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Transitando por la frontera hispano-marroquí: un recorrido histórico visual. Experiencias de campo en un entorno fronterizo / Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field experiences in a border landscape (English version).

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Abstract

Resumen A través de este ensayo fotográfico se pretende mostrar algunos resultados de la investigación sobre el terreno llevada a cabo dentro del marco de una tesis doctoral, durante los meses de julio a septiembre de 2014 en Ceuta, además de Melilla y localidades cercanas a la frontera hispano-marroquí. Como se verá, los enclaves marítimos de Ceuta y Melilla han ocupado otrora una posición geoestratégica esencial en el Mediterráneo. Actualmente, su función de fronteras externas de Europa en el continente africano se ha reforzado mediante la securitización de la región fronteriza para contener las amenazas relacionadas con las actividades criminales y la migración transmediterránea “no deseada”, aunque ha acabado afectando también al comercio “atípico” o contrabando con Marruecos. Palabras claves: fronteras, migración irregular, militarización, porteadoras, securitización Abstract This photographic essay intends to show some of the results of the ground research carried out within the context of a doctoral dissertation, during the months of July through September of 2014 in Ceuta, as well as Melilla and locations near the Spanish-Moroccan border. As the text shows, the maritime enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla have once had a crucial geostrategic position in the Mediterranean. Currently, its purpose as an external European border in the African continent has been reinforced with the securitization of the border region to contain the threats related to criminal activities and “undesired” trans-Mediterranean migration, although it has also ended up affecting “atypical” trade or trafficking with Morocco. Keywords: borders, irregular migration, militarization, porters, securitization
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home » Vol 3 Num 6 (2020) » EncArtes multimedia » Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a
historical and visual tour. Field experiences in a border landscape
Travelling the spanish-
moroccan border: a historical
and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border
landscape
BY MARÍA ISOLDA PERELLÓ CARRASCOSA
Reception: May 18, 2020 Acceptance: July 31, 2020
RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE:
Abstract
his photographic essay intends to show some of the results of the
ground research carried out within the context of a doctoral
dissertation, during the months of July through September of 2014
in Ceuta, as well as Melilla and locations near the Spanish-Moroccan border.
As the text shows, the maritime enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla have once had
a crucial geostrategic position in the Mediterranean. Currently, its purpose as
an external European border in the African continent has been reinforced with
the securitization of the border region to contain the threats related to criminal
activities and “undesired” trans-Mediterranean migration, although it has also
ended up affecting “atypical” trade or trafficking with Morocco.
Keywords: borders, irregular migration, militarization, porters, securitization
Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
S
The securitization of the Spanish-Moroccan border
ince its beginnings, States have needed to delimit their space by
means of borders for surveillance and the exercise of power over
their domains. Originally the border limits of ancient civilizations
contained a great symbolic charge, due to the character they had in their role
of defining the community (Cairo, 2001: 36; Plaza, 2010), but over time they
evolved until they became a military element of transcendental importance, as
they are used to mark the area of possible contact with an enemy army and
with the purpose of deterring attacks by invading towns (Díez-Torre, 2016).
This function would be perpetuated during medieval times, since the
walls and fortresses continued to represent an element of security and refuge
from external sieges and armed confrontations, and reinforced the collective
identity of the populations within (Brown, 2015; Rodríguez Ortiz, 2015).
Precisely in its Mediterranean meaning, the border was considered the end of
the earth and separated Christians from infidels. This Castilian-Portuguese
concept that ruled in the century XV served to justify the presence of European
positions in North Africa whose purpose was to curb Maghreb pressure
(Jover, 1963: 207, cited by Vilar, 2003), so that when the cities of Ceuta and
Melilla were annexed to the Crown of Castile, became the advanced frontiers
in the land of Islam (Aziza, 2011).
However, for Muslim law, the border constituted the limit that indicated
that intermediate space of common use, determined naturally by a river,
mountain range or geographical feature, and not by an abstract territorial
demarcation. This was an aspect that would give rise to continuous hostilities
and disputes for the dominance of that African region, which prevented the
extension of the border limits beyond them for a long time (Vilar and Vilar,
2002). As a result of this situation, several treaties were signed between Spain
and Morocco, through which the line that separated both countries was
modified, until the African War (1859-1860) broke out. With the Treaty of
Tetouan of 1860, the conflict would end and the border perimeter that has
survived during the protectorate and to the present day was formed, despite
the fact that, after the independence process, Morocco has systematically
claimed its historical and natural borders (Gómez-Barceló, 2009).
Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
During the protectorate stage, Morocco represented for Spain the last
colonial stronghold that allowed it to show the world its image of power, in
such a way that in the imaginary of the time, these "outposts of civilization"
(Franke, Weizman and Geisler, 2003, cited by Johnson and Jones, 2018: 60)
fulfilled the function of putting in order the nearby barbarism. However, after
the decolonization process, the bilateral relations between Spain and Morocco
around the border territory of this strip of the western Mediterranean
oscillated between disagreement, with numerous territorial disputes, and
rapprochement, driven especially by their relationship of economic
interdependence ( Velasco de Castro, 2014: 184). Because of this, they have
had to sign various treaties, memoranda, conventions and agreements in order
to favor the economic interests of the geographic area they share, in addition
to modernizing their border crossings and strengthening the security of the
area. This is an aspect that has also ended up affecting cross-border trade that
takes place in the Melilla-Nador corridor and the Ceuta-Tetuán corridor.
On the other hand, after Spain's accession to the Schengen Agreement in
June 1991, its integrationist position was reinforced thanks to the
implementation of the visa and border closure policy, which started the
process of waterproofing the crossings. by raising and reinforcing the barriers
with barbed wire and other dissuasive devices (Rodier, 2013; Ferrer Gallardo,
2018). These measures pushed migrants from the Maghreb to cross the waters
of the Strait of Gibraltar in boats; they would be followed by those from Sub-
Saharan Africa. The immediate consequence was the reinforcement of the
control of irregular entries along the coasts (De Haas, March 19, 2014).
However, at the same time, the free transit of goods and of some Moroccan
citizens from the cities of Tetouan and Nador, with which Ceuta and Melilla
maintained (and maintain) commercial links of special relevance, was
selectively favored, which would give rise to new patterns of circular
mobility of the bordering population (Ribas-Mateos, 2005: 236). In addition,
the absence of international customs has given way to the presence of a large
underground economy sustained thanks to the exchange of goods between the
border areas of both countries (Velasco de Castro, 2014: 2). For this reason,
both in Ceuta and in Melilla there have been daily and pendular movements
of cross-border workers, street vendors and “porters” working in “atypical
commerce” or contraband until the border closings.
With the globalization process, the notion of border has been
progressively associated with a security discourse where the priority of
Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
nation-states is to regulate trade flows between countries and of the “subject-
objects that transit them” (Mendiola, 2012: 448). In other words, the porosity
and lack of rigidity for the transit of goods have been accompanied by
physical and administrative barriers to free mobility for unwanted people
(Heyman, 2011), which makes the border a “bridge or wall based on of the
ability that individuals have to move through it ”(Lacoste, 1993; Crosswell,
2006, cited by Ananou and Jiménez, 2016: 171). Likewise, the growing
concern for security has raised human mobility to the emergency status,
associating those people who come from beyond the western borders with
sources of organized crime and international terrorism.
Thus, the location of Ceuta and Melilla as external borders of the EU and
Morocco's position as a privileged partner that has given it an “advanced
status” (Rodier, 2013: 93) within the European space as of 2008 have made it
an essential geostrategic point to fight against the terrorist threat, organized
transnational crime. around drug trafficking and human trafficking. But also
against irregular migration from the African continent, which is one of the
issues that has generated the most controversies between Morocco and Spain
(Hernando de Larramendi and Bravo, 2005: 207). It should not be forgotten
that Morocco, traditionally a source of emigrants, has become a destination
and transit nation for people from West and Central Africa heading to Europe
(Khachani, 2006). Likewise, after the 9/11 attacks, massive illegal
immigration was considered a new emerging risk, so the priority of the
political class was the design of a European foreign action strategy through
which migration and border control was outsourced involving third countries.
Consequently, Morocco began to receive funding from the EU to relocate and
displace at a good price the exercise of migration control outside the
European sphere (Rodier, 2013: 94).
Likewise, as agreed by the EU In Tampere (1999), Laeken (2001) and
Seville (2002), the control of entries by sea was expanded through the
activation of the Integrated External Surveillance System (YES GO), which
incorporated military technology radars for long-distance interception of
vessels in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, the Andalusian coast and the
Canary Islands. Later it would receive support from the European Border and
Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), a quasi-military body for air, maritime and
land border surveillance, whose effectiveness led to irregular migration routes
being diverted to land borders (De Haas, March 19, 2014). Since then,
migrants and refugees in transit who are concentrated in the nearby forests
remain stranded and exposed to the dangers of nature or the brutality of the
Moroccan authorities, as is also the case in urban settlements. But if they
manage to access the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, they are blocked and there is
repeated cases of saturation in the government centers where the first
reception is provided, especially when there has been a peak in arrivals.
The methodological approach
As Whyte (2006) emphasizes “architecture is a text that can be read” (Whyte,
2006: 154). That is, the structures of the walls, fences and fortifications of
sovereign entities can also be understood, by analogy with language, as a
code capable of communicating what the intentions of their rulers are. To
understand how these complex security infrastructures had been integrated
into the landscape of the border cities of Ceuta and Melilla (Braudel, 1993;
Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
Brown, 2015), history was related to ethnographic work. On the one hand, the
historical perspective constitutes a key tool to understand the contexts and
political changes that affect the systems that exist to exercise border control
within a specific temporal and spatial framework (Mora, 2013: 24).
