A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Guess Which Country has the Most Amazigh Cabinet Members?

This blog has frequently noted the growing identity movement among North Africa's Amazigh (plural Imazighen) or "Berber" peoples, especially with the revolutions in Tunisia and Libya. And of course Algeria and Morocco have large and influential Amazigh populations. So which government has the most Imazighen in the Cabinet?
Apparently, as of now, France:

UPDATE: But See the comments, below.


xoussef said...

I think that's a fallacy. I can think of seven ministers of Amazigh background in the current Moroccan government off hand: Akhennouch, Kayouh, Baha, Laenser, El Othmani, Ouzzine, El Guerrouj and I am sure there are others as I am not particularly familiar with politicians biographies.

Michael Collins Dunn said...

Thanks. I've added a note to see the comments.

themoornextdoor said...

I think that's bogus as well; not just because there are probably more than 3 ministers of Berber background in Algeria now and because if you go by previous governments and by people in top military positions it's actually the case that numerically speaking "Amazigh" (especially Kabyles) are probably overrepresented not under represented. Arguably the most powerful people in the government now are Kabyles (the head of the intelligence services, Gen Mohamed Mediene is a Kabyle) and the current prime minister (Ahmed Ouyahia) is also a Kabyle; there are Berber heads of the military regions and so on.

In sheer numerical terms the idea that Amazigh are underrepresented in the Algerian government is simply not true; it is even more true in the foreign ministry, state oil company (SONATRACH) and military, the three most important national institutions. It's more arguable that the whole body politic is probably under represented in terms of what people see as "legitimate" representatives of their points of view. But I just the whole premise of this line of thinking about Amazigh representation is problematic.

ilfdinar said...

being amazigh is not a separate identity. the kabayles(the region) are next to algiers so naturally if you live in the capital your more likely to become a part of the government. some cities have more politicians then most and so on