Zayd Ou Hmad
(1880s-1936)
   Zayd was a member of the Aït Marghad tribe, which belongs to the Aït Yaflman confederation. He also went by the nickname of Oumkhddash in reference to his clan affiliation, Aït Amkhddash. He was born in the village of Igudman, a community in the Imdghas region of the Upper Ghris valley. Today, it is part of the Aït Hani administrative cercle in the Errachidia Province. The area is located in the heart of the eastern High Atlas Mountains, and it is known for its fierce resistance against the French in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
   As a youth, Zayd Ou Hmad witnessed the French invasion of his homeland and the imposition of the Glawi authority on parts of Dades, Tudgha, Farkla, and Ghris territories. The pacification by the French of the High Atlas and Jbel Saghro tribes was very long and hard and was accomplished only after several savage battles. In 1933, Zayd ou Hmad lost his wife during a French air bombardment of the Imdghas dissident villages. From 1934 to 1936, Zayd Ou Hmad, along with a fellow tribesman, Moha ou Hammou, led a jihad campaign against the French and their Muslim collaborators in the greater eastern High Atlas Mountains. During this time, he was the symbol of colonial resistance in the region, although he resorted to "banditry of honor" to sustain his efforts. Zayd ou Hmad and his resistance fighters tormented the French army and killed two officers, two noncommissioned officers, five legionnaires, 23 auxiliaries (or goumiers), and above all dealt French prestige and morale a painful blow. On 5 March 1936, Zayd Ou Hmad and his fellow fighters were killed in Tadafalt, an Aït Atta village a few kilometers south of Tinghir.
   Afterward, the French authorities instituted a campaign of reprisals against villages and individuals thought to have assisted Zayd ou Hmad's struggle. Many villages were collectively punished, and several families and individuals were made destitute and inhumanly exterminated as in the cruel punishment of Sidi `Aqqa of Aghbalu nKardous (who was crucified and run over by a car) and the imprisonment and destitution (with forced labor) of the Aït Amkhaddash family and the Aït Atta notables of the Msemrir village in the Dades valley.

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”