PASSPORT at the Frankfurter Buchmesse

Sunday 10 October, 14:00
Frankfurt Book Fair
Malta Stand – Weltempfang – Hall 5 C952


a poem in Maltese by
Antoine Cassar

German adaptation and performance by
Francis Kirps

English adaptation by
Albert Gatt and Antoine Cassar

illustrated by
Asya Reznikov and Noel Tanti

event sponsored by the
Malta Arts Fund

Valid for all peoples, and for all landscapes. For all citizens and villagers of flesh and blood, wherever they were born. Your worth is not proportional to the population of your country. Entry free of duty, no need for a stamp or visa, the doors are unscrewed from the jambs.
Launched in Malta to a warm and highly participative audience on 30th December 2009, and subsequently in a number of European and Asian cities (including Rome, Paris, Madrid, Seoul, Hong Kong and Bangalore), Passport is a poem of humanity, an open song of eroticism and friendship, yet at the same time, a lullaby for a long list of human rights crushed by the consequences of the discriminatory migratory policy of several governments. It is the lament of thousands of brothers and sisters, of flesh and blood, ever more frequently forced to suffer the absurdities and atrocities brought about by the static notion of nation state.

Passport is an anti-passport, valid for all peoples and for all landscapes. A declaration of universal citizenship, the vision of a world where the fear of barriers and frontiers has long been overcome. A world without customs and checkpoints, without border police out to snatch away the dawn, without the need for forms, documents, or biometric data… A world without the need to cross the desert barefoot, nor to float off on a raft, on an itinerary of hope all too quickly struck out by the realities of blackmail and exploitation. The modulating verses of the poem, the alliteration and anaphora, give force to a voice looking to quicken the planetary conscience of the listener.

Solidarity with migrants and refugees

In solidarity with all fellow citizens and villagers of the world who, with or without a passport, do not enjoy the fundamental right to leave or return to their country (Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), nor the fundamental right to request asylum from persecution (Article 14), the event also represents a call for action and participation. At each presentation of the Passport, members of the audience are invited to bring along their passports, or any other form of ID, in order to symbolically ‘renounce’ their nationalities during the recital. All documents are hung from a washing line on stage, and returned by hand at the end of the performance.

Profits from the sale of the Passport will be donated to Migrants Solidarity Movement, a Maltese NGO that provides legal and linguistic assistance to refugees and asylum seekers.



this passport

for all peoples,

with a rainbow flag, and the emblem of a migratory goose encircling the globe,

in all the languages you want, official or dialect,

in ocean blue, or dried blood red, or coal black ready for burning, the choice is yours,

take it where you will, your passage is safe and unobstructed, the door unscrewed from the jambs,

you can enter and leave without fear, there is no one to stop you,

no one to jump you in the queue or send you to the back, there’s no need to wait,

no one to say Ihre Papiere bitte, quickening your heartbeat with the pallour of his finger,

no one to squint or glare at you according to the gross domestic product per capita of the nation you’ve left behind,


Born in London to Maltese parents in 1978, ANTOINE CASSAR grew up between England, Malta and Spain, and worked and studied in Italy, France and Luxembourg. In 2004, after a thirteen-year absence from the Maltese islands, he returned to the village of his family to re-learn a language he had long forgotten. He lives in Madrid. A writer of Maltese, English and multilingual verse, in 2008 he took part in the Puglia BJCEM, and recited his poetry with Nabil Salameh of the Italo-Palestinian musical band Radiodervish. His book Mużajk, an exploration in multilingual verse (Skarta, 2008) was presented at the Leipzig Book Fair and at the poetry festivals of Copenhagen and Berlin. In 2009, his composition Merħba, a poem of hospitality was awarded the United Planet Writing Prize. His Maltese poems have been translated into almost a dozen languages, including Spanish, French, Russian, Mandarin, Kannada and Japanese. Cassar’s latest and most important poetic work, Passport (2009), printed in the form of an anti-passport for all peoples and all landscapes, has been published and presented in several languages, with profits donated to local associations providing assistance to refugees and asylum seekers.

Born and bred in Luxembourg, FRANCIS KIRPS studied Psychology at the University of Strasbourg. He was awarded Second Prize of the Concours Littéraire National in 2000 and 2001. Since 2003, he has taken part in over a hundred poetry slams in Germany, Luxembourg and Holland, appearing three times at the German national poetry slam championships (Stuttgart 2004, Leipzig 2005, Munich 2006). He was the co-founder of the literary magazine EXOT in 2005, and a founding member of the Lesebühne live reading series in Luxembourg in 2009. Among his publications are: Contes Fantastiques, éditions phi 2001; À sept voix, èditions phi 2002; Gurus, Götter und Gestörte, Satyr Verlag 2009. His next publication, Planet Luxemburg, Muschel Verlag, is due in 2011.

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