A WORD which the French think cannot fairly be used about their overseas activities is "colonialism," because the term implies racial domination and commercial exploitation, ideas which are alien to the French spirit and are denied, they believe, by the work they have accomplished. This is an age, however, when facts are twisted to suit propaganda needs. In the same moment, for instance, that the Soviet Union represents itself as heading the "truly democratic" nations in a struggle against American "imperialism" and British and French "colonialism," it is busy oppressing and exploiting half of Europe.
Frenchmen see quite clearly that this American "imperialism" is actually only the development by the United States of methods of defense for the Western community against Communist expansion. But do Americans see equally clearly that the alleged French "colonialism" is merely the performance, often under adverse conditions, of a twofold duty of civilization: to better the physical condition of the local populations and to educate them? The task can be performed only in a spirit of understanding and regard for the traditions of the people. Those aims and that spirit pervaded the work of the greatest French administrators, Savorgnan de Brazza in darkest Africa and Lyautey in Morocco. "Men like Lyautey are our most dangerous enemies," said the pan-Arab agitator, Chekib Arslan, "because they know how to make themselves liked." Lyautey's high concept of the French mission in Morocco is revealed in what he wrote to one of his colleagues: "What I dream of, and what many of you dream of with me, is that, among all the disturbances which rock the world so that one wonders when and how it will ever regain its equilibrium, there should be created in Morocco a sound, orderly, harmonious organization; we wish this country to be a sturdy bastion of order against the mounting tide of anarchy."
To what extent has this vision been realized after 40 years of the Protectorate? The answer is written in the soil of Morocco
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