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Historical Background

A little history to situate the work of Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity and our Amazigh Film Festival in the struggle for Indigenous human rights globally:

Amazigh people are the indigenous people of North Africa, some 20 million non-Arabic Tamazight and Tamashek speakers, from the Oasis of Siwa in Egypt , to Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Canary Islands (Guanches) , the Sahara Desert, Mali and Niger. This whole region, which is larger than one third of Africa, is called "Tamazgha" in Berber languages, and "Temust" in Tamashek, language spoken by Tuaregs of Mali and Niger. Because of "Near East" and "Middle East" or other Oriental linguistic and cultural misnomers have been applied to our lands and our people, our indigenous cultures have consistently been minimized and marginalized to the detriment of their African origins and the benefit of imported Arabic ways. Imazighen ("Free Human Beings" being the exact translation of our name which goes back to archaic times of pre-dynastic Egyptian rule) are struggling today throughout North Africa for the recognition of their rights under oppressive policies of total Arabization. In northern Mali, this struggle has recently led the Tuareg Confederation of Azawad to take up arms, and declare independence from the post colonial state of Mali ruled by non -Tuareg people, clearly differentiating their struggle from the activities of all Jihadist, Salafist, and extremist groups allied with Al Qaeda in that part of the world.

On April 20, 1980, an Amazigh (Algerian Kabyle) anthropologist by the name of Mouloud Mammeri decided to read some Native Kabyle poems in his ancient native Tamazirt language, and to prevent him, the Algerian authorities sent armed forces into the University of Tizi Ouzou, where the reading was to take place. This event ignited the whole region, and numerous lives were subsequently lost under the assault of government forces, eventually giving birth to an international Amazigh movement spanning all of North Africa . Thus "Berber Spring" ("Tafsut Imazighen") is commemorated each year by Imazighen of North Africa throughout the world on or about the 20th of April each year. Our Berber Calendar is now in year 2962.

Our Mission:

Our Mission has been to bring to American audiences and readers information about the Amazigh (Berber and Tuareg) cultures of North Africa, and to promote and defend this culture in collaboration with and support of other Amazigh cultural associations nationally and internationally.

Tazzla Institute has been a pioneer in the domains of literature, videography, and documentary films on the Amazigh culture through its Amazigh Video Production activities since 1996.

Tazzla Institute created the Los Angeles Amazigh Film Festival in 2007.

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