Looking back in time – Memories from my School days


…in the primary school of Isli n Umyis (1), not far than 1970’s, at the age of six, when I went to school for the first time.
Before then, I never met any Arabic-speaking people. The rare ones, appearing in the village were the beggars, whom, as was the custom, were given dried figs, olive oil or any other kind of food.

The only words I heard from those poor creatures, were “Taam Rabi ya lmumnin”, which, in Arabic, means “Charity in God’s name”.

It is many years later that I knew the meaning of those words.

Now, back to my first school days:

Instead of finding my people, teaching my language, I, surprisingly, found weird persons, with weird features and behaviors, speaking a weird language
The very first language I was taught at school was…Arabic. Not my language.

Instead of developing the knowledge I acquired that far in my own language, I was obliged to learn a completely new language from scratch.

My language was put aside and stagnated.

It was just bizarre…the Arabic teachers have been sent from countries like Egypt and Syria. They had no pedagogic background, nor any knowledge about North Africa’s populations.
How could those guys teach me and my fellows our moral and cultural values, if they do not even know our language?

But they had another mission…
We were taught the history of Arabs, their religion and their civilization.
On top of that, they were telling us:” you are Arabs and Muslims”.
They were beating us, obliging us to learn by heart, many verses of the Islamic religion.

I, especially, cannot forget those winter days, when, we were already freezing, and then getting hit on the tip of the fingers with hard rods…My comrade was abruptly lifted in the air and smashed many times against the blackboard.

Yes, those were the settled punishments by these foreigners.

Something was going wrong:
1. How come that nobody spoke Arabic in the villages, if we were Arabs?

2. Everybody in the village and all other villages spoke “Taqvaylit” (2).

3. To my knowledge, at that time, only sheep-merchants were traveling to the
“Timura b waaraven” (In Kabyle, means: the Arabic countries).

{{Obviously, that could only mean that our villages were a non-Arab land.}}

To be continued…


  1. Nice article;

    I can recognize myself in draa el mizan, where all teachers were from palestine, saying that the algerian revolution is the same like palestine, and we must fight for palestine, because we are bothers…

  2. Thanks for sharing all those memories ..
    actually we all have been taught by strangers that had the mission to islamize the kabyles and make us forget about our ancestory Freedom values.
    i do remember when i was six the same story happened .for me i was like in another world , i was forced to learn a foreign language and was taught values that are not similar even the opposite to the ones i received from my parents and my family .i was forced to learn how to pray Allah , they tried to shape our brains so that we can hate our ancestors .we were taught the history of Arabs invasions and wars (the arabs ve never known any peaceful era in the history ) and i still remember the rediculous sentence that our relegion teachers keep repeating all the times.(despite the small number of muslim soldiers by the help of Allah they won all the wars against infidels..)thats what they taught us in schools . how to hate …well thats a lot to tell about those rediculous things ..w/out going into more details …by the way Algerian schools are still shaping the inocent brains till the present ….Long live Kabylia …

  3. Been there and saw it all. Now why is this site carrying muslim and arab mariage services ???? Are you so eager to collect money from these services ? I ‘ll pass if I were the owner of this site. Same goes to kabyle.com and all the other sites on kabyle culture.

  4. I am an Arab and I’ve been through in the same experience
    What is the thing that makes you special???
    You are not the only ones who suffer
    All Algerians suffer
    We are on the same boat
    Do not sink the boat just be smart

    • to Yacine,
      You did not get the message, it seems. I am angry at the government which messed up everything.
      The difference between you and me (What is making me special as you put it): You are an Arab, so learning Arabic as your language is fine. However, I am a Kabyle, Arabic is not my language, and I’d have preferred to learn more my own language. Arabic as a foreign language would not have been a problem. The government was forcing us to be Arabs.

      See the difference between us? while you were learning your language, I was forced to learn your language and my own language was forbidden. Does that make sense, now?

      Would you like it to be taught Chinese at the age of 6 and be forced to accept it as your own language, while you know yours is Arabic?
      So, we are not on the same boat.

      Furthermore, while we Kabyles were getting massacred by the Algerian army (because we have always been trying to defend ALL Algerians), did any other region of Algeria move the small finger to support us? No!
      See? again, not the same boat! And one more thing, I cannot be forced into a belief I don’t believe in.


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