Ennd Not Statelessness, End Statehood!
Or END STATELESSNESS BY ENDING STATEHOOD!
ENS, European Network on Statelessness has launched a campaign to end childhood statelessness on wemove.eu. UNHCR has also launched a campaign in 2014 to end statelessness in 10 years. The ENS campaign is for Europe, UNHCR is global; ENS is targeted for children, UNHCR for everybody. Especially UNHCR has put up stories, got celebrities to join them, got signatures etc. I read and read, every page on these websites. I read and read... I understand and know all the troubles statelessness causes. And I definitely agree that they need to be solved. I read and read... I see their goodwill and effort. But as much as I try, I cannot bring myself to join their side on these campaigns, I cannot put my name there.
Yes, statelessness is a very big issue, -maybe even one of the biggest of our times, just one that most people are not aware of. Statelessness needs to be solved. But my logic for solution works the other way around. Statehood is the problem that needs to be solved.
I read and read... I cannot understand how these big big people accept the status quo as the “normal” that needs to be kept as is and protected whereas removing the need for papers, removing statehood, removing the requirement to have a nationality in order to go to school, to access health-care, to work etc. is the most logical way out. It's so ridiculous the way things are. We are made to not exist by the political order, by the “system” if we don't have papers. But #WeExist even without papers. How can you deny this reality and expect a basic human existence to depend on recognition by a “state”?
But that's the way it is. What's worse, people see it as “normal”. I see it as the abnormality that needs to be got rid of.
UNHCR with all the money, support, visibility and recognition in the world can get somewhere, can get ten thousands of signatures, what do you think my chances are if I launched a campaign to end statehood?
Is there even a need to answer that question?
I launched... Actually I didn't launch, I just put it up on my website and announced it to friends on social media, that I was going to go to every country in the world and burn my passports, how many people signed in to support me? Three... One is my husband. The other is someone I had met in a forum on the Economist, he was for no borders but even he found my idea funny and laughed about it. He signed only after I said I was dead serious and he realized I was. The third person to sign was someone I came across on Twitter when I was bombarding “Safe-passage is NOT enough” messages. She said she agreed with me. And when I asked if we could do something about it, get more people to become aware, she signed my “petition” and retweeted me. Well... It was bad timing, she, along with most people, was after the Orlando shooting, and that was that.
My “campaign” would not be for “open” borders, it is for “open” statehood. It is for redefining all our political definitions.
A Virtual Chat
As I read, I started chatting with ENS, and UNHCR too. So here is my one-way conversation with them, through their letter:
ENS: There is an urgent need for European States to act to prevent children from growing up without a nationality.
Me: There is an urgent need for World States to act to prevent babies growing up into a nationality.
ENS: The majority of Europe’s stateless kids were born in Europe; many of them would not remain stateless today if all European countries had in place legal safeguards against childhood statelessness as required by international law.
Me: It is outrageous and unacceptable that a person is not considered a person if s/he does not have a state to belong to. It is outrageous and unacceptable that one needs to have a nationality in order to get an education, health care, or any satisfy any other basic human need thereof. This is all the more so in our very globalized world. Yes, there are many nationalists and fascists, many xenophobes, but there are also many humanists who consider themselves as “only human” and see other people as “people” above any other label. International law should safeguard against discrimination by statehood, which unfortunately is the status quo in the world we live.
ENS: The shocking reality is that more than half the countries in Europe are failing to meet these obligations, thereby denying a nationality to thousands of children across the continent.
Me: The shocking reality is that almost all the world seems to deny this reality i.e. That we are all humans. The powers that be, want to dictate and define us according to our nationalities and statehood, confine us by some arbitrary lines that were drawn by a bloody war or by bloody politics. This belief in states is so prevalent and so strong that almost nobody even questions it.
ENS: The European Network on Statelessness urges all European states to:
* Accede to the UN 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;
* Address gaps in their laws and practice in order to implement comprehensive safeguards to identify and grant nationality to children born on their territory who would otherwise be stateless, as soon as possible after birth;
* Ensure access to free and universal birth registration in order to prevent statelessness.
Me: I, Gülin De Vincentiis, urge all World states to:
* Drop all their conventions defining people by states, ie. Remove the senseless, the unacceptable, the ridiculous definition of “Stateless Persons” from your definitions, laws, rules etc. Remove “Statefull” Persons as well along with it.
