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Berbers, Islam & Christianity
New English Review ^ | 17 January 2008 | Hugh Fitzgerald

Posted on 01/17/2008 7:33:36 AM PST by forkinsocket

No mystery as to why Christian missionaries might be having their greatest success in the Kabyle. In Algeria, that remains the Berber heartland. It is where the Berbers, that is those who were not forcibly transformed, during the centuries of Arab rule (interrupted by 132 years of French rule) into "Arabs" (how many of those "Arabs" who now persecute the Berbers realize that they themselves are a generation, or two, or five removed from their clearly Berber origins?)

The cause of the Berbers is hardly known in this country. The writer Kateb Yacine, a Berber who refused to write in Arabic, but chose French, is celebrated in France, especially among Berbers -- but unknown in this country, and his anti-Arab rage is not likely to cause his books to be included in the syllabuses of courses on "Francophone" literature given that so many such courses are now taught by French-speaking Arabs.

What is that cause? In the first place, it is linguistic and cultural. In Algeria, where the French rightly saw the Berbers as superior to the Arabs -- one French general wrote a book about the "Europeanness" of the Berbers -- the Berbers were not discriminated against, but as soon as the French left, the forced arabisation of the Berbers started up at once, as if the French interregnum, with the wider possibilities that French education made possible to both Berbers and Arabs, had never existed. Older people in Algeria speak and use French; the younger ones are forgetting. And meanwhile, the Berbers were forbidden to use their own language, the Berber language, Tamazight, in their schools, in their institutions, and even, at times, they could be punished for using it among themselves, on the street. Berber culture was officially ignored.

About twenty years ago, news of agitation began to reach the outside world. There were riots in Tizi-Ouzou. Reported in France, but hardly anywhere else in the Western world. In America, of course, we had all been sufficiently subject to ARAMCO propaganda (performed as a "public service" by the big oil companies, as part of their propaganda payoff to the Saudis for allowing them to find, produce, and then pay exorbitantly for the oil that happens to lie under the malevolent sands of "Saudi" Arabia), to believe that there is something called "the Arab world" and in this "Arab world" there are no Copts, no Armenians, no Assyrians, no Chaldeans, no Turkmen, no Mandeans, no Maronites, and of course no Berbers, no Jews (no, there never were any Jews in North Africa or the Middle East -- they all came to Israel, you see, from Europe), for everyone in the Arab world was an "Arab."

The discovery or re-discovery of a Berber identity (and how many of those North African "Arabs" should begin to realize that they are Berbers? There is, by the way, a genetic marker that, in studies by French geneticists in Tunisia, shows that Berbers and Arabs can be easily distinguished) is or could be an important weapon in unsettling the world of Islam, and perhaps causing the Maghreb to see itself, as it should not as "Arab" but as the victim of Arab imperialism.

For what is Islam if not a vehicle of Arab imperialism, and what are the Berbers, if not the victims of that Arab imperialism, an imperialism far more potent and long-lasting than the European kind, for it attempts to efface the historic identity of whole peoples?

And it makes perfect sense that Berbers in the Kabyle would, having felt along their pulses the Arab imperialism of which Islam is the vehicle, would be more open to the efforts of Christian missionaries, or more likely, are not so much responding to missionary activity, but to their own observations as to what Christianity is like, and what Islam has brought them.

In this respect, one should not underestimate the fact that Berbers now live in France, that they make up most of the membership of such groups as the "maghrebins laiques," and that they, not the Arabs whose ethnic identity is so found up with Islam, are capable, in some cases, not of identifying with the Arabs, but more closely with the French. And those Berbers communicate with Berbers at home, or through the Internet. And sometimes they return, to Algeria and Morocco, to see their families, and bring with them their own observations on the relative merits of the Islamic world, a world suffused with Islam, and the non-Islamic world, the one they have experienced in France.

The more the non-Arab Muslims of the world, and 80% of the world's Muslims are not Arab, come to realize -- and it would not be hard to help them to realize, for they will not be able to deny the facts, having experienced so much of it themselves -- that Islam is a vehicle for that Arab supremacism, the more likely it is that at least some of them will fall away. And others, who may stick with a kind of "non-Arab" Islam (as if such were possible) will, in so doing, at least help to divide, and therefore to weaken, the Camp of Islam.

Ideally, one would wish this Total System, that has held so many hundreds of millions in thrall, and thwarted over so many centuries so much human potential (think of the art, think of the science, that might have resulted in the absence of the dead hand of Islam on so many people, prevented from so many forms of artistic expression, so many avenues for free and skeptical inquiry that are necessary for the enterprise of science, so much dull fanaticism, so much boredom, so much violence, in posse and in esse) will be seen, by Berbers, by Kurds, by people in the subcontinent (why should Muslims in India not "rediscover" their own history, their Hindu, or Buddhist, or other non-Muslim roots?), by those in Malaysia and the East Indies, with its rich pre-Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist past?

