The Amazigh Identity in Morocco
The Amazigh ("free men") are the oldest inhabitants of North Africa. For thousands of years, they have occupied a vast territory stretching from the Atlantic coast of Morocco to the Siwa oasis in Egypt. These people have their own language and culture, but their identity is threatened. Not belonging to the logic of the nation-state, nomadic or sedentary, Muslim, Christian or Jewish, the Amazigh are suspected of heresy by the North African powers and are often oppressed, dispersed, assimilated, and even persecuted. Their daily life is then a struggle to preserve their identity.
Most Amazigh live in Morocco. The villages in the Atlas Mountains are peaceful, animated by a quiet strength. They are however the forgotten ones of the government which marginalizes them purposely. No infrastructure is in place to ensure their health or education. But the Amazigh are independent. They manage to be self-sufficient through their deep knowledge of the environment and their know-how by working the land and raising goats. Their way of life is intimately linked to the territory they inhabit and is organized on a daily basis, following the rhythm of nature. The women often occupy a central place in the villages, as most of the men leave to work on other lands. They have thus become the guardians of the living memory, traditions, and Amazigh culture.