So The Henley Passport Index has studied and made a combination of 14 passports that would grant you visa-free access to the whole world! I have only one of those and it's not the Italian passport but the Turkish! Now I need 13 more:
At first I had not seen United States. But then Equatorial Guinea (EG) was not on the list either. I wondered "How could that be?" Because US is the only country that can get to EG without a visa. Anyway... US passport is there after all.
Maldives is probably there to get access to Bhutan visa free. North Korea I guess stands alone as it probably has no visa-free for any country. Probably the same goes for Turkmenistan. And the other countries probably allow some special countries that do not have good relations with others, allowing visa-free access only to few "friends."
Aaahhh... One day... One day we will all have free access to the world we are born on.
Without the need for 14 citizenships!
In his book “Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace” Hans Morgenthau points out to another interesting point:
Yes, it is also true that good intentions may result in bad results... Yet I believe we should at least try. It's obvious that you cannot achieve justice or peace with an unjust political construct. Unjust political practices need to go. Immigration controls need to be scrapped along with all our political definitions of countries, borders, citizenship, etc. It really needs to!
States are immoral by default. We need political intellect, will and action.
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Joel Slater is another American who renounced his American citizenship in protest. He said:
"I'm sick and tired of the United States. It's like belonging to a country club where you don't like the way the directors are behaving, and you cancel your membership."
Yes it is! And the problem is... Most countries do not even allow you to renounce your citizenship without first getting another one. It's like being married at birth and not being allowed to divorce. You are compelled and coerced to be a part of the game. You may wish to not be a part of this crooked game, but who cares about your wishes?
Here we come to a very interesting point made by Hans Morgenthau in his book "Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace". The book was published in 1948 but has some thought-provoking insight.
Realism maintains that universal moral principles cannot be applied to the actions of states (...). The individual may say for himself: "Let justice be done, even if the world must perish", but the state has no right to say so in the name of those who are in its care. (...) While the individual has a moral right to sacrifice himself in defense of such a moral principle, the state has no right to let its moral disapprobation of the infringement of (that moral principle) get in the way of successful political action, itself inspired by the moral principle of national survival."
Yes, this is exactly what I am saying:
“Let justice be done, even if the world must perish."
But for the first time, I have seen a different point of view, equally valid as mine. Still... Of course I'm not giving up my principles. I will still defend justice be done to the end. It's just that now, this is another argument for me that states and the political construct as is be abolished as well. Okay, if you don't want anarchy, it still doesn't mean you should cling to the status-quo; because the way things are set up, states are immoral by default.
The burden is on you, on all of us to find a different way of life on earth.
* Good Intentions versus Unjust Practices
Reading about statelessness on Wikipedia, I discovered Mike Gogulski!
What makes him stand apart from all the other stateless people is his motivational action. He isn't one of those involuntary stateless persons who fall through some gap in laws down the rabbit hole; no, his was a conscientious choice. He gave up his American citizenship to make a statement, as a protest, sort of like Gary Davis. Even though they say the US government doesn't engage in numbers, apparently there are many Americans who renounce their citizenship, about 300-5000 every year. However, they generally renounce it for tax reasons, that is to avoid taxes ;) and they generally have another citizenship to fall on. Citizenship is a safety net as you know. You need it to survive in this divided political construct world. Or ok, if not to survive, you need it to function properly. If you want to be able to do anything human like travel, go to a hospital, go to school, work etc.
“Gogulski has stated that he hopes to start a mass movement of Americans giving up citizenship and making themselves stateless en masse.”
Wooow! This is the thing that stroke me when I read it at 1 am as I was about to go to bed. This is what kept me up all night. This is the first other action proposal towards open borders, no borders, ending global apartheid that I have come across apart from mine.
People just say “Oh, yes I believe there should be no difference between people because of where they are born,” they say they are for open borders, no borders etc. But without an action plan, ideas do not take root. We need to do something. Like striking at the root...
