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Libyan national amazigh congress declaration 2011

The Libyan National Tamazight Congress

 

 

2000 AD:

ALT: Libyan Tamazight Congress


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.

*Facepage: https://www.facebook.com/LIBYA.ALT

Download the founding manifesto of the Libyan Tamazight Congress (ALT).

 

Open Letter To The NTC

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 declaration outlining:

  • 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 or colour;
  • 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 language');
  • 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 bargain;
  • 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)

 

Officialise  Tamazigh language and support national unity.”

sign showing the first libyan amazigh national congress

 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 unity".

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.

The organisers 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.
Reuters (uk.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/uk-libya-berber-language-idUKTRE78P4RJ20110926)

 

 

 

The Supreme Council for the Amazigh of Libya (SCAL)

 

ASC members, ibrahim makhlouf, Khaled Zekri, and  Nuri Asherwi

From left to right: Ibrahim Makhlouf: the president of the council; Khaled Zekri:
the spokesman of the council; and Nuri Asherwi: the coordinator of the council's political office.

 

SCAL website

 

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 affairs" 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   (Western) Libya

 

supreme committee for elections logo SCAL elections

(Tasmilt N Istayen)

The Logo of the Supreme Committee for Elections
(Photo: https://www.facebook.com/Tasmilt )

2015:

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 organisers said.

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.

The 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.

 

  election poster
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. 

 

zuwarah results

Zuwarah Results


themzin results

Themzin Results

 

 

kabaw results

Kabaw Results

 

 

yefren results

Yefren Results

 

 

jado results

Jado Results

 

 

Qalaa results

Qalaa Results

 

 

Wazen Results

Wazen Results

 

 

Nalut results

Nalut Results

 

Download the final results of the SCAL elections

 

 

 

? Dire Consequences & Surprises Beyond Expectation

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 or does.

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 war.

 

 

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.


The GNA:

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).

This, 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 loose 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' rights.  

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 affirmed.

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 علاقته بهم
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.

 

Here is the full response of SCAL:

"ⵜⴰⵙⴳⵓⵔⵉ ⵏ ⵓⵎⵇⵉⵎ ⴰⵎⵇⵔⴰⵏ ⵏ ⵢⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ ⵏ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ ⴰⴼ ⵎⴰⵜ ⵜⵓⵖⴷ ⵜⴰⵎⵣⵔⴰⵢⵜ ⵏ ⴼⵔⴰⵏⵙ24 ⴳ ⴰⵙⵙ 27/07/2017(2967), ⴰⵡⴰⵍ ⴰⵍⴰ ⵎⵎⴰⵍⵏⴰⵙ ⵅⵍⵉⴼⴰ ⵃⴰⴼⵜⵔ ⴳ ⵒⴰⵙⵉⵙ ⴰⴼ ⵉⵔⵔⴰ ⵏⵏⵙ ⴷ ⵉⵖⵙ ⴰⵢⵣⵡⵍ ⴰⴷⴼⵔⵉⵔ ⵏ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ ⴷ ⴰⵖⵔⴰⴱ. ⴷ ⵉⵏⵏⴰ ⵙ ⴰⵎⵢⵓ ⴰⵎⴰⵜⴰ ⵏ ⵉⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰⵏ ⴷ ⵉⵄⵔⴰⴱⵏ. ⴰⵎⵇⵉⵎ ⴰⵎⵇⵔⴰⵏ ⵏ ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ ⴰⴷ ⵉⵙⵏⵖⵓ ⵉ ⴰⵙⵓⵙⵏ ⴰⵎⵔⵙⵉⵡ ⴷ ⵓⵎⴰⴹⴰⵍ: ⴰⵎⵇⵉⵎ ⴰⵎⵇⵔⴰⵏ ⵏ ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ ⵏ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ ⴰⴷ ⵍⵍⴽⵏ ⴰⴼ ⵎⴰⵜ ⵉⵎⵎⵍⵏⴰⵙ ⴰⴷⴼⵔⵉⵔ ⴰⵖⵔⴰⵏ ⵏ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ, ⴷ ⵎⵍⵉⵛⵢⵢⵜ ⴷ ⵜⴰⵄⵔⴰⴱⵜ ⴷ ⵉⵎⵏⵖⴰⵏ. ⵡⵍ ⵜⴳⴳⵓⵔⵛ ⴰⵡⴰⵍ ⵏⵏⵙ ⴰⴼ ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ ⴳ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ. ⴰⴷⴼⵔⵉⵔ ⴰⴷⵔⴼⵉ ⵏⵜⵜⴰ ⴰⵍⴰ ⴷⵉⵙ ⵢⴰⵍ ⵉⴳⴷⵓⴷⵏ ⵏ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ ⴰⵎⴳⴳⴰⴳ ⴰⴼ ⴰⴳⴷⵓⴷ ⵉⵊⵊⵏ. ⴰⵎⵇⵉⵎ ⴰⵎⵇⵔⴰⵏ ⵏ ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ ⴰⴷ ⵉⵎⵍⵍ ⵢⴰⵀⴰ ⴰⴼ ⴰⵏⴱⴱⵜ ⵙ ⴰⴷⴼⵔⵉⵔ ⴷ ⴰⵎⵇⵉⵎ ⴰⵎⵇⵔⴰⵏ ⵉⵖⵙ ⴷ ⵉⴳⴳⵓⵔⴳ ⴰⴱⵔⵉⴷ ⵏ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ ⴷ ⵜⴰⵎⵓⵔⵜ ⵜⴰⴷⵉⵎⴽⵔⴰⵜⵉⵜ ⴷ ⵜⴽⴽⵔ ⴰⴼ ⵜⵉⵣⴰⵔⵜⵏ ⵎⵎⵙⵎⴰⴷⵏ ⴷ ⴰⴷⴰⴱⵓ ⴰⵖⵔⴰⵎⵏ ⴷ ⴰⴷⴰⴱⵓ ⵉⵎⵏⵏⵊ. ⴰⵡⴰⵍ ⴰⵎ ⵓⵀ ⴷ ⴰⴼⵍⴰⵢ ⵉ ⵢⴰⵍ ⵉⵚⴰⴷⵓⴼⵏ ⵏ ⵓⵎⴰⴹⴰⵍ ⴷ ⴰ̆ⴷⴰⴷⵓⴼ ⵏ ⵉⵣⵔⴼⴰⵏ ⵏ ⵉⴳⴷⵓⴷⵏ ⵏ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ. ⴰⵎⵇⵉⵎ ⴰⵎⵇⵔⴰⵏ ⵏ ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ ⵏ ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ ⴰⴷ ⴷ ⴰⵎⴳⵔⵓⵜ ⵜⵉⵎⵜⵜⵉ ⵏ ⵓⵎⴰⴹⴰⵍ ⴰⴷ ⴷ ⵉⴳ ⵜⴰⵡⵓⵔⵉ ⵜⴰⵚⴰⴹⵓⴼⵜ ⵏⵏⵙ ⴰⴼ ⵉⵏⵓⵥⴹⵏ ⴰⵎ ⵉⵀ. ⵜⵔⵉⴱⵓⵍⵉⵙ, 17-7-2967 ⵣ (30-07-2017 ⴳ)

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 ⵣ)"