Everything about Kabylia
The time has come for the truth. The winds of freedom are blowing. Why did it take so long? Was it out of fear? Possibly, or perhaps because old wounds are still not healed?
I still remember vividly, when during war time, the sound of shells launched from artillery batteries stationed somewhere afar; that aerodynamic whistle, which changed pitch (Doppler effect) as it approached, seemed to be agonizingly endless until it hit its random target. During that lapse of time, my brother and sisters clustered against my mother in the cold nights as we were terrified of the flying shells that sounded just like a howling ghost, we prayed not to be the target. As we hear the blast of the shell at destination, there was a brief feeling of relief suddenly interrupted by the sound of another launched shell. In the morning the villagers gather and run here and there to check on any casualties. I was five years old and still afraid of the monster (ama3muc as we call it there).
I also remember each time the news broke in the village about one of ours who died in combat. The villagers survived hell; if one escaped death, humiliation was there waiting to strike. I remember when a soldier shaved off one side of my grandfather’s moustache and made him pay for his grooming service. I remember knowing my father only at the age of nine, because he was a war prisoner. That was the war of liberation from the French occupation. Grownups in the village, many of whom were cousins and distant cousins, came and went at night. As they moved in the dark, they were safer from the French troops on duty patrolling the surroundings. I remember asking my mother where they were going. She explained that they were holy warriors who were fighting to free us. Once independent, we would not have to ask permission from the French captain to leave the village, which was surrounded by barbed wire; and there would be no more curfews. She would go on telling us about all the things we could do then, which, as I look back, was nothing but her expressing her dreams for freedom. We listened as though she was telling a fairy tale.
The French finally left and Algeria earned its independence. Then, there was the great jubilee. People genuinely believed that they were going to live happily ever after. How naïve!
The country was abandoned by the departed French to an uneducated population whose leaders were too busy securing their territory, ethnically and materially. The Kabyles, who played a big role in the war of liberation, were singled out the day after the independence, as Arabic and Islam were forced in as the state language and religion; an inquisition that has evolved to today’s constitution under which non-Arabs are left with nothing but air to breath. Arabs promised us Heaven through the mosque. They told us that Islam is a religion of love and Arabic is its holy language; and that we are all brothers. As I think back, these are not only broken promises, but it was a conspiracy. Where is this love so acclaimed, while all we see around us is nothing but expeditive methods by which matters are settled by the sword? Brotherhood was indeed championed for all, as long as they held the wallet of the national wealth. Religion was used as a weapon all along to depersonalise us and wear us out. When I look back over my lifetime journey, I recall instances of humiliation, injustice and belittled Kabyle dignity. As a kid, I was beaten by little Arabs. Then I grew up and learned that, after all, kids are born to be mean. That’s a relief! Then again, as a grownup and a professional, I heard (Arab) professionals commonly refer to the Kabyle culture as trash. I ended up thinking that there is really no way out of this attitude, which betrays their insecurity and lack of self-esteem.
And so is the fate of the Kabyle after the independence. We were cheated out of our rights and we are on the brink of loosing our identity. One wonders how much longer we are going to wait and hope. This has nothing to do with lack of resources. We have been taken on a ride with heavenly promises, and the answer is manifesting itself in the uprising wave that is sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. This reaction characterizes the demands of hungry people, that it is their turn now to hold and manage their country’s wallet. They are hungry for food, knowledge and freedom in every sense of the word. According to the Time Magazine, 28 February 2011 issue, an average household in the Arab world spends more than 36% of their income on food, and cannot afford to own a home, while this same world holds a hefty share of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves. These people only want to live a decent live, which is a fundamental right not to be violated by any body, whether religious or civil in nature.
While, this uprising in the Arab world was motivated by ‘hunger’, the Kabyles’ claims are of different nature: they are politically motivated, and they cannot be fixed with a relief on prices of cooking oil or sugar. We want to stop the prosecution of our people and regain our identity which, as Ferhat Mehenni proposed, can be achieved through a federal system. Such system, which has already proven to be very effective in prosperous countries, will provide the opportunity to the people in each province to be motivated and compete towards a better place to live.
Mehenni has understood the regime’s conspiracy long ago and his movement is the best thing that has happened to the Kabyles since the assassination of our beloved Colonel Amirouche. The purpose of the call by the Provisional Government of Kabylia , which Mehenni presides, to march on 28 February is clearly stated. In particular, the call says that the provisional government will be disbanded as soon as Kabylia becomes autonomous. Then, the Kabyles will vote their own representatives into office. This is the very basis of democracy, which will be foundation for a strong, multi-cultural Algeria.
