Two weeks ago I had one of the best experiences of my life as I could spend one night in Zagora desert, in Morocco.
It was then where I met some of the most interesting cultures I had ever seen: The Berber.
North African countries (like Morocco and Algeria) are in a racial and cultural meaning, not only Arab nations, but Berber as well.
Politically, the Arab society has dominated North African nations for decades and centuries, and in some moments of history they tried as well eradicating Berber’s own language.
Berbers call themselves some variant of the word Imazighen that means "free people", and originally they come from North Africa’s Nile Valley.
"Nomadic Berber from Morocco"
Picture taken from sudanforum.net
One of the things I will always remember about this experience was talking to Berber people who lived in a small village in the desert. So many interesting stories they wanted to share, and I had the opportunity to listen. Another interesting fact was comparing the lifestyle they have (very different from cities like Marrakesh or Rabat). Berber people will always show and commit to the importance of knowing your way in life, as well as the strong bond they have inside their own communities.
Mohammed, a 20-year-old nomad, would always mention proudly his heritage. “I am a Berber. In Morocco we have two cultures, but the main difference is the language as our religion and traditions are not so different from the Arabs”, he told me one night. And in fact, he was not the only person who mentioned it.
Picture taken from: blog.travel-exploration.com
“We are all Moroccan” mentioned Abdul, another Berber who works in Marrakesh and works in the field of tourism. “We might have different roots, but we all manage to live in harmony, it does not matter where do we come from as long as there is respect”.
Morocco is a great example of how two cultures can live integrated in one society, without wanting to be better than the other. Tolerance and understanding are the keys for peace in developing world’s societies.
(Andrea Arzaba, July 2010)