Saturday, July 5, 2008

Kabylia (Algeria) The “Grande Kabylie” part 1

from "Notes from Numidia"

The district which the french, somewhat grandiloquently, call “La grande Kabylie”, is a rugged mountainous region, lying partly in that of Constantina.
It is inhabited by a race that in almost every particular presents a strong contrast to the Arab of the plains below. The Arab is lithe and slender in figure, and generally of an aquiline cast of countenance; the kabyle is squarely and sturdily built, rather broad-faced, and with a nose of the type which is described as “ordinaire” on a French passport.

The normal state of the Arab is that of a wanderer and a dweller in tents: he has no instinctive attachment to the soil, and when he does take to a settled life, it is as it were under protest; contenting himself with an unsubstantial and flimsy dwelling, and bestowing nomore labour on the ground than is required to raise him a scanty crop of barley. The Kabyle, on the other hand, clings as highly to his rocks as a limpet: he builds himself a comfortable, substantial house, with stones walls and a tiled roof, and changes the rough mountain side into a rich garden.

The Arab hates labour, and has few manufactures; the Kabyle is industrious, and a clever handicraftsman, especially in the working of metals. The Arab lies freely and objectlessly, and pilfers for the love of pilfering: his statement is valueless, except as a means of arriving at the truth by a kind of induction process. The Kabyle, as a general rule, tell the truth, and, unless you are at enmity with him, respect your property. He will make a hard bargain with you, but, once made, he will keep to it; unlike the Arab, who, if you leave him a loophole, will wriggle out through it. With strangers there is a mixture of shyness and obsequiousness in the Arab’s behaviour, while about the Kabyle there is an unmistakeable air of independence and self-reliance, as if he did not much care what you thought about him.

In short, there is little or nothing of the Asiatic about the kabyle. Even his Mahometanism is of an unoriental cast. Though he does not deny the lawfulness of polygamy, he considers that on the whole a man ought to be content with one wife, and admits the woman to be a perfectly rational being, quite fit to be entrusted with her liberty, deserving of social equality, and not born to do more than her fair share of the work of the household.
Fraser’s Magazine, July 1862 by Thomas Carlyle
Notes from Numidia, The “Grande Kabylie” part 2

[paraph division, for ease of reading, mine. lw]

The most recent articles at KABYLIA OBSERVER:

29 June,
by Zorro

A representative delegation of Berber-organisations in Kabylia ( Algeria ) , Morocco and the Toeareg-people ( Mali & Niger ) is coming up to meet representative elected members of the European Commission , the Flemish Parliament and the federal belgian Senate from Monday june the 30th until Wednesday july the 2nd. Repression against Berber-people is still increasing each day : deportation , torture , democratic parties are forbidden , racism , all kinds of violations of (…)

Official request for an autonomy status for Kabylia
24 June,
by Zorro
7 years after having formulated its first claim, MAK (Movement for autonomy of Kabylia) has formally officialised its request for a regional autonomy to state authorities; a copy was addressed to international authorities and to Nelson Mandela. Adekar was choosen by the autonomist movement to send the registered mail, this locality is located at 1000 meter above the sea , mid-way between Vgayet and Tizi-Ouzou and close to Amirouche’s headquarters at Akfou. The delegation was headed by Mr (…)

In the western Algerian city of Tiaret, a 37-year-old convert to Christianity is currently on trial for "practicing a non-Muslim religion without authorization".
17 June,
by Zorro

What's new on the Web
5 July – Scandaleux !
4 July – Vouloir libère
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3 July – Condamnation de deux Algériens convertis au christianisme
3 July – MAK Jeunes, soirée débat sur l'autonomie de la Kabylie
3 July – Le déclin de l'homme blanc

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