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El Haraga Read Through Maghrebi Literary Production


This essay analyses a sample of recent Maghrebi fiction to explore the Maghreb’s evolving cultural understanding of the Haraga. The Haraga is theorized to require action from both the migrant and the migrated-from. While the grammar of the word migration masks this duality as it posits the migrant as the sole subject, the Arabic word Haraga articulates the migrated-from as the mahroog (the burned) and this figure’s process of becoming so as the inhirag (the reflexive state of being burned). This analysis reveals that migrants elaborate their destinations multi-dimensionally and primarily through negation, indicating that they are repulsed from within more than they are attracted from without. Their migrations do not aim to traverse solely the physical space to Europe but also the symbolic space between periphery and centre along social, familial, and psychological planes. Due to the multifarious ways in which the migrant and the mahroog remain connected while spatially separated, the former’s continuous migration necessitates the latter’s continuous inhirag. As a result, the Haraga dissipates across Maghrebi society and shifts its conceptual centre towards the borderlands.

Winning article submitted to the MEDRESET Young Writer Prize contest. Presented during the conference "The Middle East and the EU: New Realities, New Policies", Brussels, 6 March 2019.

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