Actually, what Gogulski did is my next step of action. I have considered giving up my citizenship back in 2010. Found out Turkey does not allow renouncing your citizenship without getting another citizenship. Back at the time, I had only Turkish citizenship. So I couldn't do it even if I really decided to act on it. Because it's not an easy thing. There are so many consequences and setbacks to your personal life. If you announce such a thing, almost everybody around you will tell you not to do it. Anyway... Then I got my Italian citizenship. But now I am on this mission to go to every country in the world to burn my passports in the end to protest this injustice at birth.
After that, I am considering first giving up my Turkish citizenship, then the Italian. If they allow me of course.
But I panicked all of a sudden! So I have a competitor now :) What if Gogulski gets millions, or okay let's be more reasonable, thousands of Americans to renounce their citizenship to protest this political construct? What if borders are taken down before I get to complete my mission and burn my passports?!
Aaaah! I want to do this, I want to complete this mission. Wait for me!...
PS: No no, don't worry. I'll be just fine if borders come down by themselves without any of my doing. I mean I'd be sort of left without a purpose and fall into a chasm as this mission is a big drive in my life. But as I said, no worries, I have other things to fall on. I have my daughter, still in the nest, to enjoy; I have my books to write. So feel free to sort out this broken political system of countries, nation-states, borders, visas, citizenship and the broken economic system by yourself. I will be cheering behind you!
I wouldn't be leaving America as I don't live there and have no wish to live there in the first place, but I'd have left this world for another planet if I could.
United Kingdom- The name is united, but is it really united? I guess we have all seen how divided it is with the Brexit vote.
United States of America- Again, the name is united, but is it really united? No, it is divided as well, just like the UK. We all saw and still see how divided it is. The division within countries is all so visible, ever more visible with the advance of the internet.
“Not my president.” Eh but whose is it then my dear? The ones who chose him or the ones in other countries who support Trump's views? And who is your president then? If your president is not in power, what's the point? So you are without a president. But it doesn't work out that way. Whether you like it or not, you are bound and affected by the actions and decisions of whoever the president of your country is. We all are affected by these "idiotic" “leaders” of the world who cannot help but go on with the status-quo. We need bold leadership.
As every country is already divided anyway, let's divide all nations and states. Until there is only a small piece left. Yeah, that leaves your own household. Hope you get along within the core family. As that is a very debatable area too. Do you know how many people are divorced, do you know how many people divorce their parents or disown their children? Bah, it never ends.
Anyway... I suggest from now on we start using Divided Kingdom, make it DK instead of UK; we use Divided States of America, make it DSA instead of USA. That would match the reality much better; the more words express reality more precisely, the more chance we have at arriving at rules leading to a more “correct” game.
This status quo of citizenship, borders, visas, refugees, migrants... All this political construct is unacceptable.
Time to change it.
But how do I overcome inertia?
"Rock the boat..."
"Don't rock the boat baby."
Oh yes, ROCK THE BOAT...
Eh yes, but how do I get people to dream the same dream with me? How do I get them to care?
How do I get people to stop repeating the Serenity prayer?
“God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change”
How do I get them to understand that things I cannot change by myself are unacceptable and need to be changed?
How do I get them to understand that “Yes, I mean no, I cannot change the political system by myself but WE can. If only there are enough people to act as a lever.
Or rather How to Break Inertia? That is the question.
What is inertia?
Inertia comes from the Latin word iners, meaning idle/sluggish.
In physics it is “The tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force; the resistance of a body to changes in momentum.” That's Newton's First Law of Motion.
In terms of humans “Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change.”
Or in short... Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its position.
So that's why it is so difficult to change the status-quo. People do not move. They do not have that force. How do I push you? What do I do to get you to act?
Well... Some donkeys do not need to be dragged. There are smart ones among them that remove barriers.
Yes, you break the laws of physics. Move your ass.
