dedication and organization

opening words


the program

literature of the lecturers






press releases

1st World Congress on Matriarchal Studies
Luxembourg 2003
Selected Papers


Center for the Study of the Gift Economy

International Academy Hagia

Hélène Claudot-Hawad

"Woman the Shelter" and "Man the Traveller"

The Representation of Gender among the Tuaregs

"The condition of these people is a curious thing and their manner of
living strange. For the men are not jealous; none of them identifies his
descent with that of his father, but rather with that of his maternal uncle;
only the sister's sons inherit... I have seen this only among pagans...But
these people are Muslims...As for their women, they have absolutely no
modesty; in front of their menfolk, they remain totally unveiled..."
(Ibn Battuta, 1356; transl. Cuoq 1975:497)

Since Mediaeval times, Arab-speaking travellers have constructed the veiled nomad of the Sahara, ancestor of today's Tuaregs and Moors, as a strange and exotic figure. This society, with its seemingly contradictory features, has both surprised and shocked them. Such writers are all the more indignant about the liberal attitudes of the women and the matrilineal nature of filiation and succession, in that these social roles co-exist with an acknowledgement of Islam. Their bewilderment is complete when they are faced with the relationship between the men and women. In this they find but further proof of a corrupt and barbaric morality caused, they surmise, by an uncompleted or deformed religious conversion. One day in the year 1352, for example, Ibn Battuta of Tangiers visited a Massufa family from Walata. He was utterly scandalised by the scene before him. While the husband sat peaceably on the rug, his wife was ensconced on the couple's bed, deep in conversation with another man. Profoundly shocked, their guest hastily withdrew, even though his host explained that: " among our people the relations between men and women are proper and honourable. They arouse no suspicion at all. [Our women] are not like those in your country." (in Cuoq, 1975, p.296).
In the 19th century, however, these same peculiarities were reinterpreted by European observers as marks of knightly refinement. As such they served to support another fantastic theory: that the origin of these people must necessarily be non-African and their social behaviour influenced by Christianity. Thus the explorer Duveyrier (1865), speaking of the Kel Ahaggar Tuaregs, judged that: " in their customs, the traces of Christianity are even more obvious: monogamy, the respect for women, the horror of stealing and lying, the keeping of one's word...".
Even in their differences, these readings tell us more about the foreign observers' own values and social rules than they do about the actual meaning of the practices they describe.
What, in fact, does it mean in Tuareg society to be a woman or a man? What images, roles and standards, what reciprocal rights and duties, what social and symbolic functions, are evoked by these categories? I will try to convey their nature, their significance and their modern manifestations by putting them into the context from which they grew and by using data gleaned from the Ahaggar (Algeria), the Aïr (Niger) and the Arabanda (Mali).
Tuareg speech often links the notion of society to that of a "body" (taghasa) whose organs are distinct but interdependent. At the end of the 19th century, when French colonial troops arrived in the Sahara, the Tuaregs described themselves as a political body composed of four large entities with complex interconnections - in the Northeast the Kel Ajjer, in the Northwest the Kel Ahaggar, in the Southeast the Kel Aïr and in the Southwest the Kel Tademmekat - to which could be added a fifth grouping still in a formative stage, the Tagaraygarayt, or " the middle", "the intermediary", in a political rather than a geographical sense.
This for the most part nomadic society is known for its warrior skills and for the originality of its economy, based notably on a remarkable aptitude for mobility in an arid environment with fragile natural resources. Before colonisation, it controlled vast territories in the Sahara and the Sahel. During the 1960's, the area where the Tuaregs lived was divided between five new States, due to the decolonisation process: Libya, Algeria, Niger, Mali and the Upper Volta (the modern Burkina Faso). Several uprisings, from colonial days to the present (the most recent dating from the 1990's in Niger and Mali), have marked the stages of what many Tuaregs feel to be the mutilation of their body, which has been progressively amputated, chopped into pieces and forced into immobility.
This notion of a "body", with the organic links it implies between the several parts which make up the whole, is reflected in the Tuaregs' theory of social positions and the roles associated with gender.
Tuareg cosmogonic interpretations provide a powerful configuration of the distinction between the sexes and the way in which this distinction is conceptualised and internalised in the collective imagination. Several versions of the origins of the world exist, elaborated by the "initiated" (imeyawen), meaning those enlightened people who, in the ascending stages of knowledge, have reached what is considered to be the highest level. These stories are therefore not rigid and unchanging, still less are they dogmas, but rather they are theories constructed by those who have attained the realm of this abstract and philosophic knowledge. Thus some variations of interpretation are to be found; these relate more to form than to content, expressing in varied metaphorical terms an original storyline based on a certain number of similar principles . Let us take here one of these versions, current among the Ikazkazen, before analysing its main themes.

