By Mourad Beni-ich
By Mourad Beni-ich
Often many ask whether the Kingdom of Morocco is an Arab or Imazighen State especially that in the past decade or so, many voices from Amazigh speakers began a quest to “re-establish” their heritage and gain a recognition both nationally and internationally.
Morocco has always been a multi-layered society throughout its rich and vast history, and by looking back thousands of years ago, we can conclude that there is no specific ethnic group that can claim the sovereignty over the land. Even the Amazigh have migrated at some point in history from the Arabic Peninsula, Yemen more specifically, wherein Arabic language is vastly spoken. There is no Abrahamic religion that can claim its threshold in Morocco; Jews, Christians and Muslims all lodged safely in the oldest monarchy in the world. Even Pagans used to live in Morocco, and many archeological studies proved this theory.
Amazighs in Morocco have become vocal in demanding recognition of their rights and resort to diverse strategies to voice them. While the monarchy has taken progressive initiatives in support of their rights, and has come to be seen as a pioneer among regional states with an Amazigh community, public authorities continue to perceive cultural and ethnic differences as a security concern and pursue practices of deliberate discrimination and persecution. These contradictory attitudes contribute to a growing sense of cultural and linguistic alienation and exacerbate feelings of exclusion among Amazigh, thereby complicating national integration.
Amazigh groups themselves have been tempted lately by a more radical line. Some have sought to internationalize their cause, and a few have forged alliances with outside parties, including with Kurds and with some Israeli organizations, thus attracting harsh accusations from political and civil society actors.
After the death of the late King Hassan II in 1999, his successor King Mohammed VI decided to implement unprecedented policies in the country, including measures to recognize Tamazight as a preserved language and recognize Amazighi culture and heritage. That is great, although Moroccans from all backgrounds never denied this reality, and no one ever questioned why many speak their own dialect in the streets. But the question that comes to mind is why some radical Amaizigh want to push aside the Arabic language and substitute it with a dialect only spoken in certain areas and by only a few, while Arabic is widely spoken nationwide?
Moreover, there are three different Amazighi dialects, so which one should be picked as an official language of the country? The missing ingredient in the policies implemented by the monarch was the readiness of many Moroccans to comprehend the true meaning of democracy and the real concept of civil liberties.
The recent statements and actions of many Amzigh activists proved one thing: many Moroccans are not ready yet to enjoy the true meaning of freedom of speech; to them this freedom is to violate the social code of harmony and be part of a bigger conspiracy to destabilize the country.
Morocco has always been a land wherein every faith and ethnic group melted together in a perfect harmony to create at some point in history one of the strongest superpowers in the world, and many dynasties ruled the land and never in the Moroccan history we have learned that a specific ethnic group was targeting another to prevail ethnically, except in political situations. Quite the contrary, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Amzigh, Sahraouis have all lived in total peace and harmony.
I sincerely hope that Moroccans at these critical times unite and ditch what might divide them; the world around Morocco is experiencing social, political and economic turmoil and our unity is the key to surpass any difficulties and continue to beacon the entire region.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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