Culture from identity to Dialogue
(published in arabic in 1999)
By Dr. Abbes Jirari
Cultural issues vary and increase in number according to the various developments that take place in society - any society - in its consecutive phases. During the sixties and the seventies, these issues, whether in Morocco or in the Arab world, revolved around the nationalism of culture and the extent of its relationship with authenticity and modernity, and around the problems of each, such as may arise from the nature of the era which was then characterized by the desire to achieve intellectual freedom in the aftermath of the ostensible freedom from colonialism.
Although most of these problems had never been resolved once and for all, despite the large number of studies carried out on these themes and which remained conditional upon real practice, the divergent fields which appeared on the scene helped raise other topics. Some of these were new; others were mere rewordings of issues that were tackled in the past, and adapted to the requirements and successive events of the period.
The issue of identity, in its connection with other issues through dialogue, may be a top priority for those concerned with the destiny of the developing countries, in their relationship with the great powers and with the developed countries which aspire to impose their hegemony and authority at all levels.
As a follow-up to the studies on culture which I had previously published, I am pleased to put together in this short survey this collection of papers which I presented in recent meetings, especially in those held at the Moroccan Royal Academy. In all these meetings, the issue of culture was examined from the perspective of identity and dialogue, and from a point of view which I do not hope to make the reader accept as much as I wish that s/he would seriously consider, and objectively ponder over, the problems which this point of view raises, without self-effacement, without being dazzled by, or rejecting, the other. In any case, this can only lead to failure and frustration on the part of both parties, which no doubt hampers the evolution of identity, and its openness to a more enriching and gratifying experience with the other.
May your efforts be successful?
Rabat 15 di-alhijja 1413 a.h., Corresponding to 6 July 1993.