The invention of difference

In the beginning, according to this theory, there was a single being, a single body, encompassing time and space, female and male, the same and the different... The body of this indistinct whole descended through the void and landed on a vague expanse, an undefined space, where it began to move, advancing first towards the East, then towards the North, then the West, then the South, next towards the top and finally towards the bottom. At each move, at each point of contact with this unknown space, the body left behind a part of itself. In the first two stages, it set down its heaviest and fullest base material, containing its primordial essence, solid, compact, inert, autonomous and concentrated. This part of the body was the female part - which broke down in the East into the female-female and in the North into the male-female - whilst the next two stages were associated with the male part, the West being the female-male and the South the male-male. The movement then shifted upwards, the male, and finished by heading downwards, the female, marking the end of the journey. Thus the motion came full circle, back to the first stage where the vague body sprang forth from the heights of the cosmos. Which is why the female, marking the bottom point in this remarkable journey, is in absolute terms the top, that is the point of departure of the initial cycle and of all future cycles.
Despite the spreading of the parts, it is still one single body which has set down its lower end and sent forth its extremities. The first part to be set down represents the hard core, the solid base, the inner depths from which a being springs and whence it can withdraw. The other part, lighter and more peripheral, is ever-moving, pursuing its forward path. In this way, during what one might call the " founding cosmic landing", female and male become separate, time and space are created. The female pole is defined by its precedence, its density, its stability and completeness compared to the male pole which comes after and seems less substantial, allowing itself to be taken further by the initial thrust. But both parts belong to the same whole and are totally interdependent, unable to exist one without the other.
This cosmogonic view sheds light on several essential principles which are fundamental to the Tuaregs' thought symbolism: the first is that the female came before the male; the second is that difference is essential for progress, that is, for existence in time and space; the third is that the parts which make up the whole are complementary.
Upon these three premises are based the Tuareg's different theories of perceiving and classifying the universe, society, individuals and objects..., all fitting into a complex philosophical system which can be termed holistic, dialectic and dynamic. Depending on the relative importance given to each of the three initial propositions, several ways of thinking have arisen and are juxtaposed, fuelling the collective debates which take place, sometimes in ritualistic form in oratory jousts, between differing protagonists.
Several concrete examples will serve to demonstrate how this matrix of images, from which is constructed an intelligible and deeply internalised model of the world, can materialize in various aspects of Tuareg social life.

The precedence of the female

Whether descent is matrilineal (as is the case with the majority of Tuareg groupings) or patrilineal, the terms of kinship are remarkably matri-centred and take descent from the mother above that from the father . Thus a "maternal uncle" is termed literally the "son of the mother's mother" (amalgamated phonetically into anat ma); a brother and sister call each other their "mother's children" (anaten); the "nephew" and "niece" of a man can be described respectively as the son or daughter of the mother's daughter (ag elet ma and ulet elet ma). Let us note that a man may also designate his "nephew" as tégéhé (tégézé, tégéshé depending on the dialect form), a significant classification in that this term is also used for a part of the body, the "pelvis", linking the back to the belly, and for a vast political area leaguing several confederations of tribes. In contrast, when a woman speaks of the next generation she calls all her descendants, direct or indirect, by the same term, her "children" (arawen or bararen).
We have seen above how the female element intervenes right from the first mythic stage of the beginnings of the world. In the same way, by making reference to an original female category, a fundamental entity: ma, the "mother", children learn to define their close social environment, the family cocoon protecting them, the relatives with whom they are most comfortable, to whom is directed their affection and with whom they identify, those in fact whose direct heirs they are, in family name, in goods and in powers.
Relationships on the maternal side dictate the line by which are transmitted those rights and inalienable property which allow the community to be perpetuated, literally to "feed" itself: indeed this inheritance from the mother's side is expressed in a food metaphor, " living milk" (akh iddaren). Several terms exist to describe this maternal descent, all stressing its encompassing, enveloping, protective and stabilising function. The metaphors used may be anatomical, geographical or architectural: for instance tasa, the "belly" (as opposed to aruri, the "back", meaning also paternal relatives); abatul, the "hollow" or any hole in the ground able, for instance, to catch seeds blown by the wind; ébawél, the "bosom"; témet, the "womb"; ehan, the "tent" or "home" which provides shelter, all notions contrasting with ténéré, the desert or essuf, which means the untamed and threatening outer regions, that is, the unknown world.
The idea of the precedence of the female can also be found in descriptions of the founding of Tuareg groups. Families, tribes, confederations, even the whole society trace back their lineage more or less fictionally to ancestors who are nearly all women. In these tales about their origins, the husbands of the founding ancestors were generally unknown, following a pattern that is widespread in the whole Berber area. When the marriage partners did appear, it was always in a sub-human form, be it as kel essuf, or genies, weird beings belonging to the invisible world, the "void" (essuf), the "desert" (ténéré), or as savages, brutish, peaceful nonentities in an apparently empty region. These men, belonging to the "void", are remarkable by their lack of existence, humanity and culture, in contrast to the women, who are the creators of the socialised, humanised and civilised world. This representation has logical implications for symbolism, ritual and social practice to which I will return below.

