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To mark the anniversary of the birth of the "rebel", the Amazigh association "Taferka" of Montreuil, Paris, France has invited a large audience to attend the premiere of the documentary "Matoub Lounes: the eternal struggle" by Tahar Yami.

The film, which briefly traces Lounes's journey, begins with what is a
nightmare for the entire Kabylia region: the assassination of the singer on Thursday, June 25, 1998 on the road to At-Dwala. With poignant images, the director went over the circumstances of the tragedy and the pain it caused to thousands who have flocked to Tawrirt Musa for Lounes's funeral. With a clear commentary by Abderrazak Larbi Cherif, the images recall the anger expressed by the people of Kabylia, the international indignation and media coverage of the event. The film continues with footage on the singer's itinerary focusing on his childhood, his artistic career, his compositions and his inspirations.

To Yami Tahar, "Lounes was not a typical singer". He was a simple but complex individual, rough and affectionate, tender and firm at the same time. He was a generous man who was moulded by life's experiences. In artistic terms, undoubtedly, he was a virtuoso. He had a unique, gravelly and enchanting voice. His lyrics and his music are masterpieces. " In the second part of the film, the director made the connection between Matoub's fight and the events that shook Kabylia in 2001. The director explains that "April 80, the Black Spring, and between the two, the assassination of Lounes, are closely related events. The identity claim and the struggle for democratic freedoms are the foundation of this ongoing struggle shared by Berber activists."

The film leads us to see in Lounes Matoub an outstanding artist, who is now known and recognized. He is adored by his fans and honored beyond the borders of his country, as in France, where streets and squares in cities are given his name. "This recognition puts Matoub in the tradition of the great men of our world. His name is associated with courage and selflessness. Even dead, he is still living in the heart of his people, " says the director.

In the debate, members of the audience recalled the popularity of Matoub, his commitment, and of course his assassination, the findings of the investigation and numerous litigation. Malika Matoub, Lounes's sister, present in the room, spoke about the personality of the "rebel" and placed great emphasis on the protection of artistic work, especially with the urgency of preserving the many documentary records of the singer. An immediate response from Ms. Dominque Voynet, the mayor of Montreuil, who attended the screening with two deputies of the city: "I recognize in Matoub a great activist of the universal dimension, and I promise you, she said at Malika, to arrange a meeting with the Minister of Culture during his next visit to our town. "Although very short, the film has the merit to trace briefly the life and work of this exceptional singer."
 
Tahar Yami realizes that 26 minutes "is not enough to tell the life of this great person. My goal is not to be exhaustive, but to deliver a powerful message with a short film. I think I said what needed to be said and especially made a film that promotes Matoub Lounes's fight, hoping in the future to create a documentary that will cover in detail the life and journey of this artist."

Ahcene Tahraoui
Elwatan 2/12/2012
Translated from French by HL

 
 
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It is with extreme sadness that we learned that Kabyl music legend Cherif Kheddam passed away. He died on January 23rd in a Paris hospital following a long sickness. Cherif Kheddam was someone we could call a master of Kabyl music. Not only he modernized Kabyl music but he trained so many young singers that rose to fame such as Ferhat, Nouara, etc. He is leaving us but he is leaving a monumental heritage to be enjoyed by many many generations. Each one of his songs is a creation. He touched on everything that touched Kabyl life. From life's hardships to emigration, from Algeria to Kabyl heritage and from the forbidden love to women's rights. His repertory was vast and his lyrics always measured. Many of his fans would have a hard time picking a favorite song. Above all it is the music. His music brings something to the soul. 
Our thoughts go to his family and loved ones. They go also to the Amazigh people as a whole as we mourn the loss of another pillar of Amazigh culture. May the younger generations cherish Dda Cherif's work and use it as an inspiration.
Dda Cherif, we are sad to see you go. Your songs and music were a part of our lives and will remain so as long as we live.
Ḥsen Larbi

 
 

I keč a Lwennas, gulleɣ ur ttwexxireɣ!
To you Lounes, I promise to remain steadfast!

