(This article was included in Volume 2, pages 125 onwards, of the book titled "Said Hajji" by Abou Bakr Kadiri with, at the bottom of page 130 a note "Al Maghrib - 1st year" suggesting it was published in his newspaper.)
These days Morocco is going through difficult times and is exposed to exceptionally serious crises. All aspects of life in Morocco give rise to complaints and to a sense of duress. Moroccans suffer from profound psychological stress, discovering a weakness deep inside that accompanies their steps and slows their movement. There is a tendency to complain about choosing poorly the direction where they are heading.
If one were to observe and examine the resentment and to listen to the grievances borne from the various layers of society then one notes that no sooner than having left one crisis they plunge into another more terrific than the preceding one. It is hardly possible to imagine the extent of the horror of this misery were it not for one's own sense of suffering and powerlessness under similar circumstances.
The farmer who is the anchor for Morocco's wealth and its foundation of well-being, dies an emotional death a little bit each day. He flees from crises without knowing where he will end, caught between the mistreatment he is subjected to by the governing class and by the shortages due to drought. On the one part he sees himself tossed about by the relentless toxic pressure of civilization and by the death blow of degrading moral values on the other.
The craftsman who remains dependent on obsolete social customs and who literally drowns under the weight of taxes he must pay the government is under constant pressure by (wealthy) holders of capital to make his creativity more productive. One sees him in a horrible state of shock, totally bewildered by all the (confusing) novelties beckoning at him, and ends up shrugging his arms and wandering (aimlessly) the streets.
The merchant is betrayed by fate, seeing that the majority of his clientele, essentially consists of farmers roaming about with nothing to put in their mouths and craftsmen who are also reduced to a state of (confused) misery.
As for the youth, they have barely dreamt about life's promises and smiles, and already have begun to lose control of their lives, feeling weak and trapped in the perturbed environment surrounding them. After days of false hopes, one sees them content with a little leftover and a piece of bread to chew on without a complaint or a thought about anything else whatsoever. When provoked in a discussion about how much energy the youth of other nations attach to addressing tomorrow's challenges, they respond laconically that they have no interest in that matter and reject a sense of duty towards others.
I think it is not necessary to site the remaining layers of Moroccan society. They dwell on the same boat as those mentioned above and they are also victims of this crisis and its fallout. It suffices to open one's eyes to notice this as one walks across this land. If one seeks causes for the crisis that has thrown Morocco into chaos, pushed it close to suicide, brought its natives to leave their fate to the hazards of negligence and of oblivion so as to avoid taking responsibility for their misfortune, then one can find only one factor that is at the heart of matter, sweeping Morocco and all Moroccans towards a very bad ending and condemning them to a very sad death.
Inaction is the unique cause of all these crises and disruptions. Moroccans are paralyzed in the face of the sweeping currents of renewal, the desire to work, the love of life, a love excluding all weaknesses and submissions to death. Morocco's inaction is rooted deep within, to the point where it is not an exaggeration to say that it will be condemned to an unknown fate strewn with dangerous obstacles if it remains dependent on others, opposed to any spirit of innovation, or lacks the will to follow the example of other nations who have made significant achievements in various fields and who are fully engaged on the path of progress.
If we detect this evil and become aware that it is gnawing at the nation's core and sucking its lifeblood and if we convince ourselves that it is impossible for our lives to endure this state of stagnation while the rest of humanity advances not with little nonchalant steps but with giant (and confident) ones covering distance after distance and overcoming one obstacle after another, then if we understand these, it will be our duty to engage in progress, to adapt to the modern world with its best practices and to be armed with knowledge. The progress we wish to see In Morocco is the unique means to halt the farmer's flights (of escape), to bring out the craftsman from his (confused) isolation, to allow the merchant to resume his business and the youth to overcome all barriers between them and an active and full life. If Morocco succeeds in its quest for progress all will become much easier and well within reach. Who should be responsible? Is it the nation? Is it the government? Or is it both together?
The Nation's Duty
It is universally accepted that Morocco is headed towards a new era which can either bring prosperity for its inhabitants or it will augur badly for all with more of the aggravation and disruptions they suffer currently. If we attempt to visualize the situation closely to draw some conclusions about what awaits our country, then the first thought to come to mind is that Morocco is headed towards the beginning of a period where it will encounter all kinds of difficulties (it can't resolve) and thus it will be forced to vegetate on the margins of life.
