The Portrait of Dreams

Nawal Benali

There is a mixture of joy and sorrow, when I go back through my history, to understand deep down where I come from. Beauty, in order to reveal itself, often requires courage.

1. Bio

Journalist and podcaster of Amazigh origin, Nawal Benali was born in Tunisia but has lived in France for most of her life. Graduated at the Institut Européen de Journalisme, she works as an independent journalist on issues related to the digital sphere and strives to shine the spotlight on Amazigh culture. She is the author of the podcast Y’a ça chez nous? a sociological journalistic investigation channel that collects documentation on the historical culture overwriting processes that underlie the phenomena of negrophobia in North Africa.

2. The power of a dream

We live in a diverse and ultra-connected world, where it is easy to discover stories, ways, customs that are thousands of miles away from us. Yet, many of us are still desperately searching for our roots and the exact place we belong to. This desire, this dream, was my driving force during my adolescence and as I became an adult. Being a “modern nomad” and at the same time of working hard to shed light on a history, that of my people, which seemed destined to disappear.

3. My journey into real beauty

It is a journey born out of a personal need, and not a simple one by any manner of means, which has often made me angry and caused me pain. Yet it is full of charm and beauty as it leads me to rediscover ancient gestures, customs, legends and traditions. It is the journey into the beauty of a uniqueness that has long been hidden and denied. It is the story of my people, but it is also the everyday story of many of us: we lay down our uniqueness, to conform to the voice of the narrative in vogue at that time. But no, real beauty lies in defending our identity and sharing it with the world. A thousand different ways of being unique and unrepeatable are a wealth that should never be hidden.

4. What I learned and won’t let go

Sometimes a story has a particular way of being told, but if you feel it does not suit you, you have the right to dig deeper and ask. And if no one is there to tell your side of the story, do it yourself. They called me complicated when I started looking for my Amazigh roots. I wasn’t. I’m not. We have the right to be dreams, history, aspirations, discoveries and questions that are still unanswered. And my dream is that one day women will have enough of a voice to live and tell their side of the story.

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