morocco algeria – Liby Amazigh Wed, 09 Feb 2022 11:42:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 morocco algeria – Liby Amazigh 32 32 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.

Morocco – well placed to benefit from Europe’s energy transition Wed, 19 Jan 2022 19:59:56 +0000

Population: 37.13 million (+1.2% vs 2020)

GDP per capita (PPP): $7,360 (+0.9% compared to 2020)

Debt to GDP: 76.6% (+1.2% vs 2019)

Power per capita: 765 kWh

Reduced fossil fuel subsidies, CSP leader

By the end of 2020, Morocco had 1.4 GW of installed wind, 530 MW of CSP and just 220 MW of solar PV, meaning total solar has only reached a third of its old 2020 target. With hydropower at 1.77 GW and 465 MW of pumped hydropower, the country already has a significant amount of clean energy – 3950 GW out of a total of over 10 GW. The rest of the electricity is mainly coal, dependent on Russian imports, with a small amount of natural gas. A new coal-fired power plant was commissioned in 2021, but the country then promised at COP26 not to build any more.

By 2030, Morocco aims to achieve 20% solar, 20% wind and 12% hydroelectricity in its energy mix, compared to 35% in 2019. Nuclear has been considered with a nuclear training center created in March 2021, and maybe there will indeed eventually be a nuclear power plant using SMR or some other modern technology. The country has room for at least several gigawatts of additional hydropower.

Surprisingly for a desert country, wind is still envisioned to be built as much as solar – and a look at a wind speed map shows you why. The southwest coast has almost the same wind speeds as the North Sea – but it has them on land. It is an exceptional resource that helps explain the reassertion of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara – more on that later.

Morocco’s NDC under the Paris Climate Agreement was updated last June with a 45.5% reduction in emissions by 2030, 60% of which depends on foreign aid. The phosphate industry – for which Morocco has three-quarters of the world’s reserves and the third largest production – has gained particular recognition as an emissions reduction target.

So far, Morocco’s most unusual achievement in the energy transition is its CSP networks – 530 MW, or 8% of the world’s total CSP. He was also a pioneer in North Africa as the first to reduce fossil fuel subsidies. Morocco has only set up a national oil and gas projects division of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) a few months ago, in November. If a large and suitable offshore gas field is discovered, you could see Western oil majors investing in new gas development in the country, but at this point in history, the “end of the beginning” of the energy transition, that seems unlikely. outside. Even the existing gas trade between Nigeria and Europe via pipeline died out after the failed renewal of the transit agreement with Algeria.

A not-quite-stagnant economy

In terms of wealth per capita, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and even Libya are surprisingly close to each other – but Morocco does so without Algeria’s fossil fuels – the country imports 91% of its gas and 99% of its oil – and with an HDI ranking. 45% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector once forestry and fishing are included and the sector accounts for 15% of GDP. You might think that Morocco doesn’t have the best agricultural land and you would be right. Agriculture is an investment that does not pay off quickly, any more than the fight against rebels in the Sahara, which has cost the country tens of billions over the past half century.

With a low-skilled workforce, manufacturing is also limited to lower-value propositions, and according to some reports, education levels may even drop. Currently, literacy is on par with Tunisia and Algeria at 79%, but the Arabization language policy and other factors have resulted in poor performance of Moroccan schools. Arabization aimed to sideline the Amazigh Berber language, a policy that was reversed by the new prime minister. But what Moroccans need most is to be able to speak English for business and work, a language that was only mandated to be taught in schools in 2002. European languages ​​left behind legacy of colonial times are the Spanish and French and the Amazigh-Arab dispute. is also a distraction. France is an important trading partner but that doesn’t go any further.

All in all, you have a poor country that still only has a growth rate of between 2% and 4% in most years, with its main sectors like tourism, agriculture, textiles and phosphates – all very basic efforts.

The silver lining is car manufacturing, which could account for up to 25% of GDP this year, with local content reaching 60%. The finance and sales destination is Western Europe, but Tesla’s electric vehicle chip manufacturing has also been the subject of noise. This industry and others will be bolstered by Morocco’s high-speed rail infrastructure projects, which could eventually extend to West Africa after recent military successes against rebel forces in the south of the country. Although the country is both poor and has poor institutions at best, it is more open for business than its neighbors and has some potential.

Conflict in Western Sahara reignited by developments

Morocco is a hybrid democracy. Real elections take place, but political parties are tamed by a monarchy that still wields great formal power. As a result, even under the Justice and Development Party (PJD), which is supposed to be Islamist in the style of the Muslim Brotherhood in a context of democracy and monarchy in Morocco, the burqa was banned in 2017 and diplomatic relations were established with Israel last year. . The PJD totally collapsed in the 2021 elections to be replaced by even more secular parties. Fame and clientelism guide the actions of Moroccan politicians more than ideology or vision.