A plural world

The cosmogonic example we have analysed above shows that if the construction of the world is commenced by the female, Life itself is based on plurality. Existence only begins where there is diversity. Indeed, the world as we know it, defined in time and space, is born when the unity of its original substance - itself eternal - splits into at least two distinct parts.
This is why, from the Tuareg viewpoint, each element, each identifiable being in known space necessarily has an alter ego in the realm of the unknown. It is only possible to apprehend reality in all its diverse forms in relation to this twin concept, wherein the universe appears to be organised along two complementary but antagonistic axes.
In this context the distinction between female and male is only one of many ways in which the fundamental duality of world order is expressed . It is the equivalent, but on a different level, to the central antithesis between the "internal" and the "external" or between the "home" and the "desert"...Here woman belongs to the known, ordered, comprehensible, civilised and protecting world, as opposed to man, who is associated with the unexplored and uncultivated space, unpredictable, wild and dangerous.
The essential difference between the female and the male is inculcated into Tuareg children from a very early age. It is expressed in every aspect of social life, highlighted in moral tales, in rules of conduct, in rituals...
Let us take baptism, for example, which is performed seven days after birth. The scale of the ceremony and the number of those attending vary according to the sex of the baby. In the Aïr, for the baptism of a baby girl, only the mother's close female relatives are present, whereas for a boy the men of the family also attend and the event is celebrated with an animal sacrifice (taghtest). But this difference in treatment has a meaning quite other than that assumed perhaps at first glance by an observer, who could see in it the proof of the social inferiority of the female to the male. In fact, the boy is felt to be somebody belonging to the "outside", thus potentially dangerous; this is why the boy will never be called directly by his name (in the same way that one avoids naming a wild and threatening animal), but by a term of kinship which minimises his new, "foreign", presence among the group of relatives. In contrast, the baby girl's name is used directly, since she is not perceived as an "external" element requiring to be gradually and cautiously integrated into the home. Hence the lack of need for rituals in her case.
From this we can see the image that Tuareg society has of itself as a community revolving around an "internal" core which is female and matrilineal, ever on its guard against threats from the "exterior" represented by the men brought in to circulate between the lines of descent.
In the same way, the move into adulthood, which takes place a few years after puberty, is accompanied for the girl by a progressive change in dress, but gives rise to no collective celebration beyond the immediate family. The young man, by contrast, has to pass a certain number of tests, each of which consists in a confrontation with the "adverse world", whether natural, metaphysical, social or political. Thus the young man has to confront the desert, coping with the dangers (thirst, hunger, loss of direction, loneliness...) using his own resources, in a literal sense water and food, and in a figurative sense, his cultural and spiritual resources, his knowledge and his psychological strengths. He has to prove his ability to manage relations with the outside world without being destabilised or alienated. Then, in the course of a ceremony attended by both his female and his male relatives, he solemnly receives the veil, the sword and all the attributes of a man of honour (a good horse or camel, trousers clasped at the waist by a leather thong, etc.). The veil, which is the symbol of his honour and of his humanities is to conceal and contain his savage nature, it guarantees his control over his male identity, permitting him to live in the female world without endangering society.
For her part, the young woman learns to play her role as "protector" of her lineage by suiting her actions to her function: she must not only defend the reputation of her home, but increase it, knowing for example how to receive guests generously, how to be dazzling in company using her wit, her intelligence, her culture, her beauty; in a word, knowing how to shine. Her ability to attract is measured in the numbers of visitors, admirers and suitors who press around her. The fortunate man who gains her favour by distinguishing himself in oratory and poetic jousts or by his warrior exploits, will be invited to join her in her tent. The more rivals there are, the more the woman's powers of attraction become established, helping to increase her reputation and both her own, and her family's, prestige.
One can understand in this context that the "freedom of women" described by foreign travellers fits into a conceptual and moral framework which, though perfectly strict and coherent, differs in every detail from that constructed by monotheist religions, whether Islamic or Christian.
In order to undertake their preeminent role, the young women receive a complex education. From early childhood, as the seventy-year-old Ghayshena welet Akedima of the Ikazkazen said in 1989, "we learn that the world is but leaves swirling behind us. We are the shelter and the protection that attracts them... Woman walks majestically towards the world and condenses it into her own manners, that the world may swirl behind her and that she shall not swirl behind the world."
Thus it is that although being of the same universal human kind, the female and the male identities are distinct, the first formed for the "internal", that is for a propensity to put down roots, for permanence, stability and sameness, the second for the "external", the unknown, change, mobility and difference.
It is assumed as a fundamental principle that the universe, the body and society have the same nature, allowing the establishment between these domains of an infinite number of correspondences which define the originality of each part. Woman equates to the inner realm, to the night and the darkness, the dense, the full, the deep, the damp, to the belly, the steady, the cold, whilst Man is associated with the outside world, with daylight and clarity, with the void, the dry, the back, with motion and with heat.

