The world has been turned somewhat sideways for us, maybe even inside out and upside down. We pushed forward with the concept of an underground non-profit service to document the undocumented. An “illegal” non-profit citizenship program in contrast to the government’s and organised crimes paid programs. We knew the mob’s private sector version of our services existed but what we didn’t realise was the professionalism and size of the market. We saw just how rich and organised the black market is in documentation creation is. The passports, the IDs produced and exchange are for all intents and purposes real. It means that staffs within government as well as the contractors that supply governments are in on the scam. The kickbacks, the bribes, the money generated must be enormous.
While we were risking our freedom infiltrating the databases of the immigration service and stealing passwords, our “success” at creating a few documents was likely being replicated by some of colleagues in the immigration department for pure greed. We will take the plunge and buy ourselves some real fake passports as backup identities, which hopefully, we won’t need.
The tension has been building over the last few months between Immigrant Y, Immigrant Z and me. I am often the one who cops it or end up being the loser in any trilateral argument. I took the risk, keeping in contact with Tripitaka and Immigrant Y and Z see me as careless, irresponsible. Part of the mounting tension is that we have been living on top of each for many months in a small apartment after we left our homes following the police raids. Immigrant Y has in some ways taken our recent status the worst. More introspective in nature she has become more withdrawn and prone to outbursts. The arguments become in many ways cultural battles. As we argue I make the seemingly unforgivable mistake of offering a solution to a problem. The solution to our problems are now existential they revolve around our place in a community that we don’t trust and which likely feels no reciprocal regard. We feel a loss of belonging or assumed belonging. The anchor points of our lives are lost and we are scrambling to anchor ourselves to more than a soft bottom that sees us easily drifting with the slightest turbulence.
We don’t really know what we are accused of or how serious the charges are; and so we assume the best and the worst reflecting our collective mood. The paranoia waxes and wanes but even its smallest cinder cannot be expunged, the oxygen that gives it life flows back and forth with each breath from our lungs though our blood to a corner of our minds every develop a new angle on old critique of failings and lack of judgement; bringing back each encounter with the outside world and every relationship no matter how fleeting. The cinder can soar, float and regularly find a patch of dry tinder; and away the fire rages leaving us stranded, flat motionless, helpless. The only people we can trust are ourselves and that is what keeps us together and somewhat sane; an emotional dependence that keeps us planning and gives us hope.
We are cautious with who we give our limited trust and how visible we make our lives. Always questioning our compliance with our little security standard operating procedures. Did we change SIM cards or trash a phone. Could we have been seen or followed after an action? Were there surveillance cameras observing us? Questioning each action through the day and what status we hold on planet earth. I often feel my shadow shifting in length and area with each adaptation made to a simple journey to the corner store.
Getting away gives a chance to renew ourselves and change the atmosphere. It will take some good planning to make this work, to leave and start new lives. Fighting the fortress is now a focus that gives us a sound mooring from which to build ourselves as well as Immigrant X.