India 3

Under Surveillance: Testimony from a Global South migrant in Tunisia

On 2 June 2022, three police officers in civilian clothes knocked on my door in the Bab Souika neighborhood of Tunis, and asked me to follow them to the local police station without providing any reason. Upon my arrival at the station, my Indian passport and the temporary residence permit (carte de séjour provisoire) that I had carried with me were taken away. I was informed that the subject of my summons was a tweet I had published the day before.

Borders live on dark bodies, even in Tunisia

On October 15, 2021, I was stopped at the Tunis airport and denied entry into Tunisia on the basis of the same piece of paper that the police in Bab Souika guaranteed as allowing me the liberty to enter and exit Tunisia – a carte de séjour provisoire [provisional residency card]. It had been a year since I had submitted my file demanding a carte de séjour; as an Indian citizen who needs a visa to enter Tunisia, I had hoped that this card would make my research in and on Tunisia easier.

The Covid catastrophe isn’t about India being “poor”, Tunisia neither

Over last three weeks, I have been telling everyone around me that my parents in India have Covid, that they had Covid, that they continue to cough or have intense body pain. I tell them about my fears that my parents might suddenly need to go to a hospital, that there are no hospitals with vacant beds, that there are no oxygen cylinders left to keep us breathing when Covid chokes us. I tell this to distant faces I see over Zoom, to folks I run into on the streets in Tunis. Every time I am confronted with the same response: remarks about the pictures of cremations, the images of fire eating away the bodies of the dead, followed by a look of pity that I am forced to accept.