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If the past year seems to you something unsuccessful, perhaps you should look at life with great optimism and ask yourself the question: "Do I have a homeland and a roof over my head?" For example, a native of Iran Mehran Karimi Nasseri could not answer in the affirmative. Indeed, due to circumstances, he lived for 18 years in an airport terminal in France, like a prisoner. And who knows, maybe at the same time he did not feel unhappy at all?
Unlucky rebelIranian Mehran Karimi Nasseri was born in 1942. Acquaintances and friends knew him as a man with a heightened sense of justice: he dreamed of social equality in his native country and his compatriots living freely and happily, as in civilized Europe. In 1977, when riots broke out in Iran, Mehran sided with the protesters. For participating in a demonstration against the ruling Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the man was expelled from his country.
Moving from one European capital to another, the Iranian could not get asylum. Four years later, he was finally granted political refugee status and settled in Belgium, where he lived for another four years.
Now, according to the law, a man could take citizenship of any country in the world and, since his mother was a British citizen, this gave him the idea that he could well move to the United Kingdom. Nasseri planned to move to London and then to Glasgow. He decided to travel to Great Britain via Paris. Alas, such seemingly realistic plans were not destined to come true.
On the way to Paris on the train, Nasseri's bag with all the documents necessary for the move was stolen. But he still came to Charles de Gaulle airport to catch a London flight (he had a ticket). And, I must say, he succeeded: the employees turned a blind eye to the fact that some documents were missing, and released him from the country. But the British authorities turned out to be more prim: having discovered that the arriving passenger did not have the necessary documents, they sent Nasseri from Heathrow Airport by plane back to Paris. This time, as soon as the man landed, he was immediately arrested for attempting to illegally enter another country.
Since the Iranian did not have documents indicating his homeland, the French were confused: to which country to deport him? They have no right to go to Iran. Leaving in France is also impossible.
French courts were unable to grant Nasseri either a temporary visa or refugee status. The Belgian authorities agreed to help the man in obtaining the documents, but they said that, since these are very important papers, they could not send them to France, and the man must appear for them in person. In other words, come to Belgium.
Naturally, Nasseri did not dare to buy a ticket to Belgium, because he was afraid that he would be arrested. For the same reason, he did not dare to leave the French airport.
The man decided to stay in terminal number 1 of Charles de Gaulle airport, and this room became his permanent residence for many years.
World fameIt seems incredible, but Nasseri lived here from 1988 to 2006, in other words, he was a volunteer prisoner of the airport for a full 18 years! Nasseri's only furnishings were a small red sofa, a small round table and a chair. There was also his suitcase with his belongings. Well, he ate together with the airport staff in their service canteen. By nature, Nasseri was friendly and sociable, so at the airport they immediately fell in love with him and began to consider him almost a talisman.
Many passengers and staff felt sorry for the unlucky man and gave him money and food. And when journalists found out about his story, he became popular all over the world. There was no end to those wishing to write an article about him or shoot a report, and Nasseri was even paid for an interview.
Gradually, the man got used to this way of life. The terminal became his home and seemed quite comfortable. In his spare time, he read a lot, kept personal diaries and studied economics.
In 1995, the Belgian authorities offered Nasseri to move to their country and live under the supervision of a government official (in other words, a social worker), but Nasseri refused. “I want to live not in Belgium, but in Great Britain!” He said flatly.
Four years later, France offered the prisoner of the terminal a temporary residence permit, but this option did not suit him either. “The French authorities are going to indicate in the documents that I am Iranian, and I don’t want to hear anything more about Iran, the country that once kicked me out, its citizen,” Mehran explained.
The lawyers managed to restore the man's documents, however, this did not force him to change his usual way of life and leave the airport.
Perhaps the man simply did not want to leave the terminal, because there are known cases of psychological addiction among recidivist criminals who are constantly in prison. Needless to say, his reasons for rejecting quite adequate proposals from the authorities of European states seem somewhat far-fetched.
In 2006, Nasseri fell ill and was hospitalized. Having checked out, he never returned to his "native" airport. True, sometimes he still came there and for some time looked sadly at his "home" from the side.
In 2007, at the age of 65, Mehran Karimi Nasseri was placed in a homeless shelter of one of the charity organizations in France, where he stayed to live. Since his further fate was no longer so interesting, the refugee was gradually forgotten, and now it is not even known whether he is alive or not.
By the way, in 2004 on the basis of this sad story about one of the most unfortunate people who suffered from the paradoxes of the bureaucratic world, the film "Terminal" would have been shot. The role of an airport prisoner in this film was played by Tom Hanks.
To fully understand the full drama of this story, you must definitely watch this film. And you can also read an interesting article about how Tom Hanks became Hollywood's most charming pet.