By El Kaidi Youssef
Morocco World News
Fez- January 1, 2013
Many heroes have passed away in silence and their lives and contributions have gone unnoticed. Many others are not wanted to be heroes at all despite their sacrifice in favor of their societies and fellow compatriots. The true heroes are not always those we know! Those we know can be heroes, yes, but can be fake heroes also; forged and promoted to ‘guide’ the “bewildered herd”, the masses, and lead them astray!
Think of the many examples we have and the idea will be clearer! I will not go through all the names that I know, I will not rest on those who lost parts of their bodies in the front lines of the war of liberation and spent the rest of their lives in oblivion and adversity. I will speak about one prominent figure that is acknowledged worldwide but marginalized in his home country, Professor El Mahdi El-Mandjra.
We are so sorry, sir, for our blatant ingratitude! Can this page list the number of books you have written, or the lectures and interviews you have given all over the world? Will this article suffice to mention your revolutionary and groundbreaking theories about culture, civilization, identity, international relations, education, economy etc? Can I remember all the missions you have held in the five continents of the world?
In simple words, Professor El Mahdi El-Mandjra is a man of great intellect and encyclopedic knowledge. But he has not been given his due. His lectures are still banned even today in Morocco. According to his statement to Al-Quds Al Arabi, he has been banned more than ten times since 1999 from giving lectures. The confiscation of the right of expression starkly contradicts article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 19 of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Morocco ratified.
Professor El Mahdi El-Mandjra was born in Rabat in 1933 and obtained his Baccalaureate from Lycée Lyautey in Casablanca. At the age of seventeen, he joined Cornell University in New York to study political science. After obtaining a BA degree from Cornell University he moved to England to study economics at London School of Economics. In 1954, he obtained a PhD in economics from the University of London.
Professor El Mahdi El-Mandjra is internationally known as a futurologist and one of the co-founders of the International Federation of Futurologist Studies. One of his famous ‘prophecies’ is what came to be known as ‘The Arab Spring’. In his interviews and lectures after the first Gulf War, he used to stress that the ‘intifada’ in the Arab World is inevitable and it’s only a matter of time. He was quite sure that the peoples of the region will surely wake up of their hibernation and topple down tyranny. He based his prophecy on the prevalent political corruption, despotism, and the lack of basic human rights. Professor El Mahdi El-Mandjra lived until he saw the dictators falling like dominos.
After the attacks of 9/11 on New York, many people believed in Samuel Huntington’s theory of the Clash of Civilizations which he delineated in his book The Clash of civilizations in 1996. Samuel Huntington assumed that the wars of the twenty first century will be cultural. It seemed at that time that Huntington’s theory is gaining credibility especially after the United States violent reactions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
What most people don’t know is that professor El Mahdi El-Mandjra was the first to elaborate on the theory of the clash of civilization in his book The First Civilizational War that was published in 1992. The difference between Al-Mandjra and Huntington is that the first believed in peaceful coexistence and cooperation and the latter was so pessimistic and obsessed with the idea of war. Al-Mandjra called for inter-cultural dialogue to avoid any clash because he believed that a clash, if it happens, will be a clash of ignorance.
Now, professor El-Mandjra’s health is at stake. Had he been a singer or an actor, he would have been visited by media and a fuss would have been made of his case, but since he is a thinker and a man of intellect nobody cares. Again, we are sorry for this ingratitude.