company was fruitless. When I was a child, I used to fancy that the forest was to be approched with company lest the wolves would arrange our fleshes for their food.
The forest, I continued to fancy, was to be explored with company lest the giants whose brightness would be blinding would adopt us for their sons. Again, your shadows suddenly came upon me and accordingly I screamed bitterly and protestingly; Leave me alone, leave me alone, please, for hope I find the giants. I would not laugh any more. Leave me alone. Why do you insist on hurting me? I will not be inferior or even similar to all of you. I would scream and yell into causing you to leave me alone that I never wanted your company that it would never guide me to see the giants whose brightness is blinding. Leave me on my own that I want to approach the forest and care no more for my safety I want to be lost. Leave me on my own because I have good hopes of meeting and even talking with those whom you think had long departed. Leave me on my own I do not want your company it would rather propel me to my loss that I want to be lost without your presence near or close to me I want to be lost in the forest I do not want your words and premonitions. Leave me alone I would not care if I got lost it is not you who would save me or guide me to see the light of the day you have not seen your selves why do you want me to believe you that you your selves you do not believe in your selves? I want to enter the forest and be the less deceived. I understand the gliding of the forest and I do not understand you.
Let me grope my own way then that I hate your ways they are to come to an end mine will never come to it. Leave me alone I abhor you if you keep hurting me I never asked you for no more than to leave me alone. Leave me alone your shadows will not cause me to clasp my hands and shreik and laugh in ecstasy they will cause me rather to sigh that you are preventing me and depriving me of seeing the giants whose brightnesss is blinding. Leave me alone I want to be told nothing of your words I do not understand them you do not understand me. I am still a child and I will not pretend to know as you do. Leave me alone who are you to make my way come to an unexpected end you had expected it? I do not want you why do you want me to want you that I do not want you? Go to the forest why do you insist on impoverishing the tree you are not rich enough to leave the tree and help it grow naturally that it hates your ground that it hates your drugs that it hates your science and chemistry?
Leave me alone and go and explore the forest it is better than getting the tree weakened it would not be capable of yielding some fruits that it is not sterile like you. Leave me alone I do not love you let alone to want you to show me the way out of the forest. Who told you that I wanted to be shown the way that I want to know by my self that I want to get lost if I tried to enter the forest and get lost without your company that I wanted to get lost in the forest and no one to be lost with me that I want no one to be lost with me? Leave me alone and instead of reading me read your selves I never want to read you that I want to read my self instead of reading you. Leave me alone do you think I will keep reading you and never try to read my self always reading never to be read? Leave me alone I care less for gain as for loss it is my gain when I find you are not my company you are not to help me to enter the forest you stand against me you paint water that I will never drink. Leave me alone I have my heart and my mind set on it and if I get lost I would have been lost without causing any one else to be lost with me that I want to enter the forest alone why do you keep monitoring me? Let me be. Let me choose my own way and instead of fooling me and your selves listen to Percy Shelley (a man of insight but victim of time):
I vowed that I would dedicate my powers To thee and thine _ have I not kept the vow? With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now I call the phantoms of a thousand hours Each from his voiceless grave: they have in visioned bowers In studious zeal or love’s delight Outwatched with me the envious night _ They know that never joy illumed my brow Unlinked with hope that thou wouldst free This world from its dark slavery That thou _ O awful LOVELINESS, Wouldst give whatever these words cannot express.
When I was a child, I had my own toys and I gave them to those children who were around me and enjoyed it so much and hated it so much when those who thought they were adults took them away from us but never kept them for their children. When I was a child as I am now and still will be, I had had my own dreams that are now shattered and torn and things do not fall apart. I had had my own programmes that are now forgotten thanks to their obscurantist stratgies and ploys that they think are used for enlightenment they want to enlighten us with their obscurantist strategies and ploys they are never enlightened and those of them who serve as enlighteneres were never enlightened because our reality is so dark, dark, dark, and they are insisting on themselves to be believed and not only believed but also wanted and loved.