Meanwhile, start reading those Berber sites. And hope that the French state, instead of Sarkozy's folly of "integrating" its Muslims by government-supported mosques, will try to work on the Berbers, work to make them see the light, work to help them to achieve their own destiny, one different from, and superior to, that of the Arabs whose method of domination comes from, is supplied by, Islam, Islam, Islam.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: arabs; berbers; clashofcivilizations; conversionfromislam; islam; northafrica
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Many non-Arab Middle Eastern ethnicities remain unknown to outsiders.
1 posted on 01/17/2008 7:33:38 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

Thanks for posting this. I was amazed to learn a few months ago that the Berber language derives from ancient Egyptian.


2 posted on 01/17/2008 7:43:25 AM PST by Parmenio
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To: forkinsocket

The Berbers of the high Atlas mountains in Morocco are fiercely independent to this day. They do not take kindly to being called Arabs. Many are not that keen on Islam either.


3 posted on 01/17/2008 7:43:30 AM PST by Lorianne
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To: forkinsocket
The Maghreb is very different: Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia all have significant non-Arab ethnic groups. In particular, Morocco has a lot of Shiites and-- surprisingly-- quite a few converts to Roman Catholicism (including monasteries and convents). My father's family was surprised a few years ago when they went back to the same churches they had gone to 50 years ago and found them still open and used by Moroccan Catholics.

As one French officer once said about the Berbers, "They carry the Koran, but are not attached to it."

4 posted on 01/17/2008 7:45:38 AM PST by pierrem15 (Charles Martel: past and future of France)
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To: Lorianne

Berbers are great people. I’ve met both Muslim & Jewish Berbers. They don’t like Arabs (”Go back to Saudi Arabia!” was a common insult they used) & if they begin to view Islaam as “Arab imperialism” as this article puts it, they will turn against it.


5 posted on 01/17/2008 7:49:17 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

Morocco’s Berbers Battle to Keep From Losing Their Culture
Arab minority forces majority to abandon native language

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/03/16/MN145053.DTL%20


6 posted on 01/17/2008 7:49:53 AM PST by Lorianne
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To: pierrem15
As one French officer once said about the Berbers, "They carry the Koran, but are not attached to it."

Reminds me of many Kurds that I've met.

7 posted on 01/17/2008 7:50:42 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: pierrem15

Not suprising, the Koran they carry serves as a protection against any problems coming from the Muslims who take jihad seriously. Thanks for that excellent posting about the Catholic faith in Morocco.


8 posted on 01/17/2008 7:53:25 AM PST by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation, with 4 cats in my life as proof. =^..^=)
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To: pierrem15
The Maghreb is very different

I forgot to say that there are also many non-Arab ethnicities in the Mashreq.

9 posted on 01/17/2008 7:53:36 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket
(why should Muslims in India not "rediscover" their own history, their Hindu, or Buddhist, or other non-Muslim roots?), by those in Malaysia and the East Indies, with its rich pre-Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist past?

Better yet, convert to Christianity.

10 posted on 01/17/2008 7:54:11 AM PST by Mogollon
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To: forkinsocket

Beeber thread.
I knew they came from somewhere, but didn’t know they had a homeland.
I’m stuned.


11 posted on 01/17/2008 7:55:53 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Parmenio

So the Berber language can trace itself back to ancient Egyptian language. Interesting.


12 posted on 01/17/2008 7:56:16 AM PST by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation, with 4 cats in my life as proof. =^..^=)
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To: forkinsocket

Berber ping!

I believe Khadaffi claims some Berber ancestry.


13 posted on 01/17/2008 7:56:48 AM PST by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast
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To: forkinsocket

Seeing the Mahgreb as Arabs would be like viewing everyone from the Yukon to Mexico City as being the exact same group of people.


14 posted on 01/17/2008 7:57:46 AM PST by najida (Will....will.... will....Heck, will do almost anything for Butter Pecan.)
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To: forkinsocket

Thanks for posting. Hooray Hugh Fitzgerald!


15 posted on 01/17/2008 7:58:33 AM PST by PGalt
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To: 668 - Neighbor of the Beast

Well, the Berbers were the original (first to be called) Libyans. They now call themselves Imazighen, which means “free men”.


16 posted on 01/17/2008 8:01:44 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: al baby
Misread the title as:

Beebers, Islam & Christianity.

I was stuned!

