Airport Hiding

People in airports: coming and going and waiting.  Transition, transitioning, transitions, etc., etc., etc.  Somewhere out there, folks, is a man named Snowden, hiding out in an airport, an ambivalent, ambiguous, layover, but I wonder about his destination, and I wonder how long he will be hiding out in airports. 

Picture of Edward Snowden By Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai2013-07-10 15:53:33 UTC

Anyway, I recently read a story about Mehran Karimi Nasseri.  Are you familiar with Mehran Karimi Nasseri?  

Mehran Karimi Nasseri

Life is an airport for Mehran Karimi Nasseri / (August 2004)

Mehran Karimi Nasseri …”He’s the Iranian man who had his passport and other papers stolen while on his way to London, and then ended up stranded in Terminal 1 of ParisCharles De Gaulle from August 1988 to July 2006, when an illness convinced French authorities to allow him to leave.”  

“Mehran was essentially living the life of a homeless man on the streets — except that his street was the airport. He looked and lived like the homeless, dragging his things around with him. He had even made claim to a certain red chair — his spot in the airport. … He didn’t work and he got by from day to day. 

© Victor Tonelli/Reuters

Merhan Karimi Nasseri 2004 im Transitbereich des Pariser Flughafen Charles de Gaulle.

Merhan Karimi Nasseri 2004 im Transitbereich des Pariser Flughafen Charles de Gaulle.

Nasseri’s highpoint was in ” … 2003, Steven Spielberg purchased the rights to Nasseri’s story — reportedly for $250,000, plus some rights to a percentage of ongoing profits. Mehran’s salvaged luggage soon carried signs advertising the 2004 movie, The Terminal, which was loosely based on his life at Terminal 1. Even then, he lived as before — in a fragile psychological state, depending on found free meal vouchers and passing his days reading every book in the bookstore.”

Nasseri’s last known address was a homeless shelter in Paris.  Thus, the longest layover in history … 17 years.  So where will Snowden be in another 17 years?  Living in an airport somewhere in Europe? Or Asia?  For one (Nasseri, for example) an airport can be like a prison.  For another (Snowden, for example), an airport can be a place to hide.  But making the distinction between which is which can be difficult.


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