This story was published by Global Post on January 24, 2014.
The ethnic group indigenous to North Africa calls for national observance of their new year, and many say recent reforms haven’t reached rural communities.
RABAT, Morocco — Berbers young and old clenched balloons and flags last week as they gathered outside Parliament calling for a national observance of their new year.
The Berbers, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa also referred to as the Amazigh, predate the Arabs of Morocco, but historically they have been left out of the political process. Jan. 13 marked the first day of year 2964 on the Berber calendar.
“For those who fight for Amazigh rights, [national observance of the new year] would mean a lot. It would mean our Amazigh identity would be more accepted by our country,” said Salma Idraïs, 20, a Berber journalism student studying in Rabat.
Read more of this story in Global Post.
JP Keenan spent several months in Morocco on an SIT Study Abroad program and produced this story in association with Round Earth Media, a nonprofit organization that mentors the next generation of international journalists. Rim Boudkir contributed reporting.