By Shahram Khosravi
According to fieldwork between undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, 'Illegal' Traveller deals a story of the polysemic nature of borders, border politics, and rituals and performances of border-crossing. Interjecting own reviews into ethnographic writing it's 'a kind of self-narrative that locations the self inside of a social context'.
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Extra resources for 'Illegal' Traveller: An Auto-Ethnography of Borders (Global Ethics)
I did not even have a passport. While the secret police monitored us as threats, people smugglers (with our money) mingled freely with diplomats and the police. Unable to demand my money back, I embarked on a new strategy. As a businessman, Abbas needed to keep his good reputation. One day I stood in front of his restaurant from the time it opened until one or two in the morning when it closed. I did this again and again. At first, he ignored me. Then his workers threatened me and pushed me away.
Violent confrontations, political riots and terrorism were increasing in Pakistan’s large cities in 1987 and soared with the assassination of General Zia-ul-Haq on 17 August 1988. In response to a series of terror actions, Pakistan sharpened its border control. Throughout the spring and summer of 1987, no one I knew from Cantt Station succeeded in leaving Pakistan by air. The police had stopped collaborating with smugglers and those who tried anyway ended up in jail. Moreover, the khats (literally: line, flight route) from Karachi to Europe had been discovered by European police and many migrants were being deported back to Karachi.
As an unaccompanied minor, he had come to Iran so that his younger siblings could go to school, thanks to the remittances he sent home. His parents were still living in Kabul under Soviet occupation. One January day in 1987, he called me and said that he was planning to visit Kabul to marry ‘the most beautiful girl in Kabul’. He asked whether I wanted to come along. Homayoun requested USD 500 to take me to Quetta, the largest city in northeastern Pakistan. It was less than half the price my first smuggler had demanded.