I would even dream of Sindibad of persia and wait for him all day long untiresomly to take me with him in his ship without giving a damn to dangers or premonitions. My world was so small and infinitesimal but my soul so big and gigantic . When I was a child, I would do exactly what my heart told me to do to the extent of going against others’ wills. Every now and then, I would rest in the sand oblivious to the sun and imagine and imagine how things would really have been had we kept listening to our hearts. What is happening these days? L’etre humain a malheureusement substitué la peur à presque toutes ses émotions. There is always this kind of retreat. On dit que mème les hommes les plus hardis peuvent avoir peur. Mais à quoi bon rester toujours saisi par la peur. Besides, Guy de Maupassant has this to add :
Remarquez bien ceci, Messieurs. Chez les Orientaux, la vie ne compte pour rien ; On est résigné tout de suite ; les nuits sont claires et vides de légendes, les àmes aussi vides des inquiétudes sombrent qui hantent les cerveaux dans les pays froids. En Orient, on peut connaitre la panique, on ignore la peur. Then Maupassant has got also this to clarify about what people dubb fear : La peur, c’est quelque chose d’effroyable, une sensation atroce, comme une décomposition de l’àme, un spasme affreux de la pensée et du cœur, dont le souvenir seul donne des frissons d’angoisse. Mais cela n’a lieu, quand on est brave, ni devant une attaque, ni devant la mort inévitable, ni devant toutes les formes connues de péril.
I do not really know what is happening these days. People fear one another and no longer trust one another because they are changing all the time. They no longer blieve in what the future is holding for them if they can just awake and build up for it being aware of it. People are starting to lose faith in themselves without reason. They think that everything is going badly everywhere and that hope is the word we give to dreamers who do not know that our reality is irreparable. The Urban Apocalypse is here to sustain their fear and keep it so inextricable and lively a part in their hearts; that with the disjointed rhythms of contemprary life, the lack of stability, THE SCREECHING OF BRAKES, and sudden death we are no longer to keep rosy dreams, high aspirations and great expectations change our outlook towards life. Are we to give in then and give up the struggle for life and continue living this death in life? Are we to exclaim on death to take us away out of this world? No wonder real people who have a strong will will never accept defeat. We are not made for defeat and therefore we will never degenerate into allowing others to profit from this and then take advantage of our futility. It is a temporary state beyond which we must traverse and remember it when we are through. Of course, not with laxness and indolence, not with vain hopes, not with performance of things transitory and worthless, not with poor imitation of others, not with ignorance we are likely to attain our aspirations. We work together as a unified group never shaken by the oppressing wind. A group together knowing what to do and what to avoid so as to make strides without conflicts arising from selfishness and exploitation. A group together defending its identity and fighting for its integrety. A group together analysing all things illusive and then deciphering their causes and no longer allowing them to meet their effects upon us. An all embracing awareness that success and progress are never the product of one or two or ten individuals. They are the offspring of a whole group living in a strong society preparing the ground for agreement not deriving pleasure out of opposition and antagonism which always cater for toppling. We need to be in harness with one another and be back in harness. Success and progress take time but failure and backwardness take no time. We need to take better hold of life.
