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Mohamed Chacha (1955–2016)

Chacha during his commemoration in Utrecht 2010

By: Amazigh Informatie Centrum
The poet, musician, and above all Amazigh activist Mohamed Chacha was born on 15 August 1955 in Ixef n Cebdan, Qabu Yawa, North Morocco. As a teenager, Chacha worked as a fisherman in the port of Qabu Yawa. Here he was fired for demanding better working conditions together with other fishermen.

At a young age he became aware of the dictatorship in his native country. His first confrontation with the regime of the late King Hassan II was during a student protest. He was arrested and beaten. This eventually resulted in the suspension of school. At the age of 22 (in 1977) he fled to the Netherlands to apply for political asylum there.

Until his death he lived and worked in Amsterdam, where he was active in the radical Moroccan movement Ila Alamam (Forward) and the Moroccan Workers’ Committee in the Netherlands (KMAN). In the end, he left these organisations for ideological reasons. Chacha always remained involved in various human rights organisations. In addition to his activism, as an autodidact he was mainly concerned with literature, language and culture.

Amazigh movement
In the 1980s he was one of the most prominent members of the young Amazigh movement in the Netherlands. It consisted of artists, poets, writers and students. This inspired Chacha to write in Tamazight after he published his first books in Arabic. In the 1990s he founded the Izouran Foundation (roots) with the aim of publishing Riffin literature. Chacha also supported linguist Roel Otten in his lessons in Arabic and Tamazight by reading from his work to improve the speech and listening skills of his students.

Both his songs and his books sing and describe the fate of the workers, women and other marginalized and oppressed groups. Chacha was a passionate and active person. He followed a series of theatre courses and played in various plays, as well as writing his own plays. He took part in cultural events and political meetings throughout Europe. He did this as a spectator, performer and troublemaker. Chacha played lute and sang Izran (Amazigh poems). He also made radio and TV programmes for the Pirate Radio and Amazigh TV, among others. His programmes were mainly about art, culture and politics.

Back in Morocco
For political reasons, Chacha was not allowed to enter his native country for a long time. After the death of Hassan II in 1999, he returned to Morocco to see for himself what the country was like.

In the first years of Mohamed VI’s regime he still had some faith in the promises of the new king. He became disappointed when it became clear to him that a democratic Morocco among the Moroccan Alawites could not be achieved. In the last ten years of his life he joined the Rif movement that advocates a free Rif republic as it was founded by Abdelkrim el Khattabi in 1921. Self-determination for the Rif was his last political demand.

Islamic Criticism
Chacha was critical of religions, especially Islam, the religion he inherited from his parents. He studied the ancient islamic writings such as the Koran and the Hadith (traditions). In his surroundings he often discussed the contradictions in these ‘holy’ texts. On his Facebook page he regularly posted verses from the Koran and stories from the origins of Islam that he did not understand himself or that he found to be in conflict with human rights. These included the marriage of minors, the rights of women and the actions of the prophet Mohamed and his companions.

Last years of life
In 2004, Chacha underwent a lung transplant. His doctors had predicted that he would be able to live with those lungs for another eight years, which eventually turned out to be twelve years. On his sick bed in Amsterdam he continued to write his latest novel: Hdem bna (Hdem bna) (Break down, build up), which he was unable to finish. He continued to work on it until three days before his death. He died on Wednesday 29 June 2016 in Amsterdam at the age of 61.

Chacha was publicly buried in his native village, where women were also present, which is contrary to the Islamic customs in Morocco where only men are allowed to participate in funeral processions. This made Chacha an activist even after his death.

Bibliography

Arabic

  • Al-Maghrib Al jadid 1979, poetry. “The New Morocco”.
  • Qasaid Al Fuqaraa 1985, poetry. “Poems of the poor”.
  • Ayna Al Amal 198, poetry, “Where is hope”.
  • Kalimaat Mutamarrida 199?, poetry, “Rebellious words”.

Tamazight

  • Raz, Thuɛayantt d tawra zi yitaan 1995, poetry. Hunger, nudity and flight from the dogs.
  • Reẓ ṭṭabu ad d teffeɣt tfukt 1997, roman. “Break the taboo, and the sun will shine”.
  • Ajḍiḍ umi yitwagg celwaw 1998, novel. “The blind bird”.
  • Cway zi tibbuhelya ɛad war twid, 1999, poetry. “Unfinished folly”.
  • Abrid ɣer yezran 2000, study on Izran. “The road to songs”.
  • Tuf teqqen 2015, novel. “It’s stuck”.
  • Tarwa n umadal 2015, children’s book. “Sons of the world”.
  • Aṛaji 2016, poetry. “The waiting”.
  • Tayri n tayri 2016, novel. “Love of love”.
  • Hdem bna 2016, novel. “Abort, build up” (not yet published).

Dutch

  • Hunger, nudity and flight from the dogs: rebellious verses, 1993. (translation of Raz, thuɛayantt d tawra zi yitaan, 1995).

Translated by Najat M.

