Tamazgha

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Chefchaouen (s-tamazight: Ashawen ⴰⵛⵛⴰⵡⵏ, lit. “horns”), an Amazigh city called “The Blue Pearl of Morocco”. 

Chefchaouen is situated in the Rif Mountains, just inland from Tangier and Tetouan. The name of the city refers to the shape of the mountain tops above the town, that look like the two horns (chaoua) of a goat. Chef Chaouen” derives from the Berber word for horns, Ichawen.

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Chefchaouen (s-tamazight: Achawen ⴰⵛⵛⴰⵡⵏ, lit. “les cornes”), une ville Amazigh appelé “La perle bleue du Maroc”. 

Chefchaouen est une ville du Nord-Est du Maroc, bâtie à 600 m d'altitude au pied des monts Kelaa et Meggou, qui forment le Jebel Chaouen, sur la chaîne du Rif.  Le nom de la ville vient du berbère Achawen, « les cornes », en raison des sommets montagneux qui dominent et entourent la ville.

Resources: Amazigh vocabulary

This is a resource for words that Imazighen use regularly to refer to ourselves and things related to us. It will be separate from any Tamazight vocabulary resources I may make in the future.

Amazigh/ⵣⵉⵖ: a singular term that describes the indigenous people of North Africa, frequently referred to as Berber in English and berbere in French. It can be used to refer to an indigenous North African person (“the Amazigh who works at the store down the street”), an adjective to describe an indigenous North African person (“an Amazigh woman from Tunisia”), or an adjective to refer to Imazighen and their culture in general (“an Amazigh language,” “Amazigh culinary traditions,” etc). It is our preferred word to describe ourselves.

Imazighen/ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⴻⵏ: describes Amazigh people as either a whole (“the Imazighen of North Africa”) or as a plural (“the Imazighen who work at the store down the street”). While this is an umbrella term, different groups of Imazighen have specific words to refer to themselves. Some of these include Imuhagh (Tuareg), Iqvayliyen (Kabyle), Irifiyyen (Riffian), Ishawiyen (Chaoui), Ichenwiyen (Chenoua), and Iznagen (Sanhaja).

Tamazgha/ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵖⴰ: describes what roughly corresponds to the Maghreb in Arabic, referring to the geographical area in which Imazighen live. It refers to either the full or partial areas of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, Azawad, Mauritania, Egypt (Siwa), Burkina Faso, and the Canary Islands.

Tamazight/ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ: describes an umbrella term for a group of languages that Imazighen speak, all closely related. Examples of Amazigh languages include Tashelhit/Tamazirt n Sus, Taqbaylit, Tamazight (Watlas), Tarifit, Tachawit, Tamahaq, Haqbaylit, Tanfusit, (Tawallamat) Tamajaq, and Tayirt. Latin and Arabic versions of Amazigh alphabets exist; however, many involved in Timmuzgha prefer to use Tifinagh.

Timmuzgha/ⵜⵉⵎⵎⵓⵖⴰ: also called Amazighism; describes a movement for Amazigh geographic, ethnic, and cultural nationalism. It promotes a strong Amazigh identity and fights to gain recognition and liberation from oppressive pan-Arabism and Arabization in Tamazgha. It is a self-determination movement for Imazighen in all areas of Tamazgha as well as the diaspora.

Tifinagh/ⵜⵉⴼⵉⵏⴰⵖ: describes the scripts used to write multiple Amazigh languages. It is used famously by the Imuhagh (Tuareg), but can be used to write other Amazigh languages as well. While Tifinagh is not used as widely as other alphabets in that it’s used for everyday things, Tifinagh is an important component of promoting an Amazigh identity and a useful tool in Timmuzgha. Its origins are ancient, dating back to the 3rd century BCE.

Please, if you’re going to speak about us, use these words! We prefer Amazigh/Imazighen over Berber/Berbers. Berber has roots in the word ‘barbarian,’ and Imazighen are not savages; our own self-describing word means noble and free man.

