Wednesday, June 27, 2018

IN THE SHADE OF HISTORY Chapter Ten


As a student I found very funny the antagonistic idiomatic expressions: filer à l’anglaise and to make French leave (Brit), both meaning to run off/away. If there’s no smoke without fire, as the proverb goes, then this suggests that in the sight of the French there’s something wrong with the English, and vice versa. For one who has a certain knowledge of European history, it is somewhat easy to understand such antagonism.

The French refer to themselves as the French; that is, they are different from the English, different from Germans, etc. That’s why French history books would laud French victories over the English, over Germans, etc. Idem for the English. The fact is, Germans (the Germanic people) are, in a way, the forefathers of many European peoples, including the French, the English, the Spanish, etc. The French and the Spanish, for example, adopted Latin-based languages. Even English is more Latinized than Germanized. So does this mean that there’s something wrong with the German language? Or it is just a normal process that each people has to distinguish itself from other peoples by its own language, its own culture, etc. ? Does a people knowingly and deliberately change its language and culture to look different from other peoples ? Or is it part of human nature –kind of natural, historical development that occurs spontaneously over time?

How does this change occur, historically speaking? The Germanic people, from whom derived so many other ‘sub-peoples’ in Europe, did not sprout or spring up from the land called Prussia, Germania or Germany. They came from Asia. Other people who, at one time, shared with them that part of Central Asia, moved southwards to populate present-day India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan… You understand I’m talking of migration. This migration phenomenon has always been caused by famine, war, military expansion… We Arabs and, before us, Berbers came to this part of North Africa, for quite the same reasons, from the Arabian Peninsula. The United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Latin & Central America are all obvious examples of how migration makes peoples what they are. Americans and Australians, for example, don’t speak with the same accent and they have different constitutions, etc., although they originally came from the same places. Many peoples have the same origins and yet you will hear talk of Moroccan culture, American culture, Australian culture, Belgian culture…. Is there anything wrong with that? Shouldn’t an American boast his culture is much more important than Moroccan culture, for example? How can a Moroccan convince an American that, no, it’s Moroccan culture that is more important? I don’t know, honestly. Even before agreeing on what culture means, it goes without saying that many more Moroccan youths would love to live in the U.S.A. than Americans would love to live in Morocco? Statistics speak for themselves. There are tens of thousands of Moroccans who became naturalized American citizens and thousands more of Moroccan immigrants in the US. The total number of legal immigrants in Morocco (according to a 2014 census) is about 96,000 and the number of illegal immigrants is between 20,000 and 40,000 – in a population of 34,000 000. How can one explain this? Why do Moroccans go to America? Do they go for bread and honey or for American culture?

Now we ask, what is culture? I once asked an American student in Morocco: “What’s life for you?” He said: “Sex and food”. What should someone like me, who has never been to America, understand from such a statement? What could this tell me about American culture? Surely, Moroccans don’t go to America only for sex and food. Many Moroccans who have been to America talk about American democracy, American sense of organisation, American sense of initiative and enterprise, American sense of risk-taking… In my home city, Mohammedia, there’s a big MacDonald’s and several pizza huts. 25 miles away, in Casablanca, there’s a (white) American woman, married with a Moroccan man, who writes a famous blog on Moroccan food. I have had among my tutors Americans who spoke Moroccan Arabic fluently. If many Moroccans in the USA went there for money, what Americans (whatever their number) come to Morocco for?   Yes, some of them come for work (in American schools, etc.), but do they all come for money? I don’t know.
What I know is that the thousands of sub-Saharan boat people who make it into Europe, each year, risking their lives, do not do it for European culture. I know that the few thousands of sub-Saharan people (men, women and children) living in my home city for less than 15 years now did not come here for Moroccan culture, and they are not all students who came here to study. I’ve seen some of them beg in the streets. Questions on culture lead us to questions on us, as human beings. What makes (German) PEGIDA demonstrators take to the streets and what makes (German) anti-PEGIDA people take to the streets too? What makes me write in English and French and what makes some English and French people learn Arabic? Why should a Russian be interested in my writings? Aren’t there good Russian writers who write in Russian? Aren’t there good German writers who write in German? Why shouldn’t I write in Arabic? A famous American revert and religious scholar (that I don’t want to name) once said in an interview that an Arab Muslim writer should not write in a foreign language because he can’t help being influenced by the culture of the language he is writing in.

