« Il voit dans la culture les débuts, la verve créatrice, le printemps fécond de toute civilisation ; la civilisation, au contraire, c'est l'arrière-saison, la répétition, le mécanisme vide, la grandeur apparente, la sclérose» . FERNAND BRAUDEL , Ecrits sur L'histoire.
It is easy to see that we are living in a time of rapid and radical change. It is much less easy to clasp the truth that such change will inevitably affect the nature of those historical disciplines that both, reflect the collective memory of the Mediterranean and help to shape it. Modes and categories inherited from the past no longer seem to fit the reality experienced by the new generation.
Let us consider the main fact. We have what appears to be the greats of the old generation. The influence of certain Amazigh intellectuals lasted, as we shall see, for several centuries. Interest in a co-existent Mediterranean inspired certain Amazigh figures to theorize, to poetize, in brief to fight in that way. Figures found the union ready made in their heads; since the supperstition of people was not embittered by any mixture of theological rancour, nor was it confined by the chains of any speculative system. Figures fondly attached to their rational rites, admit with implicit faith the different ideas of the earth. Fear, gratitude, and curiosity, a dream or an omen, a singular disorder or a distant journey perpetually disposed them to deepen their thoughts that fit the peaceful, the common and the unified spirit of the Mediterranean. Figures had never been content to assert that parts of the Mediterranean differ. They had also never believed that some are superior to others. It means they possess a unitary hierarchy of values, an evaluative framework with respect to which they could make universal judgments.
What one has to conceptualise here is, in fact, a three-way relationship, involving ‘ self '', other and identity. Therefore, "an ideology of alter " involves an ideology of ‘ ego '. What this means is that we cannot seriously consider the identities or representations of others without considering the representations or identities of what we call self .
It is this rational conception provided by the most Amazigh figures of the old generation that gives real sens to the unity of the Mediterranean. That is, they embody, not ‘lies' about the facts, but nature and sophisticated ways of knowing, of encoding…
1- Vico, GIAMBATTISTA. The New Science (1725).
2- Tzvetan,Todorov., On human Diversity : Nationalism, Racism, and Exoticism in French Thought , (transl. by Catherine Porter), Cambridge, Mass.
3- Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788).
Sabri EL HAMMAOUI