Because racism and discrimination are also created by the general discourses of our society.
On the 17th of October, Paria, member of the Italian Young Naturefriends, flew from Venice to Skopje to participate in her third IYNF activity of 2016.
As soon as she landed in Skopje, Paria saw her entrance in the country denied by the border control officers at the airport.
As an Iranian-born citizen, Paria is already accustomed to fastidious security checks and discriminatory looks from staff members of European airports. This time, though, she experienced the unthinkable. Without a Visa approved by Ministry of Internal Affairs of Macedonia mandatory for Iranian citizens, Paria was forced to accept that the proof of permanent residence in Italy and the Schengen Visa she was holding, were useless in that country. This realization came through while she was being escorted by the police.
120 kilometers south, the IYNF team and the other participants in the project were impatiently awaiting for updates about Paria’s situation. The news were scarce. We only knew that she was being kept in the airport and treated with despicable manners. A few hours later our suspicions were confirmed — Paria would be sent back to Italy but nobody could tell when.
Paria was detained in Skopje airport for two days before she could be back home safe and sound.
The absurdity of this occurrence united the participants of “d-e-zign it!”, who felt compelled to express solidarity and empathy towards Paria but also to manifest their views and, likewise, the shared views of many other young people across Europe about the notion of borders and freedom of movement in today’s global society.
Although we are aware of the political developments and systems that created a Europe of nation-states, of Visa, of exclusive citizen rights, we demand the adoption of human rights before national interest.
We cannot accept the world’s richest region to turn those away that ask for their guest rights. We cherish the diversity and depths of the grown traditions and identities in Europe which are, at their core, a web of migrations and re-migrations spanning the centuries. We need the cultural origins and innovations of our neighbours and new neighbours in order to stay true to what Europe is: One of the world’s most diverse and colorful regions.