‘I used to believe in all that stuff in textbooks, about human rights and the Nobel Peace Prize. I had seen how well they treated stray dogs in Norway, putting clothes and little shoes on them in the snow, and I thought surely they could help me. But it is just an illusion—rights only apply to those people who they accept, who they accept as human, and I was not one of them. It is my dream, once in life, just to be normal in the airport, to not be stopped, to not be put in a separate line, to not be looked at like I am something strange, something different.’
The pandemic makes borders legible in new ways. For some, the death counts and interactive maps tracking the global movement of the virus recall the monitoring of sea journeys and charting of refugee movements. For others, the act of crossing borders is made visible anew, as different sorts of bodies are ensnared at airports and surveillance points. These redraw once again the permeable lines between rights and rightlessness, the privileges and limits of citizenship. Different biopolitical permutations are playing out before our eyes from moment to moment.