‘El Harqa’ TV drama focuses on suffering of illegal migrants

Tunisia is both a transit country for migrants from throughout Africa and a source of migration.
Thursday 18/06/2020
Tunisian director Lassaad Oueslati. (AFP)
Tunisian director Lassaad Oueslati. (AFP)

TUNIS- Due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, makers of Tunisian soap opera “El Harqa” (“illegal migration”) found themselves unable to finish filming ahead of this year’s Ramadan season.

But director Lassaad Oueslati and the “El Harqa” team came up with a new plan, deciding to finish up the process as soon as conditions allowed and broadcast the show on El Watanya 1 ahead of next year’s Ramadan season.

The show’s makers suspended filming and postponed its broadcast in order to comply with the Tunisian government’s measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

The production agency said in a statement viewed by The Arab Weekly that Oueslati resumed filming of the TV series in the second half of June.

Oueslati wrote on his Facebook page: “The filming of the series ‘El Harqa’  was interrupted because it was necessary to preserve the health of the team and to ensure the technical and artistic standards of the series. We hoped to enter homes of Tunisians this Ramadan, but unfortunately that was not possible.. We will meet after Ramadan on El Watanya 1 (national TV)”.

Poster for “El Harqa,” a Tunisian drama that highlights the ordeal of illegal migrants and survivors in detention centres.(“El Harqa” facebook official page)
Poster for “El Harqa,” a Tunisian drama that highlights the ordeal of illegal migrants and survivors in detention centres.(“El Harqa” facebook official page)

Oueslati cooperated on the series with scriptwriter Emad Al-Din Hakim, “DJ Pro” company in the production process.

This team was successful with its 2019 TV series “Maestro,” which aired last Ramadan. The series focused on the largely unexamined subject of youth convicts in Tunisian reform centres.

“El Harqa” also examines a marginalised social group, bringing artistic vision to an important aspect of Tunisian life.

The makers said that “a third of the scenes were filmed in the sea,” bringing a realistic touch to the drama.

They added that “the series will focus on the suffering of illegal migrants who are missing at sea and survivors in detention centres after their arrival in Italian soil.”

“Last Ramadan, in “Maestro” we talked about young people who lived in the reform centres, and the harshness they face .. this year, in ‘El Harqa’, we will talk about another kind of suffering … the boat, the sea, illegal migration, and the road to the unknown, the mother who cries, and the father who runs from from a place to another and he lived with a little hope, he meet his son.. alive or dead .. the important thing he finds him,” Oueslati said.

Tunisia is both a transit country for migrants from throughout Africa and a source of migration.