Yuda (Enough)!

Yuda (Enough)!



Yuda (Enough)! This is the word that crowds of Amazigh people screamed in the streets of Agadir, on January 12, 2013, during the celebrations of the 2964th Amazigh year.

More than two years after the adoption of a new constitution recognizing Amazigh culture as part of the Moroccan cultural heritage, it would seem that very little efforts have been deployed to effectively rehabilitate Amazigh culture in the country. There are many things that could have been done to improve the situation since that time, but which Moroccan officials failed to implement. Enough, is therefore the right word to express the exacerbation that an increasing number of Amazigh people is feeling.

Enough, from claiming that Tamazight is an official language when the state apparatus continues to function exclusively in Arabic. It is insufficient to transcribe few signs of public institutions into Tifinagh, the Amazigh alphabet, for a language which is considered official in the country’s supreme law. The recognition of Tamazight as an official language in Morocco’s constitution requires the incorporation of this language into every dimension of the state sector, including in such things as public signs, state documents, official bulletins, ministerial decrees, registry office certificates, ID cards, passports, and coins and banknotes. While this would perhaps take some time to implement, it could have been perfectly possible to take some actions in this respect. However, even when Morocco’s central bank decided to manufacture new bank notes in July 2013, no consideration was made towards the incorporation of the Tifinagh alphabet into them.
Enough, from persisting to marginalize Tamazight in the educational sector when plans to teach Tamazight in schools have been established for more than a decade. While decisions were made to integrate Tamazight in the educational system since 2003, little progress has been made. The educational system, which still functions according to the archaic Education Charter of 1999, remains in a miserable situation in the county. Moroccan officials’ promises to fully integrate Tamazight in primary schools by 2008 seem to have been completely forgotten. Similarly, the numerous ministerial notes which call regional academic authorities to schedule Tamazight classes seem to end in dusty closets. It could have been possible to give a new impulse to the integration of Tamazight in schools after the adoption of the new constitution in 2011. Needless to say that it is not reasonable that the government continues to pretend that it does not have the necessary human and material resources to speed up the process, when crowds of jobless graduates in Amazigh studies are already protesting in front of the Parliament in Rabat.
Enough, from stigmatizing Tamazight in public media when Arabic continues to enjoy a privileged position. The Ministry of Communication could have implemented courageous reforms during the elaboration of public media specification policies back in 2012. But it failed to do so. In theory, Arabic was allocated the biggest piece of the cake, corresponding to 50% of the programs. Tamazight and “other dialects” were allocated 30% only. In practice, things were worse. The reforms have changed nothing to the disastrous situation of Tamazight in public media where Tamazight is only broadcasted at times of poor viewing and in programs which depict Amazigh culture in a folkloric way.

The celebration of the new Amazigh year, Yennayer, therefore represents an occasion for Amazigh people to denounce the little progress in terms of recognition they gained. This symbolic date, which Amazigh people from different parts of North Africa celebrate, marks the accession of Libyan Pharaoh Sheshonq I to power in Egypt. Again, the Moroccan government could have made the necessary actions to make this date a national celebration in the country. But lack of political will and perhaps the persistence of a certain level of hostility towards the Amazigh continue to hinder the full recognition of Amazigh heritage in the country.
Tachfine Baida