Azayku Sidqi Ali

   He was a poet and a professor of history at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat. Azayku was born in the village of Tafingult, south of Tizi n'Test, in Taroudant Province. Although he came from a modest family, he managed to get through the French and Moroccan school system and to earn an advanced graduate degree in history and languages from the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes in France. He was also a researcher the Institut Royal pour la Culture Amazigh (IRCAM) as well as a member of its governing board.
   From 1969 to 1970, while he was teaching history at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat, he was an active member of the Association Marocaine de las Recherche et de l'Echange Culturel (AMREC), and he sought to highlight Berber issues. At this time, he was instrumental in founding Arraten (Writings), one of the first journals devoted to Berber culture and language. In 1981, he and Mohamed Chafik established the Amazigh cultural association dedicated to revising North African historiography and providing a place for Berber culture and issues long suppressed by Arabist views of history. He also organized a conference called Berber Civilization.
   Subsequently, in 1981, he published an article titled "fi sabili mafhumin haqiqi lithaqafatina al-wataniya" (Toward a Real Understanding of our National Culture), in which he argued that unless the government of Morocco took its Berber identity and culture seriously, its future was bound to have severe consequences. It goes without saying that the content and tone of this piece angered the authorities, who charged the author with undermining the security of the state, while Arab nationalist voices deemed the revisionist notion of Moroccan culture and identity and that of North Africa as subversive and irresponsible. This article led to the imprisonment of Azayku for one year.
   Azayku wrote a series of articles on Berber culture and language and was the author of several books on history and poetry. He authored Histoire du Maroc ou les interpretations possibles (History of Morocco or Other Possible Interpretations), which appeared in alislam wa al-amazigh (Islam and Berbers) and Namadij min asma' al a`laam al-jughrafiyah wa al-bachariyah al- maghribiyah (Examples of Moroccan Onomastics) in 2001. In 1993, he edited Rihlat al-wafid fi akhbar hijrat al-walid fi hadihi al-ajbal bi idn al-wahid (Travel Account of Tasaft's Marabout in the High Atlas) written by Abdullah Ben al-Hajj Brahim Atsafti. His poetry includes Timitar (Signs) (1989) and Izmoulen (Scars) (1995).

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

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  • HISTORY bibliography — General ■ Abun Nasr, Jamil M. History of the Maghrib. 2nd rev. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975. ■ Ajayi, J. F. A, and Michael Crowder. History of West Africa. 2 vols. London: Longman Group, 1971, 1974. ■ Akkache, A. Tacfarinas.… …   Historical dictionary of the berbers (Imazighen)

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