Al Thaqafa Al Maghribia -- No. 14 - August 3, 1938

Said wrote the following reply after ensuring that Ahmed and his older brother remained on good terms after he informed his brother of the former's planned public ribbing. In fact, the poet, after thinking it through, said, "If your goal is to assuage your political goals at my expense, then so be it!"

Suppose a farmer plants wheat in his field expecting to reap 1000 metric quintals (100 metric tons) but only harvests one quintal. Would he be satisfied and happy with the results? Could he find someone who would contradict him and force him to admit that one quintal is close enough to a 1000 to make him an optimist; i.e. one who is convinced his harvest is a source of wealth and will insure coverage of his basic needs throughout the year?

Such is the situation in which Morocco finds itself with respect to its youth who have received a French education. It nourished a hope that it will escape from a life of decay and dispel the dark clouds that haunt it so as to move towards an enlightened and dynamic new beginning. These youth have made every effort to multiply their numbers in order to better demonstrate the superiority of modern civilization and the strength of its interactive cogs. But while the graduates of modern schools number in the thousands, those who bring about reformative thinking in literature, the sciences, the economy and other human disciplines hardly surpass single digits.

Our 'heedless youth' will not be able to shake off this pessimistic viewpoint about our youth. He will not succeed no matter the length of his essay or his attempts to beguile the reader with many fabricated examples. It is as if he is talking to us about a world that is totally unfamiliar. He thinks we are incapable of holding out on him, i.e that it is impossible for us to stand up to falsehoods or to silence a number of exaggerations.

Our 'heedless youth' is a hearty defender of his ilk. We are astonished to see him take on this posture but we enjoy the spirit that moved him to react with such zeal in his critique of the essay "Heedless Youth". He did so with as much passion as irony. It is understood that the best defense is to build, starting from one grain of sand a dome, however the goal of any response is relay the dome back to the proportion of the grain that started it originally. He sites the activities undertaken by modern educated youth and embellishes many lively examples using clear cut language to make one believe his goal is far from any insidious intent.

Among the characteristics of the mindset of our "heedless youth" who draws on irony, it is worthwhile to note that by enumerating the actions of just one of the youths, he believes that he would successfully convince us that other youth could do as well. It is precisely in this manner that he misleads the reader into thinking that there are dozens of active and awake youth when in fact their numbers are around the well known ten Arabic numerals.

Questions can be raised about the magazine's collaborators of which two are youth who received both modern and traditional schooling. He includes in his enumeration of youth with modern schooling, a teacher at the Scientific Institute, who is none other than one of the two aforementioned collaborators. He also includes another youth who published in French a two volume compilation of Moroccan folklore with an assortment of scientific commentaries demonstrating his wide knowledge on the subject. And yet he too is none other than the Institute teacher cited above --- albeit it is true that all of the several thousand copies of his publications have been sold.

Nevertheless our "heedless youth" has succeeded in putting a veil over our eyes as an Egyptian might say. He enumerates a number of activities borne by one person in a such deceitful manner that it gives the impression that each of these activities was undertaken by a number of different people. Then he uses all these examples to depict the dynamism in action of a whole generation of youth. Hence it takes but a little contradiction to reduce the scaffolding he built to ashes leaving no trace except in the eyes of the shortsighted who are unaware of the truth.

If our "heedless youth" with his talent for irony, believes that such an insignificant number of proactive youth suffice to convince us that the modern schooled youth has fulfilled his mission with respect to Moroccan society, I can only bear witness that such allegations are false. Moreover I remain sure that all men endowed with a modicum of judgement, be their training modern or traditional, will not take these fabrications seriously.

Responsibility is not equally incumbent upon all individuals. The cultured man assumes its largest share. Furthermore the modern schooled is more to blame than the rest of the nation. That is why I chose to target it above all the other social strata. Not because it would not fulfill its duty with respect to its country compared to the other elements of society but because its responsibility in life has more serious and important consequences than all the other groups combined.

To our "heedless youth" who never ceases to brandish his irony, I have to acknowledge that I did not make an exception in my article of these two determined and serious youths who have worked hard in the interest of their nation and contributed to its progress. However the excuse for my omission is that my intention was to demonstrate a lot of pessimism with the hope so that the great majority of the lazy youth find it most unwelcome. I hope it would be a center piece of their discussions and thus provoke their irritation. Which, in the final analysis, will make them realize that they are doing absolutely nothing. Perhaps then they will direct their minds to the challenge of a more productive occupation.

But if I begin to make exceptions, many will assume that in general my judgement bears not on them but on the other youths and my writing would appear to be without the least bit of vexation nor even to pretend that it is. My article, which was intended to be pessimistic, would not have reverberated with any resentment and our "heedless youth" would not have had the opportunity to show off the extent of his pique. In addition the exception would have deprived us of discovering his skillful irony which the readers seem to have very much enjoyed by protesting with increasing diatribes of his liking.

Thanks to the "Heedless Youth" article, we have been able to help, of all the youth, those who can express their irony with a pen, those who can weave biting words into their writing and those who succeed in provoking a general outcry. We hope their (influence) does not stop after the reading of their serious or leisure writings. It is astonishing that all the modern schooled youth are asking why I have omitted this group, as if I had knowingly shrugged off this 'group' which, instead of numbering in the hundreds, barely made the single digits.

That being the case, we must not in any manner award ourselves any diploma of self satisfaction. Our current state can only be redressed at the price of an unforgiving and unconditional revolution to radically transform our thinking and mores without any further delay or procrastination. First and foremost, it is our duty to rise up against this group of young Moroccans whose Western schooling has led to apathy. They make no case for the mission to society that is incumbent on them by accepting their state of ignorance. They must understand that miring in mediocrity leads irreversibly to self-annihilation.