That's how Robert Fisk starts his article when he feels poignant, and he always is.
Just a couple of days ago, a friend of mine was explaining to me how a couple of school bus drivers in Casablanca took a civic initiative to makeover a busy rotary space close to the school they serve, into a green charming space. It used to be an eye sore trash damp. The move somehow played a domino effect to some extend and a few neighbors near the rotary started cleaning the pavements outside their homes and doing something about keeping the neighborhood looking tidy. It's a beautiful story without a doubt. My question simply is how long would it last? Robert Fisk has an interesting take on this topic. I thought this was an outstanding statement and analysis by him in the Independent. What he pointed, I always took for granted but never pondered why it is the way it is. Although he usually mentions Arabs, Iranians and the Middle east and never Morocco, I assume he counts it in the mix. So to me, his views and analysis apply to Morocco as much as they apply to the Middle East.
It's a pleasure to read Robert once again. The entire article is worth reading.
"[...] Arab homes are spotlessly clean but their streets are often repulsive, dirt and ordure spilling onto the pavements.
Even in beautiful Lebanon, where a kind of democracy does exist and whose people are among the most educated and cultured in the Middle East, you find a similar phenomenon. In the rough hill villages of the south, the same cleanliness exists in every home. But why are the streets and the hills so dirty?
I suspect that a real problem exists in the mind of Arabs; they do not feel that they own their countries. Constantly coaxed into effusions of enthusiasm for Arab or national 'unity', I think they do not feel that sense of belonging which Westerners feel. Unable, for the most part, to elect real representatives -- even in Lebanon, outside the tribal or sectarian context -- they feel 'ruled over'. The street, the country as a physical entity, belongs to someone else. And of course, the moment a movement comes along and -- even worse -- becomes popular, emergency laws are introduced to make these movements illegal or 'terrorist'. Thus it is always someone else's responsibility to look after the gardens and the hills and the streets.
And those who work within the state system -- who work directly for the state and its corrupt autarchies -- also feel that their existence depends on the same corruption upon which the state itself thrives. The people become part of the corruption."
Full article from the independent