Identity Politics


Identity has always been in politics, until recent times, when began reveal its undergrounds. It is said that, it is how states and dictators were born. The need to dominate is the thirst to satisfy, so focusing one’s argument on identity rather than value is a certain way to gain rally of those who identify with the speaker. Almost every nation has known a period when its leaders got power with this device at 1st, and not long before there true faces one they felt strong enough to execute their true agenda. However, in recent times, many nations understood the game, and in some, particularly the United States of America, it is a sure game to loose. Having experienced Liberty for centuries now, the American People do not trust such politics, whereas, it seems to be a reborn again fashion in France, which has just engaged itself in a risky adventure. While the aim is at sorting through its population, and isolate the immigrant, the result may be far far beyond expectation. Not everyone is a Franc in France, and the true makeup of the France may be result in the questioning of the republic itself.

Few laps away on the other side of the mediteranean, Algeria is the place where every thing wrong France does, ends up finding home, identity politics is one of them. Well, it is how the FLN was able to reach people, helped of course with the brutality of the French. Morever, the destiny of post-independance Algeria was in a way sealed, in that many elements of that identity strategy were introduced, and then amplified before they become more than a dogma. A new Identity was improvized, the Arabian one. To justify it to a people who spoke but its form of Amazigh, such as Kabyle or Chawi, and French, the sauce rligion was added to it. That is, being a Moslim means being an Arab, because that was the definite line of distinction between north Africans and the Europeans. It is how the fierce objection to the French occupation saw itself becoming almost a propulsion of the AraboIslamism. But everyone knew that it was just a tactic, one which lasted 7 years. Almost half a century later, Algeria couldn’t decontaminate itself. The panarabist camp of the Algerian resistance, helped with Egypt won the game of power, through a combination of manipulation and of course political assassinations. Almost all of the top leaders of the revolution who happen to be Kabylians ended up assassiniated, and the top military commanders confiscating the independence and the Democratic Algerian the People hoped for. An internal war opposing the Federalist Kabylian camp and the panarabist, immediately after the proclamation of independence during one year. But while the armed conflict stopped in 1963, the ideological war continued, it too using Identity politics. This time, its use is to divide the country, in order to eliminate any thought of Federalism, or democracy. It immediately imported myriads of Egyptian teachers chosen the locally unwanted muslim brotherhood movement, whereas in Kabylia, French Catholic and Protestant schools were relied upon to continue set an example of liberty of thought, tolerance, and separation of State and religion. Meanwhile, everything in the improvised constitution had basis in the decision that the State had a religion, which is Islam. Progressively, Kabylians were pushed away from Government. The net effect is the variation in self-identification of the Algerian People, where Kabylians identify as Kabylians, north Africans, and Africans, whereas the rest already prepared in schools which tought Arabic only with aheavy civics (Coran) curriculum, simply adopted the Arab Identity, and the Kabylians, the others, the danger! What started to be power thirst, and greed for the newly discovered oil fields, became a prelude to an ethno-genocide/
Not surprizingly, 47 years later, Algeria is once again at a cross-roads, with the non-Kabylians rediscovering that they are not perceived or accepted as Arabs by no other than the Arabs themselves, amongst them the Egyptians to lead the way. The visit of the matter was triggered by a sport race between the two national teams for representation at the world cup. The Algerian team and fans found themselves pray to vilence, insults and humiliation in Egypt. It came as a surprize when Algerians who assertively portray themselves as proud Arabs to the Kabylians and Europeans, attempt to reconcile their their beliefs and their reality. The question of whether Arabs really conquered North Africa is now a national topic, which we will continue exploring on a regular basis. Meanwhile, the other, the brother enemy, the Kabylian has moved to the next stage, that of taking its destiny in its hands through the exercise of a legal route, that of a large autonomy. For the skeptic the combination of the awakening to a new identity reality mixed with an autonomy movement can be a deadly cocktail, but for the hopeful, it is a blessing, in that a national reconciliation won’t be complete until those try to re-acquire a genuine identity, will have to to be able to do so, I.e be free to do so. A successful governance of an Autonomous region, may well be the example they will need to aspire to when the shock of self-discovery passes. We shall return to the subject, and review the historical facts on which such an acceptable national identity would be acceptable for all.


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