Let’s return to this galaxy, this solar system, this planet—indeed, the continent, Africa, that gave birth to an animal that can reflect on planets, solar systems, galaxies, and even the possibility of multi-verses. The movie is The Pirogue. It’s directed by Moussa Touré. It begins in Senegal, and has a young fisherman, Baye Laye (played by Souleymane Seye Ndiaye), as its central character. Baye’s life is not bad, but clearly more money would make things easier. One day, a local entrepreneur offers him lots of what he lacks, cash, to transport thirty black Africans to Spain. The trip is estimated to take seven days.
Baye’s boat is not tiny but is by no means big enough to guarantee anything like a safe journey across a major body of water. But the bleakness of the economic conditions of post-postcolonial Senegal—or rather neoliberal, post-Fanon, afro-pessimist Senegal (which I previously described as being inaugurated by Diop Mambéty’s film Hyènes)—make these very poor odds of success and the high risk involved acceptable to the imagination.
Those attempting this very dangerous trip are not insane, nor are they terribly poor. Their minds are in fine working order, and, more importantly, they are wealthy enough to make the massive thousand-euro bet against the unknown between the shores of the continents, and the greater unknown beyond the walls of Fortress Europe and into the lands of the inhabitant. The people on the boat leave Africa as citizens, and if they are lucky, they will enter Europe and become inhabitants.
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