Duality as a stimulus

These contrasts have an essential function from the Tuareg point of view. They are the source of dynamism. It is this very tension between the dissimilar and competing elements which sets them in motion and propels them on a forward trajectory. The contrasting identities clash and thwart each other, in a constant state of rivalry which forces them to surpass themselves and advance. Certain codes of behaviour serve to express this rivalry (rendered in Tuareg by the notion of "racing") which appears in every domain, formal or not, in which the pairs meet (family occasions, poetry evenings, political meetings, celebrations, etc.).
A concrete example on the male side may serve to illustrate this. A man of honour, in front of his peers, adopts a pose characterised by a complete stillness of the body, an absolute mastery of all emotion, a total veiling of the face, including the eyes, which are concealed behind a piece of fabric shaped like a visor. Through this extreme restraint, the absolute control of himself, the man displays the high level of his moral principles and his social standing. But in adopting this imperturbable behaviour, is he not moving very close to the female temperament, mimicking its qualities of stability, density and independence from external factors? Whereas an individual who behaves in a manner generally considered to be masculine, with flexibility, mobility, reactivity and aggression, loses respect and is deemed to belong to a lower category of honour.
This fact sheds light on two theses: one is that competition transforms the being, permitting it to exceed and transcend its natural state. The other refers back to the theory which proposes that the closest element to the cosmic whole, that is to say perfection (in this case social), is the female: which is why, in his search for excellence, man tries to "feminise" his attitude.
The rivalry between woman and man is revealed in a particularly spectacular way in the wedding ceremony. Even before the knot is tied, indeed, there is an evident confrontation between the pairs, in the first place between the families preparing for the union, and then between the future couple. One of the high points of the wedding is thus the moment when the bride leaves the home of her relatives to go the nuptial tent. The female procession surrounding her confronts the bridegroom's male escort in a duel of poetry and song where each group champions the merits of its protégé. Both present the marriage as a bad deal. The arguments put forward by the opposing sides against the union reach fever pitch, through a language which is emphatic, sarcastic, sometimes crude and scatological. As the discussion gets more heated, the women try to seize the head-dresses of the bridegroom and his representatives, while the men strive to pull off one of the bride's or her companions' bracelets. When one of the two groups succeeds, the battle is over and calm is restored. In this case, then, the clash between opposites leads to a development of the crisis, which simmers down as soon as one camp takes possession of something belonging to the opponent, thus provoking an exchange, albeit an imposed one.
But the rivalry can also become dangerous and destabilising if it leads to the annihilation or the weakening of one side in favour of the other, which would result in the suppression of the stimulating duality, a reduction to a monistic structure and a sinking into immobility. In order to avoid such extremes, it is necessary to ensure constantly that the balance between the two parties is maintained, a concern addressed by ritual and symbolic activities as well as by social institutions.

