Fez - On the second day of the 10th Festival of Amazigh Culture held in Fez, the speakers focused on the importance of the recognition of Amazigh language as a national language. The speakers expressed their relief about Morocco’s new policy towards multilingualism.
Fez – On the second day of the 10th Festival of Amazigh Culture held in Fez, the speakers focused on the importance of the recognition of Amazigh language as a national language. The speakers expressed their relief about Morocco’s new policy towards multilingualism.
Morocco is trying to adopt a more tolerant and pluralistic policy, which allows and encourages minorities to express their cultural particularity with pride. King Mohammed VI, as well as the government, are making every effort to avoid the assimilationist model, which represents a kind of cultural imperialism. Furthermore, Morocco has proved its preeminence among the countries of the MENA region in dealing with the issues of minority groups.
Concerning the intersection between the Amazigh and Hassani cultures, the participants have reminded the audience that cultural and linguistic diversity is present in all countries. They added that diversity is promoted by the intersection between cultures; each demonstrated aspects of this intersection.
Acheikh Lkbir Yehdih Kheir, a member of the foundation of “the soul of the Sahara,” captured the audience’s attention with his lecture on the intersection between the Amazigh and Hassani cultures and languages. He gave examples and presented factors that lead to this intersection.
Kheir began his speech by tackling religious reasons for the intersection between the aforementioned cultures. According to him, travel of Imams, sufis, and spiritual guides to South Africa and through the Saharan roads were some important causes. In this context, it is noteworthy to mention that the majority of these religious people were Amazigh.
Kheir mentioned economic reasons as well. He noted that souks were “perfect places where Amazighs and Hassanis could meet and interchange goods.” He added that commercial transactions “stimulated the Amazigh and Hassani to know about each other’s culture and language.”
Apart from these reasons, Kheir spoke about the nomadic aspect of Hassani tribes. He said that the Sahara “suffers from a shortage of water, and that is why its inhabitants travel, looking for water and congenial areas where their herds could live.” He added that many Hassani preferred to stay in the Atlas Mountains in times of drought.
Last but not least, Kheir mentioned that in the presence of these factors, in addition to the intermarriages between the people of the two cultures, drawing a clear line between them has become a difficult task.
Kheir concluded his speech by giving examples of the names of Saharan cities whose origins stem from Tamazight. He mentioned Biranzaran, Targaya, Ousred, and Zmour, among others. He also gave examples of Sahraoui musical instruments whose names are Amazigh.