Attempting to Silence a People: The Oppression of the Berbers in North Africa

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Isabelle Chapuis-Alvarez, Hope College

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A fierce, independent people, the Berbers of North Africa are anthropologically considered to be the original inhabitants of the Maghreb region. Despite their ancient heritage, the Berbers are marginalized, violated and ignored by the Arab cultures that have settled there. This research, based largely on Amnesty International reports, examines the violations of basic rights enacted by North African governments (most notably Algeria) against the Berbers. The specific cases of Lounes Matoub, Algerian Berber singing group Djurdjura and the police raid at Tizi-Ouzou University are discussed, as well as The Kabyle, a radical opposition group within the Berbers still fighting for their freedom. Despite the Berbers' desire to remain their own people and not conform to the foreign cultures closing in around them, the Maghreb governments are exacting deliberately discriminatory policies that encourage a movement of violence and disrespect against an ancient people and their culture.

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