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Biographical Data :

Name :Mohand Aarav Bessaoud
Period :1924 - 2002
Biographical detail : Writer and campaigner.

Bessaoud was one of the great defenders and militants of the Berber cause in Algeria and one who devoted his life to the liberation of his country from French colonialism. He was a spiritual leader of the current campaign to win official recognition for the Berber language, Tamazight, and rehabilitation of their identity and culture.

Bessaoud was involved in the national movement from his early age in the National Liberation Front (FLN), which led Algeria to independence. After the independence of Algeria, Bessaoud published a book about the war, but also took part to an armed opposition against the military regime of Ben Bella. This struggle is commonly known as the maquis du FFS. It is after the surrender of the leader of the FFS, that Bessaoud sought refuge in France. He recounted his experience of this period in a book entitled "LE FFS Espoirs et trahison." "The FFS: hopes and betrayals", published in 1965.

After independence, Bessaoud denounced the FLN’s abuses and bloody score-settling during the liberation war. His book, Happy The Martyrs Who have Seen Nothing (1963) earned him a death sentence from the then president, Ahmed Ben Bella.

Bessaoud went into exile in France where he set up a foundation of the Berber Academy in 1966, a magnet for a new generation of Algerians – to awaken the Berbers to the importance of safeguarding their language, culture and traditions against a regime that did all his best to ignore and destroy all aspects of Berber civilisation in Algeria. He founded a magazine "Imazighen" that had a wide readership in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and France, in spite of the censorship that was exercised by the authorities.

Bessaoud also published a novel "l'identité provisoire", and other books to illustrate the richness of the Berber culture such as: "quelques pages de notre histoire (co-author Said Ait Ameur), "les prénoms Berbers", and, in 2000, "De petites gens pour une grande cause ou l'histoire de l'Académi Berber" / "the History the Berber Academy" recounting his struggle.

Mohand Aarav Bessaoud was born in the village of Taguemount Ledjdid, in Kabylie, north of Algeria. In 1978, he moved to Isle of Wight where he spent last days of his life.
 (Compiler : M. Nauman Khan / Akchiche Mzk)


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