Almaghrib - Literary supplement - 2nd year - Issue 12 - July 9, 1938
An Egyptian researcher in history has just put an advertisement in the prestigious revue "Al Risala" to promote a book which he published on "the history of the Moslem Orient since the Crusades wars until the present time". He presented in the first part of this work the broad outlines of the Persian Saffarid rebirth, the advent of the Othoman Empire, the Mamluk dynasty in Egypt and the little states of the Maghreb.
Egypt of the feudal period is presented as a great nation while the real empires of the Maghreb are regarded as simple little states. The historical truths are thus denatured, their teachings considerably altered and the facts reported to the past reduced to a negligible quantity. We see how a great and poweful nation, such as the Merinid dynasty, is described as a little state as if it were a tribal band which used to attack small villages, and its leaders did not believe in any system based on the notion of order and the aspiration to stability.
The Egyptian author has probably ignored that the Merinid Sovereigns were a reason for pride in the whole Moslem world and the men of knowledge in this country were depository of cultural values, not only in comparision with the Moslem thinkers, but at the level of the world of universal thought. He seems not to know that Morocco was a powerful nation, feared and respected in the whole neighbouring countries, a nation which sowed a wind of panic in the rows of all its enemies.
The Egyptian researcher liquidated the prestigious history of our country in some pages, or more precisely in some lines, giving to our great nation an entirely deformed image. His book will be sold in our libraries, and our intellectuals will spare a convenient room for it in the shelves of their private bibliotheks. Will they read or not the chapters devoted to the Maghreb countries? The question is of little interest, since the majority of them know in any case much more than our Egyptian researcher pretends to know.
But the outlook of the book, its modern style, the thematic classification of its chapters and the care put on the presentation of its contents will not fail to attract a good deal of interest among the Moroccan youth and encourage them to read it. And it is precisely there that the harm is going to be done because a part of the present generation is unaware of almost all the history of its country. These few chapters are thus enougn to confirm the rising generations in what they learned on the dynasties and the old rulers of Morocco through their readings of foreign books which engraved in their subconscious a disguised image of their country.
The events which overlap one another without well defined goals, and are reported by foreigners, come constantly back to the minds of the young people when they evoke their past; and this book of the Egyptian researcher is likely to constitute for them, in this respect, a solid support for the erroneous informations they acquired of their nation's history.
We do not blame the Egyptian researcher, although we gently reproach him for qualifying the Maghreb states as little states. But those who must be reprimanded and deserve that one heaps a severe reproach on them, are the Moroccans who leave their past in the hands of ill intentioned foreign authors or oriental researchers who are far from knowing anything significant of Morocco's history. Our past gets thus lost and diluted in pages full of allegations completely unrelated to reality.
Let us imagine our researcher in an Egyptian library, looking for "books of reference" to collect the materials he needs for his studies, and then stopping in front of the ray where are exposed the books devoted to the history of Morocco. What "books of reference" and what kind of publications is he going to find there? If we except some works on the history of Morocco which were published last century by Egyptian publishers and some other publications which were realized by an old printing press in Fes, in form of manuscripts of an illegible Moroccan writing for the orient readers, the only books that our Egyptian researcher will find are those written by foreigners, the majority of which, as everybody knows, are directed in the intention, acknowledged or not, to harm the reputation of the country and denature the image of its past.
The ultimate responsibility of this situation rests with the Moroccan intellectuals who, not only do not make any effort to edit works of their own, but do not even try hard to publish what their public and private bibliotheks conceal of unsuspected treasures on their past. This negligence is a direct cause of the harm done by our youth to the history of our country. It is also the main reason why our past is thus monopolized by foreigners who qualify our great nation a little state, carrying the rising generations to be unaware of what makes the eternal greatness of Morocco.