Ahmed Boukous: The Fearless Amazigh Activist

The Amazigh activist Ahmed Boukous played a major role in the defense and consolidation of Amazigh in Morocco for many years before it became an official language on a par with Arabic. Thus, it was only natural that he was appointed in 2003 to the post of Dean of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM) to succeed Mohammed Chafik.

Ahmed Boukous was born in 1946 in El-Khasas, south of Souss. He continued his secondary education in the cities of Agadir and Taroudant before going to Marrakech and then to Rabat, where he continued his university studies in the fields of arts, history and pedagogy from 1946 to 1967. From 1970 to 1974, he stayed in Paris to study linguistics and ethnology.

In 1974 he obtained a Doctorate in Social Sciences, followed by a State Doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Paris, before working as a university professor at the Faculty of Letters in Rabat from 1986 to 2002 and supervising numerous doctoral theses on Amazigh culture and language. At the same time, he taught Amazigh at the Higher Institute of Archaeology and Heritage in Rabat from 1986 to 1994.

In the company of many Amazigh activists, Ahmed Boukous has managed to make many advances in favor of Amazigh culture, despite the strong criticism and accusations made against him by some activists of the Amazigh movement that he has done little for the Amazigh cause, despite being the head of IRCAM.

However, despite the resistance to the Amazigh project from many officials, and thanks to his efforts with the support of other Amazigh activists, the IRCAM project was launched and the regulatory laws on the activation of the official nature of Amazigh were promulgated, as well as the recognition of Amazigh in the 2011 Constitution.

Boukous is known for his calm and simplicity. He is one of the Amazigh activists who, in order to make their demands succeed, favor dialogue and patience over conflict and confrontation. This is one of the reasons why he got the respect of his peers. His struggle for his culture and language goes back to his youth, when he founded, together with other activists, the Moroccan Association for Cultural Research and Exchange in 1967. He was the first Amazigh to defend his thesis in Paris using his mother tongue. Thus, when it comes to defending Amazigh culture, he has no lessons to learn from anyone, even though some may disagree with him about his style or way of acting.

Boukous is the author of numerous works, including “Langage et culture populaires au Maroc”, “Société, langues et cultures au Maroc”, “Dominance et différence : essais sur les enjeux symboliques au Maroc”, “Sociolinguistique marocaine”, “L’amazighe dans la politique linguistique et culturelle au Maroc”, and “Revitalisation de l’amazighe : défis, enjeux et stratégies”, “Phonology of Amazigh”, in addition to his novel “Rhapsody of Tanit the Captive”, for which he was awarded the Grand Atlas prize (25th edition).

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