Saturday, January 22, 2005

among the Berbers, by Jeffrey Tayler

I found that issue of National Geographic, January 2005, with the article by Jeffrey Tayler, and photographs by Alexandra Boulat, whose name may be familiar to those of you who read the Geographic. I enjoyed reading the article after a delicious luncheon of grilled chicken, sliced and served on Romaine lettuce and a tangy oily dressing. With the lunch I had a Budweiser long-neck. We listened to Taj Mahal's Phantom Blues.

[We're listening now to Vincenzo Bellini's The Montagues and the Capulets, on The World of Opera Today, on NPR.]

Driss and Khalid, two Berber guides, led Jeffrey Tayler and Alexandra Boulat on a 400 mile trek on foot, using donkeys to carry their gear, along the ridge of the High Atlas mountains, from Midelt in the northeast to Imouzzer des Ida ou Tanane, where some beautiful water falls flow, according to Tayler. I learned that many Berber prefer to be called Amazigh, or "Free Person," and that there are some 25 million Amazigh in North Africa, mostly in Morocco and Algeria.

The photographs are of course excellent, the story line is interesting if not dramatic. Tayler does include peoples' testimony to injustices in Morocco, such as corrupt government officials and lack of medical services. You are also invited to go to a mass wedding , Amazigh-style, through the words and pictures of Ms. Boulat. Also, Mr. Tayler describes his 2 months on a mule in the land of the Amazigh.


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