A Letter to My First Niece Myriam

A Letter to My First Niece Myriam

Dear Myriam,

Copenhagen – You may be born at any moment of today or tomorrow, and we are just very happy to receive you to this world which we would like to share with you.

It is an elevating feeling to be an uncle, and I can just imagine how great it is to be a father and mother. Your parents must be happy, very happy. Your grandparents are equally awaiting your birth with the love we, their sons and daughters, know of them.

I do not want to say much, maybe because I cannot condense what I want to say in few lines. Yet, I will try. I live it for time to communicate my ideas. We will have more time as you grow up and be able to speak, read and write. There is a lot I want to share with you. It is always rejuvenating to speak to the ones younger in age to us. We can do teach them about the world through our experience but we also learn about youth ideas and how they see the world afresh.

As I write, your family is expecting your coming to us. As I write, there is spring taking place in the lands of your parents, grandparents, and extended family.

As I think of you growing, I think of the spring growing.

You are the spring of the family, the love fruit of your parents, and the spring the parents would like to contribute to the world. You are two springs in one. What a joy! What a joy!

I am happy that you are born at the time when the world is witnessing voices of change taking place all over the world against injustice, inequality, poverty and discrimination.

May you live long and contribute to the future in the best ways you can, amen!

My dear Myriam, let me start by saying that you have wonderful parents. You must have felt as an embryo the affection and love they have for you. They have done a lot, a lot indeed, to make your arrival a delightful one. In your place, I must be happy and lucky for such indescribable efforts from young and affectionate parents. Days and years will show you in reality what I mean. I let that for the future and for you to discover.

Your father, whom I know well, is a second father to me, too, besides being a brother, though he is nearly my age, just one year and half older than me. Since I knew him as a kid he always showed a high level of responsibility that I admired. At home, as a kid, he would be very willing to help dear mum in the household or in the errands needed for house management. He would even ask my grandfather to take care of the little farm we had. He wanted to be responsible while still a kid. At school, he excelled always and was top of his class. With friends, he was always a respected company. He loved sports a lot. In religiosity and faith matters, his soul was made for that, in spirituality as in practice. For generosity, it goes with his open and loving spirit. He does not think twice nor does he hesitate in giving. It is among the humane qualities he directly or indirectly learnt from our parents and grandparents. It is cultural and religious as well; it is a mixture that is hard to differentiate; it is human and humane. As much as he is proud to have you as his first kid, you too must be proud of such a wonderful father. When I knew about two years ago that he intended your mother as his life partner, I trusted his choice.

Time showed me later that I was right in my feelings. I know your kind mother through your father, before meeting her. I knew what his heart would choose and there you go, a great mum for you he chose! Like him in many things, she has a religious heart, a smart mind, and a generous hand. What else would you want, my dear? Among the world’s best couple and parents, whom I can neither count nor know but still be able to judge through their hearts and minds, you have one! Your grandparents from both sides, whom I know, are just another picture of your parents. The latter, for sure, acquired a lot of what they are from their parents, and added to that from their own efforts and intellect. You are an heir to a good family. Be proud! Be proud, my dear! What I say here is just few welcoming words I want to whisper in your ear, though I am unluckily far from where you are in geography; you are in Paris and I am in Copenhagen for studies. In spirit, I am not far. I am always around.

Dear, if we, the old generation, born in particular socio-political context that deprived us of many rights and hence deprived us of achieving more of what we have the energy to achieve, then remember that you are born in a different time and context which seem better compared to ours, though our times have had their good aspects of life too despite many political and economic deprivations. I know that each time and space has its good and bad side of things, and this makes difficulties a human characteristic, and not something reserved just for some in particular times and places. It is difficulties in life that shape us and make us realize what we are, and consequently make us shape the same life that tries to shape us. The human mind has enough potential to turn stones into sculpture, and enough skills to turn mountains into tunnels, and rivers into bridges.

The human mind has all the power to destroy as well. But for you, and for humanity to survive, we need to discover the good side in us to bring humanity to sanity, goodness, and peace. As part of this humanity, you will need to find out what you can contribute. Of course this is not your responsibility alone. But with time, everyone is supposed to raise existential questions, to which different answers can be given. Exert your mind and heart to find the right way, and you will, inshaallah! And remember that while your family and society try to secure you a good life for a good start in this journey, there are others everywhere in the world who do not have those basics to start this journey, so they become a pray to what others dictate to them. The Arab Spring is one example.

If a child dreams of certain facilities that s/he should enjoy to grow up in good conditions to be productive in society, the parents too have the right to dream of having a child that makes them proud of what they have done for him/her.

Dear “Myriama,” have a good dream and follow its signs in your youth, to find it realized when you grow up! Learn from the experiences of the people around you and find your own way of being open but different! The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu says: Don’t follow the stream, be the stream!

We will talk more and more on various issues as you grow up, my dear, our spring!

Thank you my dear for having given me the chance to speak out some of what I have in mind.

Looking forward to seeing you growing up very soon, Myriama!

Your loving uncle from the North,

Morocco World News Copenhagen, 18/10/ 2011


This is an excerpt from an unpublished literary collection of the author “Letters to My Beloved Ones” (2005 -).

Scholar of Islam, contemporary Arab and Islamic philosophy and theology, Islam in Europe, European Islamic thought, Moroccan thought, and religion and politics in the Arab World.

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