The Beur -or Moorish– Literature is considered the youngest sister of French Maghrebian Literature. The French lexicon incorporates the word beur around 1985, right after the second maghrebian immigration wave. Its feminine version beurrette will not appear until some years later. As the fourth generation of Arabs writing in French (the first generation lived the colonisation the second the independence, the third the emigration and the fourth the French assimilation), the beur authors do not know their original lands. It is an emerging “niche” within Maghrebian Literature.
It is their French-born condition what makes them stand out as a different group, not Arabian nor French but a mixture of both. This Maghrebian-in-France identity is definitely stamped on various sides of cultural life: Literature, Linguistics, Cinema, Music, Marketing and Advertising, Media…
The Beur Literature is wholly testimonial, which means they want to tell us about who they are, how they live and how the French society either treats or mistreats them. It is also clearly stereotyped, sharing in most cases the following features:
- Location is essential: whether fiction or real, stories always take place in a given place, frequently mentioned.
- Languages spoken: they usually speak Arabic with their parents, French in environments strange to the family and close relatives, and randomly both with their siblings- it changes upon the case.
- The father’s role: because of his, in most cases, illiteracy, the burden of family responsibilities becomes unbearable . He is usually portrayed as frail as, due to his usually cheap labour -if not unemployed-condition, his role as a family leader diminishes considerably.
- The mother’s role: ever since she can hardly speak any French, she is always very lonely. Eventually, she ends up locked up at home, completely isolated.
- The children feel shame for their parents: the most common mistakes and imperfections of parental French are often illustrated, mocked at. The parents fail to understand why their children refuse being picked up by them at school.
- Roughy, hostile environment to live in: whereas drugs and violence are the boys’ everyday issues, emancipation, as opposed to unquestioned obedience to the family, and in some cases anorexia are the beurettes’ most common problems.
The major representatives of this branch are: Azouz Begag, Nina Bouraoui, Aïcha. Benaüssa, Mehdi Charef, Soraya Nini, Paul Simaïn and Fawzia Zouari.