The difficulty of crossing borders (On the way to Casablanca)

We arrived in Casablanca two days ago. The second step of our european project Chôros, a borderline european cooperation with colleagues from Porto, Sarajevo, Tbilissi, Lyon (where we, Image Aiguë, are based) and Casablanca.
I said we arrived but lost many on the way to Morocco. Gérald’s (the musician) received his (french) passport only today : for a year the french citizens can enter the Kingdom only with a passport, not with just an ID card anymore. Too late for joining us.

Levan and Iuri, as georgian citizens, should have applied to the moroccan consulate in Ukraine who seems to be close. The one in Istanbul ? No way : former soviet countries are not in their scope. After a few days of intense lobbying, the french diplomacy in Morocco finally succeeded in obtaining the two visas (actually two official letters with a number) but a few hours after we decided to cancel Levan and Iuri’s travel. Too late for finalizing the 16 hours trip.

Armand is the one that particularly misses for our artistic work in Casablanca, and in this case our administrative failure. Armand is a refugee in France, from Congo Brazzaville, and a wonderful performer. No passport in that case but a Titre de voyage, which looks like a passport but only allows to leave and come back to France (and to travel into the Schengen area). We bullshitted and considered it as a passport. The french Police des Frontières thought it was a passport and let him leave Lyon. But the Policemen in Casablanca did not.

When arriving in Morocco Armand was in a grey zone : not considered as a French citizen nor a Congolese (both do not need a visa to enter the Kingdom). Back home, to France, after a long night in the airport’s transit area.

From our fortress, in the coordination of this first event in Morocco we did not adequately considered the long process for obtaining documents to cross borders, not only the bureaucratic rhythm (particularly long at this transnational level) but also the importance of “invisible” diplomacy and the power of personal networks in this field. Particularly when you travel from a periphery of Europe to another periphery, or if you are a peripheral citizen.

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