19 Lis Stereotypes, Borders and Labels nowadays
One of the participants from the Czech – Armenian youth exchange wrote about his experiences on the journey to the Czech Republic. He lives in Armenia, but he has got syrian nationality.
We hear and read about things happened with others all over the world, and wish to tell ours. This is what ive felt when I realised that what I was labeled when born, would decide who I am.
When born you get labeled, labels like Christian,Muslim,American,Syrian,Black,White,Asian,etc. I hate this, before going to Czech Republic I never thought that I was going to stand on every border for twenty minutes, while another person skips lines because he holds a passport that allows him to, is he better than me? Smarter? Richer? More helpful? Or just because I was labeled Syrian?
I would never forget the looks of the officers every time that I stepped forward and handed my passport to, I always doubted myself if I had done something wrong, but then remembered that my passport doubts that not me. There were always more than two lines on the borders, I always stood the last of my group because I knew they would have to either change lines or wait too long for me, I used to look at my right and see that line passing one by another, while I had to stand along with others behind me for the higher rank officer to come and check himself along with five others, because you know if someone couldn’t find something maybe the other one did! I used to laugh at them silently, all nervous discussing over my passport, I remember there was a guy at his fifties behind me, I stepped forward to the officer and looked back and said: “This is going to take a while” he smiled and took the other line which there were six-seven people and guess what? he passed before I did, and after he did he looked back at me and felt sorry.
I cant lie I really did feel bad, I felt that I am a lower rank human being than others. I was not allowed back to my country because another country didn’t stamp a visa back, I had to take another ticket home because my label says: “check again”. I am against borders,passports,countries and most importantly labels! Im Nshteh Mouradian and I am me!
Nshteh Mouradian, Armenian participant
Czech Version here