With their television and newspapers they say we are part of the "Arab World." They tell me: "You're Arab." They tell my father to tell me: "we're Arab." They tell me "Arabic is the language of heaven."
But I don't feel Arab. I have little in common with a Saudi or an Egyptian. My last name isn't Arab. My physical features aren't Arab. The food my mother cooks isn’t Arab. My language contains Arabic, but there's something else in it that isn't Arabic.
I am Amazigh, and I'm tired of being told that I am something I am not. I am not part of your “Arab World” or your “Arab" Spring, I am simply what I am.
The language, writing, culture and religion of my ancestors has been erased from my identity, almost completely. My father's ancestors are Rifis and my mother's are Soussis. Yet they still want to convince me that somehow, thousands of kilometers away from the Arabian peninsula, I am Arab?
Was my country empty of identity before it became "Arab"? Is it a coincidence that the so-called "first king of Morocco" also happens to be the first Muslim king? Were the kings before that not kings because they weren't Arab or Muslim? Why do Tarik Ibn Ziyad or Ibn Battuta, both Amazighs, have Arab names? Who changed them?
There are many other people like me. Many aren’t even Amazigh; some are Kurdish, or Armenian and others are African. What we all have in common is that we happen to find ourselves trapped in an imaginary world called the "Arab World."
This “Arab World” is just another form of Orientalism created by the same “Arabs” who complain about it when it comes in other forms from the West. They cry to Westerners: “we’re not all the same!” while beating us into conformity: “You’re Arab!” “You’re Muslim!” and if we say: “NO” then they (society) turn over our case to them (the regimes) to oppress us into conformity.
Don’t be complicit in the “Arab World” mentality, erase that term from your diction.