amazigh culture – Liby Amazigh Tue, 15 Mar 2022 11:00:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 amazigh culture – Liby Amazigh 32 32 Meet the 16 Global Landscapes Forum Women Leaders Leading Earth Restoration Tue, 15 Mar 2022 11:00:54 +0000

It’s International Women’s Month 2022! To mark this phenomenal month, The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) announces its third annual list of climate leaders. Jhe Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) honors 16 women who are making a significant impact on halting runaway climate change through science, finance, policy-making, art, activism, indigenous rights, etc.

The outstanding contributions of these women, spanning more than two generations and across five continents, have led to greater engagement in international climate treaty negotiations, increased public awareness and activism, the rise of climate finance, the growing reach of science, and soil conservation and restoration across the globe.

The third year 16 Women Restoring the Earth promotes the recognition of women in a world where women are underrepresented in science and technology – and are particularly vulnerable to climate change and environmental distress.

Each of the leaders has actively participated in the work and mission of the Global Landscapes Forum over the past year. ’16 Women Restoring the Earth’ aligns with this year’s Women’s Day theme: ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable future’.

Meet some of these amazing women:

Ndidi Nwuneli – The Transformer

On the food front, Africa is burdened with the negative stereotype of being a net importer in addition to facing the challenges of famine and drought. But serial entrepreneur, Ndidi Nwuneli, sees the future differently, and quite so.

Over the past two decades, Nwuneli has co-founded two companies, Sahel Consulting Agriculture and food shaping policies and AACE Foods integrating African food products into local and international markets; founded the start-up Changing Africa’s narratives to change global perspectives on African food systems; and sits on more than 10 global powerhouse boards, from the Rockefeller Foundation to the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders to Heineken-owned Nigerian Breweries Plc.

“As a continent naturally endowed with agricultural excellence, Africa holds significant potential not only to feed itself, but also to achieve food security and become a net food exporter,” says Nwuneli, who has dedicated the major part of his career, which began in management. Council, to drive this transformation forward.

Social entrepreneur Ndidi Nwuneli has transformed the way Africa produces and consumes food in a holistic and sustainable way. She is one of World Landscapes Forum 16 women restoring the Earth.

Fatoumata Diawara – The artist

Born in Ivory Coast and raised in southern Mali, Grammy-nominated Malian singer, songwriter and actress Fatoumata Diawara left her West African home as a teenager and traveled to France alone to pursue a career. of actress. And although she has appeared and still appears in various films – 12 so far, including the one nominated for the Oscars in 2014 Timbuktu — it was her musical career as a singer-songwriter and guitarist that she developed alongside acting that thrust her into the limelight the most.

“With all my heritage, with all my background, I needed to sing,” she says of her musical development in Paris. “I needed to hear my power, to speak, to express myself.”

Diawara is now one of the rare female African music artists to perform solo. Often singing in her native language, Bambara, she integrates the Wassoulou music of her region – considered one of the main heralds of the blues – with groovy syncopations and smooth instrumentals for songs that are both universal and deeply rooted in the history, identity and place.

Musonda Mumba – The mobilizer

Even two years into a pandemic when Zoom fatigue is at its height, Musonda maintains a way to turn digital events into inspiring gatherings, weaving stories from his career as an environmentalist with new scientific discoveries and powerful human truths in his singsong Zambian accent, kicking listeners in the ass to move forward with their personal environmental goals, whatever they may be. (“Humans are emotional and relate to stories easily. Jargon is confusing and unnecessary,” she says of her public speaking secrets.)

Mumba, who is the director of the Rome Center for Sustainable Development under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has held positions in nearly every major conservation organization over the past two decades, from Ramsar Convention to WWF to UN Environment, where she spent over 12 years working directly on ecosystem adaptation and restoration. And in this space where absolute femininity is celebrated less than a good pair of glasses and a slew of published articles (although she certainly has both – with red cat-eye frames and a doctorate from the University College London, no less), Mumba has carved out an image of a fashionista, a mother and a proud African determined to change the course of the world.

Houria Djoudi – The Protector

Raised in the Amazigh culture of North Africa, Houria Djoudi says the power of language was instilled in her from an early age. Master poets and storytellers who pass on their skills to the next generation – known as Aheddad bbwawal, “blacksmiths of the language” – were at the top of the social ladder in his home community. Encouraged by her parents, Djoudi spends long winter nights around the fires with other children, each telling a story to perfect her handling of words.

His education allowed him to open his eyes and sharpen his understanding as a scientist of different perspectives during his research: “There is my own culture full of imagination, symbolic meanings and spiritual connection to nature , and the dry and expected – but non-existent – ​​objectivity that a scientist is supposed to have,” she says.

By combining the two, she has developed a successful scientific career for herself, having published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and conducted research in more than 10 countries, mainly on the three topics that are most important to her: climate, trees and gender. She admits that her own bias as a woman plays into her worldview, but nonetheless, Djoudi struggles to understand why gender and social inclusion are only now receiving more attention in research and negotiations on gender. climate, while women produce the majority of the world’s food and yet have limited access to land or other assets and, on average, experience the challenges of climate change more severely than men.

Mariem Dkhil – The Financial

The importance of the role of the financial sector in agriculture cannot be overstated, especially as agriculture is increasingly uprooted by the effects of climate change and land degradation. These impacts are particularly felt in Africa, where drought, desertification and soil salinization are disrupting the lives of smallholder farmers who lack the resources to adapt.

“The bank itself makes it possible to reach all sections of the population in order to improve their incomes and their way of life. Access to finance is a prerequisite if we want farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices,” says Mariem Dkhil. An agronomist by training, Dkhil is a specialist in sustainable finance at Crédit Agricole du Maroc (CAM), a Moroccan bank that has championed agricultural financing since 1961. During her stay there, she contributed to the creation of CAM’s subsidiary, Tamwil El Fellah, which provides unsecured loans to smallholder farmers, giving them the opportunity to invest in medium and long-term projects. She also improved the bank’s environmental and sustainability standards and developed new products and services for climate-smart agriculture and responsible agricultural supply chains.