The search for balance

In practice, a return to harmonious relations necessitates mutual concessions, exchanges symbolised in the attempt by the woman to seize the man's head-dress and in his taking of her bracelet. Each of them, in appropriating a symbolic part of the other, has evolved and helped his or her partner to evolve also. Touching the top of the bridegroom's head, that is to say, his mind, the volatile element of his body, is a way in which the woman can capture for herself the power to be mobile, whereas the seizing of the female bracelet (asender), the very symbol of the culture, of the time cycle that produces strength and goods, of the settling at the end of the journey, amounts for a man to the gaining of the weight and stability needed to strengthen him.
The same logical pattern that can be seen in the ritual relationship between men and women is apparent in the way they run society, the family, politics, the natural environment and the realm of the spirit, based on the need for difference and the value of competition, counterbalanced by the fear of a complete break and the seeking of harmony. The exchange between the partners allows this restoration of a balance which is constantly threatened.
If one of the poles of this duality disappears by accident, the only way to resolve the crisis is to recreate the missing part from within the remaining unit. In the field of gender, there are numerous examples to show that when men do not assume their role, it is women who take their place, be it on the battlefield or in the political arena. This allows us to understand the flexibility of the system and the impossibility of fixing in stone the opposing categories. The roles of the opposites, far from being fixed, are determined interactively. Their natures are relative and reversible. The most important would seem to be the preservation of the stimulating competition between partners and thus the maintenance of the balance between the different parts of the whole.
Ultimately, the situation most dreaded by this thought-system is a unicity of structure, encompassing only identical and equal elements, a configuration which would end in immobility and extinction.
There are several procedures by which harmony can be restored. On the whole it is a matter of compensating for, or avoiding altogether, an excess of sameness by associating it with the different.
Let us take a very concrete example of this from the realm of everyday clothing. The most prized form of Tuareg dress in the Aïr, for both men and women, consists in wearing one on top of the other two tikatkaten (smocks open at the sides). The first is white and the second, which is indigo, is put on over it, with the inside corners elegantly tucked up over the outside ones at arm-level. Now, in the spectrum of colours, the female who is also the internal is equated with the deeper, denser, opaque colours like black or indigo, whereas the male (who is the external) corresponds to transparent and pale colours like white and yellow. It is in order to provide a counterbalance to natural order (woman internal and man external) that the tikatkaten are put on in the opposite order. For to reproduce an identical image of the man/woman pair might create an excess which could be detrimental to general harmony.

