Ferhat Mehenni

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Ferhat Mehenni
Ferhat Mehenni.jpg
Photo taken at the gathering of September 4, 2011, on the Plaza of Human Rights in Paris
President of the MAK
Assumed office
June 4, 2010
MAK Chairman
In office
August 24, 2001 – December 9, 2011
Succeeded byBouaziz Ait Chebib
Personal details
Born (1951-03-05) March 5, 1951 (age 71)
Illoula Oumalou, Tizi Ouzou Province, French Algeria
Political partyRCD (1989–1997)
MAK (2001–present)
Alma materUniversity of Algiers

Ferhat Mehenni, also known as Ferhat Imazighen Imula (kabyle: Ferḥat Mhenni or Ferḥat Imaziɣen Imula) (born March 5, 1951), is a Kabyle artist, a political activist and the founder and first President of the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylia. Since June 1, 2010, he has been the President of the MAK movement set up in France. and classed as a terrorist movement by the Algerian authority.[1]

In 2012, Mehenni assumed a controversial position by visiting Israel where he voiced his support for and solidarity with Israel, comparing it to Kabylia: "We are in a hostile environment. Both countries share kind of the same path, but Israel already exists – that’s the only difference."[2]


Mehenni was born on March 5, 1951, in Illoula Oumalou, Tizi Ouzou Province, Algeria. Having graduated from the University of Algiers with a degree in political science, Mehenni made his first steps into the world of music in 1973[3] by winning the Algiers Modern Music Festival's first prize. It was soon after this success that he began his career as a protest singer and political activist. He was notably hostile towards the Algerian government and extremists; this led to him being arrested 13 times, imprisoned for three years, and tortured by government forces.[4] After the Black Spring massacre in Kabylia triggered by the Algerian army killing of a young Kabyle man, Massinissa Guermah, he established the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylia, a political movement calling for the political autonomy in Kabylia. In 2015, the MAK movement passed over from the large autonomy claim to self-determination.[5] The assassination of his eldest son, Améziane Mehenni, in 2004, is regarded by some as a punishment to his fight for autonomy. Though others suspect it was a case of mistaken identity and that Ferhat was the real target.[3]


  • Chants berbères de lutte et d'espoir "Berber songs of struggle and hope" (1983)
  • Tuγac n ddkir "Songs of steel, love and liberty" (1994)
  • Tuγac n tmes d waman "Songs of Fire and Water" (1996 and 2001)
  • I Tmurt n Leqvayel "Hymn to Kabylia" (2002)
  • Adekker d usirem "Requiem and Hope" (2004)


Mehenni is the author of Algérie : La Question Kabyle, published in 2004, in which he explains his ideas about Kabyle nationalism.


  1. ^ https://www.kabylie-gouv.org/. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Sharon Udasin; Jan Koscinski (May 27, 2007). "Algeria's Kabylie craves friendship with Israel". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  3. ^ a b MacEoin, Denis (March 22, 2010). "Dissident watch: Ferhat Mehenni". Middle East Quarterly. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  4. ^ "Dissident watch: Ferhat Mehenni". Middle East Quarterly. March 22, 2010. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
  5. ^ https://www.makabylie.org/