The reconciliation with Israel has been overseen by the United States, with which it is strongly allied, including at the intelligence level, but it is the EU which is of course Morocco’s largest destination for exports and emigrants. . Then there is China – Morocco signed a Belt and Road Implementation Plan just weeks ago, making it the first state in North Africa to pass a protocol. ‘OK.

Morocco’s diplomatic standing is currently weak, feuding with Spain and France and ending official diplomatic contact with Germany, over all their stance on its dominance of Western Sahara. Like Turkey, the country can choose the extent to which it suppresses migration entering Europe through its territory, and its intelligence alliance with the West is also important in suppressing Islamist terrorism. Meanwhile, some politicians in the United States are calling for the revocation of American recognition of Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara – this recognition is how President Trump bought Morocco’s recognition of Israel.

The Western Sahara conflict dates back to 1975, but there was a ceasefire in 1991 that was only recently broken by Morocco, which forcibly restored the land route to Mauritania.

Algeria’s support for the Polisario Front, which is the Sahrawi independence movement in Western Sahara, is also one of the main reasons for the bad relations between it and Morocco, while Algeria is unhappy that Morocco is on good terms with Israel and accuses it of supporting the Berber secessionist movement MAK.

At least so far, these quarrels have not hampered existing trade, especially not with Algeria since this border has been closed since 1994 anyway. But Morocco could always use new agreements and more direct investment. foreigners – it usually receives 2 or 3 billion dollars a year, mainly from Western Europe.

Renewables could use a subsidy or auction system

Amusingly, the Polisario Front has accused Morocco of using green energy developments in Western Sahara to legitimize its occupation – this kind of “greenwashing” is new! The Front even produced its own net zero plan, drawn up with the help of some Western intellectuals. It is very likely that the Sahrawi cause still does not receive any substantial help outside of Algeria, and these intellectuals are just idealistic NGO types.

Another possibility worth mentioning for Morocco’s green future is the construction of solar power in North Africa coupled with UHVDC lines transmitting it to Europe. The Morocco-UK power project envisions a 3.6 GW, 3,800 kilometer subsea HVDC line across Devon. This line would cost billions with a power loss of up to 15% in transit, but would still be very attractive – giving Morocco a new export and the UK more capacity to use solar power. CSP’s presence in Morocco could also come into play with energy storage amplifying the ability to use the line consistently, but project developer XLinks seems more interested so far in a 5 GW battery complex and 4 hours accompanying 10.5 GW of solar and wind power.

Along the same lines, the Western Sahara region is perfect for green hydrogen production – excellent land availability, wind and sun, coastal, on the doorstep of Europe. But Morocco only has a 100 MW hydrogen tender scheduled for 2022, just as it has only installed 200 MW of photovoltaics. For wind power alone, Morocco has pledged to mobilize $1.6 billion in global financing for a 1 GW wind power program, which will be commissioned nationwide by 2024.

It is therefore a country in a good position, but it still has to seriously encourage renewable energies or establish a lot of significant short-term ambitions. Most likely, Morocco is still waiting for this foreign aid and the ideas mentioned in its NDC.

What France can learn from a victory for Algerian football | Opinions Tue, 28 Dec 2021 09:11:39 +0000

On December 18, football fans in Algeria and across the region celebrated the national team’s victory in the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup held in Qatar. Meanwhile, in Paris, the “City of Light”, Algerian supporters were violently attacked by French police and arrested by the dozen.

The Paris police headquarters banned “supporters of football teams from Algeria, Egypt, Qatar or Tunisia, or those who behave as such” from congregating in a setting established around the famous Champs-Elysees avenue. The order was made in anticipation of the celebrations that would follow a Tunisian or Algerian victory in the Arab Cup final.

This contrasted sharply with the measures taken by the French police to organize the festivities after France’s victory at the 2018 World Cup. Rather than banning the fans, the then police chief greeted them on the Champs-Élysées and instead ordered a police perimeter for their protection.

That the French police resort to racial profiling under the pretext of ensuring “public safety” is hardly surprising. Yet criminalizing “Arab behavior” represents a surprisingly outspoken form of racial discrimination.

Clearly, in France, it is “liberty, equality, and fraternity”, unless, of course, you are of Arab or African origin. It is a country where generations of marginalized communities from former colonies have been subjected to undue scrutiny and scrutiny, racist vitriol from establishment politicians, and systemic barriers to work, labor and employment. education and public life, such as the various veil bans and closures of Mosques and Muslim organizations.

Attempts by Algerian supporters to celebrate in Paris despite the police ban must therefore be seen as a form of protest and resistance to what it means to be Arab, Muslim, Maghreb or black in France. Underlying this protest is also a critique of the racial logic underlying the post-colonial notion of Frenchness.

