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Lounes Matoub remains a symbol of Kabyle resistance

Lounes Matoub, Kabyle poet, Kabyle, Algeria, L’Ironie du destin, Rebelle, Prix Mémoire des mains,Madame Danielle Mitterrand, Paris, Libertés Foundation, SCIJ, Prize for Freedom of Expression, Tahar Djaout Prize, UNESCO, Nourredine Abba Foundation, 

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Lounes Matoub remains a symbol of Kabyle resistance

Twenty-three years later, of the assassination of Lounes Matoub, which still remains a mystery, where only the Algerian regime knows the truth, despite this, its political and poetic heritage retains all its subversive power, from generation to generation, and the hope of a whole Kabyle people to defend their identity, their culture and their freedom. Writes Rabah Arkam

Lounes Matoub was born on January 24, 1956 in the village of Taourirt Moussa in Kabylia, is a musician, singer-songwriter and Kabyle poet. Militant of the Amazigh identity cause, he made his contribution to the claim and popularization of Amazigh culture and to the struggle for democracy and secularism in Algeria. He is recognized as a great figure of Kabyle song throughout Amazigh territory.

Through his music, he was the spokesperson for the Berber cause, for the defense of the Amazigh language, in constant opposition to the Algerian government, against the Islamist and cultural influence of the Middle East. His songs politicize (Tamazight) and cover a wide variety of subjects, including: the Berber cause, democracy, freedom, religion, love, exile, memory, history, peace and Human Rights. His style was direct and confrontational.

During the riots of October 1988, Matoub was shot dead by a gendarme (Algerian military). He was hospitalized for two years. In 1989 with his album “L’Ironie du destin” describes his long recovery. And on September 25, 1994, he was kidnapped by the Islamists and sentenced to death. He was released following a large public demonstration in Kabylia during which the Kabyle people threatened “a war” against the Islamists.

After having published in 1994, his autobiography entitled Rebelle (Paris: Stock, 1995), on December 6, 1994, Matoub received the Prix Mémoire des mains from Madame Danielle Mitterrand, President of the France Libertés Foundation in Paris, and on March 22 1995, the journalist organization SCIJ (Canada) awarded him the Prize for Freedom of Expression, then on December 19, 1995, he received the Tahar Djaout Prize from the Nourredine Abba Foundation at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The prize is named after an Algerian writer murdered by Islamists in 1993.

The bad news of the epidemic spread throughout Kabylia on June 25, 1998, after his assassination, by armed mens, killing Matoub, where thousands of angry mourners gathered around the hospital where his body was transported. The crowd shouted “Pouvoir Assassin” (“Government Assassins”). A week of violent riots followed his death.

Twenty-three years later, of his assassination which still remains a mystery, where only the Algerian regime knows the truth, despite this, its political and poetic heritage retains all its subversive power, from generation to generation, and the hope of a whole Kabyle people to defend their identity, their culture and their freedom.

Rabah Arkam, born in Kabylie (Algeria), engineer by profession, activist for the Amazigh (Berber) cause and identity in Algeria and North Africa, is a human rights activist, fights for democracy and secularism in Algeria in a federal state, he is the author of several articles.

Republished under content sharing arrangement with Pressenza

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