Allas DI TLELLI
That the whole of Algeria is Berber is a common claim these days. What about Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, West Egypt, Niger, Azawad, Mauritania and the Canary Islands? For years, we proclaimed that all of North Africa was Berber and suffered imprisonment for it. All Algeria is Berber, and that is final. But then, why is It that only Kabylia has truly made sacrifices for this cause since Boulifa? For more than a century? It would be unfair to deny that some Chaouis, and for some time some Mozabites, have championed this same cause. For this we rejoice, but all the same, satisfaction is a long time coming yet.
Now more than ever, the Algerian power is Machiavellian. This cannot be overstated. Some Algerians applaud the suspicious announcement of a Yennayer “paid day off” (1). It is certainly nice to see those hands which until then had applauded the opposite, who have cheered on the majority which has always viscerally opposed this cause, and which continues to reject or make an oddity of this cause. However, it is once more Kabylia and Kabylia only that expresses more than signs of mere distrust of the “announcement effect” that shadily underlies these crumbs that the power has condeded towards “Tamazigt” as of late, and only the Kabylian who does not swallow it whole.
Kabylia, with good reason, does not forget that every time the Algerian power has been forced to make concessions, they have made it a calculated move. The aim of their concessions have always been to deceive the audience, as it were – to explain in detail what they are granting, and thus cast their critics in a condemning light. Many an activist and artist have bitten this poisoned hook. The Tamazight “National Language”, which soon became the “Official Language”, written and spoken, did not change conditions on Kabylian soil, among those who would speak it. Rather, it is a sign of the true aim of the Algerian government – to make void the Kabyle language. They will impose upon it an Arabic transcription, and make it a means to carry Arab-Islamic ideas and culture, such as can be seen on TV4, and radio Tizi Ouzou and Soummam. In these mediums, censorship has struck the work of Matoub Lounès and artists such as Zedek, Ferhat and many others that help constitute our artistic and literary heritage.
Algeria pretended that Tamazight is a “national language”, and then, an “official language”, on paper and in the speaches. This did not prevent the national parlaiment to vote the for the blockage, which was already effective, of the generalization of its teachings. This did not prevent the fact, that except for in Kabylia, where 95% of students learns the language of Tamazight, the rest of Algerians, whom all claims their Berberness, refuses to this day, their children the “suffering” that is this language.Currently, the subject is optional, and often subject to paternal authorization, meaning that the language is currently at risk
Tonight, I once more repeat: Yennayer has always been official at home, well before the approval of the current power, who learned of the official nature of Yennayer in 2018, on the eve of a march of the sovereignists, a stone’s throw from the next masquerade in Algeria in 2019. But three years past, did not Algerian politician Amar Ghoul name Yennayer a sin? This raised barely a word of complaint outside of Kabylia. In my home, Yennayer has been official for more than two millenia, and for 56 years, celebrations have not ceased despite the ban upon it by the very same power that would perversely recover it now in 2018. Surely, this false recovery will be thwarted by the champions of Yennayer in Kabylia.
Let it be said, this is not an opportunistic release of a ministry, laid in Kabyle, on the eve of Yennayer, while waiting for the next, on the occasion of the double black and Berber spring of Kabylie, which will impress us. Yennayer, like our two springs, like all our Kabyle markers and values, rooted in the millennial history of Tamazgha and deeply irrigated with humanist values and universality, will remain in the beating heart of Kabylia and this, what that they do, with regard to their propaganda machine, their dirty money and their repressive and inhuman machine.
We more than anyone hold to peace, but not at any cost, not at the cost of the ruin of our conscience, the robbing of our breath and the reduction of our stature in the eyes of the world, that our folklore will serve as mere postcards to tourists. Naturally, they will have their little counterfeit yennayer, as they had their poor replicas of our history and our memory, but they will never have our Yennayer, our Spring, our History and our Memory, a mark of the destiny of people who refuse to disappear by adapting themselves to make frail gains in a culture not their own, to gain only ephemeral freedom in a misguided “peace of bravery.” Their counterfeit yennayer will be crafted be in their image; coarse, faded, burdensome and mushy, at best folkloric. Ours will be genuine, natural, citizen, enchanted, dedicated to the fight and dedicated to all the people who regularly undergo police violence, arbitrary arrests, racist insults, various bans, as well as political prisoners (2 ) and their families that we will not forget in these moments.
Yennayer (3) has always been official in our hearts, in our daily lives, in our dreams, in our struggle, on our proud hills, across our green plains and our cities, ground that trembles under the determined footfalls of whole generations. This will change neither today nor later. Change on terms such as those which have recently been presented would dispossess us of our causes by making them undesirable and, in the background, impose a form of inertia of fact that would prevent us from advancing towards our essential goal, of which we will never lose sight, which will not be encumbered by half-measures and crumbs: Liberty.
To you the folklore, to us the values.
Aseggas ameggaz i uɣref Aqvayli d iɣerfan imaziɣen meṛra!
Happy Yennayer to the Kabyle people and to all Berber peoples!
Allas DI TLELLI