Between Algeria and Morocco, everything can become a subject of controversy. The two countries are rivals on several fronts, including heritage. They dispute the paternity of couscous and Raï, a song recently classified as universal heritage by UNESCO on behalf of Algeria.
Thus, these two North African countries, which share a common history on several levels, will once again be in dispute. This time, it is the paternity of the caftan that fuels the “debates”. This traditional garment, considered an Algerian garment, is also part of the dress habits of Moroccans during festivals and major ceremonies. Now, Morocco wants to register the caftan on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It hosted a national workshop on February 2, 2023, marking the beginning of the campaign and preparations for the candidacy.
Raï music is a popular genre of music that originated in Algeria in the early 20th century.and this is known by all the world It is a blend of various musical styles, including Arabic, Berber, and French, and it often features lyrics about love, romance, and social issues.
Raï music became popular in the 1980s and 1990s, with many of its biggest stars coming from the city of Oran in western Algeria. Some of the most famous Raï musicians include Cheb Khaled, Rachid Taha, and Cheb Mami.
Raï music has been controversial at times, particularly in Algeria, where it was initially seen as subversive and banned by some religious and political leaders. However, it has also been celebrated for its ability to speak to the experiences and aspirations of young people in Algeria and other parts of the world. Today, Raï music continues to be popular in North Africa and beyond, with many artists incorporating elements of hip-hop, reggae, and other genres into their music.
Couscous is a traditional North African dish that is a staple food in many countries in the region, including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya. While its exact origins are unclear, it is believed to have been invented by the Berbers, an indigenous ethnic group of North Africa.
Both Algeria and Morocco have strong culinary traditions and are known for their delicious variations of couscous. While there are some differences in the way couscous is prepared and served in each country, it is a beloved dish that is enjoyed by people across the region.
However, there has been a long-standing debate between Algeria and Morocco over which country can claim to be the “home” of couscous. Each country has its own unique take on the dish, with different spices and ingredients used in the preparation. Ultimately, the origins of couscous are rooted in the North African region as a whole, and it is enjoyed as a cultural and culinary treasure by people throughout the region and beyond.
Caftan. Algerian artisans have given a new aspect to the caftan that came from Asia by incorporating luxurious motifs inherited from the splendor of the ancient Berber-Arab dynasties. Subsequently, several types of caftans appeared in Algeria, while respecting the original pattern, that is, a long, open garment in its center. The Algerian caftan charmed the highest Algerian society, as well as that of the Sultanate of Fes (current northern Morocco) following the fashion trend from Algeria. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the caftan was popularized among the populations of the Sultanate of Fes through massive immigration of Algerian families seeking refuge from French colonization,” historians emphasize to say that this garment, before arriving in Morocco, was a garment made and worn in Algeria.
Overall, the cultural rivalry between Algeria and Morocco is a complex issue that has its roots in history, politics, and culture. While there are many factors contributing to this rivalry, it is important for the two countries to find ways to build bridges and foster greater cooperation and understanding.
“If they see it, it is theirs. If they heard of it, they own half”
The phrase “If they see it, it is theirs; if they hear of it, they own half” is a proverb that is commonly associated with the culture of the Tuareg people of the Sahara desert. This proverb reflects the nomadic lifestyle of the Tuareg and their traditional values of hospitality and generosity.
According to this proverb, if a Tuareg sees something that belongs to someone else, they consider it a gift from the universe and believe that it is theirs to keep. Similarly, if they hear of something, they believe that they have a right to share in it, whether it be material possessions, knowledge, or experiences.
This proverb reflects the Tuareg’s worldview that emphasizes communal ownership and sharing, rather than individualism and materialism. It also reflects their respect for knowledge and their belief that knowledge should be shared and disseminated widely.
Overall, this proverb is an expression of the Tuareg’s unique cultural values and traditions and offers insight into their way of life and worldview.