“Hmm, didn't you get permission from the Turkish government before applying for Italian citizenship?”
This was a question posed by someone in the group “the Turkish living in Italy.” Ayşe could not make out if it was asked literally. I'm afraid it is.
Utku, didn't you get permission from the Turkish Republic before applying for another country's citizenship? Shame on you.
Esra, you didn't get permission either? Shame on both of you.
But I didn't get permission either. Means shame on us all.
But Utku got permission, fine then. That makes the shame on you and me Esra. But I had checked if TR gave permission for double