This was demonstrated by the degree of support received by the Algerian team, which played in the Arab Cup. Called team A ‘, it is composed only of players from the Algerian or Arab national leagues, who have no formal contractual link with France. While the “first team”, which participates in the Africa Cup and the World Cup, often relies on players who have been developed or are currently playing in the French and European national leagues, this Cup team Arab is completely “independent”.

For example, the importance of Amir Sayoud Рwho started his career in Algerian clubs ES Guelma and ES S̩tif before playing for historic clubs USM Alger and CR Belouzdad Рscoring the winner of the match in the final Рand no, say, $ 8.3million Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez Рwas not lost on fans.

Indeed, for many, Team A ‘came to represent a rejection of one of the main characteristics of neocolonialism – the continued dependence and domination of the former colonies on colonial powers, even after independence. formal.

In addition to this pride in national achievement, the celebrations among North African supporters demonstrated a remarkable policy of inclusion throughout the tournament. Fans of Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor town, where the final match was played, carried banners with the flags of all participating nations sewn together. In the Tunisian and Algerian stands, the supporters carried side by side the flags of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, symbolically representing the Greater Maghreb. Supporters also waved the Amazigh flag alongside national flags.

Perhaps most notably, fans throughout the tournament were keen to hoist the highest Palestinian flag of all. One of the tournament’s most famous Algerian players, Youcef Belaïli – who played as a young player in the Algerian national league with MC Oran – asked supporters for a Moroccan flag and waved it with the Algerian flags and Palestinian. And after the final match, Algerian coach Madjid Bougherra said: “We dedicate the Arab Cup to the Palestinian people and our people in Gaza.

At the heart of this inclusive politics exposed at the Arab Cup is resistance to the legacy of European colonial divide and rule policy which created modern national borders and then sowed divisions within various nation states. .

If the French authorities have tried to present Maghreb citizens and immigrants as separatists, it is in fact the logic of colonial modernity that employs division and exclusion.

On the other hand, the spirit of resistance among Algerians in France and the policy of inclusion among many supporters and players of the tournament have only demonstrated a deep sense of the flexibility of borders and a welcome from the margins.

Moreover, the players have shown that they are not simply gladiators at the mercy of the state, but rather ambassadors with political and historical power. They help imagine a future that celebrates the uniqueness of the national experience, accompanied by a deep sense of inclusion.

The lesson and the challenge that the Algerian victory poses to all – including those leaders in France who seek to ban celebrations – is to broaden the notion of belonging to make the border between oneself and the other porous and to cultivate a ethics of coming “to know another.” This ethics is linked to a policy of resistance, as demonstrated by the Maghrebian partisans in Paris, who resisted the edicts which seek to exclude them and to expel them from the public space .

In my own country, Algeria, this policy and ethics should challenge us to consider our own attitude towards migrants and refugees, which has not always been welcoming, and to extend our spirit of inclusion not only through the Maghreb and as far as Palestine – as it should be – but also south to the rest of the African continent.

While French President Macron spoke of the common history between the north and the south of the Mediterranean, one may wonder why the celebrations of “supporters of football teams from Algeria, Egypt, Qatar or Tunisia” could not be a reason for French celebration. , also.

In France, the displayed inclusion policy will surely be a cause of consternation among the political establishment, which sees its right-wing candidates fighting to outdo themselves in racist vitriol. But this demonstration of inclusion during the Arab Cup could also offer them an opportunity for reflection.

For what the display of inclusion by players and fans demonstrates is that the former colonies are no longer willing to subscribe to a colonial and divisional nationalist policy. The possibilities that adopting an inclusive policy could bring could be profound.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

After singing in Moroccan dialect, Myriam Fares prepares to sing in Tamazight Tue, 23 Nov 2021 17:09:09 +0000

23 November 2021

Lebanese singer Myriam Fares is about to release a new song that uses the Berber language to sing.

The Lebanese singer revealed, during her intervention in a television program, that she was about to release a new song whose lyrics are in the Amazigh language.

Eleven years ago, Myriam Fares released a song in Moroccan dialect, for which she chose the title “Tallah”, which in the Moroccan dictionary means “away from me”.

As part of her intervention on her new artistic release, the Lebanese singer paid tribute to the Amazighs of the world, whatever their country.

It distinguished the Berbers who settled in the Kingdom of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

She added that she will present a work on Amazigh rhythms, including Amazigh dance, and Amazigh clothing.

In the same context, the spokesperson confirmed that the Amazigh language is very difficult, which will make the song mixed with words from the Moroccan dialect, so that it is easy for everyone to understand.

She revealed that she had already experienced singing on stage in the Berber dialect. She comments that she “did not understand the words”.