Today, she is committed to sharing the bank’s expertise with African financial institutions and mobilizing investments for the climate adaptation of African agriculture.

She also strives to consider the sustainability and social impacts of projects, such as creating an environment that gives women entrepreneurs access to financial services – a sign that inclusivity and sustainability are indeed investments. profitable. “I want other women to follow their lead and seize opportunities to have a positive impact,” Dkhil said when speaking about sustainable finance at GLF Luxembourg in 2019.

Other women leading the restoration of the land are:

Analí Bustos – the steward

“I find it absolutely heartening that we women are beginning to put ourselves at the forefront of restoration projects.” Biologist Analí Bustos is part of World Landscapes Forum 16 women restoring the Earth.

Galina Angarova – The defender

Galina Angarova highlighting the role of indigenous leaders around the world in preserving our planet’s ecosystems.

Gisele Bündchen – The model

Author, philanthropist, model and from UNEP Global Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bündchen uses her powerful voice to advocate for a healthier, more sustainable future.

Katharine Hayhoe – The Believer

“What is climate change, at its core, other than a failure to love?” Climate scientist and activist Katharine Hayhoe believes in a just future for all.

Ko Barrett – The Connector

Koh Barrett, @IPCC_CHThe Vice President of connects people and science by sharing the global climate story, advocating for greater diversity and inclusion in climate science.

Luciana Gatti – The Guardian

“We have to put all our knowledge on the table and think about how to build a better future.” Harnessing science to save the Amazon is at the heart of Luciana Gatti‘s work.

Marguerite Kim – The accelerator

Margaret Kim is the CEO of Gold standarda foundation that enables entities to maximize their impact on climate finance and the SDGs.

Nonette Royo – The Lawyer

Filipino lawyer and land rights activist Nonette Royo continues the fight for indigenous peoples’ rights to their forests and lands.

Ridhima Pandey – The Activist

At 9, Ridhima Pandey sued the Indian government for failing to take action on climate change. Now 13 years old, she continues the fight for the future of our young people.

Ottilie Bälz – The philanthropist

As Bosch Foundation Senior Vice President, Ottilie Bälz understands the role local communities play in restoration activities that benefit climate goals, the ecosystem and provide sustainable livelihoods.

Samantha Power- The idealist

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha J Power, is one of the leading female foreign policy makers.

To visit World Landscape Forum to see their complete profiles.

Tunisia: Dhahar destination wins the Green Destinations Story Awards 2022, “Culture & Communities” category Mon, 14 Mar 2022 07:44:44 +0000

Tunis/Tunisia — Destination Dhahar has won the Green Destinations Story Awards 2022, in the Culture & Communities category.

Thus, Tunisia becomes the first Arab and North African country to win this distinction in the field of sustainable tourism.

“Destination Dahar: Revitalization of Authentic Rural Region through Sustainable Tourism Model and Enhancement of Local Amazigh Culture”, was chosen as the best story among 100 stories in the world.

Tunisia participated for the first time in this global competition, organized annually by the World Sustainable Tourism Council and the Green Destinations Organization at ITB Berlin 2022, to showcase and celebrate the most inspiring stories of resilient tourism practices of the Top 100 Competition.

Thanks to this distinction, Destination Dhahar, which is a mountain range extending from Matmata to Douirat in Gabes, Medenine and Tataouine, will contribute free of charge for an entire year to promoting the region to the most important international organizations and agencies.

The executive director of the Federation of Authentic Tourism Destination Dhahar Mohamed Hedi Kallali indicated that the region has more than 29 geological sites, traces of dinosaurs and a particular architecture, in addition to the know-how of its inhabitants in the sector of tourism. handicrafts (weaving of Margoum, etc.).

Will Smith’s daughter under fire for portraying Amazighs as ‘thieves’ in her book Wed, 23 Feb 2022 14:30:56 +0000 Amazighs criticized Willow Smith’s novel for portraying the community in the same colonialist tone that savagely stigmatized them for decades.

Willow Smith accused of spreading “hate” against Amazighs in her latest novel. [Getty]

The daughter of Hollywood actor Will Smith is being criticized for portraying Amazighs, the indigenous people of North Africa, as ‘dangerous thieves’ in her upcoming novel Black Shield Maiden.

Willow Smith, a 21-year-old singer, songwriter and activist, is set to launch a fantasy novel on October 4 about two women navigating their destinies in a strange world of “savage shield maidens, tyrannical rulers and mysterious gods”. .

The book’s publisher, Penguin UK, released an exclusive excerpt from Smith’s story earlier this month, which includes a paragraph titled “Amazigh”.

“The Amazigh are dangerous when they are at their best. They have little regard for those who do not worship the Muslim god – and even their own tribes are always at war with each other. … The desert is lawless, and those who do not revere not traveling under the protection of Ghāna may fall prey to Amazigh thieves and slavers,” the excerpt reads.

Smith’s story, which apparently does not discriminate between Muslims and Amazighs, sparked outrage on social media, with users decrying such “offensive and horrific” statements about the Amazigh community.

“How could a privileged person like Willow Smith not find someone to educate her, or at least inform her, about the Amazigh community and Muslims before posting such nonsense?” tweeted an account that would belong to a North African woman.

Thousands of years before the rise of Islam and Christianity, the Amazigh community ruled over territories that stretched from the Canary Islands off the West African coast to western Egypt. They believed in animism – the belief that all living things, including plants and animals, have a soul and a spirit.

Islam spread to Amazigh societies following Arab invasions and power shifts through Arab and Amazigh dynasties. While some Amazighs have embraced Christianity and Judaism, others have chosen to retain their ancient faith.

Pakistan-based Muslim book blogger Sudra, who shed light on the controversy surrounding Smith’s book in a wire on Twitter, said The new Arabic that Penguin UK had contacted Muslim book bloggers to promote the soon-to-be-released novel.

