Domestic Violence

A week ago ,  a   man in his late forties defenestrated ( threw out of the window)  his wife  in front of  his two kids. The man who  is reputed to be a drunkard and a recidivist used to inflict  upon his wife  and kids all sorts of physical aggressions as well as  all forms of verbal  abuse.This   incident  appalled the public and has brought  the issue of domestic violence to the  forefront .

In Morocco , the family code of 2003  with  its plethora of amended laws  has encouraged  people to set up  associations and NGOs  to empower women and to protect them against spousal violence .They launched a series of campaigns to stop  such abusive behaviours ; along  the same vein ,  the  local mass media has contributed to achieve the same objective.And yet, domestic violence  cases seem to rise crescendo .

Now, that’s the tip of the iceberg and it’s frightening , but the hidden part of the iceberg is atrocious .First of all , only a third of  the domestic violence cases is reported to  the police and the associations.Moreover,  since sex is a taboo subject in our society , sexual abuses( against women and kids)  are not mentioned in reports . On top of that , the police usually adopt a lenient attitude towards reported domestic violence   and try to settle “the discord” amicably  unaware that  due to repeated acts of violence ,family  bonds can  be  severed beyond repair .

Ok, let’s talk about solutions now. First of all , I think that  we have to implement  a zero tolerance policy  and consider cases of domestic violence a felony charge the first time they occur .Education  is also  crucial and it can save lives.Associations and NGOs  are powerful tools and they can do a lot to alleviate the sufferings of people.The media is influential too and it can help sensitise people to the magnitude of this problem.It can also suggest safety plans to victims of domestic violence.Finally , if you witness a spousal act of violence , lend a helping hand to the victim , report to the police and be an agent of change .

Cheating In Exams

Cheating in exams has become so widespread that a high proportion of teachers ( including myself) have started to reflect on their teaching practice with a view to spotting pitfalls and weaknesses.Along the same vein ,they have come to question the educational system as a whole with its myriad components ( human resources , curriculum, test validity…)

It’s a moral issue as well  since it relates to what is known as academic dishonesty.In fact , I think that cheating in exams shares in the general demise of several lofty values that we cherished before but have forsaken now.

Cheating ways have evolved through time . Students have develpped sophistacted tricks ranging from desk notes, calculators to using cell phones messages. And with the advent of the internet , it’s become hard to envisage the magnitude that these tricks could take in the near future. Students put forward several reasons to justify their recourse to cheating .chief among them , Being afraid of failure and getting low grades.In addition to this , they say that they feel overworked ( crammed curriculum) with little time to spare for revision and preparation along with the tests’ level of difficulty that they judge as too challenging.

For some students who bet on cheating in exams, their plans might backfire and they get caught .Yet, the fact that they get penalized doesn’t seem to daunt other students from resorting to cheating in exams.Most of them take risks and think they may cheat and escape unscathed .hence , a holistic approach has to be adopted to curb the onslaught of this phenomenon.This approach has to encompass all the parameters that come into play in the educational setting in terms of tests’ formats and level of difficulty ,curriculum scope, parents and teachers’ role …….

The Bleak sea

For the last few years , More and more third world youngsters ( mainly in Africa) have been trying hopelessly to cross perilously the Mediterranean basin aboard shaky boats in order to reach the « dreamland » : Europe. Fleeing a despicable situation characterized by unemployment, deprivation and destitution. these youngsters are obviously despondent pondering over a grim homeland and aspiring to a bright future overseas.They hold the deep-seated conviction that on the other side of the sea life is much better and the living conditions are humane ,so it is worth venturing the stormy sea cost what it may be.They pay an expensive fare( up to 4000dollars) between Africa and Europe ,the arrival is not guarranteed,though. Most of them perish and end up down the seabed, the more fortunate do actually reach the shore ,and the less fortuante get caught by coast guards.Networks have formed in the north of Morocco , and which prey on these people’s predicaments and dreams.

