HIGH UP Students’ opinions: Cultural legacy, why and how to preserve it?

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The culture of an area is loosely defined by the arts, music, language, and dance found in that region. It takes many different shapes and styles across the globe and is often influenced by the past. You come to know of your culture by learning the stories of your people and taking it as your own, letting it resonate within your own heart. You save it as your own song to sing and to share with your children and grandchildren. Not everyone feels a connection with their cultural heritage, but many people do. What is it about cultural heritage that draws these people to it? Some may think traditions are archaic and no longer relevant, and that they are unnecessary during these modern times. Perhaps for some, they aren’t; but for others, exploring cultural heritage offers a robust variety of benefits. Marcus Garvey once said: “a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Firstly, I believe that in preserving our heritage, we preserve our identity. In fact, heritage sites are arguably the physical component of a city’s identity. The lived-in architecture, the strategic locations and the uses of these buildings reveal unique stories telling of how our city came to be and can offer predictions of where it might be going. These features add character and beauty to our city, fostering a sense of home and community, and serving as a reminder to each of us that our city’s history belongs to all of us together. Just as these magnificent buildings have been passed down to us, we must preserve them for future generations. Secondly, a wealth of heritage attracts tourism. Indeed, there’s a reason why your Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with selfies at Le Louvre or forced perspective photos with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. One, your friends travel a lot or keep throwing back with a #tbt to that one time they did, and two, because well-preserved heritage sites create unique and exciting experiences that are worth travelling the globe for. It’s no secret that physical heritage attracts tourism, which in turn yields external funding for the local economy, potentially stimulating economic growth and prosperity. In addition to this, our ancestors have strived to shape the unique culture and heritage, which are renowned globally as rich, distinctive and attractive. Both our parents and grandparents have spared no effort in protecting every single piece of cultural and historical treasure. All these aspects of culture and heritage, including traditions, are our blessings today and a legacy for the country’s next generation. After asking the students about the importance of preserving our cultural legacy. We came up with a pie chart divided into 3 parts. Over a quarter of students, believe that we should preserve our cultural legacy to connect the different generation. However, a small minority agreed on the fact that we have to preserve our heritage in order to attract more tourists and create new job opportunities. Yet, a very large majority see that we need to return to our cultural heritage because people have lost their identity. The first option to consider in order to keep our heritage alive is celebrating traditions and costumes in various occasions. I personally believe that it’s the best way of reviving and conserving it. In fact, the value of such treasures is priceless as nowadays many countries are losing their identity by sacrificing their heritage, tradition and culture, which represent the past history of any nation. Sultan Qaboos once said: “It has been very clear to us that our heritage is not only represented by forts, castles and ancient buildings, but by spiritual customs and traditions, by science, art and literature transmitted by one generation to another. The real preservation of heritage will not be accomplished unless we understand this and cherish it.” In view of that, celebrating local traditions should be considered as a must. Parents should start enlightening their children about the value of having a tradition and the importance of keeping it alive. Some traditions need to be practiced and brought to the attention of the younger generations. Only then will children understand its real value. Traditions are a core element of our culture and heritage. Passing it from one generation to another is a responsibility of every citizen. As the saying goes, “Speaking rocks is the wonder of our country; preserve it for our offspring”. To conclude, culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models, the books they read and the speeches they hear. I think that maintaining one’s culture, values and traditions is beyond price. It is the widening of the mind and of the spirit. ( Barae Fethi)

Cultural legacy is a strong part of people’s lives. It influences their views, their values, their humor, their hopes,their worries and fears. Cultural heritage offers numerous benefits to our society for that reason it is absolutely significant and we must protect it at all costs. According to the poll about the importance of cultural inheritance, we conclude that the vast majority of the votes were from those who believe that cultural legacy can provide income for a lot of citizens through tourisim and can also strengthen the country’s economy, meanwhile only a small fraction of voters believe that culture allows them to identify with others and connect with other generations better. From my own prespective of things, I don’t agree with the results, I believe that cultural legacy nurtures the family connections and strengthens the bond between us and the ones we love. More importantly I think that when we understand other people’s cultures we can develop empathy for them therefore we can prevent things like war or hatred. Throughout history many significant cultural icons, historic sites and religious structures were severely damaged and some of the most beautiful monuments are now in bad shape. The best way to save what’s left of our cultural heritage is to revive the affected sites, we can form a volunteer group of residents who are intersend and we can request help from other experts in the field. After successfully bringing life to the monument we should also host special events or tours to gain the interest of he public. According to the study of Simon Thurley “Everything begins with understanding the culture. Only then may we begin to value it. From there, we can learn to care for a culture and eventually enjoy it. With more enjoyment, we will want to learn and understand more and so the circle goes.” Cultural heritage is in fact a basic human right proved by the UNESCO thus it’s worthy of our respect and maintenance so we can later on hand it over to the next generation. ( Marwa Zeguit)

