“Passports and visas are the racism of our times,” it says on my homepage. Erick Prince, who wants to be the first African American to go to every country in the world scoffed at my statement saying “As if racism doesn't exist anymore! Lol”
Sure, there definitely is racism diffused in every layer of life everywhere; hey, I even got my share of racism here in Italy. Of course not because of my color but because it is obvious that I am not originally Italian. When I say racism I use it not as discrimination based only on your skin color but in a broader sense, as prejudice and discrimination because of your not belonging to a certain group.
I said “Sure, there definitely is racism diffused in every layer of life everywhere” but that racism is covert and/or it's on an individual level. There certainly is no outright racism today, at least in the constitutional level. Blacks have exactly the same rights as whites in America and South Africa, and anywhere else in the world I suppose. (Please correct me and give contrary examples if I am wrong.) Whereas Birthplace Racism is definitely a racism on a global level, strictly administered by every country in the world! It is institutionalized through visa regimes and accepted as the “nothing wrong with it” status-quo by almost everyone.
Hey, Birthplace Racism is so indoctrinated, so deeply ingrained that even the discriminated against do not see the injustice and birthplace racism behind the visa regimes. Pongtharin, a Thai traveler going to every country says “It is what it is” when asked about his frustration of not being able to go to some places without a visa where Western nationalities can.
As people who have to apply for many visas and witness the randomness (You are not given X visa in country Y but you can get that X visa easily in country Z) and imbecility (”Oh you have to provide hotel reservations and air tickets” says the embassy, “Okay, I'll just go and make fake reservations then” says the traveller) of it firsthand, I would have expected more people from the extreme travel community to see Birthplace Racism but apparently not. I suppose my “misfortune” is to be among the first people to see this Global Apartheid. I have no doubt the future generations will be seeing it the way I do.
On a final note, Erick calls himself the "minority nomad". Who is the minority nomad? He is a minority because he is black?
Let me tell you, true minority in the travel community is anyone not on a European or US passport. Pongtharin is a minority, I am/was a minority as a Turkish. Women are a minority too. Sure, Erick is a minority too, but he -just like Jessica Nabongo, a black American-Ugandan woman,- holds a valuable passport. A passport that has high prestige. There are minorities; also, there are too many non-existent nationalities in the travel community. You don't get a Syrian or an Afghani or any African country citizen in any avid traveller lists. (Oh, actually there might be a South African woman out there, I remember reading about her. But exceptions do not break the rule. The most, she'd be a minority nomad too; it wouldn't change the fact none other African country or a “third-world” country has a world traveller.) In fact, you don't really find them travelling, travelling for leisure that is. There is a reason why. They simply cannot. They have only 25-30 countries they can go to without a visa. It would be truly impossible for them to go to every country unless they were extremely wealthy or powerful. Even an Afghani minister gets only a 72 hour Schengen visa! (Yeah, I know, there is the reverse side of the coin as well where European/Western officials are given 72 hour visas to some countries. Still... That doesn't break the rule either.)
Please... Please... Please start seeing the world as a whole. At least I'd expect that much from world travellers. Please, the world does not revolve only around people with “Western” nationalities. We need hope for the world as a WHOLE! We need to end this universally accepted and worse, invisible Birthplace Racism. Make it visible. Start by spreading the articles I write for example. Thank you. Thank you all on behalf of the invisible majority.
What else is at the root of the problem with immigration?
People are self-righteous to claim a piece of land as theirs, people are near-sighted to claim only a piece of land, not the world as theirs to roam freely. For some reason, they stop short at an imaginary line, or they claim a continent. And this is a natural result of the current political system.
In “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951), the political theorist Hannah Arendt wrote:
“The conception of human rights based upon the assumed existence of a human being as such broke down at the very moment when those who professed to believe in it were for the first time confronted with people who had indeed lost all other qualities and specific relationships – except that they were still human. The world found nothing sacred in the abstract nakedness of being human. .... (Refugees knew) that the abstract nakedness of being human was their greatest danger.”
Yes, isn't it ridiculuous to argue that a sovereign nation-state has a right to control its borders and decide who can get in, but a human, any human, does not have a right to go anywhere s/he wishes on the planet s/he was born by the mere fact that s/he is a human?
We have rights as citizens, and we have more rights if we are a citizen of a “great” country. We do not have rights as humans.
As Joe Humphreys writes in the Irish Times:
“Arendt witnessed how those without a state were “expelled from humanity”, and the same applies today.
Slavery is better than being stateless, she wrote, as “to be a slave was after all to have a distinctive character, a place in society more than the abstract nakedness of being human and nothing but human”.
Think about that the next time you bleat about your right to something. Think about what’s being done to refugees in your name. Their vulnerability is ours.”
Yes. Their vulnerability is ours. And deep inside, we all know that. That's why the resistance not to accept a basic human right: the right of movement. That's why we want to deny others that right, so that we can enjoy it ourselves. For as we believe in scarcity and not abundance, and we are selfish. We believe in scarcity and not abundance even when it comes to security. We do not believe everybody can live in security. It's either our security or theirs. Eh, when faced with that choice, it's the most natural thing to choose our security over "the other's.
As long as the political arena stays the way it is, i.e. As long as there are countries... No, let me not say that, let there be countries... As long as we see countries as on a political map, as long as we set up artificial borders between people, as long as we see sovereign nation-states and being its citizens at birth as the norm, as long as there is the belief in a government to protect us and to defend our rights, as long as we sustain governments by our money, as long as we go on with the same money game, I don't see a way for us to get out of this.
Our goal should be to install a new world software where man does not fear man.
Our goal should be to install a new money software where we give/share/exchange the produce of our labors.
Apart from these... To me, the best message would be... To break down the artificial barriers between people, to break down the current political system. And the way I found to get the message through to achieve that end is to travel to every country in the world and burn my passports. So please endorse my endeavor and let's be in this together. Let's reset the world!