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On Keeping Up With Life

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Have you ever held your head between your shaking hands in pure frustration? Have you ever wished for the world to just come to an end? Have you ever felt so vulnerable that you felt giving up would spare you tons of trouble? Have you ever knelt down while your arms and head drooped in desperation? Have you ever cried your heart out because no one truly understood you?…

If your answer to all of the questions above is “no,” then I’m sorry, but you haven’t really lived, like, AT ALL. If, on the other hand, you had to put up with any of these or other traumatizing experiences, then I think we’d make very good friends.

During my journey as any ordinary mortal, I came across many situations that would be enough to make questioning my sanity an inevitable morning ritual! By way of example and not limitation, I’ve been discriminated against by my own people. I’ve been mugged at 4 am in my own neighborhood. I’ve been beaten up by gangs of bullies for no apparent reason, and for many times. I’ve spectacularly lost in the raging war of love. I’ve been picked on by people who either thought I was too skinny, too smart or too stupid! I’ve been ridiculed for wearing shoes ten-year-olds were not supposed to be wearing. And to add salt to injury, I’ve even been denied the chance to pursue my dreams.

The wounds such calamities have caused are still open. Although, these wounds and bruises can still ache like hell, I learned how to stop whining about them and keep going. I know that millions of people have been in far worse places, and have gone through far worse situations. Therefore, I learned to stop complaining, or at least to limit my complaints in time and space.

Pain

Nevertheless, the valuable lesson here is that life, which many of us may deem beautiful, isn’t necessarily easy. Sometimes, it punches you right in the head and if you duck, it just grabs you from the groin and indulges in watching as you swirl and twirl in pain. The moment you think it’s over, it kicks you on the head… with a hammer… Thor’s hammer!

It is true after all that people’s problems, pains, calamities and sufferings come in different sizes, and this is why pain and suffering are highly proportional. What is futile for someone, can be of utmost significance for a different person. Therefore, I believe that we must understand people’s stands without ridiculing them. People shouldn’t necessarily have gone through the same experiences you’ve gone through to be compassionate with them. If pain comes in different sizes, so does love.

So, yes, life is tough. It’s so tough that it takes real courage to keep on smiling. It’s so tough that the simple act of getting out of your bed every morning is a sort of victory. Life is tough when nothing works out for you that the automatic action of breathing in and out is an act of rebellion. Life is tough in many ways, yet, the fact that you’re still alive is a sign that you never give up. Only true fighters never give up. Therefore, that life is tough, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “ugly.”

Fighter

Even though life has been kicking me hard, I still managed to grow older and stronger. Life might be tough, but I’ve been in defiance to make a point. I believe this is true for everyone of us. You might not be aware of the true fighter in you, but it’s in there for sure.

 

My Very Informal Reaction to: “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

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A “neurotic freak” would be an honest description of Elizabeth Gilbert. If she happens to have any reservations about this description, she might want to reconsider some events in her memoir “Eat, Pray, Love.”

Don’t get me wrong. I really do see the good in Gilbert’s journey of self-discovery and reunion with the divine. Nevertheless, being a man of a considerable amount of common sense and logical thinking, I find it hard to be 100% compassionate with her.

It’s not the fact that she wants a divorce from the man she has vowed to love till the end of time that makes me angry. It’s actually the fact that she’s angry with him because the poor thing “didn’t see that coming!” She’s angry because he chose her as his ultimate dream. She’s angry because he didn’t want everything they struggled for to collapse in a glimpse, and without a prior notice. How inconsiderate of him, right?

Moreover, she feels like she needs a break from her life to start anew, and what’s better than a PREPAID vacation to Italy, India and Bali to do that? She goes on a “cleansing” journey by money from her boss who is expecting a report about the journey in return. Doesn’t this sound like BUSINESS to you? …It does to me! Therefore, I find the authenticity of Gilbert’s work to be highly questionable.

eat_pray_love

However, the book is not totally useless. I mean, if you’re bold enough to discard what’s been mentioned above as unimportant details, you can still enjoy the funny style, the imagery, the irony in Gilbert’s life, and you can even identify with her as she indulges in a bumpy search for everything.

Moreover, the book proposes a variety of scenery from different countries and cultures. Add that to Gilbert’s craft in storytelling, and you’ll end up traveling with her through the food paradise that is Italy, mystic India and exotic Bali.

If you’re into meditation, this book can be inspiring. Gilbert’s time in the Ashram in India, her maddening struggle with all the Mantras and Sanskrit, as well as the sleeping until the ungodly hour of dawn can be relatable in our daily lives.  Maybe not necessarily in that same order, or with those very same items, but it’s relatable, still.

So, if I am to give a final verdict, I’d just cut it short and say that if you enjoy shows like Sex and The City, then this book is for you.

It’s Possible If…

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The Moroccan Foreign Language Teaching experience cannot achieve its objectives in the absence of (i) a clear national policy as to the merits of such a teaching, (ii) an agreement of all stakeholders on the vision lying behind such a policy, and (iii) a teaching environment providing all the requirements for the success of such a policy.

The statement above highlights three focal points that must be satisfied before one can talk about a teaching experience that is capable of reaching its objectives. Hereafter are the reasons why I support this statement.

When the Finnish decided they wanted an effective and fulfilling educational system, they opted for CLEAR policies. These policies emphasized the role of the teacher as a guide and a role model, and the role of the student as an active participant in the teaching and learning processes. The results now speak for themselves; Finland’s experience is currently regarded as the world’s leading and most effective educational system.