Tekki ɣef tebuṭunt agi akken ad tesedduḍ asekles "tajmilt i Lwennas" - Use the audio controls below to start or stop the recording.
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Ass-a d as amcum. D as deg iɛdawen n tudert kksen-aɣ Lwennas seg urebbi n Ǧerǧer nneɣ. Ar ass-a ur d-nufi wid i t-yenɣan (n-nuda?). Ar ass-a a nettṛaju anwa ara rnun. Uggadeɣ ad naɣ tannumi akka alamma kfan ak agad d-yufraren garaneɣ. As m'ara ten fakken, acu ara d-yegrin deg-neɣ?

Ass-a yal aqbayli ilaq ad ibedd ad iseqsi deg iman-is d acu ara yegg ɣef ayen akken yemmut Lwennas.

Ass-a akken a d-nesmekti gmatneɣ Lwennas Tiddukla Tadelsant Tamaziɣt deg Marikan tewwi-yawen-d timlilit d-hegga radyu KALW (91.7 FM San Francisco) as n 2 seg Yulyu 1998 (azal n ssmana seg was mi yemmut Lwennas). Nnuba agi n Compo Beat tegga tajmilt i Lwennas. Inebgawen ɣer nnuba agi: Arezki Amezdat, Yahia Belkebir, Fatah Kaci, Helene Hagan ak d Ḥsen Larbi. D imaslaḍen n tiddukla. Yal wa ɣef acu d-yewwi: Lwennas, d acu n wergaz yella as mi yedder, neɣ d acu f yettnaɣ, ɣef imaziɣen s umatu. Tanemmirt i Arezki, Henri Pierre Kubaka d KALW i ɣ yeggan amḍiq akken a d-nini kra f Lwennas. Ass-a d asmekti, ihi a s-d-nɛiwed. Tanemmirt i Hsen i ɣ-d-yerran tasfift-a s asmel, akken ad as-slen ak wid yesɛan Lwennas deg ul.
Ihi, ma tebɣam ad teslem i Lwennas m'ara yebbawzeq, tekkit ɣef ubuṭun agi ufella.


Today is a sad day. It is the day the ennemies of life stole Lounes from our Djurdjura's lap. To this day we have not found who killed him. Did we try? It is as if we are waiting for another to be stolen. I am afraid we will be become accustomed to this state of affairs where they will eliminate the best amongst us. What would be left of us if they killed them all?

On this day, every Kabyle should ask himself/herself what he/she is going to do about the cause Lounes died for.

Today, so that we remember our brotehr Lounes, the Amazigh Cultural Association in America is pleased to post the recording of a KALW (91.7 FM San Francisco) radio show done in homage to Lounes on July 2, 1998, a week after his death. The show is called Compo-Beat and was hosted by Henri Pierre Kubaka. He has as guest a good group of ACAA members including Arezki Amezdat, Yahia Belkebir, Fatah Kaci, Helene Hagan and Ḥsen Larbi (via telephone). All guests were inetrviewed and talked about Lounes and the cause he fought for. The show lasted more than an hour and was filled with some of Lounes' best songs. Thanks to Ḥsen for digitizing the recording.

Let's listen to Lounes again and let him live among us forever!
Click on the audio buttons at the top of the page.
 
 
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After many years of Zineddine Zidane who has done very little for the cause of his fellow Imazighen, Ibrahim Afellay who plays for the Netherlands national team and the prestegious FC Bracelona team had the courage to wear his true colors, the colors of all Imazighen. Thank you Afellay. Our best wishes for continued success. Long live Imazighen!

For more information on Ibrahim Afellay click on this Wikipedia link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_Afellay


 
 
Azul fellawen: aṭas n isura akka am wagi i yellan deg Internet. Eddut ɣer Youtube, neɣ Daily Motion, ad ten-tafem.

Here is a documentary posted on Youtube. It is a good overview on this great man.
Asaru nniḍen - Another video.
 
