Today, I heard from a friend about a foreigner who thought Morocco is the kind of country where you only see women wearing black burkas, oppressed with no rights. He was even more shocked to hear that we, women, can drive there. I don’t know what’s bad, the fact that he doesn’t know anything about our country or how Arab countries are represented in the occidental point of view.

“Ignorance is a bless” they said. I wonder if that is true, because to me all what I don’t know keeps buzzing my curiosity. Not that I’m saying I know everything or I google everything I don’t understand. But at least, I know little things about countries I may hear of. I make efforts to better comprehend the world. Or should we merely put the blame on the media this time around too? How Middle Easterners are portrayed and how Northern Africans are the revolutionary guys.

Photograph “Rider” by Hassan Hajjaj. © Vigo Gallery — Instagram of the artist: @hassanhajjaj_larache

-I said Morocco not Monaco.

-What? No, even if Morocco is an African country, I’m not dark skinned.

- No, we don’t ride camels and no we don’t sleep in tents and have sand all over the place. The places you see in TV exist but they are not everywhere.

If I pictured a poor suburb in the middle of Manhattan full of dirt and homeless people, does that mean all New York City looks like that? Or that all Yankees are houseless. If I take a verse out of a song, would you understand what the song is about fully? Of course you won’t and it’s not your fault. Maybe a little because you didn’t put some effort into looking up the whole song and you didn’t try to understand its lyrics. Not that I’m putting the whole blame on your shoulders but truths shall be said my friend. You kept imagining things, creating stories in your head about what the song might be about. At the end, you took for granted what your little mind could think of and you almost believed it was the ultimate truth. But hey, I don’t blame you. You were taught to learn that way.

On the backhand of the tale, it’s also my fault, I neglected some parts of the song that might put on full perspective the real story and I only recited that specific verse. I left out all the other sections that might help you grasp the meaning fully. I played the role of the media here and I made you believe what I want you to believe.

Small tricks, big impact. Witty, hein? But can you see the full picture? You won’t complain the next day. You’ll sleep on the right side of the bed tonight, thinking that your life is amazing and that you’re satisfied everything turned out to be like you planned. But you forgot, you forgot about the verse, the photograph and me. You forgot that there’s a whole world outside suffering, beings murdered, kids separated from their parents, homes demolished, mothers killed, fathers injured, kids obliged to carry guns at the age of 10, young boys confronted to dead bodies at the age of 11, young children pushed to kill at the age of 12. And those little girls raped at the age of 7, prisoned at the age of 8, married to older men at the age of 9, taking care of their first child at the age of 10.

I don’t know what’s worse, who did that to them or us sleeping so comfortably on our beds every night knowing that occurrences like this are happening out there. I don’t know who is more cruel; us pretending ignorance or those psychopaths who inflict such violence. I honestly no more know if we’re really better than them in any sort of way. They do what they feel like doing and we close our eyes, dreaming about where are we going to spend our next vacation. If anything, their courage overlaps ours.

There are people dying everyday and there are hundreds of people dying merely because we can’t voice a word, we can’t protect them, we can’t speak for them and we ignore them instead. If ignorance is really a bless; can you tell me who is benefitting from this supreme bless?

Strange familiar. I am the wandering spirit that lingered on after my body shell.

Strange familiar. I am the wandering spirit that lingered on after my body shell.