Tahar Djaout, the North African novelist, died on June 3, 1993 after being shot by a hit man.  His death, at the age of 39, is a tragic loss for Algeria in general, and for the Amazigh culture in particular, adding to the literary vacuum caused by the death of two prominent Algerian writers, Mouloud Mammeri and Kateb Yacine, in 1989.
 
A native of Azzefoun, Kabylia, Tahar Djaout moved to Algiers to complete his elementary and secondary school.  He later obtained a Bachelor in Mathematics, and another in Information Science and Communication.  He became a career journalist with the weekly "Algérie-Actualité" and "Actualité de L'Emigration" newspapers in 1976.  In 1993 he co-founded another weekly newspaper, "Ruptures," and became the chief editor until his tragic death.

Tahar Djaout was also a passionate poetry and fiction writer.  His first poetry book "Solstice barbelé" was published by Editions Naaman, Ottawa in 1975.  "L'Arche a vau l'eau," published by Editions Saint-Germain-des Prés, Paris, followed in 1978.  Two additional poetry books, "L'insulaire et Clé" (1980) and "L'oiseau minéral" (1982), were published by Siegan, l'Orycle.  His first novel, "L'exproprié", was published in 1981 by SNED, Algiers.  Editions du Seuil, Paris, published "Les Chercheurs d'os" (1984), "L'invention du desert" (1987), and "Les vigiles" (1991).  He also edited an anthology of Algerian poetry, "Les mots migrateurs", published by SNED, and an interview of prominent Amazigh writer and anthropologist Mouloud Mammeri, which was published by Editions Laphomic. His work was deservedly rewarded in 1984 when he won the prize of Duca Foundation for his book, "Les Chercheurs d'os".  Another novel, "Les vigiles", was awarded the "Prix Mediterranée" in 1991.

Probably influenced by the poetic writings of Kateb Yacine, and the ethnological writings of Mouloud Feraoun, Tahar Djaout explores the past and the present, incorporating the history of North Africa, the colonization of Algeria, and his childhood experience in a Kabyl village.  His search for self and identity is illustrated by his narrators' voyages in space and time, which is present in most of his writings.  He draws on his chilhood experience to show the reader how a child comes up with schemes to satisfy his curiosity, well aware of the societal norms and what a child is permitted to do.  He says that "I was too young to accompany the shepherds to the grazing fields.  So I had to think of another way.  I thought of following a chicken until the cactuses bordering the village."[1]

By tapping the sources of a country and its individuals, Tahar successfully conveys the realities of Algerian society.  His talent, while focusing on the intricate aspects of Algerian society, goes beyond and analyzes more universal issues, such as the search for one's own identity.  In referring to his Amazigh identity in "L'inventeur du desert", Tahar writes that "the fig tree was the only thing trying to hold me back, while everything else was telling me to leave."[2] Furthermore, Tahar eloquently says that "I could not know that the future was reserving the same peregrination as for the swallows... I had to return to the roof that sheltered my nest in clay."[3]

As aptly put by a professor of North African literature in the United States, Tahar Djaout was the heir of the "Generation of 52" writers, among whom were Mouloud Mammeri, Mouloud Feraoun, Kateb Yacine, and Mohamed Dib.  Like them, he is a legendary novelist and a bigger-than-life human being.

Tahar Djaout leaves his wife and three children.  The Amazigh Cultural Association in America mourns this sudden loss, which is felt by the Algerian and the Universal culture.  Tahar left us a priceless message in his work for the betterment and the solidarity of all of the peoples and cultures in Algeria.  This is why the enemies of his ideas saw the need to assassinate him.  He will always be remembered by our contemporaries and the generations to come.
 
Raveh Seffal & Khaled Bounar

Article published under the title "Tahar: Rest in Peace..." in The Amazigh Voice, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1993

[1] Quote in French: "J'étais encore trop petit pour accompagner les bergers.  Il fallait trouver autre chose.  Je pense que j'ai du poursuivre une poule jusqu'aux cactées du village."

[2] Quote in French: "Le figuier etait le seul a tenter de me retenir, tout le reste me parlait de depart."

[3] Quote in French: "L'inventeur du desert, he writes : "Je ne pouvais pas savoir que l'avenir me reservait les memes peregrinations qu'aux hirondelles...  J'ai tenu de revenir au toit qui abritait mon nid d'argile."