17 posted on 01/17/2008 8:06:36 AM PST by null and void (Conservatives are tired of being sucked up to every 4 years and stabbed in the back for the next 3.)
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To: tet68

You beat me by not quite eleven minutes. I’m getting old...


18 posted on 01/17/2008 8:09:45 AM PST by null and void (Conservatives are tired of being sucked up to every 4 years and stabbed in the back for the next 3.)
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To: forkinsocket
The more the non-Arab Muslims of the world, and 80% of the world's Muslims are not Arab, come to realize -- and it would not be hard to help them to realize, for they will not be able to deny the facts, having experienced so much of it themselves -- that Islam is a vehicle for that Arab supremacism, the more likely it is that at least some of them will fall away.

Yes, yes, yes. Bookmarked.

19 posted on 01/17/2008 8:12:48 AM PST by denydenydeny (Expel the priest and you don't inaugurate the age of reason, you get the witch doctor--Paul Johnson)
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To: forkinsocket
They now call themselves Imazighen, which means “free men”.

The Thai name for Thailand means "Land of the Free", how long has it been since you thought of the gold ol' USofA as the "Land of the Free"?

When was the last time you even heard a conversation like this:

"May I sit here?"
"It's a free country"...

20 posted on 01/17/2008 8:13:30 AM PST by null and void (Conservatives are tired of being sucked up to every 4 years and stabbed in the back for the next 3.)
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To: forkinsocket

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=836

Out of Algeria has come Rai music, the ‘rebel’ or liberal (its a good word for us) music that has caused many to move to Paris for safety and a few to be killed by extremists.


21 posted on 01/17/2008 8:13:37 AM PST by najida (Will....will.... will....Heck, will do almost anything for Butter Pecan.)
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To: najida

Ah, rai!* I love it, but most of my Maghrebiyya music is Chaabi. It’s very similar!

*I don’t know if you know, but rai means something like “yeah!” Kinda like the Arabic wallah.


22 posted on 01/17/2008 8:27:27 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

I think Rai is my absolute, can’t go wrong on a bad day, music. Cheb Khaled, Rachid Tayha, Cheb Mami, Faudel etc are mainstains in my music library. It’s just pure plain good! Abdel Kadir is one of those songs that my students love and automatically like to dance to.

I’ve heard that Rai also means “our voice” which can also be like “yallah” (granted, that’s what I heard years ago)


23 posted on 01/17/2008 8:31:24 AM PST by najida
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To: forkinsocket

Oh!
Speaking of chaabi—— then you know Hakim?? :)


24 posted on 01/17/2008 8:33:15 AM PST by najida
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To: najida

It literally means “opinion,” so I guess I see how you can get “our voice” from that. I’m a Mashreqiyyah, so I don’t know for sure, but I think that Rai was originally Bedouin folk before it was influenced by different traditions.

Yeah, yallah is one of those exclamatory words that can mean a lot of different things, but I’d match rai more closely with wallah.

Right now I’m listening to Manich Mana sung by Cheba Zina. Awesome song to dance to!


25 posted on 01/17/2008 8:38:40 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: najida

Chaabi Habibi Hakim? Why yes, I do. *plays it right now* :)


26 posted on 01/17/2008 8:42:27 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: najida

Chaabi Habibi Hakim? Why yes, I do. *plays it right now* :)


27 posted on 01/17/2008 8:42:27 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket
Thanks for posting this. I had been temporarily assigned to the Middle East a number of times (CENTCOM) and was aware of some differences, say between the Egyptians and the Saudi's or between the Kuwaitis' and the Iraqi's. But I was unaware that the Berber culture was still dominate in large areas of North Africa.

I made a statement and I'll stand by it, that the most intelligent articles and open/honest debates happen on Free Republic. I'm glad I found it...

-Traveler

28 posted on 01/17/2008 8:46:55 AM PST by Traveler59 (Truth is a journey, not a destination.)
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To: forkinsocket

Thanks for the heads up!

She’s on You Tube— WHOO HOO! Thanks so much.


29 posted on 01/17/2008 8:48:35 AM PST by najida
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To: najida

Let me know if you want me to mail you the mp3 of my favorite raks baladi song. I don’t know if all her songs are on youtube.


30 posted on 01/17/2008 8:50:36 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

Yes!

Sending you a freepmail.


31 posted on 01/17/2008 8:54:12 AM PST by najida
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To: najida; forkinsocket
She’s on You Tube

How about a link for the rest of us?

32 posted on 01/17/2008 9:08:14 AM PST by null and void (Conservatives are tired of being sucked up to every 4 years and stabbed in the back for the next 3.)
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To: null and void
Nourhan.

Cheba Zina.

Enjoy!