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/mohamed-chacha-1955-2016-84d772c319d5

Prisoner of Conscience Mohamed Jalloul

Mohamed Jalloul before the imprisonment in 2012

Mohamed Jalloul, before his ‘arrest’ in 2012 he was asked by Radio Rif why he called Morocco „Amur N Akuc“ and not the Maghrib. His answer was: “I use the word Amur N Akuc and not the word Maghrib because Maghrib is the Arabic word for the place where the sun sets. If I use the word Maghrib it will seem as if I am in the east. I am in my own country. When I say Maghrib, my reference is abroad and my landmark is the Middle East, while I am in my own country. That is uprooting, we are in Amur N Akuc which means the land of God. That is the original name of Morocco. But when we use the word Maghrib, we suggest that we are part of the East and that we are not independent”.

Mohamed Jalloul and Nasser Zefzafi

Mohamed Jalloul (1971) is a Riffian teacher, human rights activist and trade unionist. He was imprisoned for 5 years for his participation in the February 20 movement in 2012. Shortly after his release, he was re-arrested on 26 May 2017, three days before his fellow fighter Nasser Zefzafi was arrested for his participation in the Riffian people’s movement too. He is the father of three children. His underage daughter Houda had to make a statement to the police after she protested against the kidnapping of her father.

Mohamed Jalloul together with his daughter during a demonstration in the Rif

In June 2018, Mohamed Jalloul was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in a sham trial. On appeal in April 2019, the sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment was maintained.

Source:https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/gewetensgevangene-mohamed-jalloul-cf21c511acfe

Translated by Najat M.

University top 1000

Succes or failure starts at the beginning

Since 2003 there is an annual academic ranking of the top 1000 universities around the world. The ranking of 2019 has been published and shows a hard reality!

Not 1 Moroccan university made it to the top 1000. Meanwhile, the sons of the elite all go abroad for their education. France a country that is the most favorit among the Moroccan elite has 79 universities in the top 1000.

Of the 20 African universities that made it to the top 1000, 12 are South African, 6 are Egyptian, 1 is Nigerian and 1 is Tunesian.

Source: http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU-Statistics-2019.html

Prisoner dies after 50 days of hunger strike

On the day of the sacrificial feast, a prisoner in the hospital in Larache died as a result of a hunger strike that lasted 50 days, said Achkayen.

The prisoner was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for trafficking in hard drugs. The victim insisted that he was innocent, demanded the reopening of the investigation and a confrontation with the person who accused him.However, the victim’s demand was not met.

When his body collapsed as a result of the hunger strike, he was taken to the hospital in Larache where he died.

The legal system in Morocco is corrupt and many innocent people are being put and kept in prison. The EU ‘grants’ millions of euros a year to the Moroccan regime to ‘improve’ the judicial system. King Mohamed VI is also the president of the ‘High Judicial Council’, and the Moroccan constitution also calls him the ‘guarantee of the independence of the judiciary’.

http://arifnews.com/news/gevangene-overlijdt-na-50-dagen-hongerstaking/

The Rifian Congress in Catalunya

Rifian Congress in Catalunya 27/07/2019. Facebook/Mohamed Awariach

The history of the Rif is a history of struggle and resistance. the Rif is a mountainous region in North Africa, located on the border with Spain. There they have their own history and language that distinguishes them from the rest of the territory. In the twenties of the last century, during the Rif War, a self-proclaimed independent republic was proclaimed until a Franco-Spanish military intervention dissolved. Since then, many people have continued to fight and resist oppression and paternalism. Some of them had to fight into exile and further outside the borders of their country.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Itardmqw54

First World Congress
The first Rif World Congress was held in Figueres last weekend. The Casal Rifeny de Figueres invited to this event. The intention is for this to take place annually in different cities “in order to create synergies and exchange experiences”, comments a participant of the congress from Sant Feliu de Guíxols.

The international meeting began on Friday in La Cate with the reception of more than fifty Rifians from different parts of Europe to constitute the Congress. The next day a political conference was held by Natàlia Sànchez, member of the CUP in Parliament. Joan Plana, Deputy Mayor of the City Council of Roses; Karim Baraka, intellectual and philosopher from Germany; Mohamed Dabouz, President of the Izmulen pour les Droits At Mzab Association, and Yella Houha, well-known Shawyia activist, came from France; and Chekebkeb Hammou, a brother-in-law of Kamal Dine Fakhar, an Amazigh activist who died a few weeks ago during his hunger strike; and from Belgium, Musa Dunat, spokesman for the National Assembly of Rif (NAR), was present. Dozens took part in the ceremony, which included various musical performances and a play by Tarik Izm on the torture of political prisoners. The day ended with a tribute to the writer Chacha, who died in 2016.

https://youtu.be/jEEBpB_Wf5A

Two equal fights
During the ceremony, the similarity of the fights between the people of the Rif and Catalonia was addressed. Sanchez showed solidarity with “the struggle for self-determination” and additionally condemned the oppression and imprisonment of activists by the Moroccan state and demanded freedom for all political Rif prisoners. The deputy reflected on the tradition of “looking to Europe, although we should look to the south, we have more in common with the Mediterranean neighbour”.
The congress ended on Sunday with a demonstration in Barcelona in which, according to the organisation, three thousand people took part

https://youtu.be/7ofY4O5KmPA

Source: Adra Ghadu ; Emporda ; Rif time DE

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