There is a Syrian man, Hassan Al Kontar, stuck at the Kualalumpur Airport in Malaysia since March 7th. He was working in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) when the war broke out in Syria. Then, because his passport was not renewed by the Syrian government, he got into legal problems and his work visa was not renewed either. So he was given a choice between going back to Syria or going to Malaysia which is one of the few countries that Syrians can get on a plane without a visa. Reasonably, he chose Malaysia. He stayed there for some time, gathered money, and bought a ticket to Ecuador, another country that does not require Syrians prior visa. The reason of his wanting to go to Ecuador was: Malaysia is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention; therefore, he cannot legalize his situation and would be left in limbo if he stayed there. Like any human being, Hassan wishes to lead a stable life without the hassle of bureaucracy and fear of expulsion. Again like any human being, he doesn't wish to be stuck in a camp but to be able to work and make a life for himself.
Anyway... He got his ticket to Ecuador, but Turkish Airlines denied him boarding. It's ironical that it is again Turkish Airlines, the ones who denied me boarding as well. However, there is a difference in our situations. In my case, they were totally right in denying me boarding. Djibouti had changed its visa regime of 25+ years without advance notice and I did not have a visa. On the other hand, in Hassan's case, I believe they were in the wrong and didn't have that right to deny him boarding the plane to a country which does NOT require a prior visa. I write “I believe” this to be the case, because I haven't been able to find any specific information on the “why” of their refusal on the news. Unfortunately news reporting is like most of the things in our lives today, deteriorating and at the hands of the mediocre if not the totally incompetent. There are some reports stating that they contacted Turkish Airlines, and Turkish Airlines has refused to answer. But there is no report on what Hassan said when they asked him.
People stuck in such situations have to come up with alternatives. So that's what Hassan did. Having lost his flight and chance at Ecuador, he tried another country, Cambodia. This time he boarded the plane; however, he could not enter the country. The immigration officers interrogated him and returned him back to Malaysia – or rather shipped him back, as if he was an undeliverable package.
For those who may not know, immigration officers always reserve the right to deny you entry into their country even if you have a valid visa. You are at their discretion, at their hands, at their mercy.
As Hassan's Malaysian visa had expired by that time, he was now banned from entering Malaysia for five years. Stuck at the airport terminal, Hassan reached out to charities and human rights organizations. They all came back saying they couldn't do anything. Hassan asks “If these organizations can't help, who can?”
He then started tweeting about his condition. He got international media attention. Malaysian authorities were aware of the situation. So they offered to remove him from the blacklist, give him a month pass into the country. Or according to another report, they even offered him a chance to stay as long as he needed, but he couldn't work. As he couldn't get refugee status from a country that is not a signatory he couldn't get a residence visa nor a permanent visa either.
Hassan was thankful for the offer, but he refused. At this point some may say he is being picky, wanting to choose a country etc. that he is not a real refugee. I will not get into a discussion about his status as a refugee. Only involved authorities are entitled to have a say on that, but more importantly, I couldn't care less. I do not look at things from a legal perspective -because laws can be wrong, they may be outdated, they may be in need of a complete remake/redoing. Which I believe to be the case here. I look at the human side. I look from the human side. I am a human. And I know what I'd want for myself in such a situation. To be able to go wherever I wished to to make myself a life. And I take it that everybody should have that right.
“I am a highly-qualified professional — desperate for a place where I can be safe, legal, not looking over my shoulder or being on the run … a place where I can work and prove myself," says Hassan. “This would be a short-term solution to the life-long problem I face...”
So in comes some Canadians from Whistler. Hassan calls the British Columbian Laurie Cooper his “Canadian mother.” They've opened up a GoFundMe campaign. They've even raised more than the requested amount, more than 18.000 Dollars to sponsor him. However, things are not so easy. There is a line to process requests. Who knows how long it will take, how many months or even years?
When I first read about his predicament, the first worry that came to my mind was how he was feeding himself. As we all know, coffee or any food at airports is outrageously expensive. I found out that airlines provide him three meals a day. Of course, it's airline food! The quality of which is also manifest to us flyers. You, naturally, do not think he is offered business-class food, right?
Washing -himself and his laundry- is another complication he faces. He washes (!) in the disabled toilets as it is larger and used by less people. He does it at night so that there are even less people. He has nowhere to hang his clothes.
