I have just returned from four months in Morocco, where I was honoured to conduct fieldwork as part of a team collecting life stories of irregular migrants 'stranded' in Morocco and Mexico on there way to the core of the modern/colonial world-system. I was also able to deepen my knowledge of irregular migration by Morcoccans to Europe and the impact of modern/colonial border policies on people living in liminal spaces such as the southern shore of the Gibraltar Strait. In the West, irregular migrants are constantly framed by the arrogant Right as 'illegal aliens' who need to be kept away, and by the condesceding Left as 'poor babies' in need of care and pity. Listening to actual migrants tell their diverse and complex life stories gives a much more nuanced perspective.
It is somewhat depressing that one still only hopes that such efforts might 'humanize' people from the modern/colonial periphery in the eyes of those living in the core. But how many people are actually willing to listen?
No matter the broader impact, some of us are deeply touched by these stories and feel incredibly honoured to have developed friendships within this fascinating population living in the margins of the world-system. Many of the migrants I have met are true heroes who have confronted incredible obstacles simply in the hope of sending enough money back home for their mothers or siblings to have access to basic necessities. May Allah give them success!
Transdisciplinary scholar of Islam and Sufism.