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This brief essay is part of my application to present a paper at the First Global Forum on Statelessness at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, 15 – 17 September 2014.
Human Beings do not Need Citizenship, They Need Equality
Human beings do not need permission to be born, to live, to work, to love and to otherwise fully participate in and benefit from society. Statelessness is not a problem of a lack of citizenship. Rather, it is a problem of the bad behavior of certain human beings towards others who lack citizenship.
The fact that people can be displaced from their homes and permanently barred from returning, for example – on pain of imprisonment for illegally crossing a border and even death for attempting to resist and evade such injustice – due to a war between states or the collapse of some treaty signed by people long dead is not “a problem that the international community should address,” but rather a problem with the existence of nations themselves and with the crimes carried out in their names.
From Friedrich Nietzsche to Garry Davis to Jeff Knaebel to me, there have been a small number of people who have quit their citizenships intentionally and lived stateless for the remainder of their lives. Certainly, this is a risky proposition in the modern world, where the varnish of a bogus consensus reality allows and even encourages some people to actively discriminate against, exclude and even imprison stateless persons for merely existing, and statelessness is not a status chosen or even desired by the vast majority without citizenship.
Citizenship, or the lack of it – along with gender, immigration status, sexual orientation, religion and race – is used as the basis and justification for social exclusion and discrimination both active and passive. We should allow nobody – whether cloaked in the presumptuous officialdom of state authority or not – to behave in such fashion toward other people without consequence.
Let us strive not to be citizens, but true equals everywhere on this, the only planet we have.