Amazigh Renaissance – Yennayer 2960, Kabylia’s rebirth

Yennayer 1, 2950 marks the Amazigh new year. The origin of Yennayer refer to the first mention of the Amazigh people in historical records: the founding by Amazigh Pharaoh Sheshonq I of the 22nd pharaonic dynasty in 950 BC, followed by the 23rd and 24th Amazigh pharaonic dynasties, over 200 years (950 BC-712 BC) of Amazigh rule in ancient Egypt. According to ancient Egyptian historian, Manetho (3rd century BC) and archaeological records, the Amazigh pharaonic dynasties brought back stability to Egypt by reunifying it and defending it against foreign enemies from the East.

In summary, Yennayer 2950 commemorates the first mention of the Amazigh people in history. Significantly, it refers to Imazighen as the defenders, promoters, and contributors to the glorious Egyptian civilization.

History shows that this was just the beginning of Imazighen’s numerous contributions to world civilization. Following the betrayal of their treaties with Imazighen, the Romans overcame the heroic resistance of Amazigh King Yugurthen, and they imposed a colonial rule denying basic human rights to Imazighen, including education, by adopting a classic method of divide and conquer. In spite of this, Imazighen contributed major thinkers such as Apulee, Tertulien, Saint Cyprian, and Saint Augustine. At a time when Christianity faced repression and challenges from the decadent pagan Roman emperors, Imazighen provided the rational and philosophical foundations of modern day Christianity. They also upheld the true practical significance of Christianity, as an ideology of liberation by the heroic struggle of the donatists against the Roman oppressors and their pseudo Christian allies.

Imazighen as perpetual torch bearers of world civilization brought to glorious heights Islamic civilization in Tamazgha and Andalusia. They made major contributions to the sciences, philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, mysticism, and art. They contributed major thinkers and scientists such as Ibn Khaldun, the founder of modern scientific history and sociology, and Ibn Rushd (Averroes), doctor, astronomer, jurist, and philosopher who had a major influence on the development of western through and civilization. They taught their European students–among whom is included such as Francis Bacon–the sciences, philosophy, and arts, and introduced the scientific method, laying the foundations of the European renaissance.

In his « History of the Berbers », Ibn Khaldun wrote wrote:

« Let’s mention a number of man’s virtues which became a second nature for the Berbers:
– their zeal to acquire praiseworthy qualities, the nobility of their soul which brought them to the first ranks among nations,

– the actions by which they deserved the praise of the universe,

– their bravery and promptness to defend their hosts and clients,

– keeping their promises,

– engagements, and treaties,

– patience in adversity,

– firmness in great afflictions,

– meekness of character,

-empathy in others’ weaknesses,

– forgiveness,

– generosity towards the unhappy and poor,

– respect to the elders and devout, industry,

– hospitality, charity, magnanimity, hatred for oppression displayed against the empires which threatened them…,

– here is, for the Berbers, a number of virtues they inherited from their ancestors and whose presentation, put in writing, could have served as an

example to future nations.

Imazighen then went through a period of decline, facing numerous invasion attempts from the Arabs, Spaniards, culminating with the French invasion in 1830. Through a ruthless and systematic suppression of Amazigh social structures, the regimes post-colonization of most of Tamazgha attempted more than any other invader before to divide Imazighen and destroy their culture and personality. Particularly in Algeria, where what France failed to achieve in more than a century, was done by the regimes that followed it.

Celebrating Yennayer, once again, is celebrating 2960 years of a glorious history. Amongst all the heirs of this great civilization, Kabyles notably set themselves apart. Following the teachings of Mouloud Mammeri, they understand and uphold the wisdom and customs left for them, which enlightens their path toward the renaissance once more, of Tamazight civilization.

The renaissance of Tamazgha requires the unity of all Imazighen, reclaiming their freedom one by one. The call which 1st issued from the peaks of the highlands and the valleys of Kabylia, has finally received an echoe from Siwa to the Canary Islands. Today each in his homeland understands what made them strong but also what led to the colonization of our motherland. The renewal call is to remember once again, and act on those lessons learnt from History, and never make the same mistakes again.

{{Ibn Khaldun wrote:}}
{The past and the future resemble each other like two drops of water…If we do not evaluate the past by what we have under our eyes, if we do not compare the past with the present, we can scarcely avoid escaping and straying away from the path of truth.}

The Kabyle poet Ben Mohamed says:
Kul agdud ihwaj tilleli
Kul tilleli t hwaj lharma
Kul lharma t hwaj tadukli
Kul tadukli t hwaj lfhama

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Wow, interesting !

    I didn’t know that there was so much resemblance between celebrations amongst the People along the Atlantic Coast from north Africa to Norway – Particularly in the winter. So it seems that the Old old Atlantean Culture is not a myth after all. There was evolution in the fertile crescent along the nile, and there was advanced civilization on the Atlantic.

    Phil, Irish-American

    New Mexico

    Happy new year !

  2. nice article. i really liked and even enjoyed the way you took to make an overview of yennayer or new year berber. thanks for the time you cut from your busy days to accomplish everything in a record time.
    happy new year for everyone in the world in general , Kabyle population in particular
    ps: For readers: Where you see 2950, is just an involuntary misstake, kaz instead, you should read 2960


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