The Making of Postcolonial Selves
This chapter picks up the story of Lebanese migration to French West Africa in the wake of the Second World War, and takes it up to the present day. It surveys the changing nature of the migratory flows tying together the Middle East and West Africa in the late colonial and postcolonial periods, and examines the ways in which Lebanese migrants have attempted to find a place in the postcolonial polities of both regions. Their lives in the postcolony, this chapter argues, have been marked both by enduring concerns and by novel forms of anxiety and ambivalence. For, even as they have successfully held on in states such as Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, staking a claim as useful and loyal servants of the postcolonial state, they have become the target of ire and resentment. Their position in Lebanon, meanwhile, is no more straightforward. While the country remains dependent on their remittances and financial contributions and they continue to identify as Lebanese, they regard their putative homeland with a deep-seated ambivalence which its denizens repay with interest. This pervasive sense of liminality, however, is no age-old feature of diasporic life, but a by-product of the rise of the nation-state.
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