I Am Human First

Samira explains that although her identity is intimately linked to Morocco, it goes beyond that space to embrace humanity as a whole.


Veteran human rights advocate 3 comments

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Translated by Hisham from Je suis humaine d’abord

Moroccan identity: Is it all about the national identity card? the passport? Citizen rights? Dignity?
And what is identity anyway?

I remember when I was young, I liked to believe that my identity was all about my humanity. The mere fact of being a human, meant we were all equal! I even dreamed of a universal language that everyone around the world could speak. I used to think that our differences were actually enriching us, that they were making us more “tolerant” (although this word always sounded supercilious and condescending to me).

Is it about ethnicity? About being Amazigh? Arab? Mediterranean? Or is it all that at once?

My identity is that of those who dream of a dignified world, suitable for everyone. That’s why every time there is injustice somewhere, I feel concerned and among those who suffer from it.

What about Morocanness?

I was born and bred and I live in Morocco. But is it reason enough for me to feel closer to fellow Moroccans merely because we share he same nationality, walk on the same soil and breathe the same air?
Do I have to feel closer to a torturer just because he is a Moroccan or rather to the child in Palestine who’s fighting for his freedom?
Does Morocanness imply that I have as much rights over my country as those who exploit and marginalize us and then shout to the nation when it suits them?
Over time, with all these attacks against the components of our humanity, against our way of being, and with all these wars that devastate our region, with all these attempts to denigrate anything that does not come from the West, I tend to feel under attack. Yes, I feel that my identity, as part of a targeted, stigmatized and disregarded population, is being atacked. I’m part of these populations who have so much in common -a common language, a shared past- yet plagued by the misfortune of being born in a region that is so rich and coveted.

This sense of rebellion is not the fact that I’m Moroccan. It is a reaction against the injustice; against the Hogra (contempt), the only word from our dialect, stronger enough to account for what I feel exactly.

As a Moroccan I surely like our traditional garments, our streets, our kindness, our friendliness, our hospitality, but I am also sure the same qualities exist within other nations. Each of us, wherever we are, by reading the history, if we think about it, will rapidly find out that many people [from many cultures] were involved in the building of what is, at the end of the day, a common heritage for all humanity.
Forgive me, but the only kind of identity that I think of pertains to dignity and respect, and everything else that has contributed to building my personality. Identity is built through the way we are treated. One can be chauvinistic, xenophobic but one becomes Human when he/she behaves respectfully.

All in all, I’m Moroccan, I am Amazigh, I am Arab, I am mediteranean… I’m Human.

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Translated by Hisham from Je suis humaine d’abord

Posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

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3 comments on “I Am Human First”

  1. well said, as usual, dear Samira!

  2. as usualy, no thing to add
    … illi bit’oul 3alih dilwati da’

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