CAIRO – 4 February 2019: The fourth edition of Tamosny Conference was launched on Saturday at Yefren city, northwestern Libya, to create a partnership between educational institutions and civil society organizations in Amazigh regions.
The conference discussed the challenges facing Tamazight, the Amazigh language, in the educational system and reviewed Amazigh curricula at schools in Amazigh regions.
The fourth edition also reviewed the cultural and artistic programs set to be organized this year, such as the Amazigh Theater Festival in Zuwara, a Libyan coastal town, and the Amazigh Calligraphy Competition.
In Libya, the Amazigh live mainly in Zuwara, a town in the Nafusa Mountains, a mountain range in the western Tripolitania region of northwestern Libya, in the country’s far south-west and areas around Ghadames, a town at the Tripolitania region in northwestern Libya.
Under Muammer Gaddafi’s regime, they were greatly suppressed as they were considered a threat to the regime’s ideology, which aimed to unify all Libyans under an Arab identity. Therefore, the language’s minority group of Berbers was banned, and the Berbers began to be persecuted.
The Amazigh language and script, Tamazight, which is distinct from Arabic, was officially forbidden at schools. Even giving children Amazigh names was forbidden.
Gaddafi also prevented them from singing traditional Amazigh songs, and those attempting to promote Amazigh culture, heritage and rights were persecuted, imprisoned and even killed.
With Gaddafi now gone, Berbers began to revive their culture, and Tamazight classes started at schools in 2013.