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

This month a year ago, Morocco was impacted by the death of one of its most devoted offspring. The pain due to his passing was deeply felt. The nation's misfortune reached its peak following this heartbreaking calamity. It will remain engraved in its collective memory as recollections of Said resurface or when the ideals that he lived for and made sacrifices to serve cross our minds. And so here we are today; Said's memory invites us to commemorate his passing with renewed sorrow which will repeat only the Lord knows for how long. In his memory we find lessons from the past and warnings for the present. This commemoration revives deep within us images of a friend who accomplished his duties in the best possible manner and who dedicated his youth and his life to work to achieve his hopes for a nation on the eve of renewal and resurrection.

If the memories that resurfaced one year after the passing of our beloved Said are to remind us of anything, they first of all must remind us of the mindful and sturdy friendship the deceased lavished on all with whom he had ties that were either amicable, work related or based on shared ideals and principles. These ties were never built on movable sand or on crass material interests; the latter he always distanced himself from. Rather this was a mindful relationship based on a total communion of thinking and on equal awareness of the responsibilities incumbent on each of us in the fulfillment of our duties with respect to our nation.

These characteristics, this noble behavior and his adherence to moral values, Said did not acquire them from his relations or while seated on school benches nor during his strenuous efforts in pursuit of knowledge in various fields. They are innate in him and precociously manifested since his early childhood. He dazzled his friends and his acquaintances including me. We admired him then and our admiration grew as years passed by. He was the youngest amongst us and appeared to have reached maturity very early on. He had great life experiences and total self-confidence. He had an undeniable influence on our behavior and was our leader when action was called for. He had a knack for educating; we accepted his expressed opinions and the directions he laid out for our actions. We were full of admiration for his penetrating thoughts and for validity of his reflections.

It seems to me that, amongst all his most salient attributes during the first phase of his life, there was this attractive force that drew us around him. He was the central pivot in all our discussions and the axis around which our actions revolved, which in the beginning were for sure modest but which he deemed to be the best means to train us to be able to assume higher levels of responsibility in the future. He demonstrated at a young age a precocious will to drink from the springs of knowledge and to teach himself on the means to promote intellectual development and to launch the foundations for a cultural renewal in Morocco. He read widely, studied, participated in discussions, expressed views and opinions in spheres of activity that appeared to us to be utopian and impractical.

At an early age, Said thought about problems our country with which it was struggling as well as the means to put in place for its growth in the domains of the press, education and sectoral reforms. He was so driven to engage his thoughts along these lines plus the related studies and lectures that monopolized much of his time, that he left little time for anything else. He sought solitude and isolation. He preferred above all else to have his entourage reduced to a small number of friends instead of a big crowd of his fans. He always demonstrated a total disposition to bring to bear his contribution to fruitful activities and distanced himself from all efforts which he saw as futile and with no interest whatsoever.

His ambition that never left him and his will to accomplish useful tasks which kept him alert were not only a wish or a vision of his mind, rather they represented for him an obligation to be fulfilled. He chose a group of comrades among the intellectual elite and inculcated in them the desire to work and become mobilized around an endeavor requiring effort from each of them. He clarified the path that led to fruitful achievements and formed a cohesive team whose members successfully learned their tasks on the job starting with modest activities. The latter were later acknowledged to be extremely important with regards to each member's orientation and adaptation to Said's thoughts and visions which included well thought out ideas for their subsequent steps in their common endeavor.

During the four years I spent in his company, he was always absorbed in his readings and studies. He stopped reading only to take a pen and practice writing in a journalistic style required for the profession he wished to pursue. When he decided to complete his education abroad, he was in full possession of his intellectual faculties and armed with a significant sum of knowledge and experiences acquired in his early childhood. These stayed with him like a ray of light during his scholastic years whether in Europe or the Middle East.

Said was not the prototype of a youth obsessed by a Western lifestyle, nor was he entirely taken in by the charm of that of the Orient. He was one who bore on his shoulders the heavy burden of his duty bound obligations towards his country. Sitting in school he was always reflecting on news from Morocco that his friends sent him every week with astonishing regularity. To the latter he shared his thoughts on the current and future status of Morocco, kept them updated on projects he was planning for the future while seeking inspiration from Middle Eastern experience with regards to cultural renewal. Furthermore he would reiterate each time his love for his homeland and his pride to have the privilege to be counted among its people.

During his sojourn in the Middle East Said did not restrict his efforts to solely his studies. He did everything possible to widen his field of knowledge, drawing from the centers of learning and increasing his interactions with professorial faculty and prominent intellectuals. He represented in a most dignified manner possible the image of a mature Moroccan student and took every opportunity to show Middle Easterners a true picture of Morocco, leaving them astonished. He honed his skills in journalism, attracted to this profession which he considered the best and most effective means to inculcate all with the mindset for renewal and will to fight against ignorance and stagnation. And so in this manner he was preparing himself to bring to his country the sacred role of the press.

Said returned to Morocco after having accumulated sufficient knowledge to allow him to adequately fulfill his mission. His experiences during his Middle Eastern stay and his perfect understanding of the profound upheavals that shook the Middle East so as to redirect them along a path of renewal, led him to resolve firmly to engage in a new phase of his life; one in which he envisioned to be overflowing with endeavors and all focused on goals he had been targeting for years. He resumed contact with his old friends and began working day and night to create a new dynamic. He advanced his analyses on many people and searched several social circles to successfully establish a group pf colleagues who appreciated his intellectual capacity for grandeur and his aspirations for a promising future. He knocked on the door for productive work and it opened wide; allowing one to see the infinite new horizons far away.

With a mindset ready to engage and a will to endure all trials plus a faultless morality, Said burst into action counting on himself and the power of his character. He was put to the test; he labored and fought for the success of ideas which he had devoted all his life. It is not our intention to list all the achievements of the deceased in the different areas that interested him. They are still present in the minds of all those who were close to him and who appreciate the true value of the efforts he undertook and the results these led to. A number of his achievements were undertaken in areas outside of journalism but he did have to resort to some of them to strengthen the foundations of his journalistic endeavors to improve their quality and yield. With his mind always alert, he considered the press as the cornerstone for national renewal and the best means to liberate people from the claws of apathy and ignorance. He was focused on the goal to create a daily paper which evolved under the influence of events and circumstances. Then he enriched it with publications of special editions that faithfully reflected the onset of the the literary surge of the dawn of Morocco's cultural revival. At the end of his life, he planned to create a literary review of high repute, however his sudden death occurred when the preparations for this new effort were at an advanced stage.

Said productivity was remarkable. He put his youth, his time and money in the service of projects he conceived and planned. He succeeded due to his serious work to establish a literary team which he had handpicked and thus was able to assure the enthusiastic participation of each. He obtained total success in his undertakings as witnessed by the legacy left by him and his collaborators in the literary movement initiated by them from scratch and became the starting point of a new era in the history of this land's literary output. His attempts to create an environment marked by a thirst for knowledge and a taste for journalistic and literary endeavors were crowned with success.

Such were a few aspects of Said's achievements who we commemorate today, the first anniversary since he passed away. This commemoration is accompanied by the esteem, respect and admiration for this man that death prematurely wrenched away, affecting Morocco's renewal at the heart of its evolutionary process. However ever we hope that the seed that he has sown will soon bear the fruits he expected.

Be in the grace of Allah, friend that we cherish! Our sincere condolences to your nation and to your loyal companions who you knew how to guide in life and will continue to do so in death.

Seddiq ben Larbi