Al Maghrib - A special edition in commemoration of the first anniversary after Said Hajji passed away - 6th year, No 1189 , March 11, 1943.

It would be fruitless to try to fully grasp the strengths of a self-taught person when we don't have a clear and precise view of their multifaceted character. To search in depth their intentions and thus pretend to bring to light all their distinctive attributes would ring hollow. Likewise it would be difficult to link diverse external elements together to find amongst them those influences with the biggest impact on the development of his personality, his stamp of independence and individualism.

Humanity is no more nor less than a mirror of its influencing factors. Much profit can be drawn and distinction from one's peers if one possesses inherently a strong personality. In the opposite case, one is readily swept away by external influences much like dust on a surface of stagnant water after a breeze removes all traces. Among these influences some are social in nature, others intellectual and yet others can be a mixture of both. They are manifested amidst close family, then in the vast social, intellectual and cultural environment that some of us engage in for pleasure and finally in travels, adventures and so on.

Today's pens that vie to write down Said Hajji's qualities, his merits and to praise his efforts and the resolve he demonstrated towards his undertakings risk marginalizing his rightful character if they do not seek the source from which all his attributes have sprung. Only those who have been with him for many years and were bound with him by ties of friendship, work or both can point to his reality objectively and unlock the secrets of those characteristics that distinguish him from others.

Said was a deep thinker and a journalist without equal. He was a beacon of knowledge and of strong cultural upbringing. Besides, he also was a youth who could be counted on to advance the development of his country. But all this upbringing represented not even a small fraction of the education and personal development that he acquired and which he viewed essential to take full advantage of to lay the foundation upon which he built his endeavors and guided the initiatives that he was called upon to perform during the course of his life. Education and personal development was what allowed him to occupy the role that was left vacant after this passing and led to incessant praise for him by his friends and colleagues.

The personal development that opened the way for him to take on the most challenging paths and helped him overcome all difficulties was a personal endowment that he owed to no one. In that sense his close family did not educate him; nor did his most intimate friends or even his travels abroad have a decisive influence on his development. He owed his development to the personal efforts which he pursued until he obtained the best education a youth of his age could dream of.

Certainly we are not denying that his travels abroad had not left their mark. They without doubt allowed him to broaden his knowledge and become more insightful. However they did not induce his acquisition of the one thing most precious of all which, if it were to default, would make life impossible and would prevent accomplishing the goals he set for himself.

Personal development, or the effort it invokes on oneself, is a pressing need. The conscious self possess immense powers. When one resists it, the struggle lasts and lasts. There is risk that it will not end soon and the struggle could stay until the end of one's life on earth. On the other hand and as Gandhi once said: one can wake up each day armed with renewed energy to overcome all difficulties, and confident that victory is within reach. Thus that is how Said succeeded in subduing all his challenges. He controlled the fervor of his feelings; he knew how to manage his impulses and subject them to his mind's will. Then, after reflecting on his state of mind, he brought to the fore his hidden talents and exposed the innate qualities the Lord endowed to him.

He faced life, self confident and sure of success. The roads to success were laid open before him; his horizons widened and he overcame all obstacles that stood in his way. I can not say how much time he spent along the way. What I do know is that he started his efforts very early in life. At a young age he displayed the expertise of an adult; he thought about fruitful projects and launched their foundations. By doing so he was able to achieve an advanced level of maturity years before heading to Europe and the Middle East.

He told me an anecdote that I would like to share with my readers. "I was about to leave for a voyage to Egypt," he told me, "and I realized that I had forgotten something and did not know what it was. My father became aware of this and reproachfully told me: "If you lose your belongings here, what will you do when you are far away in a foreign country?" This reprimand had a such dreadful effect on me that I always kept it in mind and I never again forgot anything of mine."

He disliked the disorderliness and complacency that he observed in the conduct of some of his acquaintances. He strongly criticized their behavior by telling them, "You have the choice between two options. Either you will behave like a beast and we will require of you neither order or punctuality or you will wish to be normal people in which case you must show discipline and lead an organized lifestyle." He often encouraged his friends to perform a self analysis of their inadequacies and faults so as to become aware of them and thus seek to eradicate them from their behavior. There is no doubt that Said's personal development contributed to establishing his authority with respect to the journalistic profession. All his distinguishing qualities are manifested from his personal conduct choices such as a will to take on any challenge, an ability to work tirelessly, a mind constantly aroused and an exemplary conduct with all his acquaintances regardless of their character.

Kacem Zhiri