I lost my homeland in the fall of Yugoslavia. My passport changed five times even though I never changed my home address. I could not enter the Library of Congress in the USA because my country did not exist in their computer.
Since then, I have spent many hours dealing with the consequences of having no state. I stood in endless embassy queue to get visas. In great world airports, full of busy people from other nations, my documents would be double checked, triple-checked, sometimes even denied. Once I was deported from a train and kept in an improvised local prison because I lacked a proper stamp in my passport. All this occurred without me committing any offense against my own country or any other country.
When the world is in war on terror, or when countries sanction other countries, or when states constrain their own citizens, this becomes a new normality.
Oddly, airports, those nation-free zones, often develop as the safest places to live in the turmoil of nations in war. I spent many hours in those belts of nobody’s land which today are like cities of their own, where most anyone can eat drink shop sleep and wash, provided that you have a valid bank card. Electronic money is far beyond nations by now, the common denominator for war and peace.
In these last weeks, the famous and also notorious dissident Edward Snowden has been living in an airport, in Moscow. In the same time period, an anonymous Mexican woman has been quietly dwelling in Cancun airport . Snowden has all the world press in his face and international spies on his back, all of them waiting for his next move. The Mexican woman was spotted by airport security by chance. However, since her papers are in order, there are no legal grounds to deport her from the airport.
Snowden is a man the age of my daughter. What he did belongs to the new era of fighting for truth and justice. We hit the streets, made door to door campaign with paper leaflets. Nowadays secret documents flow on the internet to raise awareness of timeless political issues. Recently, voters changed the profile of Italian parliament, after many years of vain attempts to overthrow the old class of corrupt politicians, in an Internet-based political party campaign.