Friday, November 13, 2015

The No-Where People

Greg Constantine’s book, ‘Nowhere People’ brings you into the homes of the Rohingya, Roma, Crimean Tartars, Nubians, Hill Tamils, Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, Kurds, Dalits, Ahwazi, Bihari, Bukinabé in Ivory Coast, and Bidoons of Kuwait. The book documents the lives of stateless people around the world.

In many cases, they can't leave the country that doesn't want them because they have no papers. They have no passport, no birth certificate, nothing to verify who they are or where they came from. They're stuck.

Constantine explains:
‘Without citizenship, stateless people belong to no country and are refused most social, civil and economic rights. In most cases, they cannot work legally, receive basic state health care services, obtain an education, open a bank account or benefit from even the smallest development programs. They are often deprived the freedom to travel, the right to own land or possess essential documents like an ID card, birth certificate or passport. As non-persons, they are excluded from participating in the political process and are removed from the protection of laws, leaving them vulnerable to extortion, harassment and any number of human rights abuses. Statelessness paralyzes them in poverty and constructs challenges that plague every aspect of a person's life.’

The 'problem' of statelessness will only end in a world without states! Consider, ‘Nigeria is an entirely artificial, colonial construct created by the British Empire (and bounded by the French Empire). Its boundaries bear no relation to internal national entities, and it is huge. The strange thing is that these totally artificial colonial constructs of states generate a genuine and fierce patriotism among their citizens.... (ICH. 14 March) Socialists can agree with former 'British' Ambassador Craig Murray here, adding that workers have no country. There will be none in a socialist world, nor barriers such the one described here: ‘Less than two decades after the painstaking removal of a massive border fence designed to keep people in, Bulgarian authorities are just as painstakingly building a new fence along the rugged Turkish border, this time to keep people out’ (New York Times, 5 April).

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