All I know is that what is taking place for the time being is of no service to us neither now nor in the future. There is this kind of desolation always already altogether apparent to the one who looks around with a view of comprehending but also of analysing what people are like. It is as though they are determined to remain stuck in this social vicious circle which always consumes without yielding any rewarding results. There is this utterly disappointing disposition to do everything except what is of importance. No one seems to give an air of looking beyond these perpetual anachronistic ideas which are leading nowhere. People have made it lucid and clear the fact that they are not at all in a position to change or even make the effort of understanding one another. But then, they seem to have never been aware except of spying on and making fun of one another oblivious to such things as unity and coexistence in tune and harmony with one another. They are exchanging insults and grotesques while not knowing that in so doing they are moving backward and then they refuse to be told or given an account of it compared to what other people are doing. Take Europeans. It does not take some competence to notice that they have always had this will and desire to look for uptodateness despite the great trouble which is being taken for that. They have a lively faith in themselves and in everything they are doing no matter how different and sometimes strange are their ways of dealing with one another. They are not simply at ease with grotesque and empty talk. After all, gone is the age of trivial and empty talk. Gone is the age of acting and make belief. Here only accuracy and veracity whose benefit is for every one so within reach and belief. Europeans are people of spirit and correctness. They will not hear of humiliation or inferiority when compared to Americans for instance. Even when they are found in an inferior position, there is this pride which they never cease to take in themselves to the extent of bewildering Americans themselves who think they have made it after all. This is why cummings would say that France has happened more than it is happening and America is happening more than it has happened. This is understandable given the fact that Europeans never wittnessed colonization or foreign domination. What appears to them to be outdated and inaccurate will often take an artistic dimension and then quickly spring back and turn out to be something accurate because modernized. As for Americans, nowhere can a restive place where comfort and consolation are to be enjoyed outside Europe. Paris is one perfect example there where Americans would resort to at times of alineation and disillusionment. Paris the beautiful, Paris in whom our souls live. Cummings and many others would sometimes scoff at the huge difference between Paris and Newyork despite everything.
This is to say that propriety is so fundamental without which no wealth no technlogy no empowerment are to be of credit and consideration. Propriety is, in one word, freedom. A community whose propriety is effaced has no further claim of freedom. Asians have their own features on which identity is kept intact. It is propriety that always comes to the foreground in order to save people from deterioration. It is a source of motivation providing people with a propitiuos ground on which to start and move forward without inferiority complexes. As far as we are concerned, were any one to take the very liberty of asking me about our own propriety, I would say it is grotesque and empty talk. It is not clear that there is another thing beyond grotesque and empty talk of which we are the masters. It is as if we were sort of living in seclusion and isolation compared to what is happening abroad. But since things are never trivial in themselves, our ways of looking at them are more often than not so. Our propriety lies in having absolutely none which implies the lack of freedom from which we are constanty suffering and the repercussions of which we are always wrestling with.
This is why I always insist upon freedom in its various shapes to be sought for no matter how exorbitant the price to be paid and the effort to be invested will be for the sake of obtaining it. If there is anything that is so damaging and crippling then it is this feeling of not being free to do or even say things. When people are left to their own resources without restrictions and limitations, success and progress will become thinkable and an entreprise which is possible. Today, people are not at any rate allowed to be aware of that. But who said that we are not free? Don’t we see how free we are in producing grotesque and empty talk? Don’t we see even how free we are in not being free? We are not even free to say that we are not free let alone to ask for freedom.
But freedom is not something people should ask for. It is their very raison d’etre and essence of being. The Dasein of people is freedom. Il faut également et par voie de conséquence mettre et placer le Dasein sur ses bases et devant ses abimes. But then, it is worth pointing out in this respect of freedom the fact that le Dasein de l’ homme est en soi déjà inséré dans le Dasein des autres. C’ est-à-dire qu’ il n’ est tel qu’ il est que dans un etre ensemble avec les autres, pour et contre les autres. But then time and again, it is by no means to be forgotten the fact that Freedom is within us and each one of us black, red, yellow, and white is expressing it differently. It shall never cause any one any harm as long as no one is hurting the other which normally should be and must be his brother.
