MayDayRooms presents

HARRAGA! Archiving the experiences of small-boat migration across the Mediterranean and the English Channel

2024-04-19 19:00 - 21:00 @ MayDay Rooms


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Event Details

A talk by Ed Emery [Red Notes / SOAS]

The decade-long experience of small-boat migration across the Mediterranean is known in North Africa as “harraga” – the burning of one’s past identity in the hopes of a new future.

These migrations are a theatre of war, with metropolitan governments mobilising substantial military means to stop them. All within the new paradigm of our times, in which we are all complicit – Careless of life, willing to kill, and happy to let die

Many agencies – film makers, governments, humanitarian agencies etc – have created cultural objects that document the migration phenomenon.

What most interests me is the creation of selfie-videos, musics and songs, in which the migrants themselves, the refugees, the communities from which they come, and the communities that aid their passage find and claim their own right to self-representation.

The British government has discussed the possibility of banning such images and cultural creations from social media.

I propose that such communities have a right to self-representation. And in the interests of historical veracity, we have a duty to gather and archive the cultural expressions of these migrations. In this talk I shall outline the work that I have been doing in this area.


Video clip of a crossing to Spain

Harraga video by the French rapper Younès Boucif,

Critical view: Kery James: “Letter to the Republic”

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