 
21 years ago, Imazighen lost Mammeri: a writer, a playwright, a researcher, an anthropologist, a thinker, ... a father!
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      Like Ulysses, all his life was a kind of journey which took him back after long detours to his native land after a time consuming search to reconciliate his spiritual affiliation with his people. He made peace with himself but also with the legends, the values, the convictions and the aspirations of his fellow imazighen from Kabylia whose cultural heritage has been forgotten and persecuted. He became an “amusnaw” or a man of knowledge whose words, written or spoken have a special meaning for a whole people. He realized very soon that his people have made him the carrier of a torch which burns for freedom and democracy in a country were rational talk must overcome obscurantism, hatred and indifference.

       Early in his life, Mouloud Mammeri became very fascinated by Amazigh poetry. His first book “La colline Oubliée” or “The Forgotten Hill” was written in French. It was not any kind of hill he had in mind, since Mammeri was born in Kabylia in 1917 in a village called Taourirt or The Hill.

      In the 50s, Mammeri was a professor of French literature at the University of Algiers.  He knew that Amazigh culture has contributed a lot to the Mediterranean culture since, after all, it belongs to a region which is a crossroad of civilizations. His first essay “La Societé Berbère” or “The Berber Society” published in the magazine Aguedal in 1938 showed a vocation at its early stage.

      He already had a lucid vision of hispeople: a critical witness of the Amazigh society that he wrote “persists butdoes not resist". The place of the Amazigh culture in the modern world was one of his earliest concerns. While surrealism was predominant in his first writings, like in “The Forgotten Hill,” soon he was backto earth with “Le Sommeil du Juste,” “L'Opium et le Baton,” “Le Banquet,” “Le Foehn” and “La Traversée.”  At the same time Mammeri published essays on Amazigh literature. The publication of “Chants Berbères de Kabylie” by Jean Amrouche in 1937 was so emotional for him that he tried to get the original text ofthe book in Tamazight; he will preface the re-edited version of the book published in 1989, a book that he will never see because by thattime he had already left us.

      After the independence of Algeria, he thought for some time that the end of the tunnel for the persecution of the Amazigh culture was near. He had new dreams. He tried to persuade the Department of Education to implement the teaching of Tamazight in the system. Once more, he was denied because according to some officials of the same department “Berber is an invention of the Pères Blancs”  (as the French catholic priests were called in Algeria). The rebuttal of the language of his ancestors by these officials pushed Mammeri to a kind of crossing a desert. It was hard to swallow that while French, the language of French colonialism in Algeria for 130 years, can have free ride while Tamazight was denied existence. To add injury to prejudice, it was obvious that at the same time these same officials were celebrating the teaching of the language of Moliere to their children; in public they were showing a hate-relationship with French culture and French colonialism.

     In the late 60s, Mammeri developed a new transcription of Tamazight with Latin letters, a new approach different from the one introduced in 1894 by Professor S. A. Boulifa of the University of Algiers. Historically, Tamazight is one of the rare languages that has its own alphabet called Tifinagh; early scripts of Tifinagh were recorded in North Africa  more than three thousand years ago.  We can also add that there are speculations that  Latin is a language of Egyptian origin and therefore of north African origin even if it has been subject to many modifications by the Greeks and the Etruscans.

     With his new transcription of his mother tongue, Mammeri wrote a new grammar (Tajerrumt ) and elaborated a lexicon of modern words; both were published in France because Tamazight was forbidden from being even shown in public in Algeria. Around the same period, he contributed to the writing of the French-Touareg lexicon with Jean Marie Cortade.

      In 1969, Mammeri published in Tamazight the celebrated “Les Isefra de Si Mohand” or “Poems of Si Mohand,” a folk hero and poet of Kabylia which will be re-published seven times.

      Mammeri became director of the CRAPE (Centre de Recherches Anthropologiques Prehistoriques et Ethnographiques), which became under his leadership an ideal research center for Algerian and foreign students. The CRAPE Transactions on Prehistoric era and Anthropology became an internationally recognized publication in academia. All the success of the CRAPE could not help it to survive when an article written on cultural anthropology in the same transactions became the target of the political system in place that is denying one more time the existence of Berber history. The CRAPE was shut down. It was a great loss. No center of that dimension has ever seen lifein Algeria since the date of its closing.

