Picto Article

Coordinated mobility disrupting narratives of convergence in the irregular migration of youth f...


This article confronts the assumption that when irregular migration takes place in a context deemed to be terrorist, the two converge. The analysis is drawn from ethnographic fieldwork with young people engaged in the process of irregular migration from the Gaza Strip in occupied Palestine – a place often described as the largest open-air prison in the world. By analysing the process through which young people "coordinate" their movement out of Gaza, and their primary motivations for doing so, the article disrupts the idea of an incumbent criminal convergence of terrorism, irregular migration and human smuggling. It contributes to the growing literature which argues that, rather than operating with or through organized terrorist or criminal networks, the facilitation of irregular migration draws on improvised praxis. In the case of Gaza, it is also undertaken by youth in protest of the status quo of over twelve years of Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza strip, and the rule of the Hamas authority throughout this period. By attending to the experiences of youth in Gaza, the article explains the layers of economic and political agency that enable mobility in what is typically considered to be a highly immobile context.