March 15, 2007

Living in an airport

Remember the movie "The Terminal"? Tom Hanks was left stranded in New York Airport for an year because his native East European country was in coup and he was deemed stateless. Actually the storyline, being trapped in an airport was based on a true story. As this report reveals:
Mr. Mehran Karimi Nasseri is the inspiration for the movie - a real-life Iranian refugee who arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport in 1988 without a passport and without papers to enter another country. He's been stuck in Terminal One ever since. Like a lost and battered suitcase, he has been claimed by no one.
I don't know what happened to Mr. Nasseri but after the movie people seem to be more aware of the plights of such refugees.

Kamangir, an Iranian blogger reveals that Zahra Kamalfar and her children, stuck in Moskow Airport for nine months have been granted political asylum in Canada and was scheduled to be transfered yesterday. CBC News has more details:
She had left Iran nearly two years ago. She had been imprisoned for taking part in a pro-democracy rally along with her husband, now feared dead. She was given two days leave from prison to visit her children, Ana and David.

Instead of going back to jail, she procured fake Bulgarian passports, three plane tickets, and took her kids to join her brother in Canada.

Her flights took her through Moscow and Germany. German officials detected the fake passports and sent her back to Russia, as international law requires. She and her children lived in a refugee hostel for a while, but it was sold to a real estate developer (prices are skyrocketing in Moscow).The Russian authorities left her at the airport, from which you cannot leave without proper documents. For over nine months now, she and her kids have eaten, slept and bathed in the airport. For a long while they ate airplane meals provided by a Russian airline (it was at fault for transporting her without proper documents,) and then getting by with the material and financial help of strangers and, when her story hit the blogosphere, the large Iranian diaspora.
Amazing! Freedom at last for Kamalfar family. Mr. Nasseri was not so lucky. Anyone knows about his fate?


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