She added: “I only understood the content of the song, and this idea came to my mind when I was in the city of Nador, and one night before the concert I decided to memorize an Amazigh song to present it to the public in this city, which includes a large percentage of Amazighs, and after that, I decided that my next album would include an Amazigh song.

Note: The content of this news was written by Al Ain News. He is not expressing an opinion today on Egypt. source cited above.

The tension between Algeria and Morocco has implications for Spain Tue, 02 Nov 2021 07:00:00 +0000

© Danielo / Shutterstock

For decades, relations between Morocco and Algeria have been characterized by tension, indirect attacks and the support of proxies. Algerians support the Polisario Front, an armed group which fought Morocco for the control of Western Sahara from 1975 to 1991. Morocco is in charge of most of the territory and considers it its own, but the Polisario wants independence. Moroccans are accused of supporting groups Algeria recently designated as The Terrorists. These include the Islamist Rachad and the Amazigh Separatist Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK).

Not all quiet on the Western Sahara front


The last episode in this strained relationship between North African nations came in August when Algeria severed diplomatic ties. reports with Morocco. The move came after a series of forest fires that swept through the Amazigh region of Kabylia in what Algeria claims was a covert Moroccan operation to bolster the MAK.

For Algeria, this has been a delicate time for the government due to an economic crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest since 2020, and the poor health and subsequent death of the country’s former leader. , Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Tensions in the Maghreb

Algeria and Morocco have been antagonistic neighbors since their respective independence from the French. Border discord gave rise to a stubborn rivalry that worsened with Western Sahara contestation when Algeria became the main support of the Polisario Front. This unfinished conflict and the decades closing of the land border between Algeria and Morocco are the most tangible examples of the enmity that keeps the Maghreb divided.

Diplomatic quarrels and mutual accusations of instigating internal unrest were frequent. One area where the tense calm in bilateral relations has been that of the military. The two countries are committed to rapid armament race fueled, in the case of Algeria, by generous hydrocarbon revenues during the first decade of the century. Despite its efforts, Morocco’s military budget has been exceeded since 2006. It is only because of Algeria’s economic fragility that Morocco has been able to make a recovery.

The last few years have been characterized by impetuous diplomatic activity on the part of Morocco, especially in the Gulf and throughout Africa. Faced with Morocco’s increased international projection, Algerians have tried to respond despite the country’s poor economic situation.

In particular, Algerians have sought to establish closer relations with African nations. Algeria strengthened ties with traditional ally Nigeria, resuming talks on building trans-Saharan gas pipeline. It has also strengthened cooperation with countries like Mali and Libya.

Implications for Spain

Europe overlooks North Africa and is only separated by a few kilometers from Morocco. Suddenly, Europeans are directly concerned by the tension in the south of the Mediterranean. The European country most affected by the recent escalation between Morocco and Algeria is Spain.

Taking a position in favor of a party could have direct consequences either on the security of the southern border of Spain close to northern Morocco, or on the supply of natural gas that it receives from Algeria. It comes at a time when the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean is increasing and the price of gas, coal and electricity is rising.

The closing of the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline on November 1 has direct implications for Spain since the route has been a major source of supply for more than two decades. The pipeline also passes through Morocco, which has retained part of the gas in exchange for operating the line via its territory. Morocco has used the gas to generate around 12% of the country’s electricity. The Medgaz pipeline is seen as a replacement, which would allow Algeria to get rid of the middlemen and also deal a heavy blow to Morocco.

However, this will not spare Spain, which has no say in regional conflicts despite its desire to present itself as a strong European country. It is not known how long this new episode of tension in the Maghreb will last, but it could have serious implications for Europe.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Fair Observer.

Algeria breaks diplomatic relations with Morocco for “hostile actions” Tue, 24 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra blamed Moroccan leaders for being “responsible for repeated crises” and behavior that “led to conflict instead of integration” in North Africa after months of tension between two neighbors.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra makes a gesture while reading a statement by the country’s president in Algiers, August 24, 2021. (Fateh Guidoum / AP)

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said his country had severed diplomatic relations with Morocco due to “hostile actions” after months of resurgent tensions between North African rivals.

Countries have long accused each other of supporting opposition movements as proxies, with Algeria’s alleged support for separatists in the disputed region of Western Sahara being a particular bone of contention for Morocco.

“Algeria has decided to cut diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Morocco from today,” Lamamra announced at a press conference.

“History has shown it … Morocco has never stopped carrying out hostile actions against Algeria,” he added.

Lamamra accused Moroccan leaders of “responsibility for repeated crises” and behavior that “led to conflict instead of integration” in North Africa.

READ MORE: Morocco signs agreements with US-Israeli delegation marking normalization

“Completely unjustified”

The Moroccan foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Algeria’s decision to sever diplomatic relations with its neighbor was “completely unjustified”, adding that the decision was based on “false, even absurd, pretexts”.

