The Hirak From East Boston


A group of Algerian men turn their heads once to each side, sending salutations to the unseen angels on their shoulders. It’s Friday, the weekly Muslim jumuah prayer.

After performing their duty to Allah, they gather around a folded table on a chilly February afternoon for hot lentil soup prepared by the informal cook of the group, Mohamed Gheraissa.

As he calls everyone to settle down for lunch, Gheraissa slyly warns them about the spice added into their meal. “We like an extra kick in Ouargla,” he says in his signature jovial tone.

It doesn’t take long before the plastic bowls are scraped empty. What does take long are the conversations that happen at that table every week. Between sips of tea, politics.

It comes in shifting volumes, friendly verbal jests, and jeers of disbelief, which eventually focus on a single orator. Mohamed Dada, one of the Algerian immigrants who…

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