Mass media worldwide and mainly in Europe have been covering this phenomenon which they allude to as “clandestine immigration”.There is more to this than that.It is an indicator of the North and The South .It is also a sign of all the ills which gnaw at these underdeveloped countries such as corruption,embezzlment,nepotism inter alia. In addition to the wide range of social and economic problems that prevail there.The bad omen is the fact that even the university garduates constitute a considerable proportion of the candidates for illegal immigration.This is an absurd brain drain which results in Africa’s youth force being depleted.

Europe isn’t ready to integrate the high flow of African immigrants that is why the EU imposed the visa and strict measures to regulate the drift of “outsiders”.And with the expansion of the EU to Eastern European countries, the labour force from Poland, Romania ….ect is favoured to non-Europeans.Nonetheless, most employers in Western Europe prefer African workers because their wages are lower than the Europeans’.To look at the matter from a futuristic perspective, Europe needs these immigrants because they can contribute to activate a stagnant birth rates in most of Europe.This continent is aging and it requires new blood to instill in its tissues life youth and vigour.However, many people resist this prospective vision and reject any idea of a multi-racial society claiming that “the purity of the race” should be preserved staunchingly along with job opportunities(for the natives of course), and they embrace racist,and xenophobic beliefs against foreigners.We are all cognizant of such people as Jean Marie Le pen,Joerg Haider and the clandestine armed groups like the Skin Heads and the far right parties in general .

The entire international community should come together to put an end to this mass suicide.Urgent and viable measures must be undertaken to achieve this goal.First and foremost, rich countries should provide logistical and financial assistance to poor areas in Africa,Asia and Latin America in order to encourage the population to settle down and brush aside the prospect of emigration.Not much is being done in this respect by affluent countries.For instance, The Americans donate less than 1 % of its GNP to third world countries while they can give up to 10 % .And let’s not forget the huge amount of money spent on silly projects such as weaponry, SETI ( searching for extra terrestrial intelligence) meanwhile millions of humans are starving to death, or earn less than one dollar a day.I can self-assuredly say that the United Nations can and should do more to alleviate the sufferings of people in the southern hemisphere by raising funds to make sure that reforms and concrete measures are substantiated as well as the promotion of democracy and equality in these countries.Thus the UN has to take preventive steps and not be contented with symbolic interventions in certain conflicts.In other words, the responsibilities and the priorities of this world organization have to be drastically reshaped .We have noticed recently that all the countries of the world have become the mouthpieces against terrorism and they have overlooked far more insidious ailments which gnaw at our societies and which foster these terrorist acts ;namely , extreme poverty, oppression and injustice .To abolish terrorism altogether we have to eradicate the aforesaid ills first.