“I am not Amazigh, so I cannot speak on behalf of the community. But many book blogger friends contacted me after they received the Penguin email about the book. This is how we became aware of this concerning content,” Sudra said. The new Arabic.

Penguin promoted the book as “an epic series of medieval fantasy that will make visible the stories and mythologies of medieval African peoples and women”, which have long been erased by mainstream Western narratives.

On the contrary, the Amazigh community argues that Smith’s fantasy novel is written in the same colonialist tone that savagely stigmatized them for decades.

In Western history books, Amazighs were once called “Berbers” (barbarians), a pejorative term that was first adopted by the ancient Greeks in reference to indigenous communities, i.e. non-Greek gibberish speakers. Centuries later, French colonization used the same term to belittle and vilify local communities like other uncivilized ones.

“Why does Willow Smith hate my people? It’s bizarre and unacceptable, and I hate that this bigoted fictional character is the first introduction to Amazigh culture for American audiences,” said Amber, a Moroccan Amazigh who lives in the United States. The new Arabic.

In the wake of growing backlash, book co-author Jess Hendel noted on Instagram that the novel “directly tackles prejudices about Amazigh and other Islamic peoples”, adding that “they have done a ton of research on the early Islamic caliphates and their many complexities and overlooked contributions”.

Despite Hendel’s defense of his research efforts, the published excerpt has already offended members of the Amazigh community, which includes more than 25 million people scattered between Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia.

Willow Smith and Penguin UK have yet to respond to the ongoing controversy.

Amazigh tattoos are fading, is it too late to revive them? Wed, 09 Feb 2022 11:42:17 +0000 In ancient Amazigh culture, tattoos are one of the many ways people celebrate their rich North African tribal history.

When crossing traditionally Amazigh areas in North Africa, you may encounter road signs written in the Amazigh language. Amazigh symbols are easily identifiable, however, to the untrained eye they may just look like simple line drawings with randomly placed dots and dashes. The best way to tell if you’ve reached an Amazigh utopia is to find a group of older women adorned with geometric face tattoos.

Why just old people, you ask? Like many indigenous cultures around the world, the Amazigh culture is fading into the background of the rapidly developing countries of North Africa – and its supposedly permanent tattoos are fading with it.

“Tattoos in Amazigh cultures have been incredibly important. For women, they had spiritual and healing abilities, often related to fertility. It is also said that many women adorned themselves with facial tattoos when the French colonized North Africa, making them ‘unattractive’ to the lustful eyes of French soldiers”

Tattoos in Amazigh cultures have been incredibly important. For women, they had spiritual and healing abilities, often related to fertility. Many women are also said to have adorned themselves with facial tattoos when the French colonized North Africa, making them “unattractive” to the lustful eyes of French soldiers.

Ironically, some women appreciated tattoos simply because of their beauty. Tattoos on men were generally more functional and “served for healing purposes”, although men’s skin was usually left undecorated.

This isn’t just disappointing news for tattoo lovers. It symbolizes the closing of doors to a rich but poorly documented world, a world where low literacy rates were complemented by art that told stories passed down from generation to generation.

An Amazigh girl with her hands painted with henna in the Ourika Valley [Getty Images]

Several factors contribute to the decrease in the number of Amazigh facial tattoos. The most important is undoubtedly the popularization of Islam in the Amazigh communities. Indigenous Amazigh languages ​​began to spread in North Africa around 2000 BCE. It was more than 2,500 years later that Islam was introduced and spread to all regions.

But the modern Islamization of countries like Morocco only happened much later. In 1979, after the Iranian revolution, Middle Easterners influenced by the conservative Muslim Salafist branch began to roam Morocco, teaching and converting communities to the orthodox and traditionalist Islamic sect.

Tattoos were considered haram and prohibited, and women were strongly encouraged to wear the hijab. These new religious regulations transformed what Islam looked like to Amazighs in Morocco. Before, the two cultures could live and prosper simultaneously. Now the Amazighs had to choose a side.

Like Morocco, Algeria lives with its latest generation of tattooed Amazigh women. The rise of Islamic rhetoric is also held responsible for the disappearance of facial tattoos in Amazigh-Algeria. As more and more Algerians began to read and understand Arabic, tattoos became generally considered haram.

Social pressures have also pushed tattoos back. Moroccan culture despises body modification. While older women with Amazigh face tattoos are respected and seen as gentle reminders of the old world, younger women are strongly discouraged from getting tattoos of any kind, especially on the face.

An Amazigh woman carrying a basket on her head in the Djemaa El Fna (Jemaa el-Fnaa) market in Marrakech, Morocco, circa 1950 [Getty Images]

Nationalism and the importance of belonging to a country – and not to a small 4,000-year-old community – have disintegrated Amazigh culture and traditions. Today, the Imazighens of today are not only Amazighs, they are also Moroccans, Algerians, etc. The natural desire to belong has slowly driven younger Amazigh generations to immerse themselves in their country’s dominant nationalist traditions and sentiments, leaving their roots in a dark corner to fend for themselves.

In reality, the values ​​and ideologies of Amazigh life could not be more relevant today. Along with language and kinship, “the centrality of the land” is one of the most important values ​​that have gone through the Islamization and nationalization of regions of Amazigh origin.

The Amazigh land and nature do more than provide food, water and shelter. The tall palm trees and jagged mountains serve to physically and metaphorically protect what little Amazigh culture they have left.

In a world full of congested streets and polluted atmospheres, the heartfelt respect the Amazigh have for their land is truly heartwarming. They were able to maintain the fertility of the soil and the flow of the rivers for generations. Hopefully recent environmental developments don’t punish those who have worked so hard to preserve their precious cultural oases.

Looking at the soft, wrinkled face of an old Amazigh woman, it’s hard not to get a little sentimental. His eyes are kind. The tattoos running down her forehead and chin have become faded and undefined, but they are still undeniably striking.

In the West, face tattoos are considered scary and intense, but hers are uplifting. They tell the story of a young woman drawn into a world that no longer justifies the symbols that made her fertile, protected and beautiful in a time of colonization, Islamization and urbanization.