Algeria, what a great country! Centrally located for commerce, it is rich in resources: the youth, oil, forests, mountains, desert and sea. Ski resorts and beaches are merely fifty miles apart, offering the right environment to keep the minds healthy and a great potential for tourism industry. Still, the resource that we must cherish among all is the youth; they are our most valuable natural resource. They are the future, the heartbeat of the country, and they are among the top priorities of investment. According to the same Time Magazine, 58% of Algerians are under the age of 30; and 37% of those in the 15-30 year-old bracket do not go to school and do not have a job. This is a bomb! How much pressure can one exerted to prevent it from going off? Looking at the recent uprisings, clearly never enough; it is just a matter of time. Caught between the hunger for a good life, on which they only have a hint through satellite TV, and the deprivation of everything, what exactly are we expecting from these young men and women who have been abandoned by their own for generations? Are we expecting them to be good citizens who can make rational decisions that are good both for them and the country? Please, tell me on what basis?
These young people need a structure to allow them to learn and grow, while building their self-esteem, and be proud of what they are and who they are. Let’s provide them with that right. Let’s educate them and train them to become good citizens and future leader of Algeria who will set the proper priorities. No scientific or social program development, using a systematic approach by which issues are thought through, is possible without an educated society.
Let us stop the killing of our thinkers, another symptom of insecurity in the threatened regime. We need to train civil engineers to build our roads, medical doctor to care for our people, promote research to develop our economy. Then, job availability will become a natural by-product of this structure, which will support generations to come for both Imazighen and Arabs; and where people are free to control their lives. Let us, each, live what and who we are (Kabyle, Chaoui, Touareg, Mouzabit or Arab), let’s play and work together for a common goal. Through a federal system, we can do it.
TIMANIT I TMURT N IQVAYLIYEN
MOUVEMENT POUR L’AUTONOMIE DE LA KABYLIE
MOVEMENT FOR THE AUTONOMY OF KABYLIA
BEWEGUNG FÜR DIE AUTONOMIE DER KABYLEI
Citizens of Kabylia
Dictatorships that emanated from the colonial era have entered a zone of turbulence for a long time. They are closely monitored by international public opinion. Foreign governments, which have thus far been accessories in their protégés’ heinous crimes, are forced to drop them or risk themselves to be challenged.
This is the perfect time to remind the world what we really want: to live free and in peace in our land and exist in our culture. The Kabyle people have an enormous amount of sympathy from foreign chancelleries and states. Let’s strengthen this right. Let us remember 1926 when the founders of the North African Star, all of whom were Kabyle, put Messali Hajj as head of the organisation, a man originally from the West, to give the movement a national foundation. While 80% of activists in that party were Kabyles, Messali imposed the option of an Algerian identity that denied theirs.
How could we forget 1949, when lucid militants, refusing a definition of ethnic and religious future Algeria, have been accused of “Berberism” and were either expelled or murdered? How, dear Fellow Citizens, can we not demand freedom for the Kabyle people, who already rejected the confiscation of the Algerian independence in 1963 at a price of 400 lives of their own; an independence for which they had paid dearly? For this people who, in 1980, a decade before the fall of the Berlin wall, shook the dogma of the single thought? Then in 2001, also a decade before the wind of freedom currently blowing over the lands that are under dictatorship, these people rose against the denial of identity and faced alone the repression that robbed them of at least 127 of their children?
Currently, the success of the marches in Algiers for change and democracy, still stumbles on the Kabyle origin of those who initiated them. Is the challenge of the regime solely a kabyle matter? Dear Fellow Citizens, claiming the freedom of our people is not a work of creating ghettos. On the contrary, it is urgent to differentiate strategies designed to sacrifice us for the freedom of those who asked nothing from us. Kabylia does not intend to offer democracy to Algeria, but it will support all the struggles for democracy. Let’s show the world our determination to free ourselves from tyranny by walking in Kabylia! Let us be many at the marches planned by the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylia, the first of which will take place at Akbou on Monday, 28 February 2011.
ON 20 APRIL 2011, BY SACRED DUTY, LET’S MARCH TOGETHER TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF OUR BLACK SPRING MARTYRS.
GENERAL STRIKE ON 20 APRIL 2011.
Let’s demand a referendum for the autonomy of Kabylia!
It is urgent that we silence our differences, unite our forces and hope to integrate the geopolitical turmoil in our region. If we do not claim our right to exist now, we will be purely and simply doomed to dissolution.
Dear Fellow Citizens, if this action offends our political leaders who have opted for a national strategy, we would like to remind them that if they admitted what their strategy has cost Kabylia in recent decades, they would be considerably more prestigious.
Dear Fellow Citizens, together with MAK and GPK , which will disbanded on the day of the proclamation of the autonomy of Kabylia, we can make an end to the oppression that has afflicted the Kabyle people for centuries.
Stand up, « Free Men »!
Together, we shall overcome!
LET US COMMIT OUR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE UNTIL THE FINAL VICTORY.
Long live democratic, free and autonomous Kabylia!