Berberism

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The "Berber flag" adopted by the Amazigh World Congress (CMA, Agraw Amadlan Amazigh) in 1998.

Berberism (Berber: Timmuzɣa) or Amazighism[1] is a Berber political-cultural movement of ethnic, geographic, or cultural nationalism, started mainly in Kabylia, Algeria, and in Morocco and later spread to the rest of Berber countries in North Africa. A Berber group, the Tuaregs, are in rebellion against the West African country of Mali as of 2012, and have established a temporarily de facto independent state called Azawad and identifies itself as "Berber".

The Berberist movement in Algeria and Morocco is in opposition to cultural Arabization and the pan-Arabist political ideology, while in Azawad, it is in opposition to perceived discrimination against Berbers on the part of Black African majority groups.[citation needed]

Amazigh World Congress[edit]

The Amazigh World Congress (CMA, Congrès Mondial Amazigh; Agraw Amaḍlan Amazigh) is an international Non-governmental organization with the purpose of providing a structure and international representation for cultural and political Berber interests. It was formed in September 1995 in Saint-Rome-de-Dolan, France. It has since held four meetings at irregular intervals, in 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2005 [1].

Algeria[edit]

Road sign in Algeria, showing evidence of dispute over whether names should be written in Arabic or Berber

Berberism aspires to the recognition of the distinct Berber identity of Algeria. Political parties and movements usually considered Berberist include:

MAK exalts a unique Kabyle identity instead of a universal Berber one, thus also known as Kabylist.

A major movement within the Algerian Berber movement is Anti-Arabism.[2]

Azawad and Mali[edit]

Tuareg people in Mali rebelled several times during the 20th century before finally forcing the Malian armed forces to withdraw below the line demarcating Azawad from southern Mali during the 2012 rebellion. On 6 April 2012, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad issued a declaration of independence for the territory it claims as a homeland for the Tuareg, a Berber people, citing what it alleged to be discrimination against the indigenous peoples of the Azawad by the government of Mali.[3]

Morocco[edit]

Outside Algeria, fringe Berberist political parties existed in Morocco.

Amazigh Moroccan Democratic Party (Berber: Akabar Amagday Amazigh Amerrukan) was founded in 2005 in Rabat to promote Berber identity, political secularism, and Berber cultural rights including the recognition of Berber as the official language of Morocco. The party was banned in 2008 by the Moroccan government, but it is not dissolved yet. Its chairman, Ahmed Adghirni, announced a court appeal against the government. The party reorganised itself to form the Moroccan Ecologist Party - Greens (Parti écologiste marocain - Izegzawen) in 2006.

Canary Islands[edit]

Beginning with Antonio Cubillo's MPAIAC in the early 1970s, some Canarian nationalist organizations have supported Berberism in order to emphasize native guanche cultural difference with Spanish culture and highlight "Spanish colonialism".[4][5] Although the movements attracted sympathies among local Canarios, the violent terror actions used initially by Cubillo's movement brought about a general rejection.[6] Thus, even after Cubillo publicly renounced the armed struggle in August 1979, he failed to inspire much popular support.[7]

Currently some political organizations in the Canary Islands such as the National Congress of the Canaries (CNC), the Popular Front of the Canary Islands (FREPIC-AWAÑAK), Alternativa Popular Canaria, Canarian Nationalist Party (PNC),[8] Nueva Canarias (NC),[9] Alternativa Popular Canaria (APC),[10] Alternativa Nacionalista Canaria (ANC),[11] Unidad del Pueblo (UP),[12] Inekaren and Azarug espouse the pro-Berber cause in a higher or lower degree.[13] Some of the symbols and colors of the flags of the Canarian pro-independence organizations,[14] as well as the use of the word 'Taknara' (rejected by Cubillo himself) to refer to the archipelago, are seeking to represent Berber cultural roots.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]