Posts Tagged With: Libyan Revolution

Libyan Tuaregs reiterate belonging to Libya, address post-revolution grievances to righting the wrong

Tuaregs and Tebus are indigenous peoples

Of the tribes of Libo and Numidia

They are the remnants of the Garamantian civilization

In what Herodote related in the history of mankind

And also Ibn Khaldun in scientific sources

We are 10,000 years (of history)

Before the birth of the African Continent

Whose founder is Africus and he is one of us

We speak Tifinagh, our official language

Engraved in the Mountains of Tibesti, Acacus and Nafusa

Before the Quran, the Sunna (of Prophet Muhammad) and the Islamic Consquest (of North Africa)

Tuaregs and Tebus are historical tribes

They never came from Iraq or Saudi Arabia

From the history of Libyan people

They have been denided citizenship in the past and continue to be so

We never knew the cause, they say they are legal ones

We have no foreign agenda

Neither from the Vatican, nor from the Qatari State

Not from a prince or a king or even a foreign ministry

And this is a letter to the Libyan Government

Yes for cohabitation, no to racism

So do not force dictatorship on us

If that happens, we will get our freedom

In the past, we were subject to collective ethnic cleansing

Denial and removal of our existence and identity

From the Qumam criminal groups

Do not play with fire

I am warning you for real

We have an expansion of a geographical map

From Azawad Mountains to proud Darfur

And from the Canaries Islands to Egyptian Siwa Oasis

We have never and will never recognize(d) colonial borders

We are who we are

We are the sons of Yusuf Ibn Tashfeen and Kusaila our master

The grandsons of Tenhenan and her sister Dahiya

And Kausen, who fought the French

And emancipated slaves from bondage

Betrayed, he was stabbed by treacherous hands

Tuaregs and Tebus are historical tribes

They never came from Iraq or Saudi Arabia

And headed the fight of the Amazigh nation

If you are an Arab in an Arab state

If you are a Hashimi in a Hashimite state

If you are an Alawite in an Alawite state

If you are an Ansari, go to Saudi Arabia

This is neither a neighbor state, nor a provincial one

Leave and do not come back

Tenere is Amazigh

Your presence here is illegal

In all Divine books

Abdullah Weld Tenhenan, a tall and stout Tuareg young man- his wavy, dark brown hair in poneytail and  wearing a long black leather jacket and black trousers- stands in stark contrast with his fellow Tuaregs, donned in their distinctive  blue outfits and the half-covered face with a blue scarf.

He lives in the southwestern Libyan city of Ubari. Weld Tenhenan recited a poem, which he wrote in both Amazigh and translated in Arabic about the glorious past of the Sahara Desert’s larget ethnic group, the Tuaregs (also known as Imohag or Amazigh/Berber of the Sahara Desert).

Tuaregs nicknamed the Blue Men, in reference to the long blue scarf that men wear covering half of their faces, are scattered along the largest desert in the world and are present in Libya, Niger, Algeria, Mauritania and Mali.

They live in nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyles, Tuaregs played a complex role during the Gaddafi regime, who used some of them as his allies by giving them financial incentives, titles and citizenship. He even promised them to create their own state.

During the Libyan Revolution, many Tuaregs fought with Gaddafi, in Ghadames near the Tunisian-Algerian border, in southwestern towns of Sebha, Ubari (where they are present in large numbers) and other southwestern areas.

In Ubari, there are between 5000 and 7000 Tuaregs living in the town. Some Tuaregs live on the soutskirts of the town in run-down dwellings. Some came here since the 1980s,  stated Youssef Ali, a Tebu man from Ubari.

It was during a meeting on 28 January 2013 at the Fort of Ubari- built by the French during the ten or so years of French occupation of Fezzan in the 19th century- that the ice was broken by four Tuareg civil rights activists on the situation of Libyan Tuaregs after the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, with the death of the long-time Libyan dictator.

“We want to right the wrong that claims that we were all with Gaddafi fighting for him. We never hear of Tuareg Thuwars (Arabic for revolutionaries) in Libyan media as they do with other Libyan revolutionaries,” complained Ali, a Tuareg human rights activist from the town of Ubari, in southwestern Libya.

“We fought with our Libyan brothers in Western Libya in Jebel Nefusa area and in the Tunisian-Libyan border and liberated Tripoli,” he stressed.

“Why are our rebels not considered like other Libyan rebels? They got no political positions or rewards. People we elected in the GNC elections were disbarred and now, we have no one to represent us in GNC, “Ali went on complaining.

As for Qaddafi loyalists from the Tuareg community in the south, Ali claimed that they left Libya.

Abdullah Weld Tenhenan confirmed the presence of Tuaregs who committed crimes against Libyans and that he knows some who have their own relatives volunteered in Qaddafi troops. “They told me they are ready to hand them over to the Libyan authorities,” he emphasized.

“I never saw such patriotic people as Tuaregs in the south of Libya. They are guarding the border, while staying in the cold,” he added.

When driving along the Acacus Mountains to the border town with Algeria of Ghat, we came across young Tuareg men in gate posts checking drivers’ identities and searching their cars.

Weld Tenhenan prides himself in bearing a family name of a Tuareg queen Tenhenan (Weld meaning “son of” in Arabic).

“Tuareg society is the most egalitarian nation on earth.  Tuareg women have always enjyed their full rights. We are even more advanced than Switzerland in women’s rights”, he stressed.

Weld Tenhenan went on explaining that Tuareg women are powerful. He deplored that with the coming of Islamists in the Tuareg area in Northern Mali of Azawad, these latter started to annoy Tuareg women and to restict their freedom.

Ali confirmed that marginalization is a real problem. He stated that recently locals staged for a week a sit-in the Libyan oil company, Rixo, (in the area near Ubari), which provides Zawia oil refinery with oil and gas.

He claimed that Libyan government said that it would allocate 1/10 of oil production  to the south of Libya “but nothing of that happened. Besides, we got no compensation like other Libyan rebels,” he regretted.

All Tuareg men -Ali, Taieb and Abdullah- agreed that their community has been marginalized during Qaddafi era and that their identity was fought.

“If you had a weird name, you could not enrol in university, Ben Tenhenan explained.

Like their Tebu counterparts, Libyan Tuaregs claim that they bore the brunt of marginalization. They stressed that they have always been living alongside the Tebus and the Ahali community (of black slave descent) with no problem and that they work together to guard Libyan southwestern border effectively, using their own means, Ali concluded.

Categories: Libya, Libyan Revolution, Tuaregs | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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