How must she feel knowing that her children and grandchildren cannot, will not be, marked with the same lines, dots and dashes that have given her so much strength during this difficult time?

Yasmina Achlim is a Moroccan-American freelance writer who loves good vegan food, living mindfully, and dressing sustainably.

A “nomadic” guide to the paradise of the western desert in Egypt Wed, 29 Dec 2021 04:15:06 +0000

Places have souls, and Siwa’s soul is kind, mystical, and motherly. In the heart of the Western Desert, lies the majestic oasis with its unique Amazigh culture and breathtaking views. This desert paradise is located 560 kilometers from Cairo, between the Qattara depression and the great sea of ​​sand. We were fortunate enough to experience and breathe the ancient city ourselves with Nomads, a prolific Egyptian travel group that for years has sparked the envy of Egyptian travelers with their carefully curated, immersive trips. Their last excursion took us headlong into a very unique experience that perfectly ties the meditative setting of the oasis to the history that surrounds it.

Nestled at the foot of the Red Mountain – four kilometers from the Temple of the Oracle – we found our home at Taziry Ecovillages. The living room includes 40 Berber-inspired rooms with date palm ceilings, creating a sustainable village built with local materials and techniques. It overlooks a magnificent palm grove and their market, housing 50 craft workshops reviving the know-how in terms of sustainable life of the ancestral natives of Siwa. They also built a library and a museum to showcase not only the wonders of Berber arts, literature and music, but also the universal sciences that pursue and stimulate sustainable development.

During the trip, we discovered tombs from the Ptolemaic era, natural hot springs springing from the earth, the healing powers of salt crystals and the rich heritage of the Siwi people – these are our attractions and activities. essentials.

Chali fortress

In the literal heart of Siwa, Shali Fortress is an ancient walled city built in the 13th century. Walking around this imposing ancient city of clay and salt is like stepping back in time, with its walls fashioned from a local mixture of mud, clay and salt known as kershef. Shali Fortress, built on a hill, has been the center of Siwan’s life for over 800 years. Originally, there was only one gate in the oasis, which had to be accessed through the fortress, and protected the Siwi people from looters.

Over time, through multiple battles, and after a powerful rainstorm, the fortress naturally deteriorated. A recent renovation project by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has given it back its former glory. If you are able to climb the stairs of its tallest structures, you sign up for a view like no other.

Spring of Cleopatra (Spring of Juba)

Coming out of the ground, this natural spring is not the only one in Siwa, but it is the most popular. Located in the heart of the city, this is where many locals first learn to swim. Although the well was never visited by Cleopatra herself, as the name suggests, it is reminiscent of the hot water baths for which the Egyptian queen was known.

The natural sulfuric spring water gushes into a large stone pool and is a perfect way to relax after a day of exploring or to wash off the salt from nearby lakes. The well is also surrounded by cafes and small restaurants with comfortable shaded lounging areas to recharge after your swim.

Fetnas Island (Fantastic Island)

Fetnas Island, or Fantasy Island as most tourists call it, is a scenic piece of land on Lake Siwa, a short drive from the town. Bordered by rustling date palms, with the great sea of ​​sand yawning beyond them, the island is a perfect place to watch the sun set behind the rocky outcrop over the lake while sipping mint tea in the two small cafes on the island. There are hammocks, chairs and at night there is even a fire pit to beat the cold desert breeze.

Jebel Mawta (Mountain of the Dead)

This outcrop is an ancient burial place of ancient Romans and Egyptians, dotted with empty tombs. Jebel Mawta (or “Mountain of the Dead”) is located at the northern end of Siwa. Its tombs cover the mountain from base to top, and it is one of the most fascinating and mysterious places to visit in Siwa. The tombs date as far back as the Ptolemaic era. One of the most interesting tombs is that of a Roman, Si Amon, who decided to make Siwa his home.

The importance of the mountain has continued well into modern times. During World War II, when the Italians bombed Siwa, local Siwans took refuge in the graves of Jebel Mawta. It is indeed at this time that the most magnificent tombs of the mountain were discovered.

There are no cameras or tripods allowed inside the tombs, but visitors are welcome to use their cell phones. As the mountain is located on the outskirts of town, you will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the oasis with the wind blowing your hair – that is, if you make it to the top of the mound.

Temple of the Oracle (Temple of Alexander)

One of the most important temples in Siwa is the Temple of the Oracle. This temple dates back to the 26th Dynasty and was visited by Alexander the Great. It was there that he was told he was a son of Zeus, which helped the emperor consolidate his rule over the region. The hidden hallway that runs along both sides of the main temple chamber is just about large enough for a person to comfortably walk around. Rumor has it that if you call from within, those inside the temple chamber may be inclined to believe that you are the voice of the Oracle.

A short drive from the Temple of the Oracle, you’ll find a single decorated wall amidst ruins. This lonely wall is all that remains of the vast temple of Amun. This once magnificent temple was almost completely destroyed in 1896 when a local Ottoman governor razed the entire structure with dynamite, hoping to use temple stone for the building blocks.

Siwa market

Walking through Siwa Market is a bit like walking through an open-air museum of an ancient civilization. The streets are lined with bakeries, cafes and small restaurants, giving off an air of organized chaos not unlike that of Cairo markets.

Siwa is known for its remarkable dates, olives, herbs, teas, jams and syrups, all of which you can find in the shops in the market. What you really shouldn’t miss, however, are the famous lamps and handicrafts made from the salt mined from Siwa’s own iconic salt lakes, which are said to have healing and stress-reducing powers. The export of salt is at the heart of Siwan’s economy. In fact, the destination was crowned Land of Salt due to the oasis’ natural salt lakes, from which salt is used for, well, everything. From building their homes and work tools to the products they export, including beauty products and spa treatments, you’ll be able to browse dozens of natural skin and body products drawn from the healing powers of crystals. salt.

