Rif Revolt

   After Moroccan independence, especially from 1957 to 1959, Rifian Berbers rose up to protest postindependence government policies of marginalization and neglect of northern Morocco. The revolts were ignited by the closure of the Algerian border to Rifian migration, leading to total unemployment and the lack of political representation at the level of the Moroccan government. In the midst of this discontent and disenchantment with the exclusionist attitudes of the Istiqlal (independence) Party (a nationalist and Arabist party) toward all things considered Berber, a disgruntled member of the Aïth Waryaghar and head of the local Parti Démocratique pour l'Indépendence (PDI), Muhammad nj-Hajj Sillam n-Muh Amzzyan, emerged to present the grievances of the Rifian Berbers to the Rabat government. On 11 November 1958, Amzzyan and two other members of the Aïth Waryaghar, Abd Sadaq Sharrat Khattabi and Abdelkarim al-Khattabi's son Rachid, submitted an 18-point program for the Rif to King Mohammed V. This program addressed many concerns of the Rifian population, ranging from the evacuation of foreign troops from Morocco and the return of al-Khattabi Abdelkarim to Morocco to the creation of jobs and political representation to tax reductions and rapid Arabization of education for all Moroccans.
   However, by the time this program had been presented to the king, the Rif revolt had already been under way for almost three weeks. On 25 October 1958, the Ben Hadifa offices of the Istiqlal Party as well as those of Imzuren were stormed, and government soldiers were overpowered. It was at this point that the uprising took the form of a real revolt, reminding the authorities of Abdelkarim al-Khattabi's earlier independence movement. To put down the Rifian revolt, the neophyte Royal Army, under the leadership of then Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, dealt the Aïth Waryaghar a cruel punishment. By the end of January 1959, the Aïth Waryaghar were brutally repressed, and they came down from the mountains strongholds with resentment just as their fathers and grandfathers had done in the 1920s when Abdelkarim al-Khattabi surrendered to the combined colonial forces of France and Spain. The brutal repression of the Rif's revolt may suggest the reasons for Abdelkarim al-Khattabi's refusal to return to Morocco after independence. After the defeat of the Aïth Waryaghar, the Rif was subjected to military rule for a few years, and perhaps the most ruinous legacy of this uprising was the complete official neglect and marginalization of the area of insurrection by Moroccan authorities over the past five decades, resulting in its underdevelopment and pressing its population to emigrate to Europe.

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

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