'Walking Borders: borders, risk and belonging' is funded by the Leverhulme Trust
Walking around Mitelene yesterday was lovely. From the dogs that share the space, pathways, historical ruins and shelter in doorways, the beautiful hospitality of the people, the food which is local and fresh to the spaces and places in the port offering refuge to travellers and migrants waiting for a lucky break and chance to move on. At the balance and harmony festival young travellers from Alaska and Belgium led circus act classes and performances including tight rope walking, music theory and French choir. Here we met a young man from Pakistan, a BSc Information technology/ computing hoping to get to Germany. Three months in Mitelene he looked like any other well presented student travelling and walking in the port. Sheltering in spaces out of view he kept in touch with his family and brother in England in the Internet cafes. Speaking five languages and impeccable English and Greek – we wished him good luck on his journey – it was hopeful to meet these young travellers of different kinds sharing similar journeys – one freely with passports and the other a difficult and traumatic path. Hopeful because of their openess, gentle intelligence and desire to live a different life as global citizens – despite the deeply embedded ‘negative globalisation’ all around us.
Garry Davis who died last year spent his entire life campaigning for a world passport, he travelled with it and up until the strengthening of borders in the current era he told me he was able to pass. Often imprisoned when this didn’t work out- he did not have an American passport, the country of his birth. An ex veteran and peace activist Garry told me Sartre had supported him when he launched the passport in the early 1950s. ” The World Passport represents the inalienable human right of freedom of travel on planet Earth. Therefore it is premised on the fundamental oneness or unity of the human community”. RIP Garry Davis 1921-2013