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FRANCE: PARIS: MAN WHO LIVES AT CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT

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Eng/French/Nat Most people grumble when they have to wait too long in an airport lounge but imagine spending nine years living in an airport. For one man, an unusual set of circumstances and bureaucratic red tape means he has done just that. Known to his friends, airport workers, as 'Alfred' he has been living at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport since 1988. For one man, Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris has become his home. Each morning, Merhan Karimi Nasseri -- known to his friends as 'Alfred' -- awakens to find himself in the passenger lounge of the airport. Like anyone else, Alfred brushes his teeth every morning and has his morning wash... in one of the airport's public toilettes. This is followed by breakfast from a coffee shop. It's a routine he knows well. SOUNDBITE: (English) "In my experience life here in the Charles de Gaulle Airport is not bad. I try to have a nice day. Everyday I'm thinking, everyday, my future, my past. I could write my story. This is the life for about eight, nine years." SUPER CAPTION: Alfred Nasseri Alfred was born over 50 years ago in a region of Iran then under British jurisdiction. He went to university in Britain. Afterwards, he returned to Iran where he was arrested, his passport revoked and eventually he was sent off with papers that allowed him to leave the country but never return. When he arrived at the airport in 1988 he stopped to make a diary entry while waiting for authorities to sort out an immigration matter. Thousands of diary entries later he's still waiting. SOUNDBITE: (French) "I see him writing in his diary all the time with lots of papers with him. He carries his life in his boxes." SUPER CAPTION: Anna Ramasamy, airport worker and friend of "Alfred" Alfred spent nearly seven years in Brussels where he was granted a form of political asylum. Then he tried to fulfil his dream of returning to Britain. But, along the way his refugee certificate was stolen and without travel documents he ended up at the Paris airport. This is where the red tape becomes complicated. Alfred could go to Brussels in a bid to tackle the bureaucrats, but when he leaves the airport he faces the real fear of arrest by immigration authorities. Along with many others, the airport medical officer has done his best to help Alfred. SOUNDBITE: (French) "Alfred is too frightened to leave because the people working in the airport, the medical services have become his family and his world. And since he doesn't bother anyone by staying, there is no reason why he should leave the airport. No one is interested in him outside except for you, police, lawyers, customs and the airlines. Outside of Aerogare (Terminal) Number One, no one cares about Alfred. He is a man without an identity." SUPER CAPTION: Dr. Philippe Bargain, airport medical officer Since 1992 a lawyer has been working on Alfred's behalf but the documents Alfred needs to safely leave the airport have still not been supplied. His applications to enter Britain remain unsuccessful. He knows where he wants to go, but he's not sure how to get there. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/efff38090947b4324904903f867d3832 Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
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Text Comments (20)
Karen Davidson (13 days ago)
So where is he since his 250 thousand from spielberg?
The Stig (1 month ago)
Wtf
onee (3 months ago)
Unbelievable the French government is full of scumbags for allowing this to go on for this long.
Obed Valencia (3 months ago)
he should be set free such cold hearted people
Gary Johal (2 years ago)
How does he pay for his food and stuff etc?
Nice question
onee (3 months ago)
starfort1 You're a moron. If France cared so much, they would grant him citizenship. They obviously don't give a flying fuck. And also don't pay for his food. It's the airport employees who give him the food. And he was also paid 250K for his story by Steven Spielberg.
Dirk Solo (4 months ago)
He was paid 250,000 dollars for the rights to his story for a movie by stephen spielberg
jonwthan richman (5 months ago)
People travelling through the airport gave him money
HorkBork M (1 year ago)
Uhh, that has nothing to do with it dummy. It's not the government paying for him, airport employees give him food.
H. Lee (2 years ago)
Un homme sans importance collective? Vous plaisantez! Comment bien d'entre vous avez "de l'importance collective"? On est tous des individus sans importance, ca ne veut pas dire qu'on ne peut pas vivre par soi-meme.
am1966ath (2 years ago)
Scandalous....
onee (3 months ago)
H. Lee Being stuck in an airport, is like being stuck in prison. Yeah, you have "some" freedom. But you really don't. You're just a homeless person living off other people being nice to you within a limited space you can move. You keep hearing the lady announcing flights, and probably haven't breath the outside air in a very long time.
Smith Berns (1 year ago)
The Terminal was inspired by this I think, go watch it, it's good
am1966ath (2 years ago)
+H. Lee Being at a boarding school for studies and being stuck as a refugee in a big international airport isn t the same at all..
H. Lee (2 years ago)
+am1966ath What's the big deal about living in an airport? He's got plenty of company! Some students in my country share beds with a dozen of others over 6-9 school years and they don't go insane. So I suppose the life everyone has is livable, otherwise they would long be out of his or her mind.
am1966ath (2 years ago)
+Kevin A person living like this most certainly will lose his or her mind...

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