By Abderrahmane Boulmani
By Abderrahmane Boulmani
Morocco World News
Tantan, Morocco, January 23, 2012
The question of identity has increasingly become a matter for debate in Morocco. Moroccan identity is being discussed everywhere in the country: the hallways of universities, social networks, and political salons. While some claim that Morocco is an Arab country, others invoke history to emphasize its Amazighi identity.
No-one would deny that Imazighen are the first inhabitants of Morocco. Arabs found their way to North Africa in general and Morocco in specific only in the fifth century C.E. and under the umbrella of spreading Islam, Oqba ibn Nafie , whom our forefathers welcomed, came to Morocco in the seventh century C.E. On the contrary to what many people think, Islam and Muslims were very well received by the original inhabitants who adopted the religion and lived together in great harmony with their incoming brethren. Moreover, Arabs and Imazighen intermarried.
However, some people feel great hatred toward Tamazight and Imazighen because they are made to believe that Imazighen are opposed to Islam. But in reality, Imazighen have always been the first to defend the religion. In addition, the majority of people who memorize the holy Quran are Amazighi. The misconception of Imazighen being opposed to the religion has been spread by some pan-Arabists in their attempts to tarnish the reputation of Imazighen.
By insisting on associating all what is Amazighi with colonial forces, the activists of the so-called national movement contributed to the propagation of the colonizers’ attempts to divide Imazighen and Arabs. They intentionally falsified the name of the 1930 law that applied to Amazighi areas in Morocco and named it “Addahir Albarbari”, while its true name is “The Dahir which organizes justice in tribes of Amazighi conventions”.
My point is that Imazighen have always been pacific and never took the initiative to harm or tarnish other groups or countries. All what they are doing now is stubbornly trying to get back their rights. Everyone knows that the first action the activists of Al Istiqlal party took immediately after independence is the declaration of the “Arabization of general life law”. I was disheartened to read in an announcement by the Tamaynut, an Amazighi association, that some people could not register their children in the official Civil Register because they chose to give them Amazigi names.
With all this being done to Tamazight, one still finds some Amazighophobes describing those who struggle for their rights as chauvinists. I was disappointed to read an article in Morocco World News entitled “Moroccan Arabs and Amazighs: Unity in diversity” by Rachid Khouya, in which he claims that the status of Tamazight is weathered now since Imazighen have a TV channel and since the language is integrated in education. In fact, I must point out that neither the channel nor the integration of Tamazight in education meets our needs or aspirations.
To sum up, it is recommended that a true citizenship should be founded in Morocco and that the state should strike a balance among its citizens, Imazighen, Arabs and Africans. It is only in this way our diversity could be a source of richness. Otherwise, there will be endless social conflict in this country.
Editing by Jasmine Davey and Ahmad Azizi
Abderrahmane Boulmani is a teacher of English in Tantan, southern Morocco. He is a Morocco World News’ Contributor
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
© Morocco World News