In case you are wondering what the Algerian Kabyls have to do with this weblog the answer is that the Kabyls, like the Jews, are engaged in a parallel struggle for human and political rights. Nowhere is the affinity between these indigenous non-Arab groups clearer than in a talk given on 27 May at the French National Assembly by Ferhat Mehenni.
Ferhat Mehenni is a well-known singer in France and a spokesman for the movement for Kabyl autonomy. A year ago, his 19-year old son was stabbed to death in a Paris street by an Islamist who had mistaken him for Ferhat. The killer is still at large.
According to Ferhat Mehenni, a sector of Algerian and especially Kabyl society refuses to be taken in by the all-pervasive Jew-hatred put out daily by the Algerian media. This Jew-hatred is the instrument for a kind of political and intellectual state terrorism which it is very dangerous to oppose. Oppressed in the name of Arabo-islamism, the Kabyls have been known to try and draw international (and Israel's) sympathy for their cause by expressing support for the Jewish state.
In December 2001 Mehenni himself witnessed a demonstration in the Kabyl town of Tizi-Ouzou against the arrest of a few Kabyl activists. Some young demonstrators being filmed in front of the town hospital were shouting as one voice:"Djich, chaab, maa-ka Sharon!" - "the army and the people are with you, Sharon!"
A daring move in an 'Arab' country. If Israel is a useful scapegoat for the Arab masses, it is also an excellent Trojan Horse for legitimising Arab dictatorships. Israel is associated with the Kabyls in order to legitimise their repression and prevent their emancipation. The average Algerian now sees the Kabyls as the new Jews and Kabylia as another Israel. Mehenni's article (in French)