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Aït Benhaddou (in tifinagh: ⴰⵢⵜ ⴱⵏ ⵃⴰⴷⴷⵓ) is a fortified Amazigh city (“ighrem” in tamazight) located in the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the Province of Ouarzazate, in Morocco. The site of Aït Benhaddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. Several films have been shot there, including Gladiator, Babel, Kingdom of Heaven, Prince of Persia and the TV series Game of Thrones.

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Aït-ben-Haddou (en tifinagh: ⴰⵢⵜ ⴱⵏ ⵃⴰⴷⴷⵓ) est un village Amazigh fortifié (“ighrem” en tamazight) situé dans le versant sud du Haut Atlas dans la province de Ouarzazate, au Maroc. Le site de Aït Benhaddou est inscrit sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO depuis 1987. De nombreux films y ont été tournés, y compris Gladiator, Babel, Kingdom of Heaven, Prince of Persia et la série télé Game of Thrones.

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So, in de DC universe there is a character named “Kahina the Seer”. Described with having the ability to see into the future. This sounds VERY familiar! THIS IS DIHYA!! The Amazigh queen! BUT, in the DC universe, Kahina the Seer is Iranian…….

Now I have nothing against Persians (I love you beautiful people, Persian history is truely rich!), and I am ALL about diversity. So an Iranian character is a win in that regard.

However I find it upsetting, to take the story of a North-African historical Queen, who BY THE WAY existed in real life, and give her a completely different look AND ethnicity. (yes, I am aware that we don’t really have a good historical source of what she looked like, but there is enough Amazigh art/statues out there to get an idea) 

The story of Al Kahina, should be told in its authenticity. I am tired of big brands taking our culture and turning it into to the next catwalk “Kaftan” trend, I am sick of the world taking Moroccan concepts and making it their own. Huge media creators taking our stories and turning it into a fantasy are no exception. 

Yes! I LOVE fiction, however Dihya is not very well-known, despite her amazing militairy victories and her incredible foresight, and just being a very powerful woman in a historical time-period, I mean all the history books will tell you that Viking women had it the best in regards of freedom, but they won’t ever tell you about the Amazigh women who were free af. She should be written in every history book out there. She is merely one of the many influential Amazigh/African women who have ever existed, and I think we should not erase her. People who don’t know her, will see this DC Kahina and believe it is just that; fiction

Dihya was real. And this is my version of what she would be like in a comic. She would be North-African AF.

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Resources: Amazigh nameplaces

Imazighen have their own words for the places they live, and they’re not very commonly used in either English, Arabic, or French. Here are some of the most commonly used along with their Tifinagh equivalents (if available). This also includes places in Tamazgha with Amazigh-origin names in order to provide their Tifinagh spelling as well.

Note: If anybody notices any errors in the Tifinagh writing, please let me know immediately. I am using general names for all of these places, mainly based on the language of the region; if you are here to tell me that there is another name for the country or region in another Amazigh language, feel free and I will add it to the list.