Primary school kids in a Finnish classroom

If we are to gain any insights from the Finnish model, we should work on a general consensus over a policy that generates the dedication of all active actors towards the achievement of its goals. Depending on serendipity and the personal efforts of some teachers and schools would not yield the positive results we are longing for. Hence, the necessity for such a policy.

However, a general policy does not necessarily mean a unique and unified vision of how education should be, how teachers should teach, or how learners should learn. In fact, A general policy might be even more fruitful if teachers are given the chance to practice teaching according to their own teaching philosophies rather than following a set of fixed criteria and guidelines. This would give teachers more room for innovation and would eventually lead to a more independent and engaging teaching and learning experiences.

Understandably, such a shared vision requires the agreement of all stakeholders. Therefore, all our decision makers, teachers, parents and students alike must agree to take an active role in the implementation of such a policy. A “national policy” is not national unless all categories of stakeholders are involved in its drafting and, later on, implementation. We have been trying top-down policies for decades, and there is no doubt left for their uselessness.

The most problematic point however, is the third one. Providing a teaching environment that satisfies the needs of the students and their teachers is a real challenge. Nevertheless, it remains  a compulsory condition for the success of such a policy. No success whatsoever will see the light unless the state is willing to invest in education. It has actually been proven that we do not lack ideas, nor do we lack the necessary human resources, but that the real shortage is in providing a positive and stimulating teaching and learning environment. Moreover, we must make sure that the policy encompasses the values of fairness, justice and equity to all stakeholders, and that it does not favor a single category over the others.

Primary school kids in a Moroccan Classroom

To cut a long story short, the road to a better educational system in Morocco is a bumpy one. However, if there is a real willingness to solve this problem, and if the ministry stops sweeping our problems under the rug, things will advance.

You don’t simply go from this: (Education in Morocco)

To this: (Education in Finland)

كفاءة مع وقف التنفيذ

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عين العقل هو ما تراه وزارة التربية الوطنية كحل لمشكل السلم التاسع بالمنظومة التعليمية. فالمباراة الشفهية هي الفيصل في من يحظى بالترقية و من يبقى دونها. هذا هو الإدعاء الذي تروجه الوزارة و منابرها لمغالطة الرأي العام المغربي، و لتوشيح الأستاذ(ة) بوسام “الطمَّاع” من درجة فارس.

إن الوزارة لحريصة كل الحرص على الظهور بمظهر الرجل المسكين والوقور الذي لا حول و لا قوة له أمام انعدام ضمير 6000 أستاذة و أستاذ. حيث مافتئت تبدي استغرابها من مطالب هاته الفئة من الشغيلة التعليمية التي تطالب ـ و يا لهول ما تطالب به ـ بالترقية إلى السلم العاشر بالنسبة لحاملي الإجازة و الحادي عشر بالنسبة لحملة الماستر أسوة بالأفواج السابقة و اللاحقة.

إن كان لابد لأحد الطرفين من أن يكون ضميره قد انعدم فهو وزارة بلمختار، فبأي حق تتم ترقية جميع الأساتذة الذين سبقوا فوجي 2012 و 2013 و جميع الأساتذة الذين التحقوا بالميدان بعد 2013، و يتم غض الطرف عن هذين الفوجين فقط و كأنهم من سكان زُحل، أو كأنهم أساتذة من الدرجة الثانية؟!

فليعلم الرأي العام أن هؤلاء الأساتذة ذاقوا ويلات الجامعات المغربية، و حصلوا على أعلى الدرجات، و اجتازوا مرحلة الإنتقاء القبلي، ثم اجتازوا الإمتحان الكتابي لولوج مراكز التكوين، و بعد ذلك، اجتازوا الإمتحان الشفهي لهاته المراكز قبل أن يلتحقوا بها من أجل عام من التدريب و التحصيل، ليتم امتحانهم كتابيا و شفويا للمرة المليون، قبل أن تقدم لهم مفاتيح أقسامهم! فكيف للوزارة أن تشكك في كفاءة هؤلاء؟

حتى إذا افترضنا جدلاً أن هؤلاء الأساتذة المطالِبين بحقهم غر مؤهلين و لا يستحقون شهاداتهم، فهذا ضرب للجامعة المغربية و لمراكز التكوين، وللأطر التي تسهر على تدريب الأساتذة الجدد، و للسادة المفتشين التربويين للوزارة الذين اعترفوا لهم بالكفاءة، فهؤلاء الأساتذة ماكان لهم أن يكونوا لولا مرورهم بنجاح عبر كل هؤلاء الفاعلين. بل هو ضرب للوزارة عينها التي تأتمن أناساً غير أكفاءِِ على فلذات أكباد المغاربة. أم أن المبدئ هنا هو أنك كفئ ما دمت خانعاً راضياً بالذل و الهوان، لتنتفي عنك صفة الكفاءة بمجرد مطالبتك بأبسط الحقوق وأكثرها بديهية؟

ثم أي وقاحة تتحدث بها الوزارة عن حق التلميذ في التمدرس؟ من المسؤول عن هذا الإضراب؟ هل كُنَّا لنعوض القسم بالشارع لو تم تمكيننا من حقوقنا؟ هل كنا لنترك أقسامنا لو صانت الوزارة كرامتنا و حفظت ماء وجهها؟ إننا لنخوض هذا الإضراب بشعار “مجبر أخوك لا بطل”، فتحية للمناضلين و الخزي و العار لمغالطي الرأي العام.

Café/restaurant Les Artistes, Rabat.

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Les Artistes is a small but beautiful space in Rabat where you can enjoy food, photography and painting at the same time.

Arbaoua’s Hill

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Arbaoua's hill

This is one of the most beautiful hills near our village.

Arbaoua’s Summer

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A view from my village, Arbaoua, during the summer time. IMG_1868