Because of the low economic productivity of Berber country, social inequities, and the paradoxes of colonialism, emigration has been a major phenomenon in Berber life. During French and Spanish colonialism, there was internal and external emigration by Berbers to major internal towns and cities and to Europe, especially Spain and France. There were several thousand Algerians (including Kabyles) working in France before World War I, and their numbers, as well as those of other North Africans, increased during and after the war. In addition to providing soldiers, France, for instance, imported several thousand Algerians to replace French workers sent to the war lines. From 1950s to the 1970s, thousands of Berbers emigrated to Belgium, France, Holland, and Germany to provide labor for the reconstruction of western Europe after World War II. There they constitute vibrant migrant communities and have since provided the balance of payment of their sending countries with massive remittances to keep them afloat.
   The emigrant second generation (called Beurs in France), with its Berber dimension, has been a cultural and political force in many European countries. As cultural brokers between Europe and Berber country, they are very active in advocating better living conditions for emigrants in host countries and have been very critical of the sentiments and attitudes of North African and sub-Saharan governments toward Berber culture and language and the treatment of Tuareg refugees. The second generation has also been very successful in using mobile technology, especially the Internet, to promote Berber transnational issues and to forge a sense of global community among Berbers. Working in democratic Europe, they have been instrumental in creating the World Amazigh Congress and in experimenting with Berber writing and music, resulting in a syncretic and powerful presence of all that is Berber on a world stage.
   See also Mozabites; Sous.

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


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