Djellabas – common dresses – can also be found within these stalls, rich in jewel tones and embroidered designs native to North African tribes. Their traditional Amazigh textiles, clothing and accessories make lasting memories.

Salt Lake Quarry

Visiting the salt lakes is not an optional excursion. We do not want to diminish all the cultural treasures that surround it by saying that it is the whole point of visiting the Siwa oasis but hey, it is in a way.

Between palm trees and the vast desert, nestled amid mountains of excavated salt, you’ll find emerald blue waters so enchanting that few visitors can’t help but approach them.

The Siwa Salt Company is leading the excavation operation that surrounds the salt lakes, but visitors are welcome to enter the quarry and bathe in the lake’s mineral-rich waters. These waters have one of the highest water-to-salt ratios in the world, even higher than the Dead Sea in Jordan, which means anything that enters its waters is floating and no species can live there.

Yoga classes

When you are surrounded by breathtaking nature, Siwa already puts you at peace almost immediately, while the stress of city life vanishes like a bad dream. Now imagine magnifying that with one of the oldest forms of decompression in the world – yoga. Practicing yoga in Siwa is an amazing experience that will deepen you and inspire you if you are a regular practitioner. If you are not, then you may become addicted. We joined yogi Nasrin Halawa in a morning yoga session where we soaked up the tranquility in front of the idyllic Shali Fortress.


In what you can expect to be an incredibly calming trip overall, sandboarding in the Great Sand Sea is one of the few ways to incorporate adrenaline into your travel itinerary. Before sunset, head out into the desert to climb the dune tops and slide down as the colors of Siena’s skyline materialize.

“Chant Amazigh” Brings Modern Traditional Sound of Majid Soula to New Listeners Wed, 08 Dec 2021 19:02:27 +0000

“Chant Amazigh” Brings Modern Traditional Sound of Majid Soula to New Listeners

By Saby Reyes-Kulkarni December 08, 2021

“Every time I set out to write a love song,” explains Majid Soula, speaking through a translator on a Zoom call, “it unfortunately turns into a song about justice. in place.”

For Soula, a singer-songwriter / guitarist who has spent most of his life in a kind of gentle exile from his hometown, romance and resistance go hand in hand. If you judge strictly by his music (or, say, the title of his 2001 album Kabylie my love), one gets the impression that Soula’s love of life was not a person, but rather the North African region of Kabylia. Occupying about a fifth of the Mediterranean coast of present-day Algeria, Kabylia stretches inland through a series of mountain ranges. The inhabitants of the region, the Kabyles, a Berber ethnic subgroup who founded one of the oldest civilizations in the northwest of the continent– have withstood multiple waves of invaders for over 2000 years.

Indigenous settlers from a vast expanse of North Africa stretching from Egypt to the Canary Islands, the Berbers collectively refer to themselves as amazigh (pronounced ah-mah-ZEER) and speak a range of dialects of the Tamazight language. Their communities and customs tend to be linked to an Arab presence and influence that dates back to the start of the Arab-Muslim conquest of North Africa in the 7th century. Today, the Kabyle people continue to struggle against marginalization in a postcolonial Algerian society dominated by Arab culture, language and political power, the central conflict that has defined the history of work and life of Soula for almost a half-century.

Since releasing his first single “Eyfouk Achehr Athaaazizth” in 1972 via the late Algerian label Disque Oasis, Soula has expressed feelings of separation, nostalgia, homesickness, alienation and being caught between two worlds. While “Eyfouk Achehr Athaaazizth” addressed the plight of immigrants all over the world, a crucial distinction is that Soula experienced these feelings even before leaving Algeria, finding himself displaced and struck by culture shock when he moved to the capital Algiers in 1969. There he fought against the inability to speak the local dialect of Arabic, the country’s only official language at the time.

Since then, Soula’s work has largely been a response to what he calls the “Arabization” of Amazigh culture. In the late 1970s, amid widespread political unrest and repression of Kabyle artists, Soula found it untenable to stay in the country and moved to Paris, where he has been based ever since. His production during the period before and immediately after this move is summarized and presented again on Amazigh song, a compilation of Habibi Funk label that features songs from several cassette releases that Soula released (mostly independently) during the 1980s.

As Soula’s music aligned with the secular insurgent spirit of Kabylia, what Amazigh song most clearly shown is its openness to a variety of influences. For someone who intended to expose the world to its native customs, Soula was never inclined to purism, drawing rather loosely from West African highlife; Saharan Tuareg scales; American blues and funk; and the Arab disco wave of the 70s and 80s. As a proto-lo-fi artist, Soula was also willing, when the need required, to play roles on the ajouag (shepherd’s flute) and bendir (frame drum) itself.

“Kabyle music”, affirms Soula in the cover notes of the new album, “must imperatively become universal if it is to survive”.

To listen Amazigh songFor example, the single “Netseweth Sifassan Nagh” by “Netseweth Sifassan Nagh”, with its skin-tight charleston guiding a groove intended for the dance floor, one has little sense of the world Soula describes with so much nostalgia when he talks about women. locals singing Kabyle folk songs he first heard as a child, or his memories of attending midnight performances by figures like Slimane Azem and, subsequently, being inspired to sing himself at Kabyle weddings in ceremonies that lasted after 3:00 a.m. Elsewhere on the album, “Lgira” seems to start off as a pensive, atmospheric piece in a traditional mold before a new wave-style electronic beat takes over.

Venturing even further, “Win Terram” begins with a strobe synth pulse dubbed an electric guitar that would have sounded home on Devo’s first two albums, before another line of synths caught fire. spotlight and only sends the song into home video game territory.

“We can integrate all kinds of music wherever it is,” says Soula. “From India, Japan, Russia, Germany, etc. The motivation for me has been to develop new sounds within the framework of the tradition, and my audience has been very receptive to the modern elements that I have brought to them. The modernization of Amazigh music has been a way to ensure that it can spread beyond its original borders.

a symbol of Kabyle resistance Mon, 02 Aug 2021 07:12:28 +0000

Lounes Matoub was born on January 24, 1956 in the village of Taourirt Moussa in Kabylia, is a musician, singer-songwriter and Kabyle poet. Militant of the Amazigh identity cause, he made his contribution to the claim and popularization of Amazigh culture and to the struggle for democracy and secularism in Algeria. He is recognized as a great figure of Kabyle song throughout Amazigh territory.

