Kabylia, an area just over 25,000 square kilometers with a 200 kilometer costal line on the Mediterranean, is the homeland to 10 million Kabyles. This land, which is part of Algeria, has never been recognized since the French occupation, not even administratively. Kabylia is pointed at as an internal enemy, as it has opposed the government since 1963 and the Islamists since their emergence in Algeria. Its language and its identity are forbidden.
Secular and democratic, Kabylia always finds itself at odds when faced with political, linguistic, identity, religious, and even economic choices of the government. In retaliation and racism, Algerian dictators left it at the mercy of the penitents of the Islamist resistance movement, highway banditism and insecurity. Among all the regions of North Africa, Kabylia alone accounts for a macabre record of terrorist attacks by Islamists, who represent an overwhelming majority of foreigners there. For example, from 14 to 21 August 2011, seven people died and over fifty were injured in seven separate attacks. Kabylia, representing only 2% of Algeria’s surface area and 20% of the Algerian population, is experiencing the presence of 30% of the Algerian army. Ironically, this massive presence of the army contributes nothing to the security of the area.
The regularity of the attacks and their disconcerting ease with which they are executed, the impunity of the perpetrators and the silent complicity of the Algerian authorities, itself worthy of Pinochet‘s military junta, would make one think of a dramatic upsurge in Islamist terrorist activity during the month of Ramadan (fasting). Now, even the most skeptical have come to understand that the recurrence of these deadly attacks, the proliferation of unsolved kidnappings (64 in 4 years) and the high number of devastating forest fires in Kabylia are certainly not due to chance.
Kabyle Villagers have realized that this state of latent war is not a result of a divine punishment or a curse, but that of a policy concocted by the joint staff of the Algerian army to create a climate of terror in Kabylia. Their real objective is, if not to put an end to the Kabyle spirit of resistance which ties to freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights, at least to neutralize it. Kabylia boycotted three presidential and three legislative elections since 1999. The regime seeks to gain Kabyles’ votes by all means to strengthen their positions. The phony constitutional reform before the end of the year, 2012 legislatives and 2014 presidential elections are the major stakes.
This sought participation to the elections would be sufficient for the military to put up their democratic show before foreign embassies. Kabylia presents an opportunity to bring peace and stability to the Mediterranean region; Europe and Germany would benefit in defending its right to self-determination, which was sounded as the leitmotif of the grandiose Kabyles’ march of 20 April 2011.
Following the adoption of multiple parties against the regime’s own will, as a result of pressure from the people, the votes that were more or less free unveiled a blatant gap between Kabylia and the other regions of Algeria: while the other regions had highly praised the Salvation Islamic Front (FIS) party which wanted to establish a theocratic regime based on Sharia law, the votes of Kabylia went to two rival secular parties (Socialist Forces Front, FFS, and the Rally for Culture and Democracy, RCD), whose programs provide for the separation of religion and state, and equality between men and women. In the 1990s, frustrated Islamists who were cheated out of their election victory by the army decided to lead the “jihad” against the regime and its supporters. Already infiltrated by the armed secret services, their acts of violence affected mostly innocent villagers, intellectuals and journalists. Untouched by this war, Kabylia considered it as none of its concern and remained a peace haven and served as a refuge for those who felt threatened. Kabylia was also considered as an example of cultural and political resistance to “green fascism”.
The situation changed after the inauguration of Bouteflika, brought to power by the generals in 1999. Under his impulsive leadership – probably dictated by the will of the clans in power to gain approval from middle eastern monarchies and the confidence of the western powers – there was a spectacular rapprochement between the Islamists and the regime that is essentially based on a short-sighted “deal”: the government is to promote the islamization of the country and the rehabilitation of “repented” terrorists, provided that the Islamists renounce the taking over of the power. Bouteflika saw a window of opportunity then to repeat the coup of 1962 by stirring up all regions of Algeria against “impious” Kabylia, which is hostile to the Arabization and determined to regain its own secular values that are similar to those of the western world. This is with no doubt what prompted the regime to increase the provocations that caused the spectacular events of 2001-2003, during which millions of Kabyles proclaimed before the whole world their commitment to their culture, and the secular and democratic values. The government forces opened fire at the crowd killing about 150 people. Today, the Provisional Government of Kabylia (GPK) filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court on this bloody episode. We wish to have your support and the support of Germany to lead this process to bringing justice to our murdered children.
The Algerian government has since engaged in an underhand war against the Kabyle people for whom all claims are denied, because of their incompatibility with supporting of the regime. The actions of the military misconduct, coupled with sustained terrorist violence, are intended to scare away investors and drain Kabylia of its youth who are forced to seek work elsewhere, in Algeria or abroad.
Faced with this slow death in Kabylia, the GPK calls the international authorities to
put the Algerian regime up to its responsibilities to cease its ethnocidal policy
provide support to the Kabyle people in the peaceful pursuit of their right to live in peace and according to their own values on their traditional lands. The GPK reaffirms its support for freedom fighters in Syria, Libya and South Sudan, and denounces the support of Algeria to Gaddafi. It would not be rewarding today to sign lucrative contracts with the Egyptians, Syrian dictator and other buyers of efficient computer systems to control the web.
The recent sale of high performance military weapons by Germany to the Algerian army is also a threat to the freedoms of citizens who want to get rid of tyranny. Today, everyone knows that dictators are quick at using these weapons sparingly against their people.
Today’s history imposes isolation to dictators rather than comfort.
GPK Minister of International Relations