He has made himself a corner, sleeping in a place where there are constant loud announcements, where it is cold, curled up in uncomfortable chairs or on the floor...
"It's exhausting. I'm tired from this. I cannot take it anymore," Hassan said. "I'm trying to act strong, but I'm even tired of acting strong. I just want to relax."
Don't we all want that Hassan? Don't we all want to take a break and a breath? I'd like that too... to get a break from all this bad news, to forget about it all, to just enjoy my life. I am luckier than you. I can do that almost whenever I wish. I watch a movie, ah but you watch movies too ;) there are people who go through life with one ordeal after another, without any respite. What can I do to help? What should they do?
In his book “The Wretched of the Earth” Frantz Fanon writes about a girl whose father tortured Algerians to get information. She decided to not go see her father anymore because every time she went she'd hear the screams rising up to her room and she'd spend the whole night awake.
You have no idea how terrible it is to hear screaming all night like that. Sometimes I used to wonder how it was that a human being was able to bear hearing those screams of pain – quite apart from the actual torture.”
That's how I feel. Helpless... Reading and hearing about all this refugee/migrant stories, stateless people stories. I have the Scream in my head.
Crux of the Matter
Hassan's answer to Malaysian authorities who allowed him one-month entry was: “It’s a temporary fix, with no long-term prospects.”
Now... This is the crux of the matter which will take you to the assertion I'm going to be making. I'm not saying we shouldn't work on the individual cases, we sure should go ahead and help them find a solution to their predicament. But I've never liked the starfish story. You know the one where a man throws the starfish washed up on the shore and says “It made a difference for that one.” Of course I try to save whatever starfish I can too. But that's not enough for me. Okay, it makes a difference for the one you save, but what about the thousands that are hitting the shore as you toss that one away? If hundreds of them wash up the shore while you are throwing one back into the water, I'm not sure trying to save them, to make a difference for one is the smart thing to do. At least, it's not the answer.
We need to find a permanent solution to all these people stuck at airports for idiotic bureaucracy that inhibits people from existing in the world they are born; we need to find a permanent solution to statelessness. We need to end this stupid game of citizenship and visas based on borders, imaginary lines drawn by blood.
We are many here on land and safe. As some are trying to throw the starfish back into the sea (which is an unlucky metaphor- as people are trying to save migrants from the sea these days), others should be going after a more permanent and long-term solution.
The logical thing to do is to stop the tide that is causing the starfishes to wash ashore and die. It's fine that people help those starfishes, but we should strike at the root. And that entails recognizing everybody's right to free movement on the world they were born.
Back in 2001 when I quit university to go on a round-the-world tour and started applying to newspapers to get my story published, my father said “Nobody would caaare.” His condescending tone was so upsetting; so much that I can still hear it echoing in my ears and it disgusts me even to this day. Wooow! 17 years is a long time to carry around a negativity. I realize it only now when I've written it. But that's how some negative remarks leave a mark on us. They scar us for life. Especially coming from people who are supposed to be supportive, not discouraging like this. My mother was no different. She too, claimed with the same authoritative and all-knowing tone “You cannot make money by writing.”
Well... Maybe not too much but I did make some money out of writing. And I've proven my father perfectly wrong when I got on the cover page of one of the top three prestigious national newspapers at the time. They made whole-page interviews, published my articles and were going to pay a quite big sum of money for my standards... Only if I had not turned them down when they put a sensational headline! I wasn't to be a toy for them, I had a respectable standing in society having graduated from the top college and university in Turkey.
Why am I telling all this now? What made me think of all this long time ago story?
Because now, I am the one who says “Nobody cares.” Yes, nobody cares about what I am doing. Nobody cares about what I am writing. Nobody cares about what I am trying to achieve. And I want to stress one thing: This is not about me. This is about the idea of Ending Global Apartheid. This is about how people are treated like animals, put in pens according to the place they are born and let loose only on certain conditions. This is about putting people and children in cages because they want to move from one place to another on the world they are born. This is about detention and deportation. This is about the sovereignty of states and the slavery of the individual/the human to the state. How statelessness ruins one's life, how we are made a tool to their ends.