Kenza, tazlitt i Tahar Djaout sɣur Lewnas Maɛtub

Kenza, a song by Lounes Matoub* in honor of Tahar Djaout


KENZA

Tamazight

English

 

Iceqqeq ifsex igenni
Lehwa tessared aẓekka
Yal targa tremmeg a tneggi
A ttseggixent tɣuza
Ddew tmedlin teffeɣ-d teɣri
Tesṛarṛeḥ abbuh a tarwa

A Kenza a yelli
Ṣbeṛ as i lmeḥna
D isflan neɣli
F Ldzayer uzekka
A Kenza a yelli
Ur ttru yara

Xas terka lǧessa tefsi
Tikti ur tettmettat ara
Xas fellaɣ qesḥet tizi
I facal a d naǧǧew ddwa
Xas neqḍen acḥal d itri
Igenni ur inegger ara

A Kenza a yelli
Ur ttru yara
Sebba f neɣli
D Lzzayer uzekka
A Kenza a yelli
Ur ttru yara

Fran-tt fellaɣ zikenni
Uqbel a d yeḥdeṛ wass a
Iṣeggaden n tmusni
F tmurt ɣeḍlen d rrehba
Nnɣan Racid Tigziri
Smaɛil ur t-zgilen ara
Nnɣan Lyabes d Flisi
Busebsi d wiyaḍ meṛṛa

A Kenza a yelli
Ṣbeṛ as i lmeḥna
D isflan neɣli
F Lzzayer uzekka
A Kenza a yelli
Ur ttru yara

Xeṛsum d yiwen a d yegwri
Ad aɣ i d ismekti azekka
F lǧerḥ iqceṛ a d yali
A d-nban ger tmura
Tarwa nneɣ a d-tennerni
Xas akken g-wrebbi n tlufa

A Kenza a yelli
Ur ttru yara
D isflan neɣli
F Ldzayer uzekka
A Kenza a yelli
Ur ttru yara

Matoub Lounes

 

 

The sky is heavy and has fissured
Rain has washed the tomb
Turbulent waters are pouring out
Creating new water paths
From the tomb, a striking call came
To warn the people

Oh Kenza** my daughter
Do not weep
We have been sacrificed
For a new Algeria
Kenza, Oh my daughter
Do not weep

Even if the body wilts
The idea lives
Even if the times are hard
We will overcome weariness
Even if they shoot many stars,
The sky will never be stripped of all of its stars

Oh Kenza my daughter
Endure life's burden
We have been sacrificed
For a new Algeria
Kenza, Oh my daughter
Do not weep

They have decided on our fate
Well before today
The hunters of intelligence
Who have turned the country into a death zone
They have killed Rashid Tigziri
And did not miss Smail
They have killed Liabes and Flici
Boucebsi and many others

Oh Kenza my daughter
Endure life's burden
We have been sacrificed
For a new Algeria
Kenza, Oh my daughter
Do not weep

At least one of us will survive
He will be our memory tomorrow
The wounds will heal
Our country will be peaceful again
Our children will grow
Even amidst the violence and pain

Oh Kenza my daughter
Do not weep
We have been sacrificed
For a new Algeria
Kenza, Oh my daughter
Do not weep

Translated from Tamazight
by Rabah Seffal. This translation has first appeared in the Literary Review http://webdelsol.com/tlr/, Summer 1998

*Lounes Matoub was gunned down on June 25, 1998. He just released his last album“Tabratt i leḥkem” (Letter to the government). It was aledged that thekilling was ordered by the Armed Islamic Group, but most Amazigh people inAlgeria believe the government is behind the killing.

** Kenza is the oldestdaughter of Tahar Djaout who was killed by Muslim fundamentalists in 1993.Rachid Tigziri (Berber activist), Smail Yefsah (Berber TV journalist), LaadiFlici (medical doctor and well known poet and playwright), Djillali Liabes(sociologist and former minister of higher education), and Prof. MahfoudBoucebsi (psychiatrist, who was also involved in the care of abandoned childrenand unwed mothers) are among the intellectuals who have fallen victim to theviolence in Algeria

 

 
 

Taous Khazem is headed to Kabylia (Algeria) where she will work on the ACAA sponsored project "Kabyl Folktale Theater." You can follow her progress on this project on her blog at:
http://thekabylefolktaleproject.blogspot.com/
Also visit our Projects page to learn more about this exciting project.

 
 

In conformance with the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, France presented its periodic report on April 29 & 30, 2008 during the 40th session of the United Nations' Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) that was being held from April 28 to May 16, 2008 in Geneva. To this effect, many organizations dealing with regional or minority languages and cultures made the trip to Geneva in order to present alternative report to that of France. Among them is Tamazgha of Paris who presented a report on the linguistic and cultiral rights of the Amazighs in France.