     Mammeri was a persecuted man and he always managed not to show it in public: after all, he was a “Free Man,” anAmazigh.

       In the spring of 1980, while just anyone from the Middle-East or Europe canbe invited to Algeria to talk about almost anything, M. Mammeri was one more time denied the right to make a presentation on Kabyl poetry in the city of Tizi-Ouzou, the heart of the Kabylia region.  The local population saw that as an outrageous act of censorship, and soon the whole region was in ebullition to vehemently denounce this act of denial of the existence of the Kabyl language.  Such an act will have repercussions in the whole country for years to come. It was this incident that opened a window to the rest of Algeria, a sign of a new hope for a better life; a sign that mediocrity, intolerance, exclusions, lack of freedom should not have their place in modern Algeria.

       Mammeri, the skeptical and independent humanist, the man who never made a judgment about anyone, found himself under fire from a certain media which used just any kind of tricks in order to discredit the man and his vision. Even his nationalism was questioned by certain “journalists,” hiding behind other causes, but who did not know the man, his activism in the MTLD (an underground political organization of the 50s which already was calling for the independence of Algeria), and his suffering during the French-Algerian war. He never talked about it. Only those who fought with him knew the facts. His open letter in the newspaper Le Monde to answer those who targeted him was a lesson on the dignity and commitments of the profession of journalist:  “only truth should prevail in their articles, not lies”, he said.

     In 1982, Mammeri found some kind of niche in France where, with some of his former students, he discussed the idea of creating a center of the same dimension as the CRAPE. However, it was in Paris at “La Maison des Sciences de l'Homme et l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales” that Mammeri received a cheerful welcome to continue his research. He founded with his good friend Pierre Bourdieu a center for research on the Amazigh culture known as “Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Amazighes” and together published the review Awal or word  in Tamazight. He found an ideal place to do research on his own society and his people, something that never stopped burning in his heart. He dedicated his time to revive the Amazigh culture fromits ashes. No, the fire will never stop burning. His “Poemes Kabyles Anciens” published in 1980 were a robust reference to North African culture which has often been a victim of biased historians. While the culturalidentity of the Imazighen from Kabylia was beautifully narrated in “Poemes Kabyles”,  other books like “L'Ahellil du Gourara” about the Imazighen of the southern region of Oran and and “Les Dits de Ccix Muhend U Lhusin” confirmed one more time his love and dedication to traditional life in Algeria. All his publications were beautiful contributions to universal culture.

      It is, in fact, this universal perspective that became the focus of another one of his books “Le Banquet ou la Mort Absurde des Azteques.” Mammeri had a passion for history and truth; he is the man who wentto visit the roman vestiges of Rome, looking for traces of Jugurtha, the amazigh king who valiantly fought the roman legions. He narrated: “After being defeated, Jugurtha was thrown in the Latonies, a kind of underground cell used as a prison in Rome. I visited it. I have read the name Jugurtha among other names of enemies of Rome of that time. They thought that Jugurtha was going to die from starvation but it was not the case, so they forced a slave to strangle him. I always wanted to write a play called Jugurtha because he was the most magnificent of our freedom fighters.”

       Mouloud Mammeri never wrote this play because of a car accident. On his way back from Morocco where he drove to participate to a conference, he was, according to the official version, killed by a tree that fell across the road.  We may never know what really happened the day of his farewell to the man who loved so much Tamazgha , the ancestral land of millions of Imazighen.

       He left us at a time where all the ideals he fought for all his life started slowly to become reality in Algeria. He can leave now. His work will be the main reference for many generations to come and the fire that he started in our hearts will never stop burning. Qim di Talwit a Dda Lmulud.


