Departing Sovereignty

Publisher:
Dr Anthony Burke, University of Adelaide
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Borderlands e-journal, 2002, 1 (2), pp. 1 - 12
Issue Date:
2002-01
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The story of 'Sir Alfred', an Iranian man who lost his papers while in transit and lived in Charles de Gaulle airport for more than eleven years, occupied a significant, although decidedly eccentric, place in the global news media throughout the 1990s. 'Sir Alfred', whose real name is Merhan Karimi Nasseri, lived between the pizzeria and an electronics store in the airport's Terminal One, "his days punctuated by the rhythm of the flights", from 1988 until confirmation of his refugee status in 1999 (Neuffer 1997). His nickname apparently came from his desire to travel to England, his mother's native country and his temporary home as a student in the 1970s. Living in a transnational zone of business and tourism travel, he neither spoke nor learnt French during his years in the terminal. Even after he was granted French travel documents, he refused to leave the airport, demanding that he be given permission to resettle in the UK and that all immigration documents delete references to his nationality as Iranian (Moseley 1999)
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