There are apparently two kinds of writers. Some writers are more important than their writings. Sometimes writings are more important than the authors. Some people (readers) are interested in gags, so they’ll buy and read work with lots of gags in it, whoever the author. For similar reasons, other people will prefer suspense, romance, avant-garde, thrillers, historical, juvenile, adventure, spiritual, inspirational… Other people will rather focus on the person of the author; they will look on him/her as a virtual teacher or friend. They want to be inspired by him/her. That’s why literary translation is very important. When someone reads a piece of work in translation or written by a writer from another place, it’s not because he feels that his country’s literature or culture is inferior to others, but simply because he is looking for something with which he can feel at home. I have experienced unemployment, and when I write about unemployment I know what it’s like. But would readers be interested in my writings only if they are unemployed? Recently in Germany 5,000 employees at recruitment agencies lost their jobs because there were so many job opportunities in Germany that everybody else had found work, leaving those (poor) recruitment agencies with little work to do! And yet several Germans continue to visit my blog  regularly. A Russian/German/Moroccan person would be seen buying and listening to a piece of American music, for example, because everybody is doing so. But privately this same person would feel more at home, when left alone, with a piece of music from his own country or region.

Basketball is good, and I would enjoy watching a basketball game. But I would enjoy more a show of Fantasia (or Tbourida). (Go to Youtube to see what it is.) Not because Fantasia is more beautiful than basketball, but it’s something closer to me as a Moroccan. Here come in all sorts of customs and traditions that make us feel at home, as belonging to where we are or where we came from. Maybe I don’t like some aspects of our traditions, but whether I like it or not, these traditions speak to me more than something I’m not accustomed to. I am an Arab, not a Berber; but a Berber wedding (with all that goes into it: the music, the dancing, the food, the clothes, the colours, the décor…) would appeal to me more than a Kurdish wedding, for example. There are not Kurds in my country. But I have always seen Berbers everyday everywhere. At least a third of Morocco’s population is Berber. They have been in this land for thousands of years. We Arabs came here some 1,380 years ago. So Berber things are part of my identity. But this identity thing is a personal thing. If Arab and Berber Moroccans make up an essential part of my identity, this does not mean that I will feel at home with just any Moroccan, Arab or Berber. I love Morocco, I love Moroccan people, but I am not obliged to have Moroccan friends, for example, or to marry a Moroccan woman. In other words, my identity is more of a psychological than social necessity. I need my way of thinking when I have a problem. I need the feeling of belonging somewhere, to something, even when I don’t have a problem. If I don’t feel that I belong where I am, that’s a big problem. That’s when I will need my way of thinking to help me overcome this problem. These identity aspects are all parts of my culture, or rather my general culture that I share with millions of people in my country. But there’s a more specific part of my culture (say, my individual culture) which I share with far less people in my country and with far more elsewhere.

Personally, I eat with my hands and would never be comfortable with a knife and fork. But I would not impose my way of eating on people used to the knife-and-fork way of eating. I have to make this concession. Being a modern person is not necessarily eating in a certain way or dressing according to fashion or speaking this way or that, but rather being able to make mutual concessions when necessary. I accept that, even if my way is the best, others are free to have their own way within a general legal framework accepted by all for the sake of a peaceful society. As long as I can go to mosque, wear a beard or go out in a jellaba, without being threatened or harassed, you are free to go wherever you like and do whatever you like that is not against the Law. The Law does not belong to you or to me. It’s made for us all. If you or I don’t like it, there should be legal ways to change it. This is what I meant by mutual concessions. I eat what I want as I want when I am alone or with people like myself. I wear what I want as I want without provoking or hurting anybody. I speak as best I can without aping anybody or pretending what I am not. This is my culture. My way of life is a conspicuous representation of my culture. If I liked a piece of American music, that would be part of my culture. If I liked a French radio station or magazine, that would be part of my culture. I am a Moroccan and I like a lot of Moroccan things. But I also like a lot of things that are not Moroccan. I like Americans’ sense of duty. I like Germans’ love for reading. I like nineteenth-century French literature. I like pre-1990 Egyptian music. I like Italian suits and shoes. And I am absolutely comfortable with what I like.