The Algiers decision was nevertheless “expected given the logic of escalation observed in recent weeks,” the ministry said in a statement.

At the end of last month, the King of Morocco Mohamed VI lamented the tensions between the two countries, and called on Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune “to make wisdom prevail” and “to work in unison for the development of relations. “between the two countries.

But the forest fires in Algeria, which broke out on August 9 amid a scorching heatwave, have burned tens of thousands of hectares of forest and killed at least 90 people, including more than 30 soldiers, further fueling tensions. .

While critics say Algerian authorities have not prepared for the fires, Tebboune said most of the fires were “criminal” in origin.

The Algerian authorities have questioned the independence movement in the predominantly Berber region of Kabylia stretching along the Mediterranean coast east of the capital.

Algiers accused Rabat of supporting the separatists.

“The Moroccan provocation reached its climax when a Moroccan delegate to the United Nations demanded the independence of the people of the Kabylia region,” Lamamra said on Tuesday.

Last month, Algeria recalled its ambassador to Rabat for consultations after Morocco’s envoy to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, expressed support for self-determination in that region.

At the time, the Algerian Foreign Ministry declared that Morocco “thus publicly and explicitly supports an alleged right to self-determination of the Kabyle people”.

Algerian authorities have also accused the Movement for Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK) of being involved in the lynching of a man falsely accused of arson during the recent forest fires, an incident that sparked outrage. .

Algeria last week accused Morocco of supporting the group, which it calls a “terrorist organization”.

‘Bad Decision’

“The incessant acts of hostility carried out by Morocco against Algeria have necessitated the revision of relations between the two countries”, declared the presidency.

He also said there would be an “intensification of security checks at the western borders” with Morocco.

The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed since 1994.

Mohamed, a Moroccan bus driver, called Algeria’s latest decision a “bad decision”.

“It’s like cutting ties with your neighbor next door,” he told AFP.

The two North African countries as well as Tunisia were united, he added, affirming that “there are no differences, it happens between governments”.

The Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs also accused Morocco of waging “a media war … against Algeria, its people and its leaders”.

But Lamamra also said consular assistance to citizens of the two countries would not be affected.

Relations between Algiers and Rabat have been strained over the past decades, particularly over the burning issue of the disputed Western Sahara.

Morocco considers the former Spanish colony to be an integral part of its kingdom, but Algeria has supported the Polisario movement which seeks independence there.

A normalization deal between Morocco and Israel in December sparked new tensions between Rabat and Algiers because the United States recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara as part of the deal.

Lamamra on Tuesday accused the Israeli foreign minister of “senseless accusations and veiled threats” after Yair Lapid expressed “concerns about the role played by Algeria in the region”.

On his first visit to Morocco since the countries normalized relations, Lapid said his concerns were based on fears that Algeria was “moving closer to Iran”, as well as “the campaign it is facing. led against Israel’s admission as an observer member of the African Union. . “

READ MORE: Israel opens diplomatic office in Morocco

Source: AFP

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Algeria accuses groups it associates with Morocco and Israel for forest fires | Algeria News Thu, 19 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000

Algiers will review its relations with Morocco after accusing it and regroup with “Zionist links” for the deadly forest fires.

Algeria attributes its recent deadly fires to two groups it recently referred to as “terrorist” organizations, adding that one of them was supported by Morocco and Israel.

The Algerian president’s office said on Wednesday that police had arrested 22 people for starting the fires, adding that ultimate responsibility lay with the Rashad group and MAK, an autonomy movement for the predominantly Amazigh region of Kabylia.

Algeria has designated both groups as terrorist organizations this year.

The presidency said the MAK “obtains support and help from foreign parties, especially Morocco and the Zionist entity,” referring to Israel.

“The incessant hostile acts carried out by Morocco against Algeria have necessitated the revision of relations between the two countries,” the statement said.

He said there would also be an “intensification of security checks at the western borders” with Morocco. He did not specify what the review would entail.

Neither the Moroccan nor Israeli foreign ministries were immediately available to comment on the accusation.

Rocky relationships

Algeria and Morocco, its most populous neighbor, have enjoyed poor relations for decades, with Algiers supporting the armed Polisario movement which claims independence for Western Sahara, a territory Rabat considers its own.

Algeria does not recognize Israel, referring to it in official statements only as the Zionist entity. Israel said this month that it and Morocco will soon establish full diplomatic relations.

Forest fires ravaged North Africa this month but were the most violent in Algeria, causing damage and casualties in several provinces, including Tizi Ouzou in Kabylia, east of the capital Algiers.

“The security services will continue their efforts to arrest the rest of those involved (…) and all those belonging to the two terrorist organizations,” the presidency declared after a meeting of the High Security Council.

