It is a popular thing in this present age to fancy oneself a victim. The desire to escape from responsibility is certainly a popular one, and regardless of the specific social issue or global issue at stake, there are a lot of people who will rejoice in any chance to reject the blame and to pass it on to someone else. My own thoughts about blame and responsibility are that they are tangled and complex, and in my view, people may find themselves responsible for dealing with the repercussions of things which were not their fault or their fault alone. One of the classic ways of looking at the tangled nature of blame and responsibility is to look at the history of nations and peoples and their behavior. A classic example of the question of blame and responsibility will look at the question of identity in Morocco. Now, for a variety of reasons, Morocco is not a nation whose behavior has tended to attract a lot of personal discussion from me, in stark contrast to that of, say, Russia or Somalia. I have no personal ties with the country except for having had a few acquaintances who came from there and somewhat of a fondness of their food, although I would like to travel there at some point as well.
What makes Morocco interesting in particular is the complexity of its identity and culture and its place in the contemporary world. While Morocco has been ruled over by independent rulers for a fairly long time, it has also long been a place that has been contested by various rulers who in centuries past used the place as a springboard for attacks into Spain during the times of the Reconquista. After that the area was known as one of the Barbary pirate states, although the most peripheral of them with regards to the Ottoman Empire. After that the area was under the imperial rule of both Spain and France, who divided the area between them, with Spain taking the northernmost part of it as well as the Southernmost part of it and France taking the middle. Since independence, Morocco has claimed a “Greater Morocco” and become itself an imperialist power over the Western Sahara, with a certain degree of leverage over Mauritania and an imperial rivalry with its neighbor Algeria. Meanwhile, Morocco contains a population that is roughly 40% Berber, which adds to its complexity and to the nature of its militarization as a means of attaining social peace, during the Cold War even seeking to exploit both the US and USSR due to its geopolitical position as the gateway to the Mediterranean.
If one reads the post-colonial literature of Morocco, it is not surprising that one would think that Morocco would try to claim an identity as being a victim of the rapacious ways of the West with regards to its economy, blaming the IMF for its debt and the United States for pushing its militarization. But if one looks at Morocco’s behavior in the last few decades, it is obvious that the nation is itself as much a bully of others as it is a victim of others. If it has been a victim of forces more powerful than it with regards to global finance and imperialism, it has certainly not stinted on being a bully to smaller areas like the Western Sahara or its own minority peoples. Nor does it stop there. Does one consider the Berbers themselves as bullies of the slave villages they have long exploited? And so on it goes. If it is not turtles all the way down, it frequently ends up being bullies all the way down.
This has larger consequences. The Jews, for example, were a popular subject of sympathy when they were weak and easily (and often) exploited by other nations as a weak minority population. Once they became powerful and had their own nation and a relatively strong one at that, capable of defeating its larger neighbors, it no longer was viewed as a subject worthy of pity over the wrongs its people had suffered throughout history but rather was an object of concern because of the way it projected power over its own restive minority population of Palestinians. It did not matter if the PLO or Hamas were themselves bullies responsible for much of the misery of their people, because victimology is not ultimately about the wrongs one is guilty of or that one has suffered but rather about the perceived power that one has. Those who are perceived to have a great deal of power are expected to endure any slight or wrong without complaint or retaliation, and those who are perceived as weak, are, as long as they are weak, absolved of any expectation to behave in a proper or civilized manner. But woe to them if they become strong, because then their victim cards will be revoked, much to their irritation, seeing as they have gotten used to getting away with their wrongs and being viewed as indulgently as one would view semi-feral brats who had not been raised well but whose amusing antics mitigated against one’s irritation at their general lack of socialization and proper conduct.
Obviously, a great many of us do not look at the world from the point of view of victimology. Indeed, the complexity of situations requires that we see people as both sinned against and sinners, whose calls for justice must be paid attention to, but who also are called to repent for their own wrongs. This is hard for people to understand. We want to see ourselves as being purely good, with excuses for any way that we may fall short of standards but with a lack of mercy for those who fall short of their duties and obligations and responsibilities to us. In reality, we are not as good as we wish and our enemies and rivals are not as bad as we think. Where the truth lies is difficult to assess and understand, but it requires that we assess people as responsible agents for their own well-being and who have the capacity to harm others, and may choose to do so because of the darkness in their own wicked hearts. For we all will have to answer for the darkness in our own hearts.