* Address gaps in your laws and practice in order to implement a world where humans will be humans wherever they might have been born on this planet we live.
* Ensure access to free and universal education, health care to provide basic human needs in order to prevent the troubles you cause humans for being born in a “wrong” place to “wrong” people, the wrong being defined by your, sorry to say, “stupid” rules and regulations.
Why is This Important?
ENS: Most people take their nationality for granted; they do not think about how or why they got it, what it allows them to do or what would be different if they had none.
Me: True. Yes, people do not think about why they've got a nationality. WHY? Why do we get a nationality? So that we can be bound and be punished by the laws of the state if we do any wrong? Or so that we know who needs to take care of us, educate us, provide for us in case of need? Seriously... Why do we really get a nationality? For me, there is no reasonable answer to that question. The fact is, we do not need a nationality in order to exist. So we should not be needing it in order to survive in this world. So states should at least remove their obligations on us people to belong to one of them. They should stop forcing us to belong to a state just in order to live a decent life.
ENS: Sadly, this is not the case for thousands of children in Europe who are growing up without nationality. For those affected this can mean missing out on healthcare, education and other opportunities, as well as result in unfulfilled potential and a sense of never quite belonging. It brings hardship and anguish to children and their parents alike.
Me: Sure. The way the current society, states and countries are set up, statelessness affects people in a very negative, adverse way. As statehood is fiction, a state/a status they define us into, it should be removed from the international vocabulary. We all naturally belong to a family, a group, or humanity. We do not need any more identification.
They didn't let my daughter go into the playground at IKEA without an ID card. What did they do when I showed them? They just leaned over pretending to look. They didn't take a note of the name, the birth date or the photo. It's just the gesture itself that satisfies them. It's obvious my daughter falls within the age group allowed. Her name is the name I tell IKEA, it's the name my daughter responds to when called out. I could have picked her up easily, they would not have confused her either. It is the most stupid and ridiculous thing to ask for ID's in every place you go. You buy a fridge, they ask for your ID number; you buy a chewing-gum, they'll soon be asking to see your dental certificate... approved by a certified MD! Yes, all this paperwork brings unnecessary, hardship and anguish to children, their parents, to humans in general. Even though I have all the proper papers, I always feel stressed when I'm about to go anywhere.
ENS: There are a number of ways in which a child could end up without a nationality. Sometimes statelessness is passed on from stateless parents to their children. Other times, a child fails to acquire a nationality at birth because of a conflict between different nationality laws, or may not be able to prove their legal identity because they were not issued with a birth certificate. Statelessness can also be a problem for some children born to refugees. It can also result from international surrogacy, adoption or where children have been abandoned at birth.
Me: Saying “ a child could end up without a nationality” is like a child ending up without permission to breathe. This is against all natural law, logic, fairness and justice. Passing statelessness from parents to children is senseless as passing rulership from parent to child. Having to prove your “legal identity” is ridiculous while you obviously exist as flesh and bone in front of other people who have “legal identities”. A birth certificate is not what makes you exist, the fact that you were born does. There is no reason why we cannot name ourselves at any stage we like, like the Indians acquiring a name after they overcome an obstacle, accomplish a feat. All this identity craze is for having control over people. And I agree that people and masses are difficult to deal with and some kind of control would be nice. But then, the people who have the power of control need to be controlled too. As we can see looking at the state of the world, they've made a mess out of it and making it worse with every passing day. After all, they're the ones who created this thing called statehood, thus all the troubles caused by statelessness.
ENS: No child should be left without nationality. It is a problem that is entirely solvable. UN conventions provide a clear legal framework to define and tackle the issue. By establishing safeguards in nationality laws to ensure that any child born on the territory of a country will be entitled to nationality if they would otherwise be left stateless, we could end childhood statelessness within a generation!
Me: Yes. Everybody should be left without nationality. Or to state it in other words, Nobody should have a nationality. It is a problem that is entirely solvable. We can re-write all conventions. Instead of abiding by old conventions written by different people from a different era, we can sit down, define and write down a brand-new set of conventions to make the many wrongs of today right. By abolishing nationality laws, we could end childhood statelessness or statelessness in general be it child or adult. We could end the problems statelessness causes to people who have no fault. We can do this -not within a generation,- even within a decade!
