On 17/09/2950 (that is on the 17th of September 2000 AD) the Libyan
Tmazight Congress (Agraw A’Libi N’Tmazight: ALT)
was established to demand the protection and developing of Tamazight
cultural identity. The name "Libyan Tmazight Congress"
clearly shows the original feminine name "Tamazight", before
the introduction of its patriarchal form Amazigh: "Libyan
National Amazigh Congress"
(LNAC), also known as CNAL.
In an open letter to
the National Transitional Council (NTC) and to the Executive Board
on the 17th of September 2011, the Libyan congress praised
the struggle of the Libyan people for freedom and called for the
official recognition of Tamazight Rights. The letter, titled (حول استحقاقات
الحق الامازيغي في ليبيا : on
the merits of the Berber right in Libya), contained a 14-point
the current sufferings of the Berber communities which threaten
their physical existence and aim to Arabise their identity;
the Berbers' resistance to the tyranny of the old regime and hence
were among the first to rise up during the February Uprising;
the unity of the Libyan people regardless of race, language, religion
the need to rewrite Libyan history away from "racism" and "personal
gains", as most of the injustices suffered by the Berbers were
due to "an upside-down reading of history";
the importance of the Berber issue as a national issue for all
Libyans and especially so for those who speak Tamazight ('Berber
individual and group rights are basic human rights and not "gifts" that
can be granted;
the Berbers' rights include cultural, linguistic, religious, political,
legal, administrative, developmental, educational, and media rights;
the recognition by all Libyans that the time for justice has come,
at a great price of sacrifice;
the constitutionalisation and nationalisation of the Berbers'
rights is a primary demand the Berbers cannot let go and will not
The Berbers' rights shall not be grouped with terms like "minorities" or
"majorities" as these rights are a fundamental part of
any human society;
the Berbers' rights are rights of the Libyan people as a whole,
since there are no Libyan Arabs or Berbers Arabs, but all there-is is
(one) Libyan people who came to speak a number of languages;
mature leadership and recognition of the Berbers' rights is essential
to the stability of Libya, as pitfalls can yield severe repercussions
and therefore curtailing the freedom of expression ought not be confused
with respect and peaceful life with dignity and cooperation.
First Libyan National Amazigh Congress (LNAC)
Tamazigh language and support national unity.”
The First Libyan National Amazigh Congress was held in Tripoli
on Monday the 26th of September 2011. Political analysts commented
that the event signaled the first expression of Tamazight political
identity in the history of Libya. The conference was attended by a
number of delegations and journalists, Libyan academicians, Berberists,
Belkacem Lounes (then president of Amazigh World Congress), Fathi Benkhalifa
(then head of Libyan Amazigh Congress), and representatives from the
NTC; in which the Berbers demanded constitutional recognition of Tamazight
from the temporary government of Libya (the NTC), in support of the "national
The debate was probably fuelled by the recently published Constitutional
Declaration of the NTC, in which only Arabic language was declared
as official while making no mention, by name, of the language "Berber",
else known as "Tamazight" by the Berbers. A Berber declaration
emerged from the conference, outlining a number of demands and clarifying
the national identity of the native population of Libya.
agreed to form committees representative of the various Berber towns
and villages to follow up their demands and recommendations that were
presented to the NTC regarding officialising Berber language within
the constitution, and called for Berber lawyers and law experts
to assist in formulating provisions and legislations in a legal document
which then can be presented to the interim Justice Minister for consideration
into the temporary provisions until the full constitution is drafted
in 8 months time.
We already saw in an earlier manifesto issued by the NTC that its
draft constitution will be subject to a referendum and it will be passed
if it gains a majority of two thirds or more. The Berbers certainly
will not be able to reach this majority when it comes to voting, while
others argue that aggregating up with larger groups does not by itself
legitimise any cause.
Hence, one of the main points made by the organiser
of the conference, Mr. Fathi Salem Abu Zakhar, was that "Language
rights are not a matter that is subject to a vote . . . We want the
government, and the coming government, to grasp that the language
is part of the Libyan equation."