Some of the suspects confessed to being members of the MAK, according to confessions broadcast on Algerian television.

Algeria recalled its ambassador to Rabat last month after a Moroccan diplomat in New York called on the Kabyle people to have the right to self-determination.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, in a speech in July, called for better relations with Algeria and the opening of their long-closed borders.

Rabat offered to send aid to fight the fires, but Algeria made no public response.

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Maghreb, Africa – World Atlas Sun, 30 May 2021 07:00:00 +0000

The region known as the Maghreb is a region in northwestern Africa. The word “Maghreb” literally means “west” in the Arabic language. This name makes sense because it is found in the west of the Arabian Peninsula, which is the original homeland of the Arabs.

Today, the Maghreb encompasses the countries of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and the disputed region of Western Sahara. Some also add Mauritania to the region. Interestingly, Morocco’s name in Arabic is also Maghreb, so it should not be confused with the Maghreb region.


Map of the Maghreb and Sahel regions.

The Maghreb is made up of two well-defined regions, the Sahara Desert to the south and the Atlas Mountains to the north. The Sahara Desert covers the overwhelming majority of the territory belonging to Mauritania, Western Sahara, Algeria and Libya. It also covers the southern half of Tunisia. The dunes for which the Sahara is famous are mainly found in Algeria and Libya.

The Atlas mountain range, which stretches from Morocco to Tunisia, has a number of plateaus that receive regular rainfall of over 100mm per year, in an area where regular rainfall is very difficult to obtain. . The mountains are very difficult to cross due to the extremely high peaks they present. The highest peak in the Atlas Mountains is called Jbel Toubkal and is located in the southwest of Morocco. It is 4,167 meters high. In Antiquity, the Atlas Mountains served as a sort of border between the coastal Maghreb and the Saharan Maghreb.


Ruins of the Roman basilica of Volubilis in Morocco.

The earliest recorded history of the Maghreb dates back to when it was the domain of the Phoenicians, who migrated from their homeland to modern Lebanon to establish ports on the Maghreb coast. One of these ports was Carthage, which later became a powerful empire controlling the northern part of present-day Tunisia, most of the Maghreb coast, the Canary Islands, southern part of Spain d ‘today the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and part of the Mediterranean island of Sicily. This empire, however, was only informal, as there was no central government for the entire extent of Carthaginian territory.

The Carthaginian Empire lasted from 575 to 146 BCE. For many years he fought for supremacy against another emerging superpower of the time, the Roman Republic, the precursor of the Roman Empire. The so-called Punic wars, three in number, were the wars fought between the Romans and the Carthaginians. The long struggle between the two empires ended in the Third Punic War when the Romans occupied and destroyed Carthage itself.

The Roman conquest of Carthage marks a turning point in history. To begin with, he shifted the path of civilizational development from Africa to Europe. In addition, he transformed Rome from a regional power to a world power. This forced the Romans to develop a complex system of administration due to the vast new territory they had to control. The methods of administration that the Romans developed to rule its expanded imperial kingdom shaped the administrations of modern nation states, including the United States.

Arabic and Turkish rule

The Arabs introduced camels to the Maghreb region.

The Roman Empire will rule over the Maghreb for many centuries. But in the 7th century CE, another empire emerged that would conquer the entire region and change it forever. This new empire was the Islamic Caliphate. In the middle of the 7th century AD, Arab invaders entered North Africa. By the end of the century, they had brought almost all of the coastal Maghreb under their control. Meanwhile, traditional indigenous leaders have been replaced by Arab leaders.

The Arabs took with them the new religion of Islam, which would eventually become the dominant religion in the Maghreb. Arab rule in the Maghreb will continue until the 16th century, when the Turks began to conquer parts of the region. They eventually took control of almost all of the Maghreb, with the exception of Morocco.

The Arab and Turkish invasions of the Maghreb introduced new fauna to the region. One animal in particular, the camel, would forever change the way trade was conducted in the region. Due to the camel’s ability to withstand the harsh conditions of the Sahara Desert, a Trans-Saharan trade route was established, which increased intercontinental communication between Africa and West Asia. It was the prosperous Maghreb trade that ultimately attracted European powers to the region. At first, the Europeans simply tried to establish trade relations using the coastal territories of the Maghreb as entry points into the larger regional trade market. Later, however, the Europeans changed their intentions from trade to conquest.

European colonization and decolonization

French colonial architecture in Algiers, Algeria. Image Credit: Oguz Dikbakan / Shutterstock

In the first quarter of the 19th century, European powers began to take over parts of the Maghreb. France eventually became the dominant colonial power in the region. The French began their conquests in the region by taking control of what is today the coastal area of ​​Algeria. At the start of the 20th century, they controlled most of the Maghreb and West Africa. Spain had seized territory in what is now Western Sahara and on the northern coast of Morocco, while Italy conquered what is now Libya.

