Kenitra - "Makayench m’amen," or what can be translated as "not being on the same page," is not only a comical and ironic expression that makes Moroccans laugh. Beneath its deeper layers it reveals a serious sociological vice, and only alert people can comprehend its meanings.
Kenitra – “Makayench m’amen,” or what can be translated as “not being on the same page,” is not only a comical and ironic expression that makes Moroccans laugh. Beneath its deeper layers it reveals a serious sociological vice, and only alert people can comprehend its meanings.
According to Moroccan thinker Abd-Allah al- Aroui, this expression shows on one hand that Moroccans are possessed by a ‘mind your own business’ attitude, and on the other hand that the idea of sacrifice and dedication is very uncommon for them. This is exactly where our big problem lies.
In the summer of 1999, I met a French man residing in Morocco. We talked about history, architecture, art, life, traditions and religion, culture, customs, and the homeland: a homeland where both he and Moroccans live as strangers. It was a chance encounter that allowed us to discuss the reality of Moroccan life. Confused and amazed, the man wondered why Moroccans don’t change their history? Why do they lack taste in life and lack elegance in their speech and behaviours? What can justify their chaotic state in public? Why don’t they collaborate with one another? Is it a cultural, religious, or a lack of awareness problem?
What preoccupied this man in the past while he sipped his beverage in a Parisian café still crosses my mind whenever I contemplate this expression or other similar, perhaps more common ones such as “no need to hurry…” or “to hell with the consequences.” These expressions reflect an incorrect perception of the principle of coexistence and a total absence of a sense of patriotism. They reveal Moroccans’ wrong approach to the idea of belonging. These expressions are exactly what can answer my French friend’s puzzling questions and what can support Abd-Allah al-Aroui’s opinions. Moreover, they can explain the reoccurrence of ‘Makayench M’amen’ phrase in Moroccan comedian Hassan Lfed’s comedy television series ‘Lcouple’, the popular series most Moroccans find funny but fail to see its semiotic dimension.
Moroccans live in two different spheres: the individual, family, and tribe sphere, where elegance and taste are preserved; and the public sphere, characterized by a total mess and nastiness, and which generally has little to no significance to most Moroccans. So what can justify these double standards? It can be summed up in this three-fold answer: a moral and social awareness crisis, politics that doesn’t promote the values of belonging, and false religious perceptions.
On the ethical level, we assume that Moroccan individuals act with virtue, integrity, honesty, and commitment. In them we seek awareness of their being and their need to coexist in peace instead of violence. In them we seek awareness of their duties toward themselves, their families, tribes and their society in general. This is how individuals can reach satisfaction and how societies can be developed: the only way to live in dignity.
On the political level, the state does not nurture values of patriotism. Its officials do not provide the examples. They are a bunch of thieves and are corrupt. The state’s policies are worthless. Its services are futile and contradict its philosophy of governance, which consists of commitment and awareness of the need to build a strong social structure. You only have to look at its institutions and their psychological impact on citizens to see how courts, administrations, police offices, and even schools are afflicting them;, so devoid they are of any good qualities. ‘The state’ only means authority, blackmail, and oppression for most Moroccans.
On the religious level, Moroccans are trapped in a two-faceted problem. First, it is so tricky and confusing that Moroccans fail to take a stand on the issue of choosing either to pursue modernity or glorify the past in order to reach a brighter future. Second, Moroccans have a flagrant concern for religious rituals and beliefs and they neglect of the beauty, civility, and tolerance of religion.
Moroccans believe in God and His holiness, they aspire to paradise, but they overlook their misbehaviours. Religion should not be only about praying and fasting, but rather a mode and an art of living together. Religious scholars, along with politicians and intellectuals, should give a greater importance so that Moroccans can finally ‘be on the same page’ and speak the same language in order to construct a country and a world defined by refined taste, security, and dignity.
This article was originally published in Arabic on Morocco World News Arabic and translated by Najah Elyahyaou
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