While Salem Qinnan, a Berber
representative of the NTC, emphasised that Tamazight is a national
language which the Berber communities will work with their Libyan brothers
[and sisters] to root firmly in the Libyan constitution.
For a French translation of the declaration and photos of the event,
The Supreme Council for the Amazigh of Libya (SCAL)
From left to right: Ibrahim Makhlouf: the president of the council;
the spokesman of the council; and Nuri Asherwi: the coordinator of
the council's political office.
The creation of The Supreme Council for the Amazigh of
Libya (SCAL) was announced by the representative
of the Berber-speaking areas in Libya, Dr.
Tariq Attoshi, in his speech at the constitutional rights
forum of the 12th of January 2013. The council is also known as
the Amazigh Supreme Council (ASC),
although technically this is incorrect because it omits the name
"Libya" and thus gives the false impression that the council
represents the entire Imazighen of North Africa when it does not even
represent the Imazighen of Libya - it only represents the Imazighen
of Western Libya as well as a couple of oases in Cyrenaica. The name
that the council later used in its website http://www.amnil.com.ly/
(still unavailable as of late 2017) is: "Amazigh Supreme
Council - Libya", which thus can be appreviated as: ASC-L.
Dr. Tariq said the council was established to attend to the "political
of the Berbers, as a united front to assist the Berbers achieve their
goals and legitimate aspirations. A few months later it became evident
that the self-appointed council took a confrontational attitude to
fulfil its pledge to assist the Berbers achieve their goals; first
by threatening to pull out the Berber representatives from the GNC
(which they failed to effect anyway); and secondly by leading the Berbers
of Zuwarah and Nafousa to boycott the constitutional elections (of
the 20th of February 2014), but not the Berbers of the Sahara who did
vote for the 60 committee.
The day the Berbers of the Sahara voted for the 60 committee and
the Berbers of the north did not was the day the supreme council lost
its legitimacy to lead the Berbers "united". It would
have been more beneficial if the Berbers remained united regardless
of the outcome. Such policy can only create more divisions by dividing
the Berbers themselves. Cutting power and gas supplies to national
institutions will only associate the peaceful Berbers with "violence".
When the political coordinator of the supreme council, Dr. Nuri Asherwi,
was asked about the legitimacy of the council, in that it was not elected
by the Berber people, he replied that the legitimacy of the council
stems from the fact that it was formed from the various members of
the local councils of the Berber towns and villages. Does this answer
the question? Does this negate the fact that it was self-appointed?
Typical political answer.
The Election of the Supreme Council of The Amazigh of
(Tasmilt N Istayen)
The Logo of the Supreme Committee for Elections
The Supreme Committee for Elections (SCE) was
created to supervise the first elections of the Supreme Council for
the Amazigh of Libya (SCAL). The committee is made of around 120 volunteers,
who collectively spent thousands of hours working hard to ensure the
success of the elections. Polling stations were set up in some Berber
towns including: Zuwarah, Yefren, Qalaa, Jado,
Themzin, Jrijen, Kabaw, Nalut, Wazen and Tripoli (for the Berbers
who live in the capital).It was reported that no polling station
was set up in Rahibat (in Nafousa Mountain) for security reasons, the
It is not known why Imushagh areas
(that is Tuareg areas) in the south were not included in the so-called "Amazigh Congress"
elections. We are accustomed to foreign media outlets referring to
the Berbers of Nafousa and Zuwara as separate "ethnic minority" from
that of the "Tuareg",
but for the Berbers to repeat the tragedy is something *unberber.
registration of voters and candidates began on the 9th of August 2015;
coinciding with the International Day of indigenous people. Initially
the committee set the 16th of August to be the last day of the registration
period, but this was extended to the 20th of August for voters, and
the 24th of August for candidates.
Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/Tasmilt
The elections were held on Sunday the 30th of August 2015 in various
Berber towns. According to Zeyad
Zouli, the spokesman of the supreme committee for elections, attendance
in all the 11 polling centres was high, except in Tripoli.