If I can afford what I like, that’s great. If not, no problem. I needn’t have a car or even a laptop to be a modern person. I can very well work in cybercafés and travel in a taxi or take a bus. No problem. If other people think I’m not a modern person or that I’ve failed socially or professionally, that’s not a big problem to me. But I can’t be a modern person if I don’t speak French or English. Not because they are the best languages of the world, but because my culture would be very limited without them. I wish I could speak German, Russian, Spanish and Chinese too! To be modern I need to know and understand what’s going on in the world. I need to understand History to see what was possible in past times that is no longer today and what can yet change in the future for the better or for the worst. I need to understand other people’s ways of thinking. I need to learn about other peoples’ traditions and ways of life. I can’t know all that if I spoke only one language. If I know how other people think and behave I will improve my own way of thinking. 
            
Many people from Europe, America, South-East Asia, Russia… visited in the past such nice places as Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Syria. They took pictures of themselves in nice historical monuments, etc. Those nice sites and sights are gone. War destroyed them. Yet, such nice sites can be considered as part of one’s culture –just as music, food, clothes, history, language, religion, customs and traditions, etc… But if all this does not help the people who produced them in the first place, how can they help me ? The Tour Eiffel is nice. But should I go to France just to see it? Should I go to France only to see what French people are like? No, I can do it without leaving my home city. What’s more important to me is to know how French people became what they are, how they think, how they solve their problems, what their dreams and aspirations are... I can know that at school, by reading, through the media. When I know much about that, I push the borders of my culture a bit further. French authors will become my authors, my teachers, and so will American authors, Egyptian journalists, Arab poets… My culture will be as large as my knowledge. This is what I meant by ‘specific culture’ or ‘individual culture’. I will not then make a difference between culture and civilisation. But I will make a difference between my culture as an Arab and Western culture, for example. They are not the same. And that’s very normal. And I will not start comparing which is best. My culture is good as long as it suits me well, as long as I feel comfortable with it. I would not expect a German or anybody else to dress the way I do, or to eat the way I do (even if he were a Muslim)… I would only expect him to understand me –not even to accept me as I am. We are all human beings; we have more or less the same problems and different ways of dealing with those problems. When I write in English or in French I am exposing my way of thinking, my way of solving my problems –based on my own culture, which is neither worse nor better than any other culture.

I am not a philosopher and Muhammad, the main character in my novel THE PHILOSOPHER, is not a philosopher, either. He and I only try as best we can to philosophize life in order to make our problems seem easier to us as a first step towards solving them. In a way, my writings have been kind of self-coaching to me. That worked for me: so far at least, I have managed to keep my dream alive against all odds. I imagine my thoughts can inspire others as well.

I once heard a Syrian migrant say on the BBC : "We didn’t come here because we want to be happy. We only want to be safe."  The migrant was still on a Greek island when he said that. Other Syrian migrants looked really happy when they reached the Budapest railway station, so happy that they started chanting: "Thank you, Hungary! Thank you, Hungary!" They became even more happy when they were welcomed into Germany, so happy that they started chanting: "Mama Merkel! Mama Merkel!" That Syrian migrant interviewed on the Greek island would understandably be happier, too, once he reached Munich in Germany. Would he be safe there? I don't know. But Germany is not Syria, where more than 240,000 people lost their lives in a little more than four years. 'Mama Merkel' did understand such people's need for saftey as much as she understood her country's need for migrant workers to boost (or at least to sustain) its current economic growth.

Like those Syrians, thousands of migrants from war zones have paid thousands of dollars for boat lifts to safety. But thousands of other migrants too have paid thousands of dollars to smugglers although they came from relatively safe countries.

Several years ago I saw heart-breaking TV pictures of a man from Central America sleeping on the floor with his back to the wall, no blanket, no covers. He got his food from a local (Mexican) charity organisation that helped people who tried and failed to make it into the U.S.A. illegally through the Mexican border. Asked about his situation, he explained that he could never go back to his hometown, even if it meant prison or death on American soil. He said he was doing that for the sake of his mother, who needed his help. It is easy to moralize on such situations, and I'm not telling who's wrong and who's right, who is really in need of safety and who is not, who should provide that safety and who should not, who should be kept and who should be turned back. The Hungarian government, which stopped migrants at the borders, using force, had its own logic, and those desperate migrants who clashed with Hungarian frontier soldiers had their own logic, too. I am not entirely neutral on this, but my point here is to see the positive side.