In essence, our existence solely depends on the preservation of our cultural legacy. As a nation, it shapes who we are and what we are: and that ranges from our lifestyle, our tradition to our religion and ethnicity. All this has survived for decades remaining constant and unchanged – and in the end, it purely makes up what we now call a “culture”. However, nowadays, we have noticed that our cultural heritage has started to gradually vanish, a question lies behind this, how do we preserve our cultural legacy? How do we save it from going extinct? A polling was conducted recently on how one can preserve their cultural legacy, and it has shown that, nowadays, 64% of students believe that the main reason behind preserving their cultural legacy was because people have lost their identity. Whereas 28% have chosen to preserve it because it connects the different generations, while only a small minority have chosen to preserve it in order to attract more tourists. I do agree with the results of this polling. In fact, we have been imitating alot of cultures lately, and it is true that people nowadays have lost their identity. I find that we need to preserve our cultural legacy because it shapes who we are and it distinguishes us from other people, not only as an individual but as a united nation. Although, with the development of technology and creation of social media, the need for our old tradition and culture subsides and alot of us are subject to imitating other cultures and leaving our Moroccan culture behind, a heritage that our ancestors have fought for so much to keep alive. This is a very common problem that so many cultures around the world suffer from. Hence, in order to save our culture from deteriorating and vanishing, I believe that we should first start by educating students in schools about how important their culture and tradition is. My second solution is to produce films and documentaries portraying some kind of event from the past and that has shaped what we are now, a civilized and developped country. As an example, a Turkish series that talks about the Rise of the Ottoman Empire, it teaches you in an indirect way how Turkey became what it is now. This is tried-and-true, not only for people who belong to that culture but for people all around the world, because it can be translated to any other language… In a nutshell, our cultural legacy distinguishes us from others. It is worth saving because, afterall, it is what makes humans, humans. It should not be forgotten, because it is what our great grandfathers left behind and thus, we should take good care of it and save it from going extinct. ( Rayan Mokhtari)

Steve Berry once said: “A concerted effort to preserve our heritage is a vital link to our cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational and economic legacies – all of the things that quite literally make us who we are.” Indeed, our cultural legacy is priceless. It is our identity, our sense of belonging. It reflects and shapes our beliefs, values, and aspiration. It isn’t significant only due to its economic value, but most importantly, for the intergenerational ties, it safeguards. In addition to this, cultural heritage is the key to reach success and rapid development in any field. It prevents us from repeating past mistakes and allows us to learn from ancient experiences. Recent, informal statistics have shown that the culture being our identity is picked by 80% of students, as the main reason to preserve it. In a second statement, 20% of students think that the prevention from mistakes and the allowance for faster development is the vital reason to maintain it. While the intergenerational and economic values that got 0 votes, don’t seem to be convincing to any of the students. In conclusion, the majority chooses the affirmation of our identity and the reflection of our nation as the cogent reason, which makes it the essential matter to safeguard our culture. I partially agree with the poll results. The final choice is coherent with mine. Though, I think that intergenerational ties are much more important than the prevention from mistakes and allowance to learn from experiences. Because if there aren’t any bonds, nor tolerance, or respect between different generations, youths won’t accept ideas and won’t acknowledge the elderly’s experiences despite its primordiality. In other words, they won’t learn from past struggles and sacrifices. Added to this, I think that the economic value it has is extravagantly efficient. The presence and the integration of our culture will decrease the frightful crisis we’re facing, and most importantly, the percentage of joblessness, poverty, and even illiteracy in our country. Though, it isn’t the fundamental reason to conserve and to cherish our culture. At the moment, we need d to find a way to retain our legacy. Many Moroccans nowadays are waiting for the government to make the first move while they shouldn’t. I believe that the citizens are the ones who should take the first step. Showing the government our eagerness, our ambition, and the potential to save our legacy is what will motivate it to cooperate with us to move further. However, there are different types of preservation. I believe that the maintenance we should work on first is etching it into our memory and introducing it to the current generation. That’s why I suggest that in each school we should add an essential, fun class. This class will follow the flipped learning method. In other words, it won’t be a basic, boring class, in which we write and learn things mechanically. Just like our classes with teacher Khalid Fethi, we’re going to have fun discovering our unique culture, using a much more entertaining method. This class will allow us to take a break from all the curricular activities and daily stress. Every month, one of the teachers or parents or anyone that has cultural luggage will volunteer to make us travel in time. At first, this class will be hard to integrate and to manage. However, if we deploy some gallant efforts, all together, to make our culture reside in our hearts and souls, everything will seem as simple as drinking water. We will be able to go deeper into our culture and to safeguard it in all the various ways. All in all, our cultural legacy is every generations’ grounding. Destroying it means destroying the future generation. There is no way we’re throwing it away, believing that the ever-present we’re living will provide us everything. Preserving it by keeping it engraved in our memory, refurbishing and maintaining the monuments, artifacts, all that represents it is vital. As the quote goes: “To know nothing about what happened before you, is to forever remain a child.” ( Bayane Bouziane)


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