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Blurb of L'opium et le baton, the movie
Quand trop de secheresse brule les coeurs
Quand trop de faim tord trop d’entrailles
Quand on rentre trop de larmes
Quand on baillonne trop de rêves
C’est comme quand on ajoute bois sur bois sur le bucher
A la fin, il suffit du bout de bois d’un ésclave pour faire
Dans le ciel de Dieu
Et dans le coeur des hommes
Le plus énorme incendie
 
Mouloud Mammeri




Publications by M. Mammeri

Novellas
  • Ameur des Arcades et l'ordre, Paris, Plon 1953
  • Le Zebre, Paris, Preuves, 1957
  • La Meute, Europe, 1976
  • Escale, Revolution Africaine, 1987
  • La cite du soleil, Algiers, Laphomic, 1987
Books
  • La colline obliee, Paris, Plon, 1952
  • Le sommeil du juste, Paris Plon, 1955
  • L'opium et le baton, Paris, Plon, 1965
  • Les Iserfa, Poemes de Si Mohand ou Mhand, Paris, Maspero, 1969
  • Tajerrumt n tmazight, Paris, Maspero, 1969
  • Le Banquet, Perrin, 1973
  • Poemes kabyles anciens, Maspero, 1980
  • Machaho! contes berberes de Kabylie, Maspero, 1980
  • Tellem-chaho! Contes berberes de Kabylie, Paris, Bordas, 1980
  • Le Foehn ou la preuve par neuf, Paris, Publisud, 1982
  • La traversee, Paris, Plon, 1982
  • l'Ahellil du Gourara, Paris, CERAM, 1984
  • Inna yas Ccic Muhend, (compte d'auteur) 1989
Articles

More than thirty articles published in various magazines.
 
 

The English Version Follows

Nekni s imaslaḍen n Tiddukla Tadelsant Tamaziɣt deg Marikan (ACAA), nenejmaɛ ass n lḥed, wis-29 deg Yunyu, deg Bridgewater, New Jersey akken a d-nesmekti lmut n Maɛṭub Lwennas d-yeḍran 10 iseggasen aya. Anejmaɛ agi yewwi-yaɣ a d-nini aya:

 1.      Ass-a a nefk tajmilt i Lwennas ɣef wayen issali, ama deg wemḍiq n ccna, neɣ n tmedyazt, ɣef umennuɣ-is ɣef izerfan d tagdut, neɣ ɣef wakken yella d amizwar nneɣ s umata.

2.       Tajmilt tameqqrant meṛṛa i nezmer a s-tt-negg i Lwennas ma yella nexdem akken asirem i d-yeslal deg ulawen n ilmeẓyen d telmeẓyin imaziɣen ad yeffeɣ. I waya, nger tiɣri i imaziɣen anida ma llan akken ad xemmlen i iɣallen nnsen akken ad sǧuǧǧgen tamagit d yedles nnsen. Tin tent-yugaren ak, akken ad dduklen zdat ucengu.

3.      Nessawal i telmeẓyin d ilmeẓyen akken ad suddesen, ad ssalin imal n weɣref amaziɣ ɣef llsas i d-yeǧǧa Lwennas.

4.      Neggul akken nella da, a nexdem akken tiddukla nneɣ ad tennerni, ad texdem ak d tiddukliwin tiyaḍ bac akken a nesnefli aɣref d yedles nneɣ.  Aya nezmer a t-naweḍ ma yella neḍfer amedya n Lwennas.

5.      Nekni s imalslaḍen n ACAA, neḥseb belli mači kan d amizwar i ɣ-yemmuten, d amddakel! Ur ntettu ara ayen ixdem Lwennas i tiddukla as mi d-yusa ɣer Marikan, icna di New York ak d San Francisco deg useggas n 1993.

6.      Deg wis 25 si Yunyu, adabu azzayri aqettal, ira ad iqmeḍ ṣṣut n Lwennas i labda. Maca 10 iseggasen ɣer zdat, Lwennas mazal-it idder deg ulawen nneɣ, ma d ṣṣut-is la yettbaɛziq, acku Lwennas d asirem d unadad n yilmeẓyen nneɣ.

