Magda Sorel’s husband is a political activist and when the secret police come to arrest him, she goes, with an ill baby and a mother to support, to the only person she believes will help her. The Consul.
She must speak to the Consul. The Consul will help. The Consul comes from a democratic county. In the the Consul’s country there are laws. There are constitutions. There are no secret policemen. As she will tell him: her husband’s a hero, a lover of freedom.
But she is soon to find out: she cannot speak to the Consul. No-one can speak to the Consul. The Consul is busy. As his Secretary keeps telling her. Her case is a number. She has to have papers. She has to sign forms. Bring documents. Wrap herself in red tape. Survive the waiting. The endless waiting. And while her baby becomes sicker and sicker and the Secret Police appear more and more frequently at her door, the nightmare of waiting continues. She is always waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Papers. Papers. Papers.
This is Magda’s story. But it could also be the story of the man or the woman or the child sitting next to you on the bus, or the tube or the train, here, today in London 2011.