By Antonio Cubillo Ferreira
President of the Canary National Congress (CNC)
In the last times I have read in the Canary press the word Taknara used to refer to the Canaries, with just an apparently Berber terminology. And in several occasions I have reminded some friends of mine of the fake use of that term, which cannot be invented as many others only to pretend a radical canarism. However, the increasing abuse of this absurd by the newspapers has made me to write in order to clarify things and prevent our long-lasting struggle for a serious study of the ancestral Language of the Guanches and our fight for Independence to be discredited -something that is pursued by the enemies of our cause making up ridiculous neologisms.
The future Canary State, once it is settled in the United Nations, should be officially named Guanche Republic of Kanaries, using the Berber -k instead of the actual -c from the Spanish and English Language.
As to the fake name of Taknara, made up by some so called Nationalists and commonly used in the last times by the press, I will try to explain what in the Berber world is considered something obvious if they heard that word.
Prickly pears (our Canary higo pico) are called taknarit in the south of Morocco. Taknarit means "coming from the Canaries", because this fruit did not exist before. Not long ago, talking to a Berber-Schleug friend of mine who was originary of the Agadir area, I asked him what he would understand by taknara. He answered right away: "- a piece of land sown with prickly pears". When I told him that some people were now using the word taknara to call the Canaries he suddenly laughed and asked me whether I was joking or it was a trick of our enemies. Or better, he wondered if we used to eat prickly pears all day ...
Since during my exile days in Algeria I travelled through the Tuareg territory, thinking about this nonsense of taknara I remembered the common use of this word among the Tuareg children - even the girls use it to call their dolls. So one day, consulting one of the dictionaries and reference books on the Berber languages and dialects, like the one by Father Foucauld about the Ahaggar dialect, but especially the one about the French-Tuareg lexicon by Brother Jean-Marie de Cortade in collaboration with Mouloud Mammeri, on page 378 can be observed: "poupée habilée en femme" (which means "dolly dress"):Taknart, Tiknârîn. Then appears the same term in Tifinag sending us back to Volume II page 831 of the Foucauld dictionary. It also says that aknar, iknaren can be referred to a doll dressed as a man. This dictionary enters: aknar, pl. iknaren-; fem. s., taknart-, fem. pl. tiknârîn meaning masc. doll "dressed as a man".- fem. doll "dressed as a woman". And I also must add that the other day I could read yknarien to talk about a plural referring the Canary people, what it would be absolutely hilarious.
The Foucauld dictionary shows us on the same page and context: by extension, masc. pl. iknâren, meaning sometimes "dolls (dressed either as a man or woman).Father Foucauld ends by saying the masculin aknar is synonym with asûnâr-, and on the next page, 832, we find that asûnâr, pl. isûnâr, means the same, that is, "doll dressed as a man".
Once we have come to this point, we can assume that when somebody says Taknara to refer to the Canaries, a Targi or the Tuareg will understand land full of puppets dressed as women or men, and when they refer to the Canary people as Iknarien they will start to laugh because they will think of us as simple puppets, making fool of all of us all over the world since in south Morocco we would be called "prickly pears eaters", our home would be "the land of prickly pear trees" and the Tuareg would call us "puppets dressed as man or woman". What do you think?
I have always believed that the study of the Guanche Language and the Berber Languages in general should be taken seriously and that research should be carried out on accurate and scientific basis. What it should not be done is to start building up words and expressions endlessly, no matter how good our intentions can be, since this will only result in the discredit of us all, especially of those who have always undertaken the linguistic and philological approaches to the Language of our Ancestors, common heritage of the African continent and the human species which must not be stained by the mere fancy of a bunch of phony nationalists. The name of Canaria, Canarii comes deep from the history of the African continent and it has been used for ages to refer an ancient people who inhabited the Sahara, the Canarii or the Kanurie, part of which was transferred to our Canary Islands over two thousand five hundred years ago, and that, together with other populations brought by the Cartaghinians from the actual Tunisia and other human groups already living in the islands represent the Canary People, who will some day be the owner of the Awañak Guanche Kanaria, the Guanche Republic of Kanaries.
Añaza, Tenerife, Canary Islands ,January 2002
( This article has been published in La Voz de Lanzarote, in La Gaceta de Canarias ( 16.12.01 ), in El Guanche Digital and in La Opinión, de Tenerife ( 18.01.02 ).