I got in line at the immigration at Beirut Airport. The line of “Other nationalities.”
It was progressing slowly. But time passes. Finally, it was my turn. The guy, that is the immigration officer, took my passport. Checked the main page, then started thumbing through all the other pages.
“That's a Turkish passport,” I felt the need to say. “I don't have a visa.”
Oh, what a wrong assumption! He wasn't looking for a visa, he was after something else.
“Do you have an Israeli stamp?” he asked.
I guess I look like someone who could have been to Israel. In fact, I have been there.
But “No,” I said, “I don't have a stamp.”
Which is true. I do not have a stamp.
They don't ask you if you've been to Israel, they ask if you have a stamp. It's the show.
I don't know if I would have lied if they asked if I had been there. And what if I had the stamp? What would they do? I guess put me on the plane and send me back.
These things are so strange. The hypocrisy behind it. Is that what politics is? Politics is hypocrisy. Or at best, it's synonymous with hypocrisy.
They, that is the Israelian government knows there are countries who do not allow you in if you have an Israeli visa; so they don't issue the visa on your passport, they issue it on a separate piece of paper. Which you, or perhaps they themselves duly remove on leaving the country. The same was true for Cuba as the US didn't like those who went there. But of course it's not only the visa, the entrance and exit stamps also play a role. An American friend said that she was turned back from Syria even though she had a visa. They usually go through your passport before issuing the visa at the embassy, but they must have skipped it; while the immigration officer at the border noticed an entry stamp from I don't remember the place now but the logic was “If you have entered this country from this port, you must have been coming from Israel.”
It's not important if you have been to a place, just mind the stamps. Stamps are the Gods of government officials.