Monday, June 22, 2009

at the gates

- The city I live in.
- The city I grew up in.

- The city I live in.
- The city I love.

- The city I earn in.
- The city I yearn for.

- The city I am going back to.
- The city I will eventually go back to.

- The city that feeds me.
- The city I want to feed-back.

- The city I am fed up with.
- The city that has fed me.

This morning at 6.30, I was sitting on the corner of Switzerland, France and Germany. Across me was the gate to the flight bound to the airport that was actually called "The City" airport of London. Besides me was a longer queue of people waiting to get on board on a budget-airline flight to Istanbul. Rows of people passed by me, almost all holding a blue passport with golden logos and writings on them, in two languages. The first of one which the language that belongs to my hometown. The other one that comes from my residency.

Istanbul flight should have already left at 6:30 but the boarding had not even started yet. People with multiple hand luggages were probably trying to convince the EasyJet operators or were ripped off due to extra hand luggage, a policy which budget airlines rely their profits heavily on. I was among others who each held red passports, were extremely calm and had small bags or suitcases with them, mainly in suits or some sort of well-looked-after shirt and trouser combinations.

"Come here, otherwise I will leave you and go on my own, and you will be stuck here", the mother said in Turkish. The boy started crying. I looked into his eyes. He saw me. The mother also saw me.
"Look, the man is looking at you, don't cry!" she ordered.
I smiled at the kid.
"You cheeky little bastard. What the fuck are you crying for, spoiled kid?" I thought, in a rather friendly way.

Ahmet was his name, and he was a blonde little kid. He looked more Swiss or European than many others in the queue for the London flight. He was curious about these other blonde man, too, and wanted to go through the gate with them.

The day was just dawning. I was just driven by 2 friends from Zurich to Basel around 5 in the morning, through a beautiful Swiss landscape under the dimmest of lights that hardly dinstinguished the shades of green of the trees nearby and the magnificient river Rhine.

I slowly got up and walked through a few people, with whom I shared the same humiliation at the border control, of being questioned where I live and where I am going for what purpose. They were trying to go home. I was trying to go somewhere where more interrogation was waiting for me.*

I made my way into the airplane with the red-passport people. The lady at the gate with the red Swiss Air suite checked my boarding pass and passport and said "you need a visa, uhhh, here it is, OK, thanks" and smiled back at me. I just realised I hadn't said a word since about an hour. I walked into the airplane and had a final look behind. Ahmet and others were waiting. The boarding had not yet started and there were waiting in yet another long queue, instead of sitting down on the benches around them and wathcing the sky.

* Here, I am referring to the UK Border Control customs that are usually extremely annoying. This time, however, I have to admit I was being checked by a really friendly officer whom I had a chance to have a chat with (rather than being asked only to "answer" and "not talk back"). This does not improve the general unfriendliness and human-rights violation of non-EU and non-UK citizens at UK Border controls.

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