New York - This Wednesday, November 18, Moroccans celebrate the 59th anniversary of their country’s independence. Almost 60 years ago, our ancestors achieved their dream of seeing their country break free from the yoke of French and Spanish rule.
New York – This Wednesday, November 18, Moroccans celebrate the 59th anniversary of their country’s independence. Almost 60 years ago, our ancestors achieved their dream of seeing their country break free from the yoke of French and Spanish rule.
Although Morocco’s independence was not completed at that time, because other territories still needed to be liberated, especially in the north and the south, our ancestors fulfilled their duty to leave us a free country. Hundreds of thousands of Moroccans died and were maimed during their march toward independence. We should honor these people who fought for our country and enabled us to live in a free Morocco.
Some may contend that our country has never gotten rid of French dominance, and that we currently live under another form of colonialism, a cultural, linguistic, and class-based colonialism that has lingered in government, business, and academia.
Yet, now we can, for example, enjoy the freedom of not being stopped by police whenever we travel from one city to another or do any activity. Ask your elders who lived through this period and they will tell you how hard it was for them to live under occupation and not in a free country.
We should always be thankful for the tremendous and noble work done by our fellow Moroccans and never forget them. We should always celebrate this day in the most appropriate way to show the world who we are and what we stand for.
As our ancestors carried out their mission to liberate Morocco from foreign domination, it is now our duty to build a brighter future – a Morocco to which we aspire, a country where we can live in prosperity and progress.
However, to achieve this, we, Moroccans, have to break free from the negative attitudes many of us have adopted as a way to express dissatisfaction with aspects of our daily lives. Yes, it is a reality that Morocco does not afford the majority of its people a prosperous life, and achieving success in many areas is not an easy task.
But should we just give up and let things get worse? Should we attack those who try to make things better? No, we should shoulder our responsibility and do our best to make things better for us, our families, and future generations of Moroccans.
It is true that the government does not live up to our expectations. It may also be true that many aspects of our lives are worse now than in the past. But this state of affairs should not propel us into a situation of despair and defeatism.
Our country needs every one of us to build a better future for ourselves and our children. For this, we must leave behind the petty jealousy and backbiting that too often undermine not only our efforts, but also the efforts of our colleagues and fellow Moroccans, and start to work together for the common good.
In spite of all the problems our country faces, it is still loved by millions of people from all over the world, who appreciate Morocco’s unique history, its rich culture, its proverbial hospitality, and its religious tolerance.
In 16 years of living abroad, I have met thousands of people of different nationalities who love Morocco and consider it the only haven of peace and beacon of hope in a region torn by uprisings and civil wars. We should take a hard look at ourselves and realize that despite the endemic problems our people suffer from, we can still be thankful that Moroccans enjoy what others in our region are deprived of: stability and peace.
Let us strengthen our sense of belonging to this great country and our patriotism. Let us instill this love in our children and teach them that they should love their country under all circumstances and that this love can never be traded in exchange for material gain.
Let us strive to see the glass half full rather than half empty. Let us not forget that the government cannot do everything. The government cannot achieve anything if it does not rely on people willing to do their best to help it fulfill its mission. Let us fight corruption, nepotism, selfishness in public venues, neglect, and chaos.
We do not need the government to achieve these goals. All we need is the consciousness that we are part of Morocco and any action we do, whether big or small, can have a great impact on our communities, and by extension on our country.
If we start with ourselves, abstain from bribing public officials, and start respecting the law, we would be doing a great service to our country. Let us imagine what would happen if every Moroccan committed to respecting the law and denouncing any person who tried to bribe a public official.
Our ancestors started the march toward liberty and justice, and we now must shoulder our responsibility to finish what our heroes began.
Let us be proud of who are and show the world that we have an identity to be proud of. Let us build the country we all love. Ending illiteracy and poverty should be our “Jihad,” our utmost mission, our highest priority. Let us stay vigilant and work hard to show who we are. Let us share the positive energy that we all need to get to a safer shore.
Let us set an example by what we do, not what we say, real deeds and not just words. Let us give women the positions they merit in our country. Let us enhance human rights to enable our future generations to leave in peace and harmony. Let us reconcile with our past to strengthen the present and develop the future. Let us nurture the entrepreneurial spirit with education to create jobs and encourage innovation to allow Morocco reach its real potential. Moroccans: stand proud, together, on this Independence Day.
Samir Bennis is the co-founder of and editor-in-chief of Morocco World News. You can follow him on Twitter @Samir Bennis
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