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Ten percent of Moroccans live outside the motherland, a big number! Almost everyone in Morocco has a family member living in Europe or North America or other parts of the world, I met Moroccans from New Zeeland and Australia and others from Japan and Korea, we are everywhere, and this is why I decided to address an issue that concerns the Diaspora, we know that no matter where a Moroccan person lives he or she will always keep in touch with home, family and friends.
I do not think that I would be exaggerating if I declare that Moroccans are the most devout community of immigrants towards their country of origin. Many of us think of Morocco as the resting place and a retirement paradise. Our previous article talked about the dream of returning to Morocco becoming hard to achieve due to the high prices, refer to article IS MOROCCO GETTING OUT OF OUR REACH retiring in Morocco or not is not really a collective issue, some may think that sunny Florida may do just fine, others may think that Morocco will always be affordable and at sixty five they will retire there without a problems. The collective worry, however, are our children, whether they will go back home with us when we decide to say enough and to make the journey back or whether they will stay abroad with us or without us. This worry is not personal as each one of us may think, it is a collective issue because we want the best for them and the best is for them to be Moroccans with our values, our culture and language. They could do fine without our interferences but we can not. The Italians, Greeks, Germans in America completely avoided their cultural values to bring up a better generation, as Americans accepted in this Anglo-Saxon country but we, can not and we should not, they can be Americans, German or Canadians and add to that a Moroccan personality, which in my opinion is valid and workable in any other cultures due to thousands of years of culture exchange between Morocco and the big powers of Europe and the west in general.
So, our strategy to keep the second generation Diaspora as Moroccans as us is hard and I saw many examples of failed experiences, many families are struggling whether to impose or to quietly introduce these values to their children, and next thing you know they are off to College and it is too late.
Kids love to go to Morocco for the summer, they enjoy playing with their cousins from back home, they anticipate the holidays for that joy of being free and being a kid with a minimum monitoring as it is the customs in Morocco. However, and a few years down this child starts to criticize Morocco and the shortcoming of his or her vacation and as soon as they can say no, they do so and avoid going to Morocco once for good, this is not the case of all Moroccans but I believe that a big number of families experience this fact.
How can we make our children love our country? How can we shape their personalities with our values?
I recon the reasons why some people choose to bring up their kids with western values and purposely avoid to introduce them to our values, culture and even language. I imagine that it is easier to raise a an American kid in America and a French one in France but it is harder to raise a child with Moroccan values in America, but it is worth it to many of us. Isn’t the prize when we know that our children are taught the best values?
So, we are divided in two camps, some of us believe in raising our children as Moroccans living abroad and others insist that we ought to let them fit in their hosting country and raise them as Americans, French etc…there is only one benefit from letting them grow up without interference, and it is their total integration, something that we desperately need in Europe. After decades of Moroccan presences there, our youth are still struggling to claim their European identity, it is not completely their fault, the European society is exclusive by nature and anyone who is not European by blood is not part of the circle. This being said, the Moroccan parents in Europe did not contemplate enough about the ways to raise a second generation Diaspora that will fit in harmony in France, Italy and other parts of Europe. In the US, the experiment is still at its early years and the first impressions are encouraging.
Back to whether we should raise our children westerners to give them the opportunities and the chances to excel in their lives or whether to give them the gift of being Moroccans like us, because it is a gift; Each family decides on its own to do what it sees fit but a consensus on an idea won’t hurt either, many diasporas in the world have a whole set of programs that cater to a collective goal, take for example the Israeli Diaspora in the US, they organize trips and camps for their children to visit Haifa and Tel Aviv in the summer and to keep in touch with their culture.
Speculative future of our community and the status of our children in their hosting countries is to be debated but one thing is sure, the connection with the motherland will only bring positive results and many rewards, when one day our children will be entering American, French and English Houses of Parliament and will occupy important positions in the west because they will be smart, devout and backed by a set of values that the west must accept, understand and appreciate.
Take the Indians for example, they have one of the most successful Diaspora in the world, they educate and integrate their children but in an Indian frame work and where being Indian does not contradict being a doctor in London or a lawyer in Indianapolis. Many of us want this end and want to see the Moroccans of tomorrow achieve such status in Europe and America but we are in total disagreement on how.
I call upon the government of Morocco to do a little more in order to approach Morocco, the mother land, to its sons and daughters living abroad by promoting and funding teachers’ visits to these countries to give lessons on religion, history and culture of back home
We have to do more than our best to raise the second and third generations of Moroccans in the west so may be one day they will help Morocco better from the outside, just like the Armenian, Indian, Chinese and other Diasporas in the world this way we could retire in Morocco or elsewhere in peace.