Cultures are meant to identify us from one another, not bring about discrimination and hatred against each other.
Rabat – My name, skin color, and position do not matter. My beliefs, manners, and purpose do. “I am not who I think I am. I am not who you think I am. I am who I think you think I am,” said American sociologist Charles Horton Cooley.
I stand as a citizen of the world every single day and will do so until my last day. I come with you bearing nothing but boundless humanity, compassion, and love in my heart. I am more than willing to understand where you come from, too. I assure you my currency is kindness, and my true allegiance is to honor and respect.
My culture is what “others” me to you, just as your “otherness” is what identifies me different from you. No matter who we are, neither you nor I are here to judge others, for we are just as imperfect and just as lost! In a world where more than 7 billion people speak 7,000 different languages, who we are at our core matters more than who we are becoming!
Human is what we should be and love is what we should strive to see. As Jason Silva, an American filmmaker, put it, if you would look upon this world from a universal standpoint, you would see “no lines dividing nations, no geographical subdivisions, no flags, or racial divides or disputed territories.” You would only see Earth, this innocent celestial body floating free, “the womb on which we all dwell.”
Morocco and the US have a lot more in common than their peoples think. Although Morocco has undergone a myriad of peaks and valleys, it has witnessed glorious civilizations. Home of the Amazigh (Berber) and land of the patriotic as it is, it has also been an exotic land for the Romans, the Arabs, the French, the Spanish, and the Portuguese.
For the last couple of decades, it has been one of the most mesmerizing destinations of North Africa, welcoming tourists and travelers from all corners of the world. Its cultural and linguistic diversity makes it take after the US. Arabs or Imazighen (Berbers), French or Spanish, be they Muslims, Christians, Jews, or non-affiliated at all, all live together in harmony.
If anything would awe its visitors, it would be the rich cultural heritage and the promising projects of Morocco’s modernity and authenticity. Whoever visits Morocco never fails to acknowledge the vibrancy of its lifestyle, the hospitality of its warmhearted people, and the open-mindedness of its spirit, from its arts and crafts, its different colors of music, and its different literary genres to its museums and delicious cuisines.
Nevertheless, it is with the deepest sadness that I see cultures being enslaved by the vicious games of neo-liberal capitalism and corrupt politics. Cultures are meant to identify us from one another, not bring about discrimination and hatred against each other.
You and I “are more alike … than we are unalike,” American poet Maya Angelou said, for we are naturally predisposed to be kind and compassionate, not evil-driven, and different, not indifferent. Although we are sadly oppressed, our voices shall be free-willed and deafening and our hearts forevermore true and fearless.
Should you ever forget, remember, we all share a thread of the divine and are meant only for the sublime. We may not choose our birthplace, our parents or whatever life throws at us, but we ultimately choose who we become. Change is the only constant in the universe, for we can only journey into becoming ourselves. Traveling beyond our culture is the only way, I believe, we can find and love ourselves, for only through others can we truly meet who we are.