Around the world, one border at a time
Around the world, one border at a time
by Steve Rushton
Earthian at a meeting to think about Syria at the National Gallery in London. (earthianblog.wordpress.com under a Creative Commons Licence)
A British-Iranian man, Earthian, will soon start his second walk around the world for peace. He is relying totally on the kindness of people he does not know.
He says he is a “peace pilgrim”. On 21 March (Kurdish New Year), he will leave his London home without a passport or money. He will go by bike, bus, car, train and foot around the world – first to Saudi Arabia. This is where he had to stop his first trip in 2012.
In a month, he got from Britain to Iraq (about 3000 miles) but could not get further south. So he went back to Turkey, Cyprus and to Egypt. They did not allow him to enter Gaza or Israel. He then travelled across Jordan towards the Saudi border. And there a robber took everything he had.
Six months after New Internationalist told the first part of his story (http://newint.org/blog/2012/12/03/earthian-peace-mission/), Earthian was stuck between Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities told him to return to Britain or to stay in the country for ever. He decided to return to Britain, but he is still determined to cross all the borders of the world. This time he will travel west, following the setting sun through Iceland, Greenland and Canada. He wants to arrive at Saudi Arabia from the other direction.
Earthian came to Britain in 1997 and asked for asylum as a Kurdish pacifist. He had escaped from Iran so he would not have to go into the army during the Iran-Iraq war.
He worked as an IT engineer in England before the global economic crisis in 2008. This changed everything for him. ‘The crash was so big, it made me think it’s useless to be a “good citizen” ’,’ he said. He now hates the injustice of the capitalist system, and he began planning how he could return to the Middle East.
‘There are wars all over the world and we feel we have no power. But we do have power,’ he says, to explain his solo peace mission. ‘I am fighting for world peace, resource-based economies, no borders, no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WDM) and to stop the death penalty.’
One reason Earthian wants the world to stop having borders is because he is Kurdish. His family was divided between Iran and Iraq: ‘This barrier was created by the British. It needs to go. All borders create tensions. Everyone should be able to travel freely.’
He remembers when he was stopped at the Slovenian border and said ‘I’m a citizen of planet earth.’ Those guards let him pass – but in other countries, if he has no documents, he could sleep in prison.
In the summer of 2013, Earthian went to many British festivals and talked to people about his experiences. ‘Glastonbury was the most difficult festival to get into; the security fence is like a country border,’ he said.
Earthian doesn’t travel with money because, ‘It opens the gate and I do not want that.’ He explains that when he gets tired, he sits down with his book and people come to him – maybe because of his bright yellow jacket with the words ‘peace pilgrim.’ ‘I don’t start talking to people. So I know that people who come and talk to me are really interested and really want to help.’
Recently Earthian took peace letters about Syria to embassies in London. The letter tells countries they must take many Syrian refugees; and it asks for a peace process led by Syria.
Earthian delivers the letters personally to the embassies. He says, ‘We have lost a lot of communication: we do everything with computers now. I want to fight against this with my journey too.’
Earthian wants to talk and share ideas with every human, not just the embassies that represent them.
Follow Earthian on his journey: http://earthianblog.wordpress.com/
As this article has been simplified, the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed. For the original, please see: http://newint.org/blog/2014/02/06/world-peace-borders/