We live in a world of Statistics. The Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was quoted as saying: "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a Statistic." We reckon the numbers of migrants who 'succeeded' in reaching Europe and of those who died on the way. We calculate the profits made by smugglers. We pay less attention to personal tragedies. Once a Moroccan TV reporter went to see candidates to migration from Moroccan Sahara to the (Spanish) Canarian Islands. One  of the persons interviewed, a bare-foot, shabbily-dressed Sub-Saharan woman in her twenties, said she and her companions ate rats because they couldn't afford meat. Several Muslim religious scholars issued fatwas that some people in Syria could eat cats, dogs and donkeys – if they had to. Many women migrants arrived in Europe as single mothers carrying little babies in their arms. You can understand what happened to them.

Imagine people travelling on foot across the desert, where only adventurous tourists would love to go in air-conditioned cars. Imagine them making such trips in the hope of reaching places thousands of miles away from their hometowns and villages. Then, ask them why they're doing this. Ask them where safety is – for  them. Is their safety in the land they left or in the land they dreamt of?

Paradoxically, lack of safety is what makes us humane. Total feeling of safety may drive us apart and make us arrogant. Three siblings with such a high sense of self-sufficiency would probably prefer living each in a small, old apartment than living together in one bigger, more comfortable home. Even within the same home, under the same roof, you would find several siblings each with his own kitchen, and each would most probably borrow money or ask for help, at a time of crisis, from a distant friend or a workmate rather than ask his/her sibling.

It's our awareness of our weaknesses that saves the humane side in us. You see the picture of that Syrian child found dead on a Turkish beach and you say that could happen to my child, or to my little brother. Unfortunately, not everybody feels this way. But there's still a lot to hope from mankind. It's only a matter of education.

Even in this globalized world, many large families still sit at the same dinner table. There's still true brotherhood and true sisterhood. There's still true friendship. There's still genuine solidarity. Those millions of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey couldn't have survived without generous, genuine help from good souls in Europe, in America and elsewhere. Many people still work hard in bad conditions in foreign countries in order to help family members at home. Many bothers and sisters donate kidneys to their brothers and sisters. Many good-hearted men and women donate blood, money and all sorts of assistance to people they don't know. Those who don't have anything to donate have hearts that feel sorrow for other people's misfortunes. And those who can donate and help others to feel some kind of safety may themselves be in need of some kind of safety. Safety is not always physical or material. It can be emotional as well.

In some places people don't feel safe because they fear floods. In other places people don't feel safe because they fear drought. You may find people who feel very safe in Zimbabwe, in Ghaza, in Armenia, in Brazil's pavellas...., and people who wouldn't feel safe at all in places like Sweden, Japan, Shanghai, Los Angeles or I  don't know where. There are married people who don't feel safe about their marriage, employed people who don't feel safe about their work, healthy people who don't feel safe without proper health insurance, people who don't feel safe because of their colour, race or religion, people who don't feel safe because other people are always judging them by their look, by their cast, by their holidays...

It takes a lot of self-confidence, a high sense of freedom and much sacrifice to be able to defy other people's way of looking at us. Take this example: of the late Egyptian popular poet Ahmad Fouad Negm. On one TV programme the camera followed him as he went up the stairs towards a humble 'apartment' in the midst of a popular, poor neighbourhood in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptians call such dwellings 'assotooh', the roofs. Ahmad Fouad Negm was then in his seventies and he was dressed in a jellaba and he lived with his only daughter, that he loved so much. Personally, I didn't believe my eyes and couldn't understand why such a famous Arab poet, who was a celebrity in the Arab world, could live in such a place. Earlier in his life, he had spent several years in prison (because of his political poems), but he had also spent a lot of time in 5-star hotels. He had worn V.I.P. clothes and travelled in chauffeured cars, etc, etc. And now he was living like any poor Egyptian in the slums of Cairo. "Why?" he was asked. "Because this place is alive!" he explained. "Don't you hear the voices of the neighbours? I tell you what, I once lived in a classy discrict in Paris. Everything was beautiful and glamourous. But it was dead! I didn't feel at home at all. Everything was so calm, nobody spoke to anybody; that was horrific for me. It was like a prison! And here, look! there's life! You feel safe, in the midst of the population..."