Through his music, he was the spokesperson for the Berber cause, for the defense of the Amazigh language, in constant opposition to the Algerian government, against the Islamist and cultural influence of the Middle East. His songs politicize (Tamazight) and cover a wide variety of subjects, including: the Berber cause, democracy, freedom, religion, love, exile, memory, history, peace and the rights of the man. His style was direct and confrontational.

During the riots of October 1988, Matoub was shot dead by a gendarme (Algerian military). He was hospitalized for two years. In 1989 with his album “L’Ironie du destin” describes his long recovery. And on September 25, 1994, he was kidnapped by the Islamists and sentenced to death. He was released following a large public demonstration in Kabylia during which the Kabyle people threatened “war” against the Islamists.

After having published in 1994, his autobiography entitled Rebelle (Paris: Stock, 1995), on December 6, 1994, Matoub received the Prix Mémoire des mains from Madame Danielle Mitterrand, President of the France Libertés Foundation in Paris, and on March 22, 1995 , the journalist organization SCIJ (Canada) awarded him the Prize for Freedom of Expression, then on December 19, 1995, he received the Tahar Djaout Prize from the Nourredine Abba Foundation at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The prize is named after an Algerian writer murdered by Islamists in 1993.

The bad news of the epidemic spread throughout Kabylia on June 25, 1998, after his assassination, by armed men, killing Matoub, where thousands of angry mourners gathered around the hospital where his body was transported. The crowd shouted “Pouvoir Assassin” (“Government Assassins”). A week of violent riots followed his death.

Twenty-three years later, from his assassination which still remains a mystery, where only the Algerian regime knows the truth, despite this, its political and poetic heritage retains all its subversive power, from generation to generation, and the hope of everything a Kabyle people to defend their identity, their culture and their freedom.

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Universal Banjo by Hassan Wargui | Daily Bandcamp Mon, 26 Jul 2021 13:48:42 +0000

Universal Banjo by Hassan Wargui

By Phil E. Bloomfield July 26, 2021

Video shows a group of friends, young men, their faces lit by phone light and the glow of a campfire off camera. They smile, comfortable with the camera as well as with the instruments they hold in their hands. One of them, crossed legs and bare feet, cradles the characteristic form of a banjo on his knees. As he plucks the strings with a certain lack of attention born from a skill acquired over years of practice, he closes his eyes, nods his head, and begins to sing a plaintive and dismal song.

The banjo player is Hassan Wargui and the video, which appears on Wargui’s Facebook page, is not shot in the Appalachians, but in a cave in the Sous Valley, a region in southwestern Morocco, perched between the Anti-Atlas mountains. immediately to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is a fertile part of Morocco, most famous for the oil produced from the fruit of the argan tree and the goats that sometimes climb them.

“I love the banjo, it’s my first instrument,” says Wargui. His music is actually part of a hidden tradition of banjo music in the region that dates back to the 1970s: he learned to play by imitating bands like Archach and Izenzaren, who hold legendary status in the Sub. “No one taught me, I learned it myself.”

The modern banjo arrived in Morocco in the 1950s, when the country was still occupied by the French after World War II. Political scientist Hisham Aidi suggests in his book Rebel Music: Race, Empire and New Culture of Muslim Youth that American GIs stationed in Morocco exchanged banjos for cigarettes with the local population. In the 1970s, the Nass El Ghiwane banjo rose to fame (they are probably still the most popular group in Morocco), bringing together Moroccan and Western music with groundbreaking social commentary.

Moroccan musicians were probably drawn to the banjo because of its similarity to the guimbri, a stringed instrument with a camel skin membrane that provides the hypnotic rhythms for gnawa ceremonies. Gnaoua was created in Morocco by enslaved peoples of sub-Saharan Africa who merged their music and traditions with the principles of Sufi Islam, and the guimbri clearly looks like ngoni, an instrument that can be found throughout Mali. There is a parallel relationship between the western banjo and West Africa, which evolved from string instruments imported to North America, involuntary collateral of the slave trade. Coincidentally, the Anti-Atlas and Appalachians were once part of the same mountain range over 335 million years ago.

There’s another practical explanation why the banjo has spread in Morocco, says Marc Teare, who just released a record from Wargui Tiddukla’s band on his label, Beehive Spirit. “It’s a loud instrument,” he says, which means it can be played in groups, without the need for amplification. “You can have a banjo and a group of percussionists, and the banjo doesn’t have a hard time getting heard.”

Yet the bands that inspired Wargui struggled to gain a voice for another reason. Archach and Izenzaren were Amazighs (sometimes called Berbers, from ancient Greek for barbarian), part of a minority that represents 35 to 40% of the Moroccan population. The Moroccan state pursued a policy of Arabization after its independence from France in 1956, and the Amazigh culture was suppressed. The practice of Amazigh languages ​​(mainly Tachelhit in the southwest, where Wargui lives, and Tamazight in the central Atlas) has even been banned. In the 1970s, when fiercely Amazigh Izenzeran started performing, singing to Tachelhit could even get you to jail, says Teare. Times have changed, of course, and Tamazight has been taught in schools since 2003. However, it is still difficult to make a name for yourself as an Amazigh musician. Wargui does not strike: “As Amazigh, we have few concerts and we live from racism. “

All the money Wargui earns from music comes from Amazigh festivals, performances at weddings, and religious festivities. “From the records, it’s really nothing,” he says. Making money only with music is impossible: he travels regularly from his village, Issafen, to Morocco’s second largest city, Casablanca, where he finds work selling food. His experience is typical of many who live in Amazigh regions, rural areas that suffer from higher levels of poverty than the rest of the country. “The village is beautiful and it is very pleasant to live here, but the problem is that there is no work, no work and no money.

