Are Airport Dissidents the future? The template for the comedy-drama "The Terminal" by Steven Spielberg, with Tom Hanks was inspired by the Kafkaesque 18-years-hike of Mehran Karimi Nasseri. He was the "reality land surveyor K." who was forced to live for 18 years in Charles d' Gaulle International Airport, Paris because all his legal papers got nicked in a French train.
Nasseri was born 1942 in BP's Company settlement in Masjed Soleiman, Iran. His father was an Iranian physician who was working for that company. His mother was a nurse from Scotland working in the same place. So Nasseri went to London to study. Not like Gadaffis son to the London School of Economics but he have a good life there. As the Revolution in Iran took place, Nasseri saw it as his duty to go back to Iran, demonstrated against the new regime.
Well, the Iranian revolutionaris simply revoked his Iranian passport "obamastyle" and putted him on a plane back to London. Yes, you were guess it: London did not want to have him either.
For Nasseri a Odyssey of several years begun and he got to know more about Europe. Finally Belgium granted him asylum and also issued him new legal documents, the Iranians had refused to issue him. Nasseri now assuming his official Belgium papers will enable him to go to London so he can finish his studies and traveled via France to London. In the train his new Belgium papers got nicked. As he arrived in London, instead the border-control would help him filing on a theft report, they transfered him back to Paris by plane. This was 1988.
And then he did not move out of the transit area of Paris airport Charles d' Gaulle. I've met him there in December 2004 asking him why he not just have called the Belgium authorities to get him a copy of his asylum documents? He tried that and explained: "Belgian refugee officials refused to mail my papers to France. They argued that would have to present myself in person so that they could be sure I'm the same man to whom they had granted political asylum years before". But at the same time the Belgian government refused at that point also to allow Nasseri to return there because under Belgian law a refugee who voluntarily leaves a country that has accepted him cannot return. He had lived continuously already for 16 years at the airport. Imagine, no real shower, not real hygiene facilities, no dentist, nothing... All his boxes around him were full of books. And he was looking already frail. Sure every waiter, every air port employee not only knew him, also everybody supported him. For Nasseri it was his home for another 3 years till he got seriously sick and is today living in Paris near the Notre Dame...
Interesting what is going to be happened in Moscow's transit area, - the "NSA dissident" there may cause a bit more hassle then good ole Nasseri who made a bench his home at France's airport. This buddy is giving interviews to paparazzis . Well maybe Nasseri 's predicament mirrors at least those of millions immigrants around the world who may go to sleep in their own beds but live in a limbo of expired documents and steely bureaucracies.
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