On the other hand, recourse to ethnographic methodologies enables the
research gaze to focus on individuals (Durand, 2012: 59) who are affected by
the security logic. Consequently, in the design of the methodical information
collection strategy (Mora, 2013: 32-33) a qualitative approach was followed,
since its flexibility and adaptability could give the research action a greater
degree of creativity (González Gil, 2008 : 5). The tools selected were
unstructured direct observation, in-depth interviews and visual ethnography
based on the use of photography.
For the development of the research, all the material means that were
within our reach were used (Hernández Sampieri, et al., 2006: 25), which
included a camera, a tape recorder and a diary. As a preliminary step, an
initial immersion in the field was carried out, with the aim of reaching a
certain awareness with the environment and to try to identify the key
informants. This activity was based on the contemplation of phenomena,
actions, processes and situations in their natural setting, maintaining a holistic
vision. The data collection technique was open (Folgueiras, 2009), field notes
were taken and an anecdote was also included.
As for the photographs, they were used as support to help understand the
observed social phenomena and their context through the taking of images
(Salazar-Peralta, 1997). In addition, it was considered that they could
constitute an extraordinary tool as a data collection technique (Collier Jr.,
2006; Arango and Pérez, 2008: 131; González Gil, 2008: 5-6), since,
although the photographic activity is its own From the artistic field, it opens
up new investigative possibilities that serve the objective of
interdisciplinarity, thereby extending our perception (Collier and Collier,
1986: 5; Pink, 2009: 2-3). According to Arango and Pérez (2008: 132), visual
ethnography makes observation have a different approach, since it is a way of
representing and interpreting reality that leads to “a multisensory approach to
the contexts, subjects and objects” that are examined (Arango and Pérez,
2008: 133). Furthermore, the photographs themselves can serve as a notebook
(Orobitg, 2014: 4). According to Collier and Collier (1986: 16-19), the
images captured with a photographic camera fulfill an illustrative function,
therefore they not only help to preserve the first impressions experienced in
the field, but also accelerate the process of understanding social reality object
of study when there is still limited knowledge about it.
At the end of the day, these images have a high descriptive power
(Salazar-Peralta, 1997) and can acquire various meanings depending on the
context in which they are seen, or the people who are looking at them
(Arango and Pérez, 2008: 132; Pink, 2009: 67-68; Vila, 2012: 286). Added to
this is the fact that the photographer is not only capable of showing with his
frame what he has fixed his attention on and that escapes the everyday eye,
but it is possible that he captures other images whose inclusion had not been
foreseen (Piette , 1996: 150, cited by Orobitg, 2014: 4). For this reason, as
Freixa, Redondo Arolas and Córdova (2016: 4) emphasize, the photographer
plays a role in his position as an observer that distinguishes him from other
people.
Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
Cities where field work was carried out for the doctoral thesis
project: Ceuta, Tetuán, Tangier, Larache, Melilla and Nador. South
of Spain with squares of sovereignty. (2007). Polish Wikipedia:
http://goo.gl/4c80sM and own elaboration.
This photographic essay is part of a doctoral thesis project with a
comparative perspective in the field of international migration, which was
started in the border city of Tijuana during an academic stay at El Colef. In
order to reproduce the same methodology, the field work was carried out
during the months of July to September 2014 in key points of the Spanish-
Moroccan border, in execution of the
project funded by the Instituto de Estudios Ceutíes (Call for Research Grants,
2013). However, a crowdfunding campaign had to be carried out or
crowdfunding on the platform THROW US (Project of Social Research on
Borders) to obtain more funds, which turned it into a collaborative project, in
which patrons were informed of the progress of the activity through the Blog
"Investigate in strange times" . Most of the photographs were taken by the
colleague who also supported me in Tijuana, which is Sergio Torres Gallardo
(except on the occasions when he was not authorized to accompany me), who
contributed in this way a more artistic vision, although His professional role
as a photographer was always subject "to the objectives of the study and the
needs of the data" (Llop i Bayo, 1987: 129). In addition, and following Del
Valle (2001), the images have been duly documented, contextualizing them
and indicating who or what was photographed and what was to be reflected,
by means of an explanatory text at the bottom of the photograph. Finally, with
the photographic material that was selected as rewards for the monetary
contributions, several exhibitions were held in university centers, cultural
entities and associations both in Spain and in Mexico.
