The writings of Binebine, Mabanckou, and Khouma, “The Swimmers” and “Do You Hear Me Calling” all address themes of crossing and lifestyle as an illegal immigrant, furtive migrant, or refugee. These writings explore the theme of crossing and lifestyle through the perception of race and identity. Many African immigrants attempt to establish themselves in a foreign land. The stories illustrate the various obstacles people encounter in a foreign setting, ranging from prejudice and cultural conflicts to learning a new language and culture like French and German (Binebine, 1 to 40). Besides, these writings explore how these limits may assist and hinder the protagonists as they cross multiple barriers while trying to make a life for themselves. From the analysis of these writings, it could be challenging but rewarding as the protagonist discovers their unique means of setting into their new places. Although each work and piece of media addresses the subject from a different angle, some are more successful than others in expressing this theme of crossing and life.
Thesis statement The writings of Binebine, Mabanckou, and Khouma, the movie “The Swimmers,” and the short film for the song “Do You Hear Me Calling” all masterfully explore the themes of crossing and life as an undocumented immigrant, clandestine immigrant, or refugee as they probe the complex and complicated aspects of immigration, displacement, and migration.
In Binebine’s “Welcome to paradise,” the protagonists travel over the Strait of Gibraltar to Europe to pursue a better life, but they soon encounter new difficulties. They are fleeing from their country due to excessive poverty and violence. Once in a foreign country, they express their difficulties there. They say they had taken a while without eating anything since the navel orange the previous evening. “We were hungry and thirsty” (Binebine, p. 178). It showed that they were going through challenging moments in the foreign land of France. Besides, the protagonist narrates that they were humiliated by saying, “Since the man from the South, humiliated as I was, is an unpredictable man” (Binebine, p. 6). In addition, they were also intimidated. It is evident when the trafficker growled at them, “shut up.”
In his work “The Fugitive,” Mabanckou describes the voyage of a Congolese immigrant to France and his subsequent life as an illegal migrant. Mabanckou portrays the Fugitive’s adjustment to his new existence and struggles to establish himself in a constantly changing environment. He frequently crosses boundaries, moves from one location to another, and struggles to reconcile his history with his current identity (Mabanckou, p. 201, 207). Mabanckou depicts the challenges of individuals on the edges, their fear and loneliness, and their need for a place to belong via the Fugitive.
In Khouma’s “The Selling,” the protagonist is forced to flee her home country of Senegal and experience life’s harsh reality and struggles as a refugee. He needs help selling his commodity in a foreign land. Besides, in France, the protagonist says he lived with great fear “I was waiting for the worst to happen, even if he was not asked of my papers” (Khouma, p. 5). The movie “The Swimmers” also deals with immigration since it follows two Damascus illegal immigrants who travel to Greece for a better life. The music video “Do You Hear Me Calling” refers to the difficulties of crossing and living as a refugee, as it portrays the tale of a child girl’s trip and her challenging existence in a new nation.
Even though each text and piece of media has a different angle and concentrates on a different aspect of the themes of crossing and life as an undocumented migrant, clandestine, or refugee, they all successfully convey the course’s key ideas. They all explored challenging and intricate issues of migration, displacement, and immigration. Moreover, they all depict the difficulties of crossing, including the actual physical voyage and the mental and emotional toll it takes. The terrible realities of living as an undocumented migrant, clandestine immigrant, or refugee are also skillfully conveyed in each reading and medium, from stigmatization and prejudice to emotions of dislocation, loneliness, and hopelessness.
The movie “The Swimmers” best explains the concept of crossing and life as an undocumented migrant, clandestine immigrant, or refugee out of the readings and media (Hosaini, 2 hours). This is because it depicts the challenges of crossing and life as an immigrant. The movie successfully shows the physical voyage of crossing, its associated hazards, and the emotional and psychological toll it takes on individuals. The movie also does an excellent job of portraying the harsh reality of life for immigrants, such as the prejudice and dehumanization they experience and their sense of dislocation and loneliness.
Khouma’s “The Selling” is the least compelling reading and medium for conveying the idea of crossing and living as an undocumented migrant, clandestine immigrant, or refugee. The narrative does a good job of capturing the difficulties of crossing and living as a refugee. Still, it is too limited to truly express the painful reality of being an undocumented migrant, clandestine migrant, or refugee (Khouma, p. 1 to 3). The protagonist’s physical travel and border crossing challenges comprise most of the narrative. Still, the text makes little mention of the prejudice and dehumanization she encounters in her new country.
Both the texts and media handle the issue of crossing and life as an undocumented migrant, clandestine, or refugee particularly well by depicting the physical trip of crossing and its associated hazards and the emotional and psychological toll it takes. The terrible realities of life as an undocumented migrant, clandestine immigrant, or refugee are also skillfully conveyed by them, including dehumanization, prejudice, and emotions of dislocation, solitude, and desperation. The only element of the topic that needs to be developed or developed, given that the stories are primarily about the trials and sufferings, is the optimism and resiliency of immigrants and refugees.
Binebine, Mahi. “welcome to paradise.” East Hampton, 1999, p. 40, Granta books London New York.
Diome, Fatou. “Mabanckou, Alain.” African American Studies Center, 2011, p. 10, Granta books of the African Short Story.
“Do You Hear Me Calling?” https://youtu.be/9RVUzF4ZPWE
Hosaini, Sally E. “The Swimmers.” Netflix – Watch TV Shows Online, Watch Movies Online, 2021, www.netflix.com/us/title/81365134?s=i&trkid=14170286&vlang=en&clip=81629091.
Khouma (book author), Pap, et al. “I was an Elephant Salesman. Adventures between Dakar, Paris, and Milan.” Quaderni d’italianistica, vol. 32, no. 2, 2012, pp. 1 47