? Dire Consequences & Surprises Beyond
Fifteen months after the presumed liberation of Libya from "marginalisation",
disappointed Berber representatives from the local councils of glorious
Zuwarah, Nalut, Kabaw, Rahibat, Jado and Yefren were reported to have
delivered a statement at a press conference held in the capital Tripoli
on the 31st of December 2012. The statement urges the elected GNC to
address the continued and systematic marginalisation of the Imazighen
people of Libya by the current government
"selected" by the transitional Prime Minister Dr. Ali Zidan.
Such deviation from the principles of revolution, the statement adds,
despite the repeated refusal of past attempts to seek a solution, is
a clear violation of the [imposed] constitutional declaration which
called for "equality" and even claimed to oust "exclusion".
The statement concluded that to avert "dire consequences" the
Prime Minister is urged to reconsider his policy, and that continued
neglect to resolve the plight of the Berbers of Libya entails "great
surprises" beyond expectation.
One would expect diplomacy would call for a more eloquent presentation
of one's ideas and ideals, but instead there is always that extra "touch" of confrontation.
The Amazigh World Congress too made a number of similar confrontational
statements which one would presume could only lead to head-on clash
with the local authority and with the authorities of North Africa at
large, rather than achieve
"anything" but further destruction and mayhem.
The Imazighen of Libya and of all other countries including Azawad
ought to reconsider their "confrontational" approach to politics,
and instead effect change by means of peace and law. Being lured into
tribal violence before closing-in with the law to seal one's fate is
not what successful politicians hope for – let alone lead their people
to. To avert the real "dire consequences" the Berbers ought
to know that violence is not the answer, no matter what the UN says
It takes great leadership and courage to see what others do not want
you to see. All these comments appearing in social sites urging the
Berbers to fight the Arabs for their rights must be ignored, not because
they seem to be written by people whose job is to create a civil war
in the region (and possible a global war), but because the Berbers
and the Arabs are now destined to live together for the rest of humanity.
Traditional Berber leadership is based on egalitarian justice that
makes the Berbers who they are, the council of elders of both women
and men leading by example. Wars should not be supported by anyone,
let alone funded and supervised in the name of protection that never
materialises. No matter what the UN says or does, gaining
rights or protecting civilians via violence can never be the answer.
It is the problem that is sold as the answer by the vultures of
The Exclusion of The Berbers Via Deceit
Hisham Ehmadi, member of the Amazigh Supreme Council,
clarifies the council's position to the Berber people regarding the
so-called Skhirat Dialogue.
After explaining why the Amazigh Council
boycotted the CDA's elections, Mr. Hisham went on to reveal that the
Amazigh Council rejected the political dialogue of the Libyan Political
Agreement because they wanted an effective and real participation in
the dialogue and not just a superficial representation that serves
no purpose other than rob them of their rights; and thus they informed
them (presumably the UN, the GNC and the HoR) that the Amazigh Council
is prepared to enter the political dialogue on conditions and demands
that must be respected and included in the dialogue, specifically the
Berbers and the constitution.
Mr. Hisham then added that they later wrote to the
UN envoy informing him that the Berbers are not represented in
the LPA and also provided him with a list of the reasons for their
lack of participation, but later they (the Amazigh Council) were shocked
to discover that the Berber issue was not part of the Skhirat negotiation
at all. Instead they received a reply (from the UN, GNC, HoR, etc)
that the Berbers are in fact being represented at the Skhirat talks.
The Amazigh Council then discovered that they (UN, GNC
and HoR) went and chose their own Berber representatives, which he
called "flexible, easy personalities" who
for personal gains go along with whatever they are told. These chosen,
soft representatives are named by Mr. Hisham as: Salem Madi (representing
the Amazigh); Musa Alkouni (representing the Tuareg, and who later
resigned from the PC); and Musa Kousa (representing the Tebu).
he said, was a disaster because if they (the Amazigh Council) were
represented at the LPA talks "is it imaginable", he asked,
"we leave out such an important matter as the constitution"?
Mr. Hisham had also noted a few more important points (see GNA for
more on these). From what Mr. Hisham
said in the above video one can only lend credit to those faint voices whispering
about the conspiracy against the Berbers to gradually dissolve their February
aspirations once they came. Such treachery has nothing to do with democracy
and revolution but a clear sign of bad intentions to cause mayhem and substitute
one tyranny with another.
