"Hijra - The exile of the flautist" is a musical performance by Moroccan artist Nour Eddine Fatty where he recalls his migration experience to remind Italians that they are a welcoming people. He uses his recital with the flute to tell of the merits, demerits and contradictions of being a Muslim migrant in Italy.
Nour describes himself as a "voluntary exile": he left his country to escape from a marked destiny; his grandmother in fact wanted him to become an Imam and not a musician like his grandfather. He travelled to Spain on a false passport before reaching the French Alps and crossing the mountains at Ventimiglia, entering Italy in 1993. In that year he "discovered Rome which took me in, embraced me and loved me," he said at a press conference in Rome. However lately "he has been upset by the amount of intolerance and racism." This observation gave rise to the show, which will premiere in Rome on December 21.
The ironic work is divided into four acts. The first, 'Nour Eddine, Imam or musician?', "talks about me and where I come from as a Muslim" and about his experience in Morocco. The second is titled 'The borders and exile': according to Nour, borders are "a synonym of injustice. We cannot concentrate on real dialogue between the shores of the Mediterranean when we do not have the same rights". Exile, the name of the show, derives from a reflection on the fact that "80% of migrants are exiles, people who have made the journey against their own will because they had no possibility of working and living a dignified life in their own country". The third act is 'The suitcase of dreams' which speaks of immigrant 'heroes' and of their hopes and dreams. Lastly, the fourth act is called 'return' and is about those who feel 'exiled in exile'. It is his experience when he goes back to Morocco. "I feel Italian, not Berber or Moroccan," Nour said. If migrants were to return home after all that time they would be "condemned to live an eternal exile". I tell migrants 'not to come' to Europe today.
Today Nour would tell a Moroccan who wants to reach Italy "not to come". My experience has been positive, I have achieved my dream, but inside I carry the great pain of being uprooted," Nour said. "Europe is not what it used to be. Now there is anti-immigrant sentiment, there is no longer that desire to live together, I sense a terrible closed mentality. I can remember an open and welcoming Italy that launched me in my career. I want an Italy that says "enough" to racism and is in favour of dialogue." The show calls on Italians "not to forget what they are like" and intends to "give young people hope and tell them that Italy is a beautiful country".