Maghreb: called Tamazgha/ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵖⴰ. Tamazgha is also spelled Tamazɣa.
Morocco
: called either Ameṛṛuk/ⴰⵎⵕⵕⵓⴽ or Tagldit n Lmaġrib/ⵜⴰⴳⵍⴷⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ. It is also represented by ⵎⴰⵖⵔⴱ.
Algeria: called Dzayar/ⴷⵣⴰⵢⴰⵔ.
Tunisia: called [Tagduda n] Tunes/[ⵜⴰⴳⴷⵓⴷⴰ ⵏ] ⵜⵓⵏⴻⵙ.
Libya: called Libia/ⵍⵉⴱⵉⴰ.
Mauritania: called either Agawej/ⴰⴳⴰⵡⴻⵊ or Muriţania/ⵎⵓⵔⵉⵟⴰⵏⵉⴰ.
Mali: called Mali/ⵎⴰⵍⵉ.
Niger: called Nijier/ⵏⵉⵊⵉⵔ.
Burkina Faso: called Burkina Fasu/ⴱⵓⵔⴽⵉⵏⴰ ⴼⴰⵙⵓ.
Atlas Mountains: called idurar n Watlas/ⵉⴷⵓⵔⴰⵔ ⵏ ⵡⴰⵜⵍⴰⵙ.
Rif: called Arif/ⴰⵔⵉⴼ.
Oriental: called Tagmuḍant/ⵜⴰⴳⵎⵓⴹⴰⵏⵜ.
Casablanca: called Anfa/ⴰⵏⴼⴰ.
Rabat: called Eṛṛbaṭ/ⴻⵕⵕⴱⴰⵟ.
Fes: called Fas/ⴼⴰⵙ.
Tangier: called Tanja/ⵟⴰⵏⵊⴰ.
Kabylie: called Tamurt n Leqbayel/ⵜⴰⵎⵓⵔⵜ ⵏ ⵍⴻⵇⴱⴰⵢⴻⵍ.
Safi: called Afsi/ⴰⴼⵙⵉ.
Siwa Oasis: called Isiwan/ⵉⵙⵉⵡⴰⵏ.
Canary Islands: called Kanaria/ⴽⴰⵏⴰⵔⵉⴰ.
Niger River: called Egerew n Igerewen/ⴻⴳⴻⵔⴻⵡ ⵏ ⵉⴳⴻⵔⴻⵡⴻⵏ (river of rivers).
Bizerte: called Benzert/ⴱⴻⵏⵣⴻⵔⵜ.
Sousse: called Susa/ⵙⵓⵙⴰ.
Tetouan: called Tiṭṭawin/ⵜⵉⵟⵟⴰⵡⵉⵏ.
Agadir: called Agadir/ⴰⴳⴰⴷⵉⵔ.
Tassili n'Ajjer: called Tassili n Ajjer/
Aurès Mountains: called Awras/ⴰⵡⵔⴰⵙ.
Lalla Khedidja: called Azeru amghur/ⴰⵣⴻⵔⵓ ⴰⵎⵖⵓⵔ.
Bibans: called Tiggura/ⵜⵉⴳⴳⵓⵔⴰ.
Hoggar Mountains: called idurar n Ahaggar/ⵉⴷⵓⵔⴰⵔ ⵏ ⴰⵀⴰⴳⴳⴰⵔ.
Adrar des Ifoghas: called Adrar n Ifoghas/ⴰⴷⵔⴰⵔ ⵏ ⵉⴼⵓⵖⴰⵙ.
Jebel Musa: called Adrar Musa/ⴰⴷⵔⴰⵔ.
Toubkal: called Adrar n Tubqal/ⴰⴷⵔⴰⵔ ⵏ ⵜⵓⴱⵇⴰⵍ.
Tamanrasset: called Tamenghest/ⵜⴰⵎⴻⵏⵖⴻⵙⵜ.
Biskra: called Tibeskert/ⵜⵉⴱⴻⵙⴽⴻⵔⵜ.
Béjaïa: called Vgaiet/ⵠⴳⴰⵉⴻⵜ.
Chlef: called Tamnaḍt n Clef/ⵜⴰⵎⵏⴰⴹⵜ ⵏ ⴽⵍⴻⴼ.
Bechar: called Beshar/ⴱⴻⵛⴰⵔ.
Bouïra: called Tubiret/ⵜⵓⴱⵉⵔⴻⵜ.
Tiaret: called Tahert/ⵜⴰⵀⴻⵔⵜ.
Tizi Ouzou: called Tizi Wezzu/ⵜⵉⵣⵉ ⵡⴻⵣⵣⵓ.

Photographie de Jean Besancenot prise entre 1934 et 1939 d'une femme Amazighe des Aït Izdeg (Haut Atlas). 

Elle porte la tamizart sur les épaules. La coiffe est volumineuse. On enroule plusieurs cordelières décorées de sequins dorés et argentés qui enserrent le grand foulard, tassebnit, faisant émerger une forme pointue au dessus de la tête. Son visage est tatoué. Elle porte de nombreux colliers faits de pièces d'argent.