Moribund Tribal Cultures

Many a civilization has risen and flourished in remote corners of the palnet even in the wilderness,tropical forests or deserts.Historical accounts provide us with countless evidences about the existence of great civilizations that were carved out of jungles or in seemingly hostile environments.Nowadays,some surviving tribes particularly in Africa,Asia and South America have remained virtually uncorrupted and temporarily resisted the encroachment of modern civilization upon their lands and traditions.However,this long-standing resistance has started to weaken and consequently vast archives of knowledge,cultural aspects and expertise which belong to these indigenous peoples are spilling into oblivion .
Man is endowed with innate cognitive powers which enable him/her to create and to impart knowledge, to innovate and to develop techniques that make life easier and less painstaking for mankind .Our world has been the matrix of thriving culutural heritage and all the peoples who have actually inhabited the earth have contributed to the enrichment of the world’s civilization.The French philosopher Claude Levy Strauss demonstrated in his book « Race et Histoire » that all the ethnic groups have in fact contributed their cultural repertoire to the common patrimony albeit differences in the degree and the nature of the contributions .It follows from this that the huge bulk of knowledge of the remaining tribes is an enormous trove of wisdom.Alas !the prevalent attitude has been that western science and thinking ,with its powerful analytic tool has little to learn from tribal cultures.The cultures of what are labelled « primitive » societies are of a cardinal importance and interest.It is undeniable that the innumerable developed technologies and arts of the Maya,the Incas,the Pharaons and others are irreplaceable.These magnificent civilizations,which staggered the minds of the European conquerors,were brought to an utter destruction ,and the natives,followers as well as leaders,were decimated at an incredible rate.At present, 15000 cultures are still remaining on earth and the tribes that still exist have to exploit nature without disrupting the balance that sustains the ecosystem.In fact, these indigenous peoples have lived in harmony with their environment and they have grasped the mysteries of flora and fauna , which has enabled them to discover the great nutritional values of myriad plants and animals as well as disclosing the therapeutic properties of many plants.Unfrortunately, it is predicted that this invaluable expertise will vanish in the near future if effectual measures are not launched.
The largely undocumented knowledge of the remaining tribes is on the brink of extinction.For instance, 90 of Brazil’s 270 Indian tribes have completely disappeared.Accordingly, a vast body of traditions and wisdom evaporated with these vanishing tribes.In the same vein, modern civilization infringe upon the lands of many tribes which either die out or are fused into the modern world.Moreover, some young tribesmen who get in contact with the outside world embrace the conviction that their traditional ways are old-fashioned base and illegitimate.Dumbfounded by the blandishments and the wealth of the developed world ,they rebel against the fragile chain of their ancestors’ oral traditions,and novel ideas assault their simple minds ;and their dexterity in the ways of the forests slip away.It is sad to note that these youngsters feel shame rather than pride in what their progenitors knew.On a larger scale, even some third world governments have come to look upon their indigenous cultures as a hindrance to their prosperity and progress.What is more, many aged tribesmen who carry the knowledge of their tribes die without passing on their learning to their posterity.Tribal languages are equally jeopardized and we all know that if a language –which is the lifeblood of any culture-disappears,traditional knowldge tend to vanish with it.A very recent study estimates that only 300 tribal knowledge have a secure future.
To wrap it up, the remaining tribes with its kaleidoscope of cultures have a great value that the developed world should recognize.Western scholars have much to learn from the knowledge of these tribes.However,great efforts have to be deployed so as to preserve this endangered cultural heritage. (Written in 1992 )

Macabre Thoughts

Death : the absolute truth:

It ‘s a pure truism to note that every human soul will make the death rattle .Mankind is doomed to get wiped out off the face of the earth .life is transient ; eternity is the preserve of the Omnipotent .Yet, most humans thrust the prospect of death in the limbo of the forgotten and behave as if they would live forever. Intermittently, The loss of kith or kin serves as a reminder of the certitude of death.

Death Phobia:

Human beings fear death .They know it is a certitude but it remains a mystery they can’t fathom.Likewise, death is closely associated with burial, tombs and darkness.The prospect of being entombed underground sends a chill down anybody’s spine.The certainty that one will get separated from his relatives and friends is a disturbing thought as well. However, pious people don’t dread death in itself , but the meeting of Allah, the judgement and the verdict.

Death : the destroyer of pleasures:

Life is the cradle of pleasures.Most people indulge in multifarious pleasures : money ,sex, food , procreation…etc .Death puts an end to all of these.These earthly pleaures themselves are short-lived and susceptible to fade away in hours or even seconds.The eternal ,genuine pleasures are to be found in paradise in the after-life.

Death : the grand leveller:

Life is brimful of inequities.Some people are filthy rich while others are poverty-stricken; some are healthy whereas others suffer from incurable or chronic diseases, a few are leaders but the majority are subjects and subordinates.Death level the palying field .All are sent back to clay in humble coffins ;possessions and prerogatives are left behind .Kings and beggars occupy similar graves having as company worms.

Death : the end ?

Even the staunch atheists recognize the certain advent of death , but they fail to conceptualize an after- life .For them , death is the terminus of life ; they envisage neither judgement nor reward after death.They think resurrection is an impossible occurence .This is of course sheer nonsense because every human soul shall be brought back to life ( this is easy task for Our Lord), shall go through a fair and strict judgement of deeds ; which entails either reward ( paradise) or punishment (hell).In fact ,death is the watershed between life and the Hereafter.