In the Washington Post article “What gives us a right to deport people? Joseph Carens on the ethics of immigration” by Dylan Matthews (November 29, 2013), Joseph Carens says:
“In the wake of the Holocaust, most people in democratic states felt a profound shame about the fact that their countries had refused to respond to the needs of Jews fleeing the Nazis. We all recognized that failure and vowed, "Never again," and so we set up the Geneva Convention refugee system.
And now all the rich states have set up systems to prevent people from accessing that system. You have to get a visa if you are coming to a rich state from a poor one, and if they think you will ask for asylum, they won't give you a visa. The boats and planes asylum-seekers come on are subject to tremendous sanctions if they transport people without the right documents. So, we're excluding people. And some of the people who are denied visas are in fact eligible for asylum. They are clearly refugees. It's an indiscriminate exclusionary system. In taking this approach, we have put the burden of taking care of refugees onto the neighboring states. Those are generally poor countries, as in the case of Jordan taking in Syrian refugees. That's just unfair, and it's a deep problem. I don't see a political solution to it, because there's not much interest in doing anything about it.”
Exactly! There is not much interest in doing anything about it. That sums it up!
The Birthplace Racism, the Global Apartheid is so unfair and it's such a deep problem. But even though some people agree on this fact, they do not really care. They do not care enough to want to do something about it. They do not care enough to add their voice to mine* so that We can do something about it.
It's disappointing. Very disappointing...
But Michael Jackson said it already: They Don't Really Care About Us
Apart from this Prison Version there is the Brazil Version of the clip.
Perhaps, if he was alive, he would have made a Migrants Version as well.
People, apart from not caring about the suffering of people, do not care about principles or morals either.
Sorry for the preaching... I cannot help it.
* When I talk about my voice it's not about my voice but a voice constantly talking about ending Injustice at Birth. Yes, I believe I Am the One but I cannot do it on my own.
People don't care, all my efforts fall flat. I need you to care! People who want to move around the world in pursuit of basic needs need you to care. They need you to care more than the people playing the every country game, or more than all the pop-stars, rock-stars, comedy-stars, or whatever celebrity you care about.
Apart from Aylan, these babies needed you to care too. It's too late for them. But stand up to stop the tide that is causing the starfishes to wash ashore and die.
Help me, Let's Strike at the root.
I'll be changing or "correcting" this sentence too.
I'm not interested whether you've sat and dined with the great and privileged status-holder; I'm interested whether you have stood up for the broken and down-trodden." Gülin De Vincentiis
Peace of mind is more important than principles. What are principles anyway? Can you eat them, do they fill up your stomach? No. Do they give you pleasure like alcohol? Perhaps yes, in a way. At least to those people who value them. Yet, un-principles and selfishness is much more pleasurable to most. Besides... Why would you, why should you sacrifice your life or own pleasure for the such called principles?? Principles my ass... What are principles anyway? Who cares about principles, let alone your principles? /They are yours. Stick it up your ass. We have other principles. And we are the majority. So suck it up. Don't try to impose your values on us. We are fine with ours. We do not even want to discuss them. We will bark at you if you force us to discuss them. If you push further, we will bite you. Until you back off. We cannot be honest even with ourselves. We cannot look in the mirror. Don't try to show our ugly face to us. I am so disgusted and scared by my looks that I'll smash your face. And don't ever forget. I am not alone, we are the mob, I'll get my friends and we'll bully you. You sucker cannot even get one person on your side. All you have are pussycats, or passive supporters who just put a like or simply share without adding their voice to yours. They do not say “Here, this person is saying such an important thing. Pass it on friends.” No, the most they do is echo your voice. Your voice may be strong and loud but as you are isolated, there is no one around to hear. Meno male... You cannot influence or infect anyone with your ideas. That's better for you too you know. Keep that in mind. Because if you get a bit stronger, we will be literally smashing your head instead of just barking or biting with our aggressivity. So beware. Beware of us. We are the majority, we are the mob.