If there is a will...
There is a way....
Open Letter to End Statehood
There is an “Open Letter to End Statelessness” of UNHCR that they ask you to sign “and become part of the global movement to end this injustice.” Their letter starts with:
“#IBELONG to a world where everyone has the right to a nationality.”
#IDONOTBELONG to a world where everyone has to have a nationality to live a dignified human life. #IBELONG to a world where everyone has the right to basic human needs to live a dignified life without having to have a nationality. As there is no such world, or as we don't live in such a world, #IDONOTBELONG
So now let me go through the rest of the letter as I did with the ENS campaign:
UNHCR: Across the world today more than ten million people are told they don’t belong ANYWHERE. They are called ‘stateless’. They are denied a nationality. And with it, they are denied their basic rights. Statelessness can mean a life without education, without medical care, or legal employment. It can mean a life without the ability to move freely, without prospects, or hope. Statelessness is inhumane.
Me: It's not Statelessness that's inhumane. It's the world political system that deprives and denies a person to live like a human being, to lead a normal life if s/he doesn't belong to a state... That's what's INHUMANE! And why should they be told they don't belong anywhere? They belong to the WORLD, they belong to HUMANITY. We all do.
#IWANT2BELONG2HUMANITY . To whatever is left of it...
UNHCR: The main reason people are stateless is because of discrimination. Because of their ethnicity. Because of their religion. Because in some countries women cannot pass their nationality on to their children. We believe it’s time to end this injustice. With enough courage we know it is possible.
Me: With enough courage?? What courage are you talking about? Yes, governments should have the guts to annihilate people's dependence on themselves instead of making us their subjects. The discrimination of people according to the state which they “belong” to needs to end. That's the injustice that has to be put to an end and its time is way past.
UNHCR: Governments can change their laws and procedures, and give stateless people their rights and a place to belong. Within ten years, we can ensure everyone has a nationality. Because if we don’t this injustice will only get worse.
Me: Yes, surely governments can change their laws and procedures, and give people a right to choose where they want to belong. I'm not sure if we can ensure anything within a decade. It will probably take much more than that for nationality to become history the way it is defined and works today. But we certainly need to start doing something about this now, because if we don't, this huge injustice that almost everybody takes for granted will only get worse.
UNHCR: A child is born stateless every ten minutes. By the time you finish reading this letter another person may have started life without a nationality. We are ready to make our voices heard. We believe that if we take a stand, others will join us. And if enough of us stand up we will end this inhumanity. That is why UNHCR has launched the Campaign to End Statelessness in 10 years. Sixty years ago, the world agreed to protect stateless people. Now it’s time to end statelessness itself.
Me: Huh! I am ready to make my voice heard but it is of no use. Not even on the cyberspace does anybody hear me. People are too busy reading other things. Even “followers” or friends do not read. People do not have the time or the mind to read and try to understand long and analysing articles. We are fed up by the hot topics of the day which seem to never end. We seem to never have a lack of “news” to follow up in the world.
I'm not sure if I take a stand, others will join us. In fact, I have taken a stand and not many joined. True, if enough of us stand up, we could end this inhumanity. Trouble is... There isn't enough of us. And it seems there will not be enough of us for a long time. I search until the horizon, there doesn't seem too much hope. Still... I refuse to give up hope and leave these notes on the cyberspace hoping my message will reach someone one day.
I do not care much what the world agreed to sixty years ago. That was a different time and age. Now it’s time to end statehood itself.
Where am I from?
As I write these things, I get the feeling that I am centuries ahead of humanity and that as weird as I might seem today to most people, the following generations will be writing about me saying that I was one of the few philosophizing on this issue of nationality. Of course, if humanity survives to have the next generations.
When I read what I just wrote, it sounds so stuck-up. Maybe I'm not stuck-up. Perhaps it sounds so only because...
I am from Saturn! We don't have states and thus no statehood on our planet. We are all cyborgs. We do not differentiate which side of the planet our cyborg friends were born. East or West, North or South, we do not care. Our hemispheres are inside our minds. The brain has two hemispheres.
Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto... I'm not from this solar system. Not even from the farthest planet. I'm not even from this galaxy. I don't know where I've come here from, I don't know what mistake, what technical failure of a mother-ship dropped me here on this Earth, but I am here and I exist too.