The CDA's Draft Constitution:
According to the above video, the Amazigh Council made sure the Imazighen
(the Berbers) do not participate in a historical deal which the
Arabs would like to legitimise in the constitution because, he adds, if the
Berbers do take place in such a project they would certainly lose their
rights and also the rights of the future generations. That is, the Amazigh
Council believes boycotting the CDA's elections ensures preserving the Berbers'
This is true because the principle of voting and passing the
draft with a majority of two-thirds-plus-one would guarantee the Arabs to exclude
the Berbers and the Tebu with ease; whereas if consensus is implemented instead
of voting then the matter would be different.
He also revealed that they (the Amazigh Council) were offered incentives
by regional and international institutions and political parties to take part
in the CDA's elections and bless the legitimacy of the draft constitution but
they refused. It was a big achievement, he said, to make sure not to take part
in such a project; despite the futile attempts by some Berber mediators to
negotiate between the GNA and the Amazigh Council purely for personal reasons,
He also noted the promising news that the Amazigh Council is currently
working to unite with the Berber Tuareg of the south in one congress or one
parliament. This is very important for the Berbers because despite both the
so-called "Amazigh" and
"The Tuareg" being Berbers somehow Libyan and international media
outlets refer to them as different ethnic groups, thereby reflecting the shear
ignorance prevalent regarding Berber matters.
For the CDA to include the "Amazigh" and the "Tuareg"
as two ethnic groups of Libya in its clumsy draft constitution is a fatal violation
that could only reflect "ignorance". The Berbers need to appeal
against enshrining in the constitution such racial discrimination and instead
demand the unification of the various Berber groups as one ethnic group with
full and equal rights given to others for granted.
SCAL Calls Haftar's Army A Terrorist Militia
حديث المشير حفتر عن الأمازيغ و تسمية الجيش الليبي و
Haftar defends the use of name "Arab" in the name "Libyan
National Arab Army"
Interview aired on France 24 TV Channel, Paris, 27/7/2017.
In response to Haftar's statement in that the word "Arab"
was added to the name "Libyan National Army" (LNA) because the
majority of Libyans are Arabs, the SCAL called the LNA a terrorist
militia that does not represent all the Libyan people. In fact General
Haftar did not make sense when he said (in the above video) he did not hear
any opposition to such name. The name "Arab" was
added shortly after the elected HoR fled to Tobruk and the true
agenda of the elected parliament began to surface. Hence
many institutions worldwide still refer to the Libyan army by its usual
name: Libyan National Army (LNA).
The problem with Haftar's view is that there are many Berber and Tebu
officers, soldiers and militias serving in the Libyan army and therefore
to call it an Arab army is incorrect regardless of its racist or political
connotations. Imagine adding the word "Arab" to every other
government department and institution in Libya! For example: the Central
Arab Bank of Libya (CABL), instead of the current CBL.
In reference to the interview aired on France 24 TV Channel,
with Khalifa Hafter in Paris, in 27/7/2017; and regarding the
mentioned individual’s declaration on insistence and deliberate
use of the name; Libyan Arab Army. Where he justified the use
of the name by saying that the vast majority of Libyans are ethnic
Arabs; The Amazigh Supreme Council declares to the local and
international community; The Amazigh Supreme Council affirms
that the so called Libyan Arab Army is a terrorist, racially
based militia, and does not represent the Amazigh people of Libya.
A real national army, is an army that includes all the ethnic
groups of the Libyan society, and refrains from being affiliated
with a particular ethnic group. The Amazigh Supreme Council rejects
the return of military rule under any pretext. The council strives
for Libya to become a democratic civil state, built on the values
of equality and pluralism, with civilian authority as the supreme
authority in the country. That individual’s declaration is a
blatant violation to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights
of Indigenous Peoples and other international treaties and conventions.
The council reiterates the call for the international community
to assume their legal responsibilities and commitments against
such threatening actions. Issued in Tripoli 30-07-2017 (17-7-2967