Passport Assignment Unit 3, Nikolaos Paramythiotis

I must confess, I was really confused by what was written on the little piece of paper I randomly picked. How could one be stateless, in a world where every piece of land is considered to be within the borders of a country? And then, I came across the story of Kareem. Her family is Bedoon, descendant of the Bedouin tribes, nomads that used to move around the Middle Eastern region, before settling in Kuwait. When Kuwait was recognized as an independent country in 1961, Mona’s family applied for citizenship, but they were never granted it. After new regulations passed in 1986, the Kuwaiti government took away many of the political rights of the stateless Bedoons, and as a result, she was bullied and not treated with respect, because of her origin. To attend higher education, Mona needed to go to a foreign country. However, her options were very limited: instead of a passport, she was given a special travel document where her visa was placed, that was not recognized in most countries, including those consisting the E.U. Fortunately for her, the U.S. is not among them, and she managed to get a scholarship to do her PhD in a prestigious U.S. university. However, when she reached the U.S., her visa expired, and she was not offered help by the Kuwaiti embassy, that would not deal with stateless Bedoons. The result is apparent: her family does not have the right to visit her in the U.S., and if she decides to go visit them, she won’t be able to return to the country. In unit 1, the importance of feeling a sense of belonging was thoroughly discussed. And I found it interesting that individuals are so commonly rejected from being considered citizens of a country, and members of the respective society. It’s not that they do not belong to a certain society; they do not belong to any society, and that is limiting their options tremendously. In a world where freedom is said to be valued greatly, so many people are restrained as it comes to their actions and prohibited from their right to be in control of their own life.

Special travel document issued to Palestinian refugees by the Syrian government

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