About the essay: field experiences in a border
environment
Through this photographic essay we intend to convey the first impressions we
had upon arriving at the Spanish-Moroccan border at a time of year that
marked our stay in the first weeks, which is the Ramadan season, which
began on June 29. and ended on July 28. Due to its status as the external
border of the European Union and the Schengen Territory, during those dates
there is a large traffic of vehicles and people in Ceuta that cross its land ports
of entry. To this mobility is added that produced by the arrival of ferries and
by Operation Paso del Estrecho (OPE), developed since the mid-eighties in the
summer, to facilitate the return to their countries of origin of a large number
of Maghreb workers residing in Europe, and which has involved a major
transformation in the lines that cover the Strait of Gibraltar (Sempere , 2011:
464). Precisely in that year, more than 2,864,211 passengers and 655,498
vehicles crossed the border (General Directorate of Civil Protection and
Emergencies, no date).
But this daily mobility is also carried out by people who are dedicated to
the transnational activity of “porting”. This has been developed in the
Polígono del Tarajal until it was banned in October 2019 (Europa Press,
2019), supplying the province of Tetouan through the daily or regular
crossing of goods and products that are more expensive or non-existent in
f i b il l f l f 00 illi
Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
Morocco, for its subsequent retail sale for a value of 500 million euros per
year (Rodríguez and Cáliz, 2015).
In addition, as in Melilla, a large part of the Muslim population of Ceuta
is of Moroccan origin, which is concentrated in the peripheral neighborhoods
of Benzú, Hadú and Príncipe Alfonso (a segregated neighborhood from the
center of the city where there is a huge pocket of poverty). During Ramadan,
Muslims eat breakfast and pray before dawn, and when night falls they meet
with their families to break their fast, so the continuous sound of muezzins
calling for prayer and the nightly hubbub surround you wherever you go. .
However, and in contrast to this festive atmosphere, we soon came across a
sad reality: that of the Syrian refugees who were camped as a protest in the
Plaza de los Reyes, just two blocks from the place where we rented our new
home. In that square, located next to the Government Delegation, almost a
hundred people had been installed with their stores since May 5, 2014,
including families with minors and four young Kurds without children,
waiting for them to leave. resolved their files to enter the peninsula as
refugees, since they had decided to leave the Center for the Temporary Stay
of Immigrants (hereinafter CETI), as it is not able to accommodate families.
Indeed, since Ceuta and Melilla are outside the Schengen area, asylum
seekers are not transferred to the territory of mainland Spain until they obtain
this right, so that when their applications are admitted they lack freedom of
movement and cannot access a work, so many end up withdrawing them.
Although the Spanish Government gave in to pressure and dramatically
accelerated the files and transfers of Syrian refugees in both autonomous
cities, this was not the case with sub-Saharan refugees, who tend to occupy
the bottom echelon of humanitarian protection systems. (Schindel, 2017).
After this initial impact, we decided to continue touring the city, while
trying to learn more about the history of this place where, until the beginning
Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
of the century, Moroccans could enter the military squares when the morning
cannon sounded, having to leave them. with the cannon in the evening. We
were able to verify that part of the Ceuta did not experience the situation of
the fence as their own, as happened with the slave labor of the porters or with
the abandonment that existed in the Príncipe neighborhood, whose Muslim
population has been explicitly related to Islamic fundamentalism (Rodríguez,
2014).
So it has been possible to create a safe space away from the periphery,
where people live in a world isolated from the social problems that plague
them, that is, from the movement of goods, from the businesses that operate
in the neighborhood associated with traffic drugs and people, or the
radicalization of young Muslims who are linked to jihadist terrorism.
Although also of the reality that exists around the border fence, in which
violations of the human rights of migrants are a constant.
In conclusion, in order to collect all these questions, this essay is
structured in four photographic series. In the first of them, a brief tour is made
through the historical past of the autonomous cities through their walls and
fortifications, to go on to show in the second part how the securitization of
migratory control and the militarization of the fences has affected the lives of
migrants and refugees who try to cross borders irregularly. Below are some of
the images that were captured during Ramadan in Ceuta and Larache. Finally,
the trial closes with the "porting" activities that have been taking place at the
border crossings until their recent closure.
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María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa. Work Team of the Research Group on
Migration and Development Processes of the University of Valencia
(InMEASURE). Doctor in Social Sciences from the University of Valencia
(2015-2019), Research line: migration, mobility and social change. Thesis co-
directed by the University of Valencia and El Colef (Tijuana). Master in
Development Cooperation for the UV (2011-2013). Research lines: irregular
migration, border control migration policy, detention and deportation
procedures, and the role of civil society in the field of humanitarian aid and
defense of human rights on the borders of Mexico-United States / Spain -
Morocco. ORCID: 0000-0002-3682-0356
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Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
Travelling the spanish-moroccan border: a historical and visual tour. Field
experiences in a border landscape
BY María Isolda Perelló Carrascosa see biodata
Institutions ISSN: 2594-2999.
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