Reaching beyond the boundaries

Social life thus appears as a journey marked out in stages that must be passed through by renouncing a part of oneself, of one's originality, of one's difference, symbolically sacrificed in order to avoid separation from the other. This idea is associated with the crucial notion of "sacrifice" (ekud) in this society .
But how can the absolutely fundamental distinction between female and male, upon which is founded the very fabric of social order, be surmounted and at what price?
In what is termed traditional Tuareg society, the ultimate offence for a man is to appear in public without his veil or his trousers. Exhibiting anything which calls to mind his membership of a savage, animal, external world, like a beard, a moustache or genitals, is unseemly and threatens the social order.
In contrast, for a woman to expose her face or breasts is permissible. Moreover her nakedness, though it is improper to expose it completely, is not seen to be bestial or aggressive like a man's; the worst eventuality is that the woman will be made vulnerable by being deprived of the protection of her clothes.
To leave one's head uncovered, one's hair unplaited, to wear men's trousers are ways in which women can clearly refute the social order. In the same way, in terms of behaviour, meaningful transgressions would be, for instance, to shout in public, to be aggressive, to be restless and disorganised, to walk briskly or fast, to refuse the hospitality due to guests (which is seen as a very serious deviation).
These transgressions of the Tuaregs' standard rules of behaviour can be interpreted in several ways. Thus the state of a man without his veil reflects several possible scenarios.
The first of these is linked to a figure from past society, the slave, for example, who had no place in the competition of free men. Belonging to the household, the slave was part of the female domain; he was among the "dishes", that is, with access to the fundamental intimacy of the family; which is why, once he had acquired Tuareg humanities (meaning the language and the culture) and was given his freedom, he was presented with the veil in a ceremony identical to that organised for the adolescent boy, but with one difference: because of his "female" nature, it was not necessary for him to spend seven days in solitude as it was for the freeborn youth .
A second scenario is that in which a madman or a simpleton might involuntarily break the rules of good conduct.
A third possibility is the expression of an assumed rebellion against, and challenging of, existing standards. For example, Kawsen of the Aïr Ikazkazen, leader of the war waged against the French colonial army from 1915 to 1918, imposed a new model of a man of honour, one who would be capable of renouncing the heroic image of the warrior remaining upon the battlefield until victory or death. Instead his warriors should consent to continue the struggle by other, very diverse, means, previously judged "inglorious", using cunning to counter a much better armed enemy. As affirmation of this direct challenge to ancient custom, he appeared before them without his veil.
A final hypothesis would be that of a sublimation or transcending of the polarities in the world below. The man who is not wearing his veil or even his trousers, who chooses to wear instead an unstitched piece of material around his waist, is here a person from the "in-between", the place between two worlds, who, like the initiated or the holy man (aggag, afaqir, aneslim...), is the link with the invisible realm. As such, he places himself above the rules of society, and thus above the distinction between the sexes. He no longer needs his male attributes (veil, weapons, trousers) .
We come back to the idea that the process by which man may attain perfection is through the neutralisation of his dangerous masculinity, which is linked to the unknown, by a symbolic "feminisation" which allows him to understand the two natures or two expressions of the difference between the sexes, and, more widely, between the internal and the external. He goes beyond this distinction, which for him is no longer such. Proceeding stage by stage, he finally reaches the far-distant state of the wise man, placed above all social rules and acting as intermediary between vaster spheres .
In contrast, the opposite situation, where for example a woman puts on masculine trousers, is not seen in the same light. This eccentric dress behaviour is the same as taking up arms on the battlefield or as becoming chief. She makes it clear quite unequivocally that men are regarded as incapable of assuming their role and thus that she must take their place . But this behaviour does not imply the surmounting of contingencies, i.e. her elevation to the state nearest to the original and cosmic character of the world, that is, the female state, where culture counterbalances rough nature, and which thus has no need to be "tampered with", moulded or modified for society to be perpetuated.

Expanding balances

Finally, it is clear that the Tuareg example contradicts the theory that male dominance over women is universal. This case also demonstrates just how inadequate are those concepts generally used to analyse and evaluate the "quality" or nature of the relationship between men and women, that is, notions of equality and inequality, if we are to understand those systems that are holistic rather than individualistic, following Dumont's analysis (1983).
Among the Tuaregs, the connections set up between the genders are relationships that are mutually effective, different but complementary and of relative equivalence. The principle of balance between these identities, dissimilar yet of similar strength, is not in itself sufficient to characterise the social order, which is built also upon a dynamic conception of social positions. For these latter are merely the successive steps of a universal ascending journey, defining a hierarchical axis on which the precedence of the female over the male (or the older over the younger, the noble over his protégéL) is taken for granted. Put differently, in the representation of universal order, it is the "time" factor which leads to the formulation of a hierarchical principle. But in this system, neither position nor role is fixed or absolute. All is relative, within a dynamic framework which continually modifies the vertical order of the hierarchy as it does the horizontal order of equivalencies.
It is essential to preserve the bi- or pluri- polarity which underpins the partnership. Some writers use the term "diarchy" (Fox, 1988). In the Tuareg case, the term "polyarchy" would seem more appropriate ; it has the advantage of not specifying the number of partners involved in the system, which might equally be described as "dialogical".
An interesting link may be established between this conceptualisation of social order and two factors which again underline the originality of Tuareg society: homosexual practices are not recorded in the nomadic milieu and conjugal violence is extremely rare. One might see in this an avoidance of those situations considered threatening to social order by their propensity to unbalance it either through an excess of sameness, or by the destruction of the link between equivalent parts of the whole. These facts also show that it would be wrong to suppose that the distinction between the sexes leads necessarily to sexism.
In conclusion, the Tuareg mechanism for understanding the world advocates as an ideal the nomadic model, the "moving on" which, in learning how to interact with other spheres, forces progress and growth, an advance at once social, psychological and spiritual. In order to blossom, one must thus become, in the words of the poet, a "trawler of horizons" , who discovers new angles of vision, who goes beyond the bounds, who can reconcile the narrow identities which divide the world, encompassing them with his being that he may also comprehend them, and who continues to open up the realms of the unknown.

(translation by Elizabeth Corp)


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