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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Moroccan Berbers in Europe, the US and Africa and the Concept of Diaspora


In this paper we will discuss the following question: can the international movement of Berbers be considered a Diaspora? We will first look at the meaning of the concept Diaspora, then at the history, geographical dispersion of Berbers and the current political context in Morocco. After that we discuss some results of a study on new trends among Moroccan associations in the Netherlands and on the Berber associations (Kraal & van Heelsum, 2002). The outcomes show that the number of associations that publicly bare the designation Berber and that are engaged mainly in Berber issues is evidently on the increase in the Netherlands. But identity issues seem to be more important to the members than political ones. We will subsequently describe the activities of the Berber associations throughout Europe and their transnational ties. In conclusion we will examine weather the concept of Diaspora fits to the situation of the Berbers.

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