You may probably have seen TV pictures of Chinese people traveling on jam-packed trains on the eve of major Chinese hollidays. People who left their villages and hamlets to work in far-away towns and cities are pining for their families, to whom they are bringing money and gifts. Who needs the other? The migrant worker or his family back in the village? Who is in need of safety? Isn't loneliness a form of lack of safety? Isn't feeling of safety worth money and gifts? Almost always, for many years now, I see in my hometown young Sub-Saharan men and women, some with their children, sitting together, walking together or playing football under the eyes of their fellow Sub-Saharans. Man doesn't need only money or power. We need things that we don't even think about.

Many years ago, my younger brother invited me to share Eed Al Adha (The Feast of Sacrifice) with him in the Southern town of Essaouira. I went the day before eed. I arrived at the Casablanca motor coach station late in the afternoon. But I had to wait several hours for the Essaouira coach to leave the station. And  I didn't get bored with waiting. I was delighted to see how people struggled to book their trips to nearly all places across the country. I saw several people carry sheep on their shoulders, others take up the sheep onto the coach roofs... And when our coach left Casablanca City, in the evening, a group of the passengers burst out singing, some in Arabic, some in Berber... They sang and clapped their hands happily. They would have even danced had there been enough space. The coach was running on four (rubber) wheels, at night, but everybody felt so safe that many succumbed to sleep. Everybody put their trust in the coach driver. In a way, we are all that little child that runs into his mother's arms to feel safe. We all need some kind of 'Mama Merkel', a source of compassion close at hand.

I was twenty-two years old when I decided to borrow Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet from my University library to read it at home. I had long heard so much about that story that I was eager to know the first words that Romeo would exchange with Juliet. Because of the aura that had been created in my mind about that "love story", I was proceeding through my reading with so much awe. Yet, I had a radio by my side as I read.

The presenter on Radio Rabat announced the name of the song that would follow. It was Eddar Lli Hnak (The House Yonder) by Abdelouahab Doukali, who was my favourite singer for most of my life. The song disrupted my reading, not only because I liked it (I had heard it before), but also because of these lines:
"Time has passed
Our dreams have changed
And what has become of our neighbours?
All has become past!
All is lost!..."
As the song reached that point I just laid aside the book and turned the volume up until the song was over. Exactly the same thing happened to me two days later. It was the same song –but on another Moroccan radio– , and I was reading the same book, and I just put the book aside and turned the volume up when the song started reminiscing about "our neighbours".

A few weeks later, that "home" was no longer ours. We left that house for good.  We went to another house. So some members of my family moved to that new house while others stayed in another house which we had had before. So I had already had "new" neighbours even before I left the home where I read Romeo and Juliet. But those "old" neighbours remain special up to this day and will always be.

I will always remain the same person I was when I lived amongst those neighbours. My feelings remain the same. My way of thinking remains the same. My personality remains the same. And so does "my home".

Now all those old neighbours have moved elsewhere. Now I often go past that "old" neighbourhoud and don't even take notice of it. My home now is the place where I live. It's here where I eat, where I sleep. But that "home" where I put the book aside is always there, somewhere in my world.

My mother, too, has her own home. It's where she was born. When we were kids my mother would take us to her native countryside, her "home". In fact, that home is mine too somehow. As a kid, I always longed to go there, and I was always enthralled by the "beauty" of that place. My mother still makes the trip at least once a year. Personally, I haven't gone there since 1990. Yet, the images that stuck in my mind of that place have made their way into my novels. The presence of a river in each of my novels is one manifestation of those abiding images. My imagination was more impacted by the captivating view of Oued Telmest (River) in my childhood than by the two streams that line up my hometown of Mohammedia. I will never forget the silver colour of the Oued Telmest water, the kids splashing their faces with water, their mums glancing at the grenade-trees hanging over the banks, the mud huts overlooking the stream. All that is part of my mum's home, which is my home too.

Mogador, too, is part of that home. I still go to Mogador occasionally. On my way to and back from Mogador (commonly known as Essaouira), I just can't miss glancing at where my parents came from. Because that's part of my home! No wonder then that both "The Tailor" and "The Philosopher" are set somewhere around that area. It’s there that I saw a lot of reed by a river (See “The Philosopher”). It’s there that I saw shepherds playing on the utar in the fields and in berrakas (See “The Tailor”).

