At the House of Journalists in Paris: semi-camp and half-life

I spent four months in the modest Eden Hotel, located in Blomestraat, during which I spent most of the money I came with from the sale of my car and the rest of the modest savings; Waiting for asylum. Reporters Without Borders, who accepted my asylum application, informed me that they had given me a room to stay in the House of Journalists. I breathed a sigh of relief, not knowing that I would be living a strange and unexpected life in some sort of internment or internment camp.
I left the Eden Hotel one evening in a taxi towards Kochi Street from Saint Charles Street, fortunately I had a good, fairly spacious room located on the ground floor and characterized by its own bathroom, while the residents of the House of Journalists use bathrooms and facilities Shared on the two floors of the rooms for asylum seekers. The house is the only house of its kind for journalists in the world, and it is a completely independent project that has nothing to do with any organizations or parties, and its mission is limited to a guard quarter in which the asylum-seeking journalist lives for 6 months, and the administration of the house offers him protection, free housing, food vouchers, telephone cards and monthly cards for transport In public transport. The house receives great financial help from the French media, and every bedroom in it is cared for by some of the biggest press organizations (Le Monde, Figaro, Paris Match…) My room is sponsored by the newspaper Figaro, for example; This means that it covers the simple allowances of its residents such as metro tickets, food cards, energy costs and other services. The European Refugee Fund and the City of Paris provide part of the support that keeps the journalists’ house going and improves the services to refugees supply. My room has a tall window with frosted glass that allows light to pass through, and a central part of it opens vertically to the sounds of vehicles and the songs of birds that sit in the trees of the “Grenell” cemetery, who ‘s ancient wall, to penetrate. the journalists’ house. I got up early as usual and waited for the shops to open. I went to the LIDL supermarket next to the press house and which overlooks St. Charles Street. I bought mattresses, cleaning products and food for my breakfast and my first dedicated day to organizing my life for the coming months.
I spent my first night and the following nights in a difficult sleep, compared to my qualitative reassurance in the Eden Hotel, I read a little, I was nervous, even terrified, I had terrible nightmares, I the narrow bed fell on the carpet , I had a fit of laughter at what I was in, I couldn’t go back When I fell asleep, I sat down at the writing table, opened my laptop and started writing until four o’clock. From the window, behind the wall of the cemetery, I hear at dawn the rustling of trees that portends a storm. Cars drive by. I hear the bell of the nearby church. When the morning comes, I change my clothes and go out for a walk and explore the neighborhood and what is in it. European, I went to the nearest metro station and sat in the empty park next to the cemetery and thought about what was to come. .
Monsieur Philip Spino, director of the House of Journalists, provided me with the transport card and ration cards with which I could buy food at any supermarket, and I could exchange them for a good meal in nearby restaurants that agreed with the House of Journalists. exchange food vouchers at double the price. I recognized the names of the female colleagues and colleagues in our sanctuary, I was scared and cowered, I was not used to living with a strange group of people, I picked up my laptop and with internet access and bookshelves to the went basement I wrote After a week I was used to camp life, or boarding hall; I must live as I am allowed, not as I wished or dreamed of it.
From one corner Mongolian music is playing, printed with hip-hop music from the computer of the African refugee Claude, and suddenly we are blown like a sweet breeze by some mystical desert songs from the computer of Miss Izana Laroussi from the Western Sahara, which is in the middle of Morocco and Mauritania. I listen to Eastern maqam music from the computer of Chechen photojournalist Tamara as she looks at me in amazement through the thick glasses of her glasses and fluffy white hair before curling it behind her neck in a traditional bun. I attend a French language lesson, and Madame Darlene Cauterier gives us the books of the first phase, we spend about three hours in lessons, and then we go to the management of our lives.
The Turkish journalist of Kurdish origin “Nurai” still listens to Kurdish songs and watches Turkish series on her laptop, giving her childish laugh; In an attempt to ease the loneliness of her alienation, she begins her night program by talking to her refugee family in Germany after her family was unable to bring her to Germany. Eddie John, the African-Haitian refugee, surprises us with an explosive laugh, which indicates the rise of his cynicism about life and his psychological disorder and explains his despair about everything. Calling himself “The Living Dead Man,” Eddie John continues to talk about murdering his mother and looting her money as punishment for his escape from Haiti. I find him, every morning, in the Internet room downstairs, and he greets me in his noisy way: Bonjour Bonjour, and we are the first to wake up in the journalists’ house, busy with our work: he is on one of the journalists’ computers, and I’m on my mobile, browsing the newspapers and websites and writing My messages and articles. There are several cultures in the House of Journalists, a place in the most extreme manifestations of its globalization and cosmopolitanism. So I would hear hybrid languages: Chinese infused with French, Urdu mixed with liquid English to make a tropical chili-spiced juice, Ugandans and Nigerians suddenly abandoning their eccentricities and choosing French.
The beautiful French employee Agnes is assistant to the housemaster, Monsieur Spino, and talks alone with Svetlana, a Bulgarian who tried to commit suicide twice in a week, a quiet Tibetan woman and a fiftysomething Iranian refugee who suffers from panic attacks .

Cosmic pain map
In the journalists’ house, I see nothing in the faces, except the reflection of the bitter experiences that forced this man, this woman and that girl to take risks and look for an alternative homeland in a foreign country after they fled countries where violence was rampant. . Experiences that prompted this group of journalists to flee and become homeless in Europe, so that they have a chance to survive, or – perhaps – to retain the ability to absorb and accept life after terror and death in prisons , roads and borders surrounded their countries and the countries through which they fled to a land of asylum that embraces the lucky. Something and they plunged themselves into an ambiguous present between the desire for asylum and the dream of returning one day return to a home country that may be able to accommodate them. Here we are refugees from distant lands of the world, the product of different cultures, human trials that bring us together, after which we hope for some salvation. The bald-headed, copper-faced Cuban writer and journalist Jesus Zonica, and the Eritrean journalist B. Simon, the Sahrawi journalist Izana Al-Arousi, the Burundian journalist Mujuma Masoud, the Haitian John, and others, our character has changed from a fugitive citizen to an asylum seeker on the waiting list, a period of anxiety that each of us is unaware of what it will lead to in terms of categorical rejection or acceptance that begins with a tormenting journey of a type of Other.
The refugee usually waits a month or two to receive notification of either his acceptance or the rejection of his application, at which point he must submit an application to the court to resume consideration of his asylum application, and the Journalists House administration assigns attorneys who work with it to follow up on their cases.
In the past months, before I moved to the House of Journalists, I went to the dormitory section in an outlying suburb and stood for long hours in the rain ​​​​​​in a long line of Indian, Chinese, African, Chechen , Latino, Hungarian and other refugees The task is not completed until after 4:00 p.m. I stood in the rain and cold and tried to hold on and be patient, but my tears fell without my will for the reality in which you found me. I lived in a state of confusion: I don’t know what to do after I was involved in the asylum application and they took my Iraqi passport from me, and I have no document except the temporary residence paper that shows my number in the asylum applications It looked like a strict interior of 15 persons, and the only virtue of the house was the presence of a large lecture hall with Internet access. We spent most of our time there in the mornings for French lessons, and we prepared our food in a communal kitchen that only had four microwaves, which turned any food into a substance that tasted bad like burnt plastic.


Leave a Comment