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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The untold story of the Amazigh (what's that, you ask?)

What is an "Amazigh"?
Most Westerners are unaware that the countries of Maghreb (north Africa) are not really "Arab" countries, but rather countries with a large Amazigh minority - or in some cases a majority, that has been conquered and suppressed by the Arabs. This sort of cultural oppression is defined as genocide by the UN. Those peoples, who were there since ancient times, the descendants of Carthaginians and others, had their own culture and language, that they have managed to retain despite the efforts of Arab conquerors for over a millenium.
You may know the Amazigh as "Berbers" - a disparaging name given them by foreigners.
A forgotten struggle of a forgotten people:
These words of an Amazigh leader (Belkacem Lounes) are directed at Muamar Ghaddafi of Libya, but they could just as well be directed at the Moroccan or Tunisian or Algerian governments:
"What Worse Offense to Elementary Rights is There Than Denying The Existence Of a People?"
"... I waited until April to respond to your speech, since it is during this month that the Amazigh people celebrates every year... a great moment in its history, known as the 'Tafsut Imazighen' ('Amazigh Spring').(3) For us, this is a celebration of our memory, of our spirit of resistance to all forms of imperialism, and of our love of liberty...
"The people of whom you spoke [in your speech] are women, men, and children who speak their Amazigh language daily. They are women, men, and children who live every day their Amazigh identity, which your words injured. What worse offense to elementary rights is there than denying the existence of a people?..."
"It is Difficult to Imagine That You Are Unaware of... 30 Million Amazigh Speakers" In North Africa
"You claim that Amazigh civilization disappeared due to 'a century of drought in North Africa'... It is difficult to imagine that you are unaware of the existence of 30 million Amazigh-speakers living today in all of the countries of Tamazgha [i.e. North Africa]...
"You let it be understood that the Amazigh are supposedly an invention of colonialism! What colonialism is capable of creating a people ex nihilo, with its language and traditions that go back several thousand years? How could colonialism have done this – given that when the first foreigner arrived on North African soil, he found that the Amazigh had already been there for a long time?...
"How to explain these contradictions and the brutal return to this desire to negate a tangible history and reality? You even denied the evidence, when you assured us that the Amazigh problem did not exist in Libya. But... the Libyan Amazigh, like Amazigh elsewhere, face ostracism, exclusion, and discrimination of all kinds..."
Even the Muslim religion has been put into the service of these projects of Arabization and domination. The Amazigh queen Dihya was the first, 14 centuries ago, to have understood this colonial strategy - which is why she declared to the Arabs who came to attack her kingdom: 'You say that you are carrying a divine message? Fine then, leave it here, and return whence you came'...
Suddenly it becomes clear, who is a racist imperialist and colonialist in this part of the world.
Ami Isseroff

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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