Who or what are the Tuareg/Touareg?

Beschreibung zum Thema Wissenschaft

von  Henning

In current times there is no longer a single Ethnic which can be called by this name – because the recent history (past century) forced the foremost particular tribes to intermingle with their former slaves and other local ethnics.
The roots of the Tuareg society can be found deep in the past – some 2000-2500 years ago, and there is no certain proven history but two main theories: 1) They could be the descendants of a very old Celtic tribe, mentioned already in the Bible, the so-called Galater (Calater, Gelotar, Celtoi), which was driven in ancient times from the Two-Rivers-Land through today’s Turkey, then Central Europe, Spain and back to Northern Africa (today’s Morocco) again. 2) An alternative theory claims they are descendants of an old Libyan culture. Both theories claim a certain proof: The Celtic theory emphasizes the ‘genetic material’ – many of the so-called Noble Tuareg have –for Africa – extremely light skin, blue-grey eyes, reddish hair and even slight sprinkles around the nose. The Libyan theory indeed emphasizes that languages and writing have clearly an old Libyan predecessor. But the first theory is more probable – because you can assume a foreign language, writing and culture (see the Irish Nation – 80% British influenced, little remains of Old Irish Gaelic, very few Gaelic customs and no longer Ogham writing)  - but it is not possible to assume another ‘genetic material’, which is not very rare and quite visible.
Also large parts of their culture – the belief in Nature Spirits (Djinns) and local Nature Gods/Goddesses, the nobelization of the female (usually women own all the movable property like tents, household wares, food etc., teaching language and writing is done by women, heritage in any kind is matrilineal) show into the Celtic direction.
In Arabic, these now mixed people are called ‘T’wareg’ which means ‘from deserted people’ because their converting to Islam happened very late and is not fully complete. As mentioned above, though they are practising Islamic prayers and customs, they do not fasting (due to the inconveniences of desert travelling) and there is a lack of other customs as well. From the view of a Muslim the once for their fighting power feared ‘Blue Knights of the Desert’ are very superstitious. Indeed, these people in their dark blue clothing (colored with ‘indigo’, which is impregnating their skin after a while), women and men, wear a lot of different talismans and amulets all day.
Though called from their neighbours ‘Tuareg’ they do not like this terminus – they call themselves ‘Targi’ or Imouhar (= free people). In former times, the Targi society was divided in three classes: The noble people (easy to be recognized by their light skin and European shaped faces), the vassals (several tribes, bound by contracts to the Nobles) and slaves with almost no rights. Due to the history in the last 200 years, the slaves intermingled with the vassals, and the vassals with the noble people, and there have been mixes between different tribes as well so that there is no longer one single ethnic.
Interestingly enough: The Tuareg/Tamashek speaking people are the only people in the Arabic/Muslim area where the MEN are veiled (all day, even in front of family members) and WOMEN show their face.
The Tuareg people are facing for almost 50 years extinction because of the vicious and violent politics of several central Saharan states, like Niger, Mali and Algeria.


Anmerkung von Henning:

Leider scheint es hier keine Abteilung Ethnologie/Völkerkunde zu geben - hier gehört der Artikel eigentlich hinein. Wenn die Sprache (Englisch) allzu große Probleme bedeutet, dann stelle ich gern eine Deutsche Übersetzung dazu.

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