Libération des prisonniers d'opinion
The Kabyle Nation Day on June 14, commemorated by the Kabyle diaspora mainly in France and Quebec, sheds light on the complex situation of this indigenous and native people. This day is called in Kabyle “Ass n ughlan aqvayli”.
Despite human rights violations and repression against Kabyles in Algeria, the Algerian regime has just been elected to the United Security Council. At the same time, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was paying an official visit to Russia, the historic ally of the Algerian military junta. Human rights groups have condemned Algeria’s election to the Security Council, pointing out the country’s poor human rights record including restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly, crackdowns on protests, and unjust imprisonment of political dissidents, journalists and activists.
As an indigenous people, Kabyles must avoid getting caught up in the geopolitical conflict. The statement by the President of Kabylie in favor of the “free world” and Ukraine seems misguided: Kabyles should express solidarity with all concerned peoples, Ukrainians, those from Donbass and Russians.
The Kabyle question requires a nuanced, dispassionate and humanitarian approach, beyond ideological stances.
Although the creation of a Kabyle Nation Day is an important and laudable initiative to promote the identity awareness and demands of the Kabyle people, some observers believe that the leaders of MAK in the diaspora are seeking to monopolize the representation of the Kabyle independence movement.
According to this reading, if the concept of a Kabyle Nation Day makes sense to bring Kabyles together and bring their grievances to the international scene, highlighting MAK as the sole embodiment of the Kabyle independence project can be criticized. Other Kabyle independentist movements or political parties do indeed exist, which also claim legitimacy to represent the aspirations of the Kabyle people.
The celebration of a Kabyle Nation Day thus appears as a necessary and judicious initiative, but one that must fit into the framework of a broader rallying of Kabyle political forces in order to move towards a shared and consensual project for the future of Kabylie, rather than serving the interests of a single organization.
A balance must be found between highlighting identity symbols identity symbols that unite – such as this day of commemoration – and taking into account the plurality of views and organizations within the Kabyle independence movement.
The recent renewal of the leadership of Anavad could give new impetus to the Kabyle independance movement, as illustrated by this speech which demonstrates a thoughtful and structured approach.
The speech broadcast on the occasion of Kabyle Nation Day illustrates this evolution: instead of militant identity slogans, the discourse aims to be resolutely unifying and federal, while placing the Kabyle question in its regional and international geopolitical context.
Speech by the Prime Minister of the Provisional Kabyle Government in exile, Hanafi FERHOUH
“Today, June 14, 2023, we celebrate Kabyle Nation Day. This day remains etched in the collective memory of Kabylie. This day clearly delimited the human and geographical borders of Kabylie and symbolized with strength its aspiration to protect its identity and rights. In June 2013, Anavad decreed June 14 as Kabyle Nation Day so that the dead and sacrifices made are never forgotten and also to constantly remind us of what makes us a people.
On this day of commemoration, the difficult context that we are living through, which disrupts habits and relationships, gives even more meaning to the duty of solidarity and courage that should prevail between all Kabyles. We must keep in mind the value of Laanaya, this word refers to the principle of never giving up, for justice and dignity, whatever the difficulty of the task. On this day and every day, we must support our prisoners and their families, support our activists and sympathizers. On this symbolic day I seize the opportunity to express to them, on my behalf and on behalf of the Provisional Kabyle Government, my solidarity, respect and affection.
Kabyle Nation Day is a day of remembrance and fraternity. The path traveled is strewn with sacrifices, violence and injustice. It will only be through mutually provided efforts based on the primacy of the Kabyle language, the freedom of the individual to believe, to express and to associate, and respect for the environment, that our independence process will undoubtedly succeed.
The activists of MAK in Kabylie form and remain the beating heart and guarantors of the survival of the Kabyle people. However in this context, we militants abroad are invested with a sacred duty, that of advancing the project of Kabylie’s independence. The movement has come a long way, whatever is said and done, we are a pioneering people and are the source of our legitimity.
In memory of the victims of 2001, in solidarity with our prisoners and as a testimony to future generations, I invite you dear brothers, dear sisters, dear friends to commemorate wherever you are, this day of the Kabyle Nation.
Have a good Kabyle Nation day!”
Several arguments under international law show that Kabylie meets the criteria to be recognized as a sovereign nation, reviving what it was before the French colonization that deprived the Kabyles of their independence in 1857 and artificially created Algeria.
The Kabyles form an indigenous people with their own culture, language and identity, distinct from the rest of Algeria. They meet the criterion of a population constituting a nation.
Kabylia has a well-defined geographical territory, long inhabited by the Kabyle people, corresponding to the wilayas of Tizi Wezzu (Tizi Ouzou), Vgayet (Bejaia), Tubiret (Bouira) and Vumerdes (Boumerdes). This territory could constitute a future independent Kabyle state.
The majority of Kabyles see themselves as a distinct people, with a common history and culture. They perceive themselves as a distinct nation within Algeria. This national identity sentiment is essential.
Many UN resolutions recognize the right of peoples to self-determination and to create an independent state under certain conditions. Kabylia could meet these conditions and claim the application of this international law.
By virtue of the principle of self-determination of peoples, it is up to the Kabyle people to decide whether they constitute a nation with the right to its own state. The Kabyles could organize a referendum for self-determination, something that Algeria is trying to prevent by all repressive means.
Stéphane MÉRABET ARRAMI, editor of The KABYLE.com website.