‘’Dites la vérité, aussi amère à dire soit-elle. Dis: Je crois en DIEU. Ensuite observe la droiture. Dites du bien vous gagnerez et taisez le mal et vous en serez saufs. Nul ne prévaut sur quelqu’ un d’ autre que par la foi et l’ œuvre pie. N’ a pas de fois qui n’ est pas digne de foi et n’ a pas de piété qui ne respecte pas son pacte. Nul d’ entre vous ne peut prétendre à la foi jusqu’ à ce qu’ il aime pour son frère ce qu’ il aime pour sa propre personne.’’ (Mohamed Peace and blessing be upon him)
I, sometimes, find myself overwhelmed with a feeling of pity towards ourselves with no exception worth of mentioning. But why pity? Pity has and should have its curiosity. A feeling of pity but also one of contrition I do not escape from except when I start watching over my own self regarding what others are thinking of themselves and of me. This is something, I believe, which cannot easily be helped because there are some people who keep on looking down on others without reason. Is it because they have more money in their wormy wooden drawers? Is it because they know more than others do? Or is it because they find pleasure while behaving that way? In whatever case, they absolutely have no reason whatever to do so. We are human beings. This is quite enough and sufficient. But is it enough to be human beings? We have to be free which is quite contradictory. We want to be free to decide for ourselves whether or not we will be free.
There it goes, life will not possibly stop in order to wait for us to wake up and do something fundamental in it. It will not possibly stop like this and all of a sudden. Then, it is very probable that time will not, in its turn, serve us to move through life unproblematically. Time is not with us for the time being. But nevertheless, the scuffle must be fought till the end given the fact that we are not made for defeat. A man can be killed but never defeated. This is why I always insist and say that we should never accept compromises. They are the name we give to our defeats and failures. Compromises are the causes of the absence of freedom. We can possibly hang on a compromise of lunch and dinner but never on one of life. There is still hope of a better way of life provided that we take better care and take a studious responsibility for the conduct we choose in it. There remains, I do not know where Faulkner gleaned this from, yet something of honor and pride, of life. All that any man can hope for nowadays is to be permitted to live the way he intends for himself and then have the things he would like most to have. By way of inquiry then, is it too much for a human being who has come to life with hope and honor to ask for his life to be spared? Is it too much for him to long for a better kind of living rather than existing? Isn’t it unfair, let us suppose, to cause people to live in misery and deprivation where the possibility is most often there to save them? Haven’t we been deprived all those years when our guests ( most of them do not like to think they are so) took whatever they wanted to take from us? It is our fate and we can do nothing about it. This is what they say. This is ELMEKTOUB from which there is no hope for escaping. There is nothing to escape from except from ourselves. There is also nothing to escape to except to ourselves. Let us grab hold of life once and for all because otherwise, it will not grab hold of us. Let us try rather than wait and see whether or not life is to be bestowed on and offered to us. Let us remind ourselves every now and then of the fact that nothing is to be done without trying except lying down and dying. We are apt to lose many things except real life. Everything would probably come and go except life and death without taking, of course, into consideration commencement and finality. Once life is gone, it will be the end of us. We have it for the time being and therefore, we must not throw it away for no good thing. It is real life I am talking about not this present one that sounds like death. Que la mort eu’t été préfèrable dans ses instants. These are not the words one should say regarding his life. These are not the words to be said by real human beings who know that, as I said, life is a wild and bitter struggle in the course of which we are going to prove our existence before passing and fading away. Il fallait, à présent, se montrer énergiques et prudents, et chercher les moyens de vivre et de s’aimer toujours sans éveiller aucun soupçon. The alternative I must, we must come up with, is the following: Que la vie eu’t été préfèrable dans ses instants.
It is our lives with which we are so much preoccupied and we do not intend to meddle into others’ lives where meddling is not wanted. Let us take responsibility for our lives before starting to tangle with what is besides. It is not an easy thing to do in so long as the truth comes to be concerned. We have to do everything in order to make this and propel it and drag it out even forcibly towards the light. For as things do have a strange way of turning out so badly, they also have a good way of turning out so well. All is required from us is to work hard and hope for a better perspective, a better horizon. We have to struggle for better times on the cess of which we do not just coexist together peacefully but more significantly we coexist together harmoniously. It is not, we know, so easy a task to be undertaken but it is not within the province of impossibility.
Photo courtesy Rio Febrian
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