I had a quick thought last week as I ate a sweet Moroccan Tajine of meat with apricots for dinner. I realized that it is one of my favorite Tajines in the Moroccan repertoire of dishes. And then my mind wondered: who could have created and engineered such a dish? in fact, who exactly engineered the Moroccan tajines? do we have any answers in history books? one thing for sure is that whoever owns the copyright is not living among us but has perhaps lived during one of the ancient kingdoms of Morocco: Idrissides? Marinides? Mouravites? Almohades? Alaouites? or even before the Arabs came in?
The thought that I found interesting though is that Moroccans still eat for the most part these same Tajines that were once crafted by skilled people with an extraordinary genius for taste and cooking. People who must have developed and exhibited such capabilities in the midst of a highly civilized and cultured society. It must have been during those civilizations that passed in Morocco that people developed skills of all sorts: art, calligraphy, architecture, cooking, woodworking, building, irrigation, clothing and so on. It is during those civilizations when Moroccans were super skilled as to develop their true cultural identity through the Maghribi font in calligraphy, the monumental famous Moroccan gates, architectural details and geometric patterns, through various delicious tajines, through various fashionable djellabat and women's dresses that still preserved their humility, hats, jewlery and shoes, through various carpets and rugs, and the list goes on.
The thought is that the modern Moroccan society seems to be identified by what the ancient Moroccan civilizations left behind. The modern Moroccan society lives off the creations of the past. We eat tajines, but we follow an ancient recipe. We try to build buildings but we don't get anywhere close to the ancient monuments in their majesty, details and might and instead we build glassy pseudo western buildings that isolate our identity even further. If we find an old manuscript written in Maghribi calligraphy we rush it to experts to examine, study and reprint it for it might contain intricate knowledge and wisdom. Modern Morocco stopped designing beauty. Modern Morocco stopped producing wisdom.
To put it in a positive way, modern Morocco lives off the Baraka and the prayers of the ancient Moroccan civilizations. Maintaining and preserving the heritage is one thing. However, what would be more positive, I believe, is when modern Morocco starts designing and producing something new, desirable and relevant. When a Moroccan squeezes his or her own Moroccana essence and uses it to design the blueprint of the future Moroccan identity. It would be simplistic and even ridiculous to say that one of the signs of this revival is the appearance of a unique outstanding Maghribi font, or a new updated architecture, or a new food dish; but these are among the critical factors in gauging the sensitivity of any society to transition from a collection of people to a civilization with a value-add.
Now, anybody has a different perspective? I've done enough critique and I'm sure I over-did it.