Wargui could be forgiven for giving up music altogether, but a constant stream of recordings and live video continued to appear on both of his. Youtube and Facebook pages over the years. It was through Wargui’s YouTube channel that Teare came across Tiddukla (“friendship” in Tachelhit), which Hassan had posted in 2015. Teare has spent many years visiting Morocco, indulging in his passion for music from the country (before starting Hivemind, he uploaded cassettes that he bought in the country to his blog, Snap, Crackle and Pop) and marvels at Wargui’s dynamism when it comes to producing music. He compares it to a vocation: “If he doesn’t have a group around, people to play with, then he will do everything himself on FruityLoops”.

Teare is not the first foreign person in Morocco to fall in love with the music and the personality of Wargui. Jace Clayton, the artist and writer known as DJ / Breakup, came across another group of Wargui, Imanaren, after hear booming music from a sportswear store in Casablanca circa 2009. He was so struck by what he heard that, with the help of a Moroccan friend, he called the number on the back of the homemade CD to get in touch. (Wargui’s cousin answered, and immediately hung up because he thought it was a joke). Clayton would then re-release the band’s music on his label, Homework Artz, and the duo have collaborated on a series of live shows in Morocco and Tunisia, including one with Clayton’s Nettle group.

One thing that makes Wargui so unique is that he writes his own songs instead of tapping into traditional repertoires. “I think I have 154 songs,” he says. “I like to write songs when I travel, when I go to the mountains.” Being in these places helps him “flash” and focus on the material of his lyrics, he explains. The subject varies from common topics like love and romance to what he describes as “social reality, life in Morocco, the poor and humanity”. Sometimes he even writes stories based on his friends, who frequently harass him to write songs about them. “But I don’t tell them, I just write and keep it to myself.”

Even if you fail to understand the lyrics, Wargui’s music has a surprising universality. On Tiddukla, there is an ease in the way his voice rises and falls; a harmonious tranquility to the way his banjo fits into the pitch and yaw of the rhythms, between the low hum of the guimbri and a gentle chatter of hand drums and percussion. It is by turns nostalgic and full of hope, mixed with a latent emotion that does not require translation. This openness may have come from the intention of its creator, says Teare. “Hassan wants people to hear his music. He wants to expand his audience.

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Stereotypes overwhelm Morocco’s identity crisis – OpEd – Eurasia Review Tue, 01 Jun 2021 07:00:00 +0000

There can be no real economic and cultural development without a stable and strong identity. A nation cannot rise up if it is still struggling in the dark ocean of identity crises. This is not a personal opinion, it is a historical fact. Morocco must be honest with itself. We – as a nation – need the state to make a clear statement about who we are. The need for great scientific and historical research, which puts an end to political interference in this matter for good, is very essential. But first, the state must confess. If there is one thing more dangerous than having a critical problem, it is to deny it. And vice versa, the first step in solving a problem is to admit it. If Morocco admits to having an identity crisis, this will pave the way for the academic community to address the issue.

Morocco has three main conflicting identities, each identity has its branches. First, there is the Amazigh identity. It is well protected by history, language, culture, people and science. Lately he has started to have more political support because of the Western Sahara issue. Second, there is the Arab-Islamic identity. It is a complex of modern Arab culture with the Malikite-Sunni version of Islam. Most of the time, this identity is found within Islamic customs and traditions. Still, he can gain more support from Arab media like Aljazeera and Bein Sports, some Moroccan political parties like the Justice and Development Party, and the foreign influence of pan-Arab supporters. Third, there is the French identity. In the last century, Morocco was called Franco-Maroc in Western societies. This identity is mainly represented by the colonialist language and dreams being enlightened. In addition, its presence inside Morocco has a feudal area. French identity is a system for marking Moroccans according to their rank in society. Thus, the French language – as an aspect of French culture – is the main language spoken among the upper classes of Moroccan societies.

The Amazigh identity is broader than Morocco. It is the identity of North Africa. Yet he is overwhelmed by stereotypes. The biggest stereotype is the desired mix between the Amazigh culture and the Tamazight language. Many Moroccans and North Africans are victims of this stereotype. Amazigh culture is bigger than just a language. It is an umbrella that covers history, traditions, food, clothing, behaviors, thoughts, religions, interactions with old nations (Romans, Egyptians, Greeks …), archaeological discoveries, peoples , African roots; and yes, language is also part of this identity. Like any other culture, the Amazigh culture has all the criteria that distinguish a nation from the rest of the world. In other words, a person may not be able to speak Tamazight due to historical political changes, but they are still Amazigh. That is to say that losing a criterion of culture (language) does not mean losing all identity. This gateway is very critical in terms of safeguarding the Amazigh identity. To solve the Amazigh problem, the Imazighen (Moroccans) must start by dealing with this kind of stereotype.

The Arab-Islamic identity is historically proven as a foreign culture. It started inside a very distant continent (Asia), then moved to other geographic areas due to the invasions. This identity – again – is overwhelmed by stereotypes. Most critical for Moroccans is the mix between Islam and Arab culture. Indeed, Islam is part of Arab culture. Almost no one can deny the claim that the Arabs are the people who created this religion (This claim may be a subject of further discussion among scholars.) Yet today Islam is greater than its container. initial. Since its emergence, many cultures have adopted Islam as a religion. So, because Islam is host to these strange cultures, it is shaping itself to embrace its new surroundings. In other words, Islam has converted from its original Arab culture into a new culture. That is, hybrid versions of Islam are part of their new cultures (Hybrid does not mean a different message, but a different way of delivering that message.) Today there is Islam. Iranian, an Islam within the Persian identity. ; Islam-Turkish, an Islam in Turkish identity… In Morocco, we have our Islam-Amazigh. It is a hybrid version in the Moroccan context. Moroccan Amazigh-Islam is different from the original (Arab-Islam) in terms of traditions, yet the message is the same. In short, Morocco can be a Muslim nation without denying its Amazigh identity. Islam and identity are not two contradictory concepts. Even the Islamic message says that Islam is suitable for every moment and every site, and this is further proof of our approach.

Islam – like Judaism – may be part of our Amazigh identity, but what about language? As discussed above, language is a very important criterion of culture. Since Moroccans speak Arabic, then Moroccans must be Arabs. Even if this conclusion is incorrect because of what we have said before “losing a criterion of culture (language) does not mean losing all identity”, this statement itself is debatable: do we speak Arabic? This suspicious question leads us to another stereotype. There are four main languages ​​spoken in Morocco: Tamazight, French, Darija and Arabic. The stereotype considers Darija to be an Arabic dialect, which is wrong. Darija (the mother tongue of the majority of Moroccans) has many crucial linguistic differentiations from Arabic. Only one example will be discussed in this article: Darija and Arabic have two different sentence structures. A sentence in Arabic follows the following pattern: verb + noun + object. Example: أكل أحمد الموزة While the sentence in Darija follows a different pattern: noun + verb + object. Example: حمد كلا لبنانة As you can notice, the examples given provide two different translations of the sentence: Ahmad ate the banana. There are other differentiations in terms of grammar, vocabulary, phonology (the phonology of Darija is very different from Arabic, in fact, it is similar to Tamazight) …

Ironically, with all the linguistic shreds of evidence for the differentiations between Darija and Arabic, it stands to reason that Darija is a dialect of Arabic. The only proof of this statement is the vocabulary. However, this evidence does not pass the test for certainty. Darija borrows its vocabulary from five main sources:

A foreign language English Darija
tamazight Aseṛẓem Window Serjem or Sherjem
French Food Food Cozina
Arab Kabid Liver Kbda
Spanish Semana The week Simana
English Banana Banana Banana

Borrowed vocabulary loses its original linguistic identities once it becomes part of Darija. In other words, the word (semana) in Spanish is not the same as the word (simana) in Darija. Now, these are two different words with different phonological forms, definitions and grammatical rules. In fact (simana) is a translation of the word (semana). Thereafter, the same rule concerns all the vocabulary borrowed from the Arabic context. To sum up, Darija borrows many vocabularies from Arabic as part of a general trend between languages ​​(even Persian has a considerable amount of vocabulary borrowed from Arabic, Arabic itself borrows from others. languages ​​like Hebrew, etc.) However, this vocabulary “loses its initial linguistic identities once it becomes part of Darija”.

Stereotypes are part of this world. They overwhelm the truth to create a deceptive reality. The winners of wars create their stereotypes to obscure their crimes. The ancient invaders created their stereotypes to subdue their subjects. Terrorists and fanatics create their stereotypes to influence more followers. Politicians, media, universities, office workers… all corrupt individuals and institutions generate their stereotypes to keep themselves at the center of society. It is (then) a way of deceiving the people in order to have superiority within society. Maybe we can’t stop stereotypes from spreading. It is another sin that mankind cannot avoid. However, it is our duty to provide the people with the appropriate facilities to fight back. Everyone should be armed with a critical mind. A person who asks a lot of questions, a person who takes nothing for granted, cannot be manipulated.

Marginalized Indigenous Peoples of North Africa Wed, 02 Dec 2020 08:00:00 +0000

The Berbers are the descendants of the pre-Arab populations of all of North Africa, from the far west of Egypt to the countries of the Maghreb.

The Berbers, who refer to themselves as the Amazighs meaning “free man”, have been fighting for a long time for greater recognition of their ancient ethnicity, their culture and their language.

Here is some information on the Berber communities that spread across North Africa long before the Arab conquests:


At the northwestern tip of Africa, Morocco is home to the region’s largest Berber community.

Their language – of which there are three main dialects – only received official status alongside Arabic in a new constitution in 2011.

One of the major consequences of this recognition was the appearance of their Tifinagh alphabet on public buildings alongside Arabic and French.

Since 2010, the Tamazight television channel has dedicated itself to the promotion of Berber culture.

A few years ago, lawmakers caused a stir by speaking in Berber during parliamentary sessions.

Despite the advances, the Moroccan authorities still sporadically refuse to register Berber names in the official register.

The Amazigh flag was a major symbol of the protests that hit the depressed Rif region in the north of the country in 2016, where the group is in the majority.


The Berbers comprise around 10 million people in Algeria, or about a quarter of the country’s total population of 40 million.

They live mainly in the mountainous region of northern Kabylia, and like in Morocco they have fought a long struggle for their rights.

After some progress, such as the recognition of Tamazight as the country’s second official language in 2016, Berber has been the target of numerous repressions in the repression of anti-government protests.

Several dozen demonstrators were sentenced to prison terms for waving the Amazigh flag, banned from assembling by the army.


Persecuted under the dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who denied their existence, the Berbers of Libya called for the officialization of their language alongside Arabic and for greater political representation.

They make up about 10 percent of the 6.4 million and live mainly in the mountains west of Tripoli or in the vast desert regions to the south.

Their demands have become more vocal in this country in turmoil since the ouster and death of Gaddafi in 2011. The Berber flag is now visible on administrative buildings.

Textbooks in their language have also been produced, but they have not been officially approved by the government supported by the international community.

Under a draft constitution approved by parliament, but still awaiting ratification, the languages ​​spoken by the various communities, including Tamazigh, are recognized as part of Libyan cultural heritage but do not enjoy official status. .


In Tunisia, estimating the number of Berbers is difficult because official statistics based on ethnicity are prohibited.

Apart from their traditional southern heart, the Berbers find themselves mainly in the capital Tunis following a rural exodus.

They complain of being marginalized and excluded in a state that only recognizes Arabic in its constitution.

Jallol Ghaki, the president of the Tunisian Association of Amazigh Culture, estimates that while half of Tunisians may be of Berber origin, the vast majority have been fully Arabized and only one percent speak the local dialect of Chelha.

While activists complain that the state makes no effort to preserve or educate children about Berber culture, there have been some improvements since the Tunisian revolution of 2011.

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