33 posted on 01/17/2008 9:19:02 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: null and void

Sorry
Two by Cheba (girl singer) Zina

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HbTxdji-rk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83AZALOtEUM

And my favorite by Chebs (guy singers) KHALED-RACHID TAHA - FAUDEL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0Q1MDce6OY


34 posted on 01/17/2008 9:21:54 AM PST by najida
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To: forkinsocket

Habibi ya Einy! That is the perfect song....about 6 changes in rhythm, slow, fast, slurpy sections....great drums....cute lyrics....

(Once upon a time, about 10 years ago, we worked on a choreo to the older version of that song....took us so long to perfect it, we hated it when we had it right :) )


35 posted on 01/17/2008 9:31:51 AM PST by najida
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To: najida

Classic song. I’ve never heard a version of it that I didn’t like, but this one is the one I’ve been dancing to constantly lately.

Have you heard musiqa Mizrahit?


36 posted on 01/17/2008 9:41:13 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

Nope! got a link :)?


37 posted on 01/17/2008 9:45:16 AM PST by najida
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To: forkinsocket
“For what is Islam if not a vehicle of Arab imperialism, and what are the Berbers, if not the victims of that Arab imperialism, an imperialism far more potent and long-lasting than the European kind, for it attempts to efface the historic identity of whole peoples?”

This is effectual genocide. There is a reason the Muslims are so intent upon destroying the past in countries Islam has invaded and areas whose cultures they have destroyed.’

This is a perfect example.

The Berbers had a civilization pre-dating the Romans. The Libyans served in the armies of the Pharaohs (when they were not fighting them), the Tauregs (from Arabic “accursed of God) call themselves by another name and practice a superficial form of unorthodox Islam.

MORE attention should be given to these people. MORE pressure should be exerted against their Saudi Wahhbist directed masters and LESS time should be spent prancing arm in arm and sword on shoulder with fanatical anti-Semitic and anti-western dictators grown fat on oil profits provided by the west.

But there are more than mere companies who have incestuous relationships with these enemies of western civilization and their subject people.

38 posted on 01/17/2008 9:46:41 AM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: najida; forkinsocket
One good music referral deserves another:

Yé Ké Yé Ké

Haven't a clue what to call the genre, nor the language, but I like it...

39 posted on 01/17/2008 9:49:08 AM PST by null and void (Conservatives are tired of being sucked up to every 4 years and stabbed in the back for the next 3.)
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To: Parmenio

They are related branches of the Afro-Asiatic Lingusitic Family. Berber and ancient Libyan, as well as some north Africa langauges fall into this family and are all closely related to Ancient Egyptian. The Semitic Langauges form an eastern subdivision of this same lingusitic family.


40 posted on 01/17/2008 9:51:00 AM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: najida

WOW!!

She is “hot”!!!

Is she singing in Arabic or a Berber language?


41 posted on 01/17/2008 9:54:16 AM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: null and void

Thanks for the song. I think he’s singing in Maninka, but I could be wrong.


42 posted on 01/17/2008 9:57:21 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: ZULU; forkinsocket

Ask forkinsocket, but I think she’s singing Berber/Moroccan.


43 posted on 01/17/2008 10:02:55 AM PST by najida
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To: ZULU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KYR5nm7PZg

This is being sung in both Berber and Arabic (at least that’s what my CD says)....and yes, those are bagpipes. :)


44 posted on 01/17/2008 10:12:29 AM PST by najida
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To: najida
Bleh, I can't find any decent musiqa Mizrahit on youtube, besides Zehava Ben's cover of Umm Khulthum's Enta 'Omri.

Enta 'Omri.

I think the song itself sounds great, but ignore the idiotic video.

45 posted on 01/17/2008 10:18:58 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

Thank you! And yes, the video is stupid (WTF is that chick doin’??)

I actually have a similar version (sans lyrics) of Enta Omri from a BDSS CD, as well as the older Hossam Ramsey version.....as well as Umm Khulthum’s....it’s so pretty.

Here’s “Far Away” with Demis Roussos (Greek) and Hasna (Moroccan) using Indian Bollywood for the vid and some lyrics in English.... :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkwwHpqZf1Q


46 posted on 01/17/2008 10:30:03 AM PST by najida
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To: forkinsocket

ping


47 posted on 01/17/2008 3:09:31 PM PST by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: null and void

knock it off lmao


48 posted on 01/17/2008 6:29:06 PM PST by al baby (Hi mom)
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To: najida

Sorry I didn’t see this post earlier. It’s Moroccan.


49 posted on 01/18/2008 12:17:16 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: ZULU
Sorry I didn’t see this post earlier. It’s Moroccan.

& I even forgot to ping you to it!

50 posted on 01/18/2008 12:19:32 AM PST by forkinsocket
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