After World War II, a wave of nationalism swept through European colonies overseas, including those in the Maghreb. Libya was the first country in the region to gain independence, followed by Tunisia and Morocco. Algeria gained independence in 1962, following an often bloody revolt against French rule. Spain withdrew from what is now Western Sahara in 1976, after which Morocco immediately claimed sovereignty, a claim which was rejected by the inhabitants of the enclave, which led to a armed resistance. The conflict in Western Sahara remains unresolved to this day.

In 2011, a popular uprising took place in Tunisia, leading to the overthrow of the country’s longtime dictator and the establishment of a democratic government. That same year, in neighboring Libya, an armed rebellion took place, in which Western powers under NATO leadership intervened militarily to help end the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya since 1969. Fighting in Libya continues, however. , between militias vying for control of the country.


People walking in Algiers, Algeria. Image Credit: Oguz Dikbakan / Shutterstock

The population of the Maghreb is around 100 million inhabitants. 4.5 million more people can be added if Mauritania is included in the region. Algeria is the most populous country in the Maghreb, with around 43.8 million people living within its borders. Not too far behind is Morocco, with around 36.9 million people. Tunisia has around 11.8 million inhabitants, while Libya has around 6.8 million. The disputed enclave of Western Sahara is the least populated in the Maghreb region, with less than 600,000 people living there.

Most of the people living in the Maghreb are of Arab, Berber or mixed Arab and Berber origin. The Berbers, more correctly called the Imazighen (Amazigh in the singular), are the first inhabitants of the Maghreb, having been in the region before the start of the Arab invasions in the 7th century AD. There are several subgroups of Berber peoples, who speak different Berber languages. Although stereotyped as nomads, most Berbers are in fact farmers. For a long time, Europeans called Northwest Africa the Barbary Coast, denoting the presence of Berbers in the region.

A Berber farmer in Morocco.

The Arabic and Berber languages ​​are spoken in the Maghreb, although it is the first that dominates. It should be noted, however, that the Arabic language is not uniform throughout the Maghreb region, nor is it uniform in other parts of the Arab world. The two most commonly spoken varieties of Arabic in the Maghreb are Hassaniya Arabic and Maghreb Arabic, the latter with over 70 million speakers, making it the most common type of Arabic in the region. But Maghrebian Arabic can be further divided into national dialects spoken by Moroccans, Algerians, Tunisians and Libyans. A heritage of colonialism, French is still used, spoken and understood in the Maghreb countries that were once under French domination.

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10 things you didn’t know about this UNESCO intangible cultural heritage dish Fri, 30 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0000

Couscous was inscribed on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list on December 16, 2020. Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Tunisia have all campaigned for it to be added to this list.

These four Maghreb countries have never ceased to emphasize their differences by creating variations of this ancestral dish – with vegetables, chicken, lamb’s head, octopus, snails or onions. The only constant in all these traditional dishes is a semolina base, a sauce and steam.

So what’s the original recipe? Where is he from? How has this dish traveled and evolved around the world? What spices should I use?

We have the answers here for you.

1. Not necessarily made from durum wheat!

Couscous refers above all to a technique which consists in transforming a cereal into more or less fine granules, by rolling the semolina. Once dry, it will keep for a long time without rotting. Over the centuries, the basis of durum wheat has often been replaced by barley in the Maghreb (meltouth), cassava or millet in the Sahel and Cameroon, and by corn among the Fulani.

According to Marianne Brisville, historian at the Lyon II University and member of Ciham (History, Archeology, Literatures of Medieval Christian and Muslim Worlds Unit), new variants already began to appear during the medieval period, such as fityānī, which was prepared in Marrakech and made from breadcrumbs.

2. A battle over its origins

Although Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Tunisia have agreed to jointly submit an application to UNESCO, they still disagree on the provenance of the couscous.

The researchers do not share an opinion either.

Some historical sources mention an appearance in the Sahel, in the south of present-day Algeria, while others refer more broadly to the Maghreb, from Zab to Marrakech, via the Atlas mountains.

According to Sihem Debbabi Missaoui, professor at the University of Manouba in Tunis, couscous was first mentioned in Tunisia during the Hafsid period (1228-1574). However, at the time, borders did not exist and an archaeological excavation can often reveal another.

More broadly, some attribute the origin of the dish to the Berbers, others to sub-Saharan Africa. And competition between countries goes further. Every year, people from all four countries try to cook “the biggest couscous in the world”.

3. From Africa to the Vatican

Couscous has always traveled from Africa to elsewhere. Recipes have been found in the East dating back to the 13th century, Brisville says. The dish did not become known in Christian Europe – at least by its elites – until the 15th century. Pope Pius V’s private cook even talked about it!