Moroccans on the whole have withdrawn themselves from participating in a life of work. Their principal characteristic has become one of stagnation and inaction which can only lead to a negative outcome. There is no need to search far for the means to inculcate ourselves with the rudiments of a life of labor, a lifestyle which can only uncork (our bottled lives) towards a bright new world. All Moroccans believe that there is only one thing they lack without which they can not realize any progress to safeguard their place in the concert of nations. It is not wealth we lack, nor is it intelligence that fails us; it is not the climate that puts us at a disadvantage. But it is ignorance which hangs over our heads, settles in our minds and lowers us to levels below the animals we drive with stick and rein. By concurring in the belief that knowledge is what they lack the most, Moroccans convey that they consider knowledge as sacred and understand its importance and its place in civilized society. Unfortunately Moroccans do not have the necessary know-how to acquire knowledge; they lack that inner light; that intellectual gift whose first and foremost ambition is to get access to the realm of knowledge to ensure its widest possible dissemination to rising generations.
If we fight the harm of ignorance, this number one enemy, and root it out of our mind, the lives of Moroccans will be transformed overnight and invite a vision of the future full of confidence in contrast to that of the current generation after it had recently passed through a bout of pessimism. We must be aware that the efforts we deploy non-stop to ensure the spread of knowledge, however intense they may be, must remain of primary import due to our lack of experience in this area.
The nation's duty is to tend to our spiritual nourishment above earthly ones, to adapt our minds to the ways of thinking of modern times even if it means to copy experiences of other nations which have been proven and have made them proud. Morocco currently is undergoing a shortage of men with experience and knowledge. And so before creating administrative agencies or building institutes, it is imperative that we follow the path others have taken; and this can only be achieved by sending teams of students one after the other to countries that are thriving and conform to the requirements of our time. Once the students graduate, these teams will return to their country equipped with a stock of knowledge allowing them to face life with total understanding. Then after having cleansed their brains from the gnawing harm of inaction they can prepare themselves to fight ignorance by creating schools destined to develop the succeeding generations.
Hence this is an urgent appeal addressed to the conscience of our compatriots so they may give the young the opportunity to pursue their studies internationally. And so these youth may take their place in the spotlight of knowledge and develop a respectful generation who will forever not lose hope and who will contribute in their achievements the edification of a new Morocco.
Such is the duty incumbent on the nation if it wishes to pursue a path towards progress and to aspire to a better life than that it leads at this time. As for the duty of the government, it will be the topic of a later discussion.
The responsibilities of the government
If a review is held of all the influential factors that mark life with their footprints, then there is a realization that the first and most important of all is the government, whose mission -- from ancient times to the present -- is to conduct the current business, to be in the service of all layers of society and to assume responsibility for their status on both a personal and a material level. This management and quasi-guardianship by the state does not diminish in any way the value of the nation. Historically the latter was just an image of leaders who assumed a major role in the work and services for the benefit of the community. But in our day, the situation has changed completely; the private sector has begun to compete with the state in bringing to fruition projects of a social nature and participating in their finance which was not the case previously. This explains the profound changes that have intervened in the lives of humanity, a fact that Morocco appears not to have grasped as of yet.
In fact we still live under the influence of our past, tossing the responsibility to the state which must initiate all projects and entirely assume the role of their implementation. And so we flood the government with torrents of reproach, often with our conscience at peace while being standoffish with respect to the efforts required by our social contract with the nation. Efforts that we need to undertake to revive and rehabilitate it away from chaos and inaction. In order to reach a stage where it becomes our duty to deploy efforts at the individual level towards the goal to serve the general interest, the government must provide us with the necessary aid and assistance. Then it will cease to be the focal point of all reproach and cease to assume all responsibility for the management of the community's affairs.
Today however, it is painful to state that the government which is supposed to reach out to the people to energize them has understood the willpower for renewal in a different sense, contrary to reality and based on nothing more than trifles and chimeras. It often happens that an individual's capricious nature results in their taking action on policies which lead to a different course than those policies needed by this nation to move along the path of progress. The latter would have reduced the government's role thanks to the advent of a new generation ready to be called upon to back the civil servants in activities whose goal is that of the public interest.
We hope frankly that the gentlemen of the Administration understand that we wish to lighten their share of the burden of responsibility, that it is their role to enable us to do so and for them to remove from their thinking all doubts and bad feelings that were hallmarks of the Administration's policy in the past period:
The establishment of a social interest group should not signify any hostility to policies based on mutual trust and frankness.
The establishment of a newspaper does not mean that those in charge seek only to criticize and nothing else.
Sending teams of students to study outside Morocco was never the means of a poorly conceived policy to be the subject of a ban.
Likewise the same can be said about community organizations which are the most significant expressions of civilization of this era.
We expect that leaders of the Administration will welcome (such) practical associative suggestions that aim for the nation's emancipation and progress. This emancipation and progress will undoubtedly allow a climate of reciprocal trust between the nation and its government. They will facilitate the transformation of hopes into action and realization, hopes based on the will to be of service to the nation without any detriment to the interests of others. And they will elevate community organizations to levels worthy of their ambitions to do their part of the duty for society.