Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poor Idy

I had taken a couchette from Milano (Milan) to Wien (Vienna) and a few stops from milan, Idy got on the train.

Idy was a Senegalese political refugee and we got talking about his journey and his life. He was curious on my life story as well and we were gladly exchanging notes. Soon our talk changed to Barack Obama. Well no surprise that most if not all of europe wants Obama to win the election and idy was no different. He was curious on what I thought of the election process. I was of the opinion that even though obama was well ahead in the polls and in any other kind of election that would be a significant advantage to the leader this election was different. Given that economic issues will be a big part of the election but when it comes down to voting time, race is going to be the key factor on the next president.

Idy agreed with that opinion and he recounted a few of his stories in italy and how irrespective of the 10 years he has spent in the country he still wont be treated as an equal in terms of work or other aspects of life. He was pretty impressed that race is not an issue in terms of jobs in most parts of the US.

Our conversation covered a whole gamut of topics from mugabe to the state of europe and finally we decided to call it a night so that I could enjoy the next day in Wien while he could visit his brother. Somewhere in the middle of the night we crossed the Austrian border and the austrian authorities came on board to check our documents. While checking idy's documents, they noticed that he didnt have a passport issued by italy but just a receipt of his applying and his work/stay permit. Idy tried to reason with them that he had taken permission with the italian police before travelling but they refused and ordered him off the train.

The last words idy told me were that, you cant fight them - this is their country. I hope all they did was send idy back to italy while I looked helplessly on

1 comment:

Mike said...

Do you really think something bad happened to Idy? I'm sure he was just put on the next train back to Italy.

That said, we'll need to talk -- I need clarification on what happened when you crossed the border on the train. I was under the impression that trains didn't stop at borders anymore with the advent of the EU.