Sahara Conflict, Moroccan Youth between Disorientation and Patriotism

The way young people relate to their historical legacy varies greatly depending on their level of awareness as well as the facts they are taught and the values they are inculcated during the process of schooling.

Some prefer to name it” generation gap” while others consider that the apathy towards national politics is a transient youth frivolity. Yet, the disaffection of Moroccan youth towards their history can be a lurking threat to national values.

The alienation towards one’s history does not alter irreversibly the patriotism of youth but it is susceptible to sow confusion in their minds and estrange them towards a remote legacy they are supposed to relate to.

The High Commission for Planning had published in June the results of its investigation on major tendencies among Moroccan youth.

The study was mainly conducted using the following variables: Moroccan youth moral and cultural credentials, their views on social issues, their emancipation in political life, their priorities and their concerns.

When it comes to the system of values endorsed by young Moroccans, the results revealed that 98.5 percent consider patriotism as among their core values.

Nevertheless, the proportion of lethargy, indifference or simply ignorance of history among the new generation is rather alarming.

More often than not you hear Moroccan repeating the same phrase: “the Sahara is Moroccan and will remain so.” But when you ask them what argument they would put forth if they are ever confronted to people who question the Moroccanness of the Sahara, they are unable to come up with strong arguments. While Moroccans are convinced of the righteousness of their cause, many of them, especially the young generation lack that strong historical background of the issue that would enable them to sound more convincing if confronted with people who support the adversaries of their country’s territorial integrity.

Education has admittedly failed to inculcate patriotic values to the new generation, which did not have the privilege to witness landmark events like the Green March.

Teaching history does not boil down to the mere fact of recounting a tale of events and their consequences. In fact, history has the merit of teaching us real lessons.

For instance the battle for independence in the heights of the Atlas Mountain, the bravery of these rebels who shifted from common tribesmen to fearless fighters is loaded with lessons of heroism for generations to come.

The disaffection of Moroccan youth with their historical legacy cannot be alleviated without a well thought strategy to inculcate patriotic values to children, teenagers and adults throughout their scholastic life.

By inculcating, we mean by no means a passive indoctrination. Instead, it is pivotal to convey nationalist credentials via sophisticated teaching methods and thought provoking questions rather than archaic teaching strategies.

It is no secret that a large number of young Moroccans remain unenlightened about the Sahara conflict, the different impasses and the evolution of the negotiations over this Moroccan territory.

Fouad Othmane is a young Moroccan activist who thinks that the opacity surrounding the Sahara issue makes it difficult for young Moroccans to relate to it though they firmly believe it’s a Moroccan territory?

Similarly, Ahmed Jilali a post graduate student states: “The vent of the Green March event bears two different meanings for me, one as a child growing up, and a second as an adult who learned enough to develop a critical thinking.”

A Moroccan high school teacher based in Rabat says: “I only recall that the Green March was a diplomatic act by the king to get back the Moroccan Sahara. This act had a great influence on the public opinion both in and outside Morocco.”

For a young Moroccan professor, who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity, the Green March “Is really something that we are all proud of; however, I am really upset because we are not moving forward concerning our Sahara issue.”

The Sahara issue often prompts a mixture of feelings and impressions for Moroccan youth. While they remain uncompromising about national integrity, they are either unacquainted with the underpinnings of this conflict or upset about this everlasting geopolitical stalemate.


© Morocco World News.