Algeria Languages and Culture

Algeria Languages and Culture

This fundamental division into two eternally enemy peoples is complicated by subdivisions. The Sh ā wiyah (Franc. Chaouïa) of the Berber- speaking Aurès differ greatly not only from the great Arab nomads, but also from the Kabbis. The Chaouïa have neither camels nor horses; they do not need it because their nomadism takes place over small distances, from the plains to the nearby mountains. In addition to tents, they have Kabyle villages, which however remain empty and unprotected for three quarters of the year. The characteristic of the Chaouïa village is therefore the municipal warehouse (guelaa, [ qalah ]) fortified so as to be defended by a very small garrison, and in which each family has a locked room, to keep its meager wealth. Another peculiar group is that of the Mzābites, the origin of which dates back to the reign of Tiaret (Tihāret sec. X), founded by Khārigiti heresiarchs (Ibāḍita sect). After the collapse, the last Ibāḍites took refuge in the Sahara, in the oasis of Mzāb, from which their name comes. A millennium of consanguineous marriages and ferocious fidelity to their heresy has made them almost a race apart; at least they have an unyielding hatred of everything outside of them. The oases of Mzāb are only their meeting place, because they, as traders and usurers, are scattered throughout Algeria: an Algerian equivalent of the Armenians, of Parsis or Jews, vanquished who took refuge in their religion and in the cult and sentiment of money. An ethnic quality of Algeria is the scarcity of the indigenous citizen and bourgeois element. With the exception of Tlemcen, a small border town, Algeria has nothing to compare with the cities of Tunis and Fez; a characteristic of the town is that it is essentially rural and pastoral. For Algeria religion and languages, please check ezinereligion.com.

The culture. – These human groups are recognized at first sight by peculiarities of customs which are impossible to define in detail. However, there is a dress common to all, a specialty of the Algerian-Tunisian region, that is the burnous, a large hood with a hood that covers everything. The exchange of products, naturally very large between sedentary and nomadic people, and also the frequent struggles, have created over the centuries a common state of general civilization. The diet is based on durum wheat, biscuits cooked under the ashes, cusscuss of semolina, butter and olive oil. The Algerians use the plow and therefore know how to attack animals; they have also always known the wheel. But roads and bridges did not exist before 1830: they rode on horseback rather than on vehicles, and the camel was of great importance; and they also went on foot, being the Algerian an indefatigable walker. With the wool and the hair of the camels they weave the tents and the burnous; they know how to tan and work leather, making saddles, boots (or rather a kind of sock) and shoes. They make beautiful carpets, and once possessed vegetable colors far superior to those of aniline. These are nomadic industries par excellence; the mountaineers know how to cook tiles, they are potters. The Algerian of cities and oases has traditions of wise irrigation. South of Biscra, in the oasis of Oued Rir, a Negroid digging corporation still knew, in 1830, to dig artesian wells. These ancient traditions that came from the East are now in great decline. The decline is also noticeable in the mining works; not a single tunnel was opened in the ancient Roman lead mines after the fall of the empire (see above).

The Algerian is not an artist; in the cities the songs that are heard in Mauritian cafes are Andalusian. The nomads, with their aristocratic organization, are more gifted than the mountaineers; have their own songs, of a certain beauty, which they accompany on the reed flute (guesba [ qa ṣ bah ]). In the tribe of the Ouled Nayl, the girls are repositories of ancient, beautiful and hieratic dances; and the Ouled Nayl dancers are the centerpiece of parties and orgies in the southern districts. The Algerian, mountaineer or nomad, is a soldier par excellence; the only difference is that the mountaineer is an infantryman and the nomad is a knight. Throughout the centuries, from Hannibal to Abd el-Kader, their great men have been generals; their whole history of eternal massacres has consecrated them to military virtue. They are less gifted for peace. The nomad has a horror of work; the kabyle, worker, greedy for earnings, attached to the land, defends himself better in the rural field and is also appreciated as a worker. The cabili temporary emigrants also gladly carry out the small itinerant trade; but kables and nomads abandon trade and money in the hands of Jewish and Mzābite specialists. Neither, unlike the Jews, and with a few honorable exceptions, have so far shown any desire to profit from the schools made available to them by the French. Influence of Islam probably, of internal differences and of the non-existence of an indigenous bourgeoisie. Yet the large proportion of Europeans gives Algeria a special ethnographic situation. The Israelite group is the only one that has frankly Europeanized itself, while the Muslim mass, here as elsewhere, offers passive resistance. But the daily contact, for a century, with such a large number of Europeans has certainly had effects, albeit difficult to measure. A profound metamorphosis is probably taking placefrica and B erberi).

Algeria Languages