Mohamed Allek is a Paralympian athlete from Algeria competing mainly in category T37 sprint events.
In 1996 Mohamed won gold medals in the T37 100m and 200m but missed out on a medal in the 400m. 4 years later in Sydney he made amends and won a clean sweep of the T37 sprint gold medals. In 2004 he was only able to compete in the 200m and only won a bronze. In Beijing in 2008 he competed in the 100m, 200m and as part of the Algerian 4x100m squad but failed to win any medals for the first time.
Algerians have won a total of 38 medals at the Paralympic Games, of which 15 gold, 7 silver and 16 bronze.
Is it really that hard to accept that (North) Africans can be Arab too? Or that Africans are human beings who have a right to choose their own identity, even if that identity doesn’t please others?
I ask myself these questions when reading and talking to some Imazighen who in their Amazigh activism seem to be driven more by hate towards Arabs or anything that is Arab, than that they are motivated by pride and self-respect.
By ridiculing Africans who call themselfs Arab because they speak Arabic, or treating Arabs as if they invaded Africa yesterday, the Amazigh cause is unfortanately often associated with nothing more than an ideology that wants to control people’s identity, while I think it should be recognised as a worthy struggle for our right to speak our Amazigh languages and to preserve our cultural heritage.
In order to be an Amazigh who fights for the rights of Imazighen, I see no reason to treat every Arab (in Africa) as an enemy and to deny others what you want for yourself: the right to be free in defining who you are.
Every time I meet a Moroccan (Amazigh or Arab) who rejects the Amazigh movement based on his or her understanding of this movement as ‘an instrument to divide people’, it makes me wonder if the Amazigh activists I mentioned earlier realise how they are missing out on opportunities to win support for their cause.
I’ve been willing to write about this for a long time. I’ll leave you with this short note, and I hope to share more about how I think on this matter after Ramadan.
The Kabyle (Iqvayliyen) people are the largest homogeneous Algerian ethno-cultural and linguistical community and the largest nation in North Africa to be considered exclusively Berber.
Their traditional homeland is Kabylia (or Kabylia) in the north of Algeria, one hundred miles east of Algiers.
Tradionally, they have also had a strong presence in the Algérois (Algiers region). There are also, due to emigration during the 19th and 20th centuries, large Algerian-Kabyle (or Kabyle) communities in France and to a lesser extent in Canada.