It is said to be part of the royal Spanish cuisine at the beginning of the 17th century, then came to Italy via the Jews of North Africa, who also brought to France the famous “couscous balls”.

Some attribute the introduction of merguez to the French, while others point out that beef sausages have also existed in North Africa. However, the “royal couscous” from France, which mixes different meats, is still often seen as a heresy on the other side of the Mediterranean.

4. Quarrels over names

The etymology of the word couscous has also been the subject of much debate.

The dish was called taʿam (food or cereal in Arabic) from the 11th century, according to researcher Mohamed Oubahli. Linguists relate the word to the Arabic root kassa Where kaskasa, which means to grind, others with Berber words siksû and kisksû, which would then have been Arabized.

Term mentions kuskusū were found in texts from the 12th century, then that of kaskas, which referred to the perforated container used for cooking the dish, in the 17th century.

5. A plethora of recipes

This name quarrel is also fueled by the names of the different recipes: maghlout (a mixture of barley and wheat semolina), fir Where distant (with fennel leaves), borzgane (white couscous with lamb and dried fruits) and osbane (with tripe and stuffed casings).

In parts of northern and southern Tunisia, the word barkoukish often refers to couscous made from large, cooked grains. In the region of Aurès in Algeria, it is called berboûcha or aberboûch.

6. Couscous from the sea

No precise date is known as to when fish and other seafood began to be added to couscous, but Tunisians generally take credit for the idea.

“In a poor society, people cooked with what nature offered,” says Missaoui, “and Tunisians in the Sahel (coast) region lived off the fish they caught, because the meat was scarce and expensive. This coastal region still prepares couscous with steamed sardines or sardine dumplings, while in Tunis you can find couscous with fish and quince.

However, seafood couscous is not only associated with Tunisia, warns the researcher. Its neighbors know the Bônois fish couscous (popular in Annaba, Algeria), and the “Amazigh couscous”, which is prepared with cornmeal and fish and is popular in the Moroccan region of Souss, Essaouira and Safi.

7. A spice festival

Dill, turnip greens, khobiza (mauve)… Herbs are what make each couscous dish unique. The most commonly used spice is ras el-hanout (a mixture of spices composed of cinnamon, ginger, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper, etc.). Others prefer to add cumin or harissa.

8. With or without sugar?

Recipes from the Middle Ages included plums or nuts. Today, the most common sweet couscous dish is mesfouf. In Tunisia, it is prepared with cream and dried fruits. It can be served with a mint tea or a glass of lben Where rayeb (fermented and curdled whey and milk), and is sometimes flavored with orange blossom.

9. A festive dish

These sweet variations are often served on the last night of a wedding.

As chef Nordine Labiadh writes in his book Couscous for all (Solar Editions, 2020), “there is a couscous for every party”. More generally, the dish is used to celebrate the great events of life: births, funerals and other sacred festivals.

10. Instructions on how to eat couscous

According to Labiadh, if the couscous is presented in a collective dish, everyone must eat the portion in front of them by rolling part of it into a ball the size of a dumpling using their index and middle fingers and bring it to his mouth with their thumb.

Each guest’s portion is accompanied by vegetables, meat or other ingredients, and the excess is placed in the middle of the dish.

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Who’s who in North Africa, by Arezki Metref (Le Monde diplomatique Fri, 02 Apr 2021 15:55:26 +0000

A pilgrim at the El-Jammaa Oufella (‘upper mosque’) in the Djurdjura mountains, eastern Kabylia, July 2015

Farouk Batiche AFP Getty

There is often the confusion over Algerians, Arabs, Berbers and Kabyles. An Algerian is an Algerian national, independent since 1962, regardless of the ethnolinguistic group to which he belongs. A Kabyle is from Kabylia, a mountainous region east of Algiers.

Being Algerian does not necessarily mean being Arab: the Kabyles are Berbers, from an ancient North African indigenous people whose presence is attested at least since the time of Herodotus. The Berber language, Amazigh, transmitted orally, has survived for over 2,000 years, and the Berbers are scattered across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Kabyle, with five to six million speakers, is the second most widely spoken Berber language after shilha (eight million) in North Africa.

In Algeria, despite the Arabization policy pursued with energy since independence, 25 to 30% of the population is Berber-speaking – and not only the Kabyles, but also the Tuaregs, the Shawiya of Aurès, the Mozabites of M ‘ zab and the Shenwa of Mont Chenoua.

Kabylia has always been at the center of Berber claims, in particular those who want to recognize that the Algerian identity is not reduced to Arabic. Berber has been a “national language” in Algeria since 2002 and an “official language” since 2016, although its status is lower than that of Arabic, which remains the “national and official language of the state”.

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