Synopses & Reviews
The cosmopolites are literally "citizens of the world," from the Greek word kosmos
, meaning "world," and polites
, or "citizen." Garry Davis, aka World Citizen No. 1, and creator of the World Passport, was a former Broadway actor and World War II bomber pilot who renounced his American citizenship in 1948 as a form of protest against nationalism, sovereign borders, and war. Today there are cosmopolites of all stripes, rich or poor, intentional or unwitting, from 1-percenters who own five passports thanks to tax-havens to the Bidoon
, the stateless people of countries like the United Arab Emirates. Journalist Atossa Abrahamian, herself a cosmopolite, travels around the globe to meet the people who have come to embody an increasingly fluid, borderless world.
Along the way you are introduced to a colorful cast of characters, including passport-burning atheist hackers, the new Knights of Malta, California libertarian "seasteaders," who are residents of floating city-states, Bidoons, who have been forced to be citizens of the island nation Comoros, entrepreneurs in the business of buying and selling passports, cosmopolites who live on a luxury cruise ship called The World, and shady businessmen with ties to Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.
The buying and selling of citizenship has become a thriving business in just a few years. Not only are businessmen renouncing America or Europe in favor of tax havens like St. Kitts and Antigua; also, cash-strapped and resource-poor island nations, aided by a group of mysterious middlemen, have turned to selling citizenship as a new source of revenue after the 2008 financial crisis. Their customers are oil-rich countries like the United Arab Emirates, which don't want to confer citizenship on their own bidoon, or stateless, minorities. In her timely and eye-opening first book, journalist Atossa Araxia Abrahamian travels the globe to meet these willing and unwitting "cosmopolites," or citizens of the world, who inhabit a new, borderless realm where things can go very well, or very badly.
About the Author
Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
is an opinion editor at Al Jazeera America, a longtime editor and contributor at The New Inquiry
, and a contributing editor to Dissent magazine. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine
, the London Review of Books
, and other publications. She has also worked as a general news and business reporter for Reuters. She grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, and studied philosophy as an undergraduate at Columbia University, where she returned to study investigative reporting at the Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.