Blood-stained Roads

The gory scenes of carnage on Moroccan roads continue to grab the headlines .Accident after accident , casualties has risen crescendo and the average weekly toll amounts to 20 dead and hundreds wounded.Our roads are ranked among the bloodiest across the world and this top position is far from being an outstanding achievement .The tourists who pour into Morocco are forewarned about the dangers they may encounter on our roads.I have once overheard a French tourist saying to his interlocutor « J’ ai appris a’ conduire a’ la Marocaine. »Meaning that he has learnt how to drive in the Moroccan style or way.I laughed at that quip but deep down I felt sorry and bitter.Equally, the Moroccan immigrants who come back to spend their summer holidays in their mother country find it hard to acclimatize with the chaos on the roads of the Kingdom.
There is no room for doubt that the human factor is blameworthy.A significant number of Moroccan drivers don’t abide by the road regulations .They ignore traffic lights as well as road signs .Abracardabra ! The fines which are supposed to punish such people change strangely into bribes .What’s more , the road infrastructure in many regions of the country is not blameless as the Moroccan TV claims .A high proportion of our roads are indecent and
Trigger off deadly accidents.In addition to the aforementioned factors,let’s not overlook the fact that 80% of the vehicules in the country are very old and really derelict .
The government has been launching awarness-raising campaigns but to no avail.Similarly, strict measures are occassionally implemented on the ground .The bloody statistics drop significantly during that period and shortly after , they resume their steady rise.As a matter of fact, severe measures must be carried out in order to stop this haemorrhage .The officials have to ascertain that the fines imposed on wrongdoers are actually paid .Moreover, repeated infringement of the rules must result in the withdrawl of the driving licences.In the same vein , the standards set by driving schools to obtain the licences have to be reconsidered drastically.The system of highways in the country will have doubled by the end of 2010 linking the cities of Rabat and Casablanca to Oujda , Marrakech and Agadir ;and we hope it will be streched to remote regions as well such as Ouarzazate ,Errachidia ,Alahoceima ,Chaouen and Layoune .This will certainly help reduce the number and the gravity of accidents in Morocco.

A bitter-sweet life

An individual’s life span is intermittently marked by moments of joy and crises of sorrow,vertexes of utter hope ensued by sheer despondency.People’s feeling and reactions in each particular situation vary according to his/her psychological make-up, frame of mind and preconceived ideas about the matter in question.
Life is brimful of hardships and hurdles too painstaking to surmount .On the other hand, the stepping-stones are few and far between to enable us to go over these obstacles.Consequently, no human soul has ever departed unscathed from this earthly abode.Ineffable and invisible damage inflicted by lifes’ predicaments may bear witness to a person’s strife to survive.
Everyone of us endeavors to lead a happy life and to fulfill his dreams no matter how unrealistic or grotesque they may seem .Alas ! Everyday problems srike and shatters to pieces our reveries.Life resumes its due course, the clock continues ticking by indifferently and people go on indulging in their activities.Don’t expect time or people to commiserate with you in your plights,you have to shoulder the burden alone backed up by patience,mettle and hope.
With the succession of strikes ,many people break down while others capitulate .Some of them commit suicide expressing thus their inability to resist the harshness of the conditions and the dire straits ,indicating impotence to work out a viable solution to a problem or to bring to an end a crisis.Others take fright and flee their responsiblities( job-marriage….) hoping to reconstruct their lives elsewhere.In any case , other people –chiefly kins-suffer horrible aftermaths of decisions taken at moments of despair.
The ups and the downs of life are part and parcel of our destiny.Therefore,we are obliged to put up with the bitter side of life and to cherish our moments of joyfulness. No one knows what God has in store for him/her, so let’s consider pitfalls and problems tests to our patience whereas successes and happy news are rewards for the efforts we deploy to overstep our difficulties.

%d bloggers like this: