Before the arabization of North Africa, there were nomadic people who dominated the land called Tamazgha . One of the most interesting group of people. This ethnic group has a very rich culture. So much mystery is hidden within this North African tribe. I’m so excited to be sharing what I learned from this tribe, from friends and my short time in Morocco. I’m speaking about the Berber or Amazigh.
The berbers come in almost every skin color. A lot berbers, especially those near the Mediterranean Sea, can be mistaken as European. My Algerian friend that is of Berber descent looks Italian. She even gets annoyed when no one believes she is from Africa. Other berbers, look Sub-Saharan. However, most look somewhere in middle.
The berbers (Amazigh) are nomadic people. One of the few African tribes that crossed the natural barrier of the Sahara desert. From what my friends told me, the moors of Spain and Southern Europe were arabized berbers. Meaning, this group is responsible for the conquest of Spain. As mentioned before in this blog, my last name is Moorish. The last name Morel(my last name) means being or having dark skin like a moor.
Not only do I have roots from the Middle East (Lebanon), I share a lot genetic make up from North Africa. From the Canary Islands to the Spanish moors, these are my roots. When spain kicked out the moors, many left to the Spanish colonies of the Americas. Also, the Canary Islands natives’ culture was losted in one generation. Due to mixing and wars, a complete lost of an entire culture. The Canary natives had more in common with the Berber population and is considered a part of the Berber World. Spainards mixed with Canary natives left to the spanish colonies as well. Specifically the countries of Dominican Republic, Cuba and now the Usa territory of Puerto Rico.
The Amazigh flag has a lot of meaning to it. It’s not a flag for one nation, it’s a flag for a culture. Everything on that flag represents something of value to the berbers. The color blue is for the Mediterranean Sea. The green represents the mountains and the yellow symbolizes the Sahara desert. The yaz, or this symbol (ⵣ), means free man. Going back to their culture of being nomadic. This flag means the togetherness of the Berber world. Also, it’s the center of Berber Nationalism.
The Berber Nationalism has become a strong force in the North African landscape. Starting in Algeria and Morocco, this movement was to bring back the Berber language. They wanted to keep their culture before the arabization of the region. Many would prefer being called Berber than Arab. My Algerian friend is very strict on this. She left islam for a number of reasons; however, I suspect her pride of being an Amazigh was one of the factors. This political movement is to keep their roots and culture. So learning about this really got my interest. Although my roots to this region is only about 13 percent of my genetic make up, it’s still a part of me. However little, this is me. These are my people and this is a part of my history.
Btw, next post will be somewhat mind blowing and possibly controversial. Stay tune.
Stay safe everyone and remember to wash your hands!
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