Young Moroccans, A Neglected Future
Guest Post. Doga is a 21-year-old Moroccan living in Fez, an ancient city which has over a million people today, most of them poor. This is his first article on the internet. He excuses himself for his “scattered ideas” by saying, “I wanted my ideas to be poorly organized, in order to give a realistic idea of what’s going on in the head of a young Moroccan.”
After spending some time in my country, Morocco, among the most likely questions for which a visitor might want a response are:
- Do the people understand how their country is organized?
- Do the people love their country?
- Does the will of the people have an influence on the future of the country?
These are the questions asked by “curious” people who understand that Morocco is more than historic landmarks, hotels, couscous and amusements. Morocco is also a country where more than half the population is poor and illiterate, and where young people are the largest social group. Thus the above questions concern young people most of all.
One can ask at what moment the consciousness of a young Moroccan begins to question his environment, his interests, and his future.
Everyone knows the obstacles that tend to prevent the development of the Arab citizen: lack of analytical ability, initiative, or critical thinking. These obstacles exist both for those who have been to school, and for those who have never studied. The difference is that the first group knows how to read and write. But for young people who have been to school, after graduating they begin to have worries, because their diploma is a sword that severs reason from reality before their eyes, creating contradictions where previously they had believed, in all innocence, that reason and reality were compatible.
Everywhere in the world, the main advantage offered by a high school diploma is the opportunity to go on to college. But for Moroccans, entering such an establishment is a horrible choice. For a generation now, university studies have been a waste of time, because the goal is “to study in order to work,” but unfortunately there is a large number of unemployed college graduates already. As a result, the university has lost its value as a sacred place where we can develop ourselves, exchange ideas, and discover wider horizons than we had imagined.
There is an underlying truth to all this, which is that young people sense the indifference towards them, whether by failing to encourage their participation in political decisions, or by failing to create structures that might allow them to exploit their energies. Despite the discussions, conferences, programs and projects directed at young people, in the end these remain words divorced from action. Young Moroccans, like the youth of other poor countries, are the victims of corrupt power and of financial interests that give no importance to the human being. Indeed, as a result of the worsening economic conditions, and the problems these cause young people, there are those who risk throwing themselves into the ocean in an attempt to reach a country where life is easy. The images we see in the media remain the greatest witness to what “LAHRIG” means for Moroccans.
N.B. “…in Moroccan Arabic [lahrig] means ‘burning,’ in reference to the economic migrants’ burning of their past and their taking risks when they try to cross the few kilometres that separate Morocco from Spain on small boats.”
Confronted with this blockage, young people start to wonder, “Why do I find myself in a house that is too small when there is someone living in a huge villa, or even a palace? Why are there people with Jaguars, when I struggle with what to eat each day? Why are Europeans better off than us? Is it because their officials and business owners love them, while our officials and business owners hate us?” Despite the simplicity of these questions, they push us to wonder, “What methods and criteria are being used to distribute our nation’s wealth and its revenues? Are they adapted to the realization of human development, especially since we’ve been hearing so much about the National Initiative for Human Development these past few years?”
How can we speak of fighting poverty without discussing the way wealth and revenues are distributed? Keep in mind that a lack of justice in the distribution of wealth, revenues and resources is a basic factor contributing to poverty in Morocco.
If it is true that young people are the future of this country, and if we are sincere, then we need to turn words into action, and put in place social, economic and social structures, and indeed laws, based on equality if we want our future to be better than our present, or our past.
If there’s anything you’d like to ask Doga, put your questions in the Comments section or send them to me by e-mail, and I’ll pass them on to him as themes to explore in future articles.