The holiday season abounds with stories of couples and loved ones going great distances to be together, often with great feelings of love and romance. But what happens when there is a global border apparatus in the way?
Well, today we have the perfect person to talk to about that: author, writer, and journalist Anna Lekas Miller. In this podcast, she explains how people attempt to manage this daunting circumstance, sometimes against all odds. She starts the conversation talking about her own romance and how that inspired her new book, Love Across Borders: Passports, Papers, and Romance in a Divided World. She tells us about how she fell in love with Syrian journalist Salem Rizk, now her husband, in Istanbul. Just as their romance was getting started, the Turkish government began a crackdown on both Syrians and journalists, of which Salem was both. Authorities kicked him out of the country. As Anna puts it, they went from “fun and flirty” to “how are we going to be together?”
This forced Anna to think about other people across the world who are in a similar situation: in love but divided by borderlines. Here, she gives us a taste of the stories she details in the book, and while doing that she talks about passports, statelessness, Gaza, and the strange plot twist with her own attempts to get papers with Salem.
At the end, Anna offers a solution. One that, rest assured, would be a wonderful holiday gift for so many people:
“If we had this political imagination to decriminalize borders the way that something like marijuana has been decriminalized in many places in the United States, I think that could change a lot of people’s lives for the better.”
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