By Rachid Madani
By Rachid Madani
Morocco World News
Casablanca, June 13, 2012
One of the issues that attracts a lot of debate in Morocco when brought into conversation is “Tamazight.” This debate ranges from questions of race, identity, culture, to alphabets in which the language should be written in, and the right of “Amazigh” people to hear and use their language in public administrations as well the use of “Tamazight” in Moroccan schools.
“Tamazight” will always be a complicated subject because it is a vital element of the Moroccan identity. As with any controversial subject, everyone tackles these issues from a different angle and defends his point of view while sometimes ignoring the other’s side of the argument. The debate intensifies between “Arabs” and “Amazighs” when both sides come together. Sometimes this ends in conflict. Everyone tries to intimidate the opposing side and exclude his right of existence particularly when they enter discussions involving race. Debates often also flare up around the questions of where people are from and who has the rights in Morocco.
Some “Arabs,”–and please note this doesn’t apply to all Arabs—believe that “Tamazight” is only a primitive language and culture that has no value in the 21st century. They say that there is no benefit to knowing about the culture of “Amazigh. Further, they believe that those who defend this ideology pose a threat to society. This is because “Arabic,” is the holy language of Quran, and that it might be also a threat for Islam. Of course it’s only an ideological use of “Arabic” for some goals and gains and has nothing with reality.
If the Arabic language were necessary to be a Muslim, then many Asian people who are Muslim would not be. To defend the “Tamazight,” language and culture, has never been against Islam. For those who hate the “Amazigh”–and they are numerous–I just ask them where we can take the bulk of Moroccan society if you don’t like them?
Some “Amazigh” fanatics see “Arabs” as enemies. I ask these people the same question: Where can we take those you think are “enemies” away from you? They have as much of a right to exist as you do. If some of “Arabs” really have hurt “Amazighs” and “Tamazight” some of them will always fight their right of existence fiercely, but not all of them do. The hatred you might harbor toward “Arabs” will only harm the cause you are defending, these ideas will never serve it.
“Tamazight” has suffered for quite a while and as a result it has been prevented. Now it’s not bad if it gets some thought, its constitutionalization in the late constitution is just a first step.I’m an “Amazigh” and I have a lot of “Arab” friends and never judge them by their origins. When I want to defend “Tamazight,” I never defend race because in Morocco, few people can be completely sure of their origins, and absolutely be certain if they are pure Amazigh or pure Arab.
I defend culture and language no matter what your roots are. We have to accept each other with different languages and cultures. This tolerance is something we have to keep in mind when dealing with anyone different from us, whether he is “Arab,” “Amazigh” or whoever else.
Edited by Laura Cooper
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy