Source: New York Times
Comoro Islands is a tiny East African country with stunning white beaches, a large active volcano and a population just shy of 800,000. Some 150,000 Comorans live in metropolitan France, which governed the Comoros until 1975. In the United Arab Emirates, an estimated 40,000 people carry Comoran passports, too.
The Comorans in the Emirates, however, do not speak their country’s language. They do not resemble the islanders physically or culturally. They were not born there; they have never been there. In fact, until recently, these Comorans were legally stateless, or bidoon.
The bidoon — the word is Arabic for “without” — mainly come from families who lived in the region but were never counted in censuses because of their tribal affiliation, their level of literacy, their ethnic origin or their access to state officials. The Emirati government has not released census data about the number of bidoon; estimates range from 20,000 to 100,000.