Now, what about you? You have your own home, maybe your own homes, haven't you? Well, I made a number of trips by bike. I went to all the neighbouring towns and cities: Casablanca, El Gara, Benslimane, Mellila, Bouznika and Rabat. I went there by Mini bike, which only town dwellers normally use. So it was easy for anyone outside of towns and cities to notice that I was a "stranger". I went past kids going to school, women going to neighbours' homes, peasants working in their fields, youths sitting in cafes, others playing football near their homes. They were there miles and miles away from my home, and I wasn't as much surprised as they were seeing me riding my Mini bike through their hamlets and villages. I looked as an intruder, and people made me feel that by their way of looking at me. Kids asked me "where I was from". They asked me how far my hometown of Mohammedia was and where I was going and why I was there. The truth is that they needed not remind me that I didn't belong where they lived, where they had their home. I knew I was away from home, and I always wondered whether I could get back home before nightfall. I always “pined for” home on my way back. A Moroccan proverb goes, "The best place for a horse is its stable." How very true!

On the eve of eed you would find bus stations overcrowded with people wishing to celebrate eed with family. They know that they might be victims of road accidents on their way to or back from "home"; but they too go back "home" after the eed. Their Number One home is the one where they live, where they earn a living or study for a better future, where they have started a family.  The one they visit on the eve of eed is relegated to a second place. They could be away from the Number Two home, but they just can't do without their Number One home.

Expatriates too come during the summer holidays to see family and friends and go back "home" within less than a month, despite horrific road accidents that happen every year. This proves that absence from the "old" home is just out of necessity, but going back home from time to time is no less urgent necessity when one can afford it.

The legendary Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta (1304-1377) went to God only knows how many countries. He lived there for years and years. He got married in several places. But in the end he came back to his native country, Morocco, where he dictated his journey accounts to a Moroccan scribe, to the Moroccan king's delight.

In his writings, such as TAWQ AL HAMAMA (The Collar of the Dove), Ibn Hazam (994-1064) talked about Cordova, Spain, as his "home". He described it in every detail possible. You could feel his heart bleeding as he wrote about what it meant for him to be driven out of his home and live the rest of his life far and far away from the home of his childhood and youth. This would make a present-day Spaniard raise his eyebrows.

Even homeless people do have their "home" in this sense, don't they? Wherever they might go they will always think of a place as "their place", their home.
So it is anything but bizarre to see the family of a dead person try everything they can to return his remains to the place he or they consider(ed) to be his home. The remains of the French explorer of Italian origin Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, who gave the Congolese capital its name, were transferred from Algiers to Brazaville, Congo-Braza, many decades after his death and burial because his family considered Brazaville as his "home".

Some people, like Ibn Hazam in Muslim Spain, are forced from home. They become refugees in other people's homes. These will always dream of returning back home unless they find better living conditions in the land where they have taken refuge.

But other people leave their own home without being forced from it. They migrate to lands where they see their El Dorado. With time the new land becomes their adopted home. Then these immigrants become full citizens of the country that has adopted them. But even with naturalization, many people still find themselves "sitting astride" between two "homes". African Americans perhaps have no other home than the one where they were born and raised. So they have no choice than to be integrated, assimilated into the societies where they live. But those who were born in other countries or into families coming from other countries do have "another home". These people bring in their "old" homes to their new ones. Satellite TV, radio stations, the Internet, Western Union and the like, all these serve as links between the two homes.

For many, those links are not enough. They need stronger links to the home country. They need places where they can meet other people from the home country, where they can hear the music and eat or buy the food of the home country, where they can buy the clothes of the home country, where they can celebrate all that is celebrated back in the home country.  In New York, for example, you have China Town, but also "a town" for the Italians, the Hispanics, the Greeks, the Germans, the Mid-easterns, etc. Everyone has his own little home and N.Y. is home to all.

The question is: do you call any place you live in home? The Queen of Britain may call Buckingham Palace home, but can the President of U.S. call the White House home? What about the settlers and their children who were born and raised under occupation? What about the people who were living in those places before they were deported by the settlers and became refugees in other peoples' lands? What about the children who were born in countries where their parents are considered no more than immigrants?

Many immigrants tend to become "full" (not only naturalized) citizens of the countries where they are. They make their own lives where they are. They give their children the "same" education as the children of the land where they are. They do this because they love this land they found themselves in –not because of a bad experience of deportation, persecution or poverty. Aljazeera TV broadcast a series of programs called, "Asdiqa Al Arab" (Friends of the Arabs), featuring ordinary people from America, China, Europe, etc., who chose to live in this or that Arab country where they found their happiness and decided to stay until the end of their lives.

Mohamed Ali LAGOUADER


No comments: