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Tunisia: migration drama in prime time TV with 'Harga'

Topic rarely dealt with on TV, by Lassaâd Oueslati

(ANSA) - TUNIS, 20 APR - A new TV series called 'Harga', by director Lassaâd Oueslati, is one of the many being broadcast in Tunisia during the holy month of Ramadan, when families gather around the TV after breaking the daily fast.
    The series deals with a topic not often seen in Tunisian TV shows, that of the social drama of clandestine migration.
    Oftentimes these TV series allow for understanding the vices and virtues of Tunisian society much better than through an analysis.
    Written by Imed Eddine Hakim, Harga tells the story of a group of Tunisians from different parts of the country who don't know each other and for various reasons are forced to illegally migrate to Italy in search of a better future.
    The title Harga evokes the Arab term "to burn", in the sense of burning documents, that is, crossing borders secretly, and it also alludes to shipwreck.
    Writing for French daily La Presse, journalist Hafedh Trabelsi said the show, with a high-quality production staff and a cast that brings together emerging and established actors, "breaks down preconceptions on one of the most deadly and tragic social issues that Tunisian society knows: young people and citizens of all social classes throwing themselves silently into the unknown, challenging the sea and difficulties in hard conditions, to reach the other shore, the falsely imagined Eldorado of Europe, and more precisely, Italy".
    "Trajectories often missed and trips often missed in advance, which remain unfinished and that rhyme with death, repatriation, and detention in reception centers", Trabelsi said.
    "It is a problem that is devouring Tunisian society and its fallen young people, left to fend for themselves, faced from the start with unemployment and poverty, dreaming of calmer skies and nations that provide them with a minimum of assurance for living, fruitful work, a status, security. They are Tunisians, but also sub-Saharan refugees who arrived illegally in Tunisia and are fleeing wars and terrorism in sub-Saharan African countries," he said.
    The 20-episode series was supposed to be filmed between the two shores, one-third at sea, with the last part in a reception centre in Palermo, but after the coronavirus crisis the series was limited to filming in Tunisia.
    Trabelsi said the series is compelling and aims to raise awareness and awaken consciences, and the producer wants to distribute it abroad.
    The series also highlights the drama of the difficulty of changing a reality that is immersed in a sort of distorted stereotype of Italy and Italians as seen from the other side of the Mediterranean. (ANSA).


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