Ɣef yisem n ACAA
Tarbaɛt i wesmekti n umulli wis-10 n lmut n Maɛṭub Lwennas
Bridgewater, New Jersey
Wis-29 seg Yunyu 2008


We, members of the Amazigh Cultural Association in America (ACAA), gathered this Sunday, June 29, in Bridgwater, New Jersey to observe the 10th anniversary of the death of Lounès Matoub, make the following statement:

1.  We pay tribute to the memory of Lounès Matoub for his artistic contribution, his fight and leadership, and in general for his contribution to the Amazigh cause and democracy.

2.  We consider that the most beautiful tribute that we can pay him is to work so that his hopes and those he instilled in the hearts of many Amazigh youth become reality.  For that we call upon all Imazighen wherever they may be, to gather their strength to ensure the prosperity of their identity and culture and especially to unite in the face of adversity.

3.  We invite the Amazigh youth to organize and build the future of the Amazigh people on the foundations and the sacrifice of Lounès Matoub.

4.  We commit ourselves to continuing to strengthen our association and collaborate with other associations to contribute to the development of our people and culture with Lounès Matoub as a role model.

5.  We, members of ACAA, consider that we lost not only a leader, but also a friend.  Lounès Matoub’s contribution to ACAA through two concerts in New York and San Francisco in 1993 will remain memorable.

6.  On June 25, 1998, the Algerian government’s assassins wanted to silence Lounès Matoub forever.  But 10 years later, Lounès Matoub is always alive in our hearts and his words still resound among us because Lounès Matoub represents hope and determination for the Amazighe youth.

For ACAA,

The Steering Committee for the Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Assassination of Lounès Matoub

Bridgewater, New Jersey
June 29 2008

 
 

Tiddukla Tamaziɣt deg Marikan a d-tesmekti lmut n Lewnnas Maɛṭub. Timlilit ad tili di Days Inn, Bridgewater, NJ, as n lḥed wis 29 seg Yunyu 2008 seg 1:00 alamma d 6:00 n tmeddit.

Hatta wacu ara yilin di temlilit-a:

1 - Anṣuf - Asmekti n Lwennas: D acu lmaɛna isɛa Lwennas i yal yiwen.
2 - Ayen d-yeǧǧa Lwennas.

3 - Tarbaɛt i tira n yiwen walɣu ɣef Lwennas Maɛṭub
4 - Asaru ɣef Lwennas



ACAA will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of Amazigh icon Lounes Matoub. This gathering will take place at the Days Inn, Bridgewater, NJ, June 29, 2008 from 1:00 to 6:00 PM.

Agenda:

1 -Welcome - Remembering Matoub: what Matoub means to each of us
2 - Matoub's legacy: Discussion forum
3 - Working group to write a declaration
4 - Showing of video/cassette of some events (30 min to 1 hr)

Directions:

Use the following address to get your directions from the Internet.

Days Inn Bridgewater Conference Center Somerville Area

Web site: DAYSINN.COM

1260 US Rte 22 East
Bridgewater, NJ 08807 US


Phone: 908-526-9500
Fax: 908-526-2538
  



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The second issue of this Mediterranean literary review is a special one on the Amazigh icon Lounes Matoub. It includes articles on Lounes Matoub's life, his work, including poems translated to French. The issue also includes interviews of his sister Malika and his wife Nadia. This publication could not come at a better time. This month the Amazigh people will be commemorating the tenth anniversary of Lounes's assassination. Matoub's family and the entire Amazigh community in North Africa and around the world is still grieving for the loss of one of their dearest. His assassins have not yet been brought to justice and the contemptuous neglect shown by the Algerian authorities when it comes to serving justice in cases involving Amazigh people only makes the Amazigh angrier and more determined.

This issue can be ordered from Editions Non-Lieu, 224, rue des Pyrenees 75020 Paris, France. Price 15 Euros. Contact Editions Non-Lieu at: editionsnonlieu@yahoo.fr


 
 

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

 

 

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