Gaddafi: "Amazigh no longer exist"
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said that the Amazigh (Berbers) were "ancient tribes who lived in North Africa and that they no longer exist," the Libyan agency Jana reported Wednesday.
- The Amazigh tribes "have disappeared and no longer exist," said the Libyan leader, saying the origin of the Amazigh was Arab, during a meeting with a delegation of journalists and intellectuals.
He also believed it was "pointless to try (to use) the language of these tribes which have disappeared," criticizing the use of that language in "some radios," in allusion to the Moroccan media.
"Whoever wants to use it at home is free but this must end," he said describing the people's demands for recognition of Amazigh identity and language of "propaganda of the colonizer and its agents as the (world) Congress of Amazigh.
In Libya, Amazigh, "free men" in Berber, represent 10% of the population live and particularly on the heights of mountains west of Tripoli, where, as the Tuareg in the desert south of the country.
They demand recognition of their cultural and linguistic identity and denounce their marginalization since the advent of the Libyan Revolution in 1969 and the accession to power of Colonel Gaddafi who wanted to develop a policy based on pan-Arabism.
In 2007, he again denied any existence of an Amazigh minority in Libya, and threatened to "eradicate those who want to spread the poison of colonialism.
But his son, Seif al-Islam, has been a champion of the Amazigh cause through the Qaddafi Foundation he chairs.
The association had received in 2006 the removal of a measure of 1970 prohibiting Amazigh names, after denouncing "an aggression which can not pass over in silence."
The Amazigh people, estimated at 26 million people, are an ethnic group indigenous of North Africa. It is spread over nearly five million square kilometers from Morocco to the west of Egypt in different cultural groups but share a common language (Berber or Tamazight).
Ennaharonline/ M. O.