You can download a pdf copy of the report by clicking on the icons below (Please note, Tamazgha's report is in French)

rapport_tamazgha_cescr2008.pdf
File Size: 1066 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

rapport_tamazgha_additif_cescr2008.pdf
File Size: 57 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

 
 

ACAA now accepts creadit card payments through PayPal. We created a page just for donations. If you click on the tab "Donate", you will be taken to a page with a "Donate" button. This takes you to our PayPal account where all major credit cards are accepted.

From now on, anyone, member or not who wishes to support ACAA can do it through this website while using their favorite credit card. Each payment costs a small fee to ACAA (deducted from the payment total), but it buys us all convenience that we hope will make it easier for many people to support the many good things ACAA does.

Tiddukla tadelsant tamaziɣt deg Marikan tura tezmer ad teṭṭef lexlas nnwen s tkarḍiwin usebru. Tikarḍiwin ak ittwassnen am Visa, American Express, Discover, atg… ad ttwaqeblent.

Wid iran a d-fken tallalt i tiddukla tura zemren a t-ggen seg wexxam nnsen, fiḥel tabṛatt fiḥel tamber. 

Eddut ɣer teclalt “Donate”, dinna ad tafem abuṭun “Donate" ma ttekkam fellas a ken-yawi ɣer usebter n lkunt n tiddukla ɣur Paypal. Dinna tzmerem ad tessersem ayen tram a t-id-fkem i tiddukla. S kra n tikelt ara d-xelles tiddukla seg lkunt n PayPal, attan ad tefk cwiṭ n isurdiyen i PayPal. Ɣas akka a nexser acemma, nessaram belli abrid-a d abrid ara yessehlen tukci i tiddukla. Ad tishil teswiɛt i tiddukla, ad tishil teswiɛt i wid inwan belli tiddukla-ya tuklal tallalt ɣef wayen i ttegg.

 
 

Member of ACAA Amor Nouri wanted to give an homage to two important entities that affected him deeply and did it the American way. In the United States, many people express gratititude, thanks or donate to projects of interest to the public while being recognized through a message or an inscription on a marble plaque, on a public bench, or even on a paver. This is the way Amor Nouri has chosen to remember forever:

- Dda Lmulud (Mouloud Mammeri), the father of Tamazight

- The Victims of Kabylia's Black Spring (Tafsut Taberkant) where more than 125 young people were killed by the Algerian government for their revolt againt social injustice and marginalization of the Amazigh identity.

The following messages were inscribed on brick pavers that Amor Nouri sponsored for The Delaware Peninsula:

- "In Memory of Mouloud Mammeri, Father of Tamazight"

- "In Memoriam. Heroes of Freedom. Kabylia Black Spring 2001"


Here is a picture of the Peninsula, Delaware, where the brick pavers have been installed. You can visit their website at: http://www.peninsuladelaware.com/


 
 

Elizabeth Alalou and Ali Alalou, illustrated by Julie Klear Eskalli

As young Nora waits impatiently for her mother to come home from work and for her father to serve the long-simmering couscous that smells so delicious, her father tells her about his childhood in Morocco. During a famine, when Nora's grandfather had to travel far to find work and bring food for the family, her father learned the valuable life lessons of patience, perseverance, and hope.

The Butter Man is a Junior Library Guild selection.


THE BUTTER MAN
Elizabeth Alalou and Ali Alalou
Charlesbridge
February 2008
ISBN 978-1-58089-127-1



Order the Butter Man from ACAA by contacting ACAA.

Charlesbridge has just published a new children's book whose story is based in a small Amazigh village of the Atlas mountains of Morocco. The book was written by Elizabeth and Ali Alalou. This is a great story for children and it may be the first children's book that tells a story about an Amazigh child.

The publisher contacted us with an offer to sell us the book at a very good discount. But before we can place an order we would like to get an idea how many people would like to buy it. Below is a summary from the Alalou's website.

ACAA will sell it to you for $12 including shipping and handling. 

Argaz nni bu wudi

Tagi d tamacahutt n yiwen weqcic d amaziɣ n Merruk. Tura-tt Elizabeth d Ali Alalou. Tiẓrigin Charlesbridge i d-yessufɣen adlis-a rant ad aɣ-senzen adlis-a s kra n rrxa. Ihi win iran ad yaɣ adlis-a ad aɣ-d-yini akken a nkmandi ayen ilaqen ɣer Teẓrigin.Tzemrem ad teɣrem akessar-a ayen d-ittwuran ɣef udlis-a deg wesmel n Elzabeth d Ali Lalou.Tiddukla ad awen-tesenz adlis-a $12 (azal n uceggaɛ yedda-d). 


 

efk-ed afus, tɛiwneḍ iman-ik/im *** give us a hand, and help yourself