Should you ever find yourself stateless, a new little country called Liberland might just take you in. Celebrating its independence May 10, we say good for you! Have many happy returns! Not sure at this time the intended celebration is for the independence from which country - but let's celebrate anyway.
Some of us feel sometimes abandoned by their own country, roots here, life there, a lack of belonging anchored deep in our souls. But, let's not digress. Unlike the Tom Hanks character, who lived inside an airport for years, stranded there because of bureaucratic idiosyncrasies, in the ironic film The Terminal, we, for the most part decide where to go and when.
In the film, based on a true story, Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks), an Eastern European tourist, lands at JFK in New York, then a war breaks out in his country and he finds himself caught up in international politics and unable to go home - while also stopped from entering the US because his passport is issued by a country no longer recognized by American officials.
The real story behind the movie saw Mehran Nasseri forced to live for 18 years inside Terminal 1 of the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. He stayed there from 1988 to 2006, after he was expelled from Iran for protesting against the Shah. The employees of the airport helped him survive by supplying him with food and medicines.
To this day Nasseri still has no country and no passport, even though France finally gave him permission to stay (but not asylum) and allowed him to move in shelters around Paris. Since 2008, he has lived in various shelters of the capital. He is now about 73 years old.
Countries of the World.
Some of us are freer than others, some cannot leave when they want or go where they please. Some countries on Earth do not even exist, as far as being recognized officially by the rest. A few (too many) countries restrict the freedom of its citizens and won't allow them to go visit the world.
One country that is becoming to see the end of the silly tunnel of travel restrictions is Cuba, and thanks to Mr. Obama and Mr. Castro for finally having seen the light of reason, and decided to work to open up a country closed down for 50 years, and for still very debatable reasons.
The beauty of Cuba, the openness of its people will surprise many who would think that repressed souls are sad people lacking a zest for life. But Cubans are nothing like that. They have the music, the rum, the spirit, and like my friend Christine says "the sex". Although this might shock some, the humor and warmth the Cubans managed to keep is extraordinary, under the difficult conditions they had to live for decades.
The Russians of the former Soviet Union had it hard as well, with lack of food and the worst weather conditions, with temperatures becoming inhumane for months at the time and little supplies to heat their houses. Their country has gotten better in the 1990s, and the first thing they did when relieved of the heavy cloak of the USSR was to split into several smaller countries and get rid of the heavy empire-like suppressive rules.
And I won't even attempt to talk about North Korea, the subject is too controversial still for me to vent my opinion here, I don't wish to be "disappeared" from my bed someday. But oh! so lucky I feel to be able to pack and go, grab my passport and be on the other side of the world in a few hours, the freedom of travel is one of the best feelings to have.
Speed Travel Anytime?
Now, I am anxiously waiting for Elon Musk or Richard Branson to come up with a way to fly quickly from one spot to another in a matter of minutes instead of hours. Oh, going from Paris to Sydney in three hours - my! I'll go every weekend!
We have been promised connection of 17 minutes between Paris and New York, or 30 minutes from coast to coast in America. I won't name names, but those ideas had me dreaming, and I would be the first to want to try any experimental vessel that would take me there.
The Free Republic of Liberland: to Live And Let Live.
The president of Liberland, Vít Jedlička, created this new country in April 2015 out of a no-man's-land territory he discovered along the Danube River between Croatia and the Republic of Serbia. The land was never claimed by either country - it was simply a terra nullius, a place belonging to no state, as defined by international conventions.
Following all required international laws, a group of Czech citizens headed by Jedlička decided to declare a new state in that sliver of land. About 1,800 acres in size, Liberland became the third smallest sovereign state, after the Vatican and Monaco. A flag was raised to claim the land - a coat of arms was created. Czech and English are the two official languages. A constitution was drawn.
"The objective of the founders of the new state is to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments making their lives unpleasant through the burden of unnecessary restrictions and taxes."
"We are taking the best parts of the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution and applying it here" declared the new president.
In order to populate the area and incite adventurers to the new frontier land, the president called for 5,000 members to register for their new citizenship - and about 180,000 thousand people have already applied. Whether or not they will receive a passport is another story. Do not yet burn yours.