Egypt Independent

Egypt’s marginalized Amazighs remain immune from cultural influences



Maintaining their own tribal social structure and language, Egypt’s Amazigh community living along the Egyptian-Libyan border seems immune against urbanization.
 
“In Egypt there are about 12 million people with Amazigh origins, while the Amazigh-language speakers do not number more than 30,000 — they live in the Siwa Oasis,” Tariq Jahlan, a historian and researcher in Amazigh genealogy, told Al-Monitor.
 
“The geographical remoteness of the area and longstanding marginalization of its residents are the main reasons the oasis is a safe and pleasant area to live in and visit,” Al-Monitor said, pointing to the hospitality of the Amazigh community and their area’s freedom from theft or any disturbance to peacefulness.
 
“The state neglects tourism in Siwa, so therefore we promote ourselves by being hospitable and nice to visitors, and try to make them happy,” Imran al-Siwi, a resident of Siwa Oasis, told the website.
 
Al-Monitor pointed out that although the Egyptian Constitution ensures protection of cultural pluralism, Amazighs still endure decades-long suffering from lack of access to basic services and representation at state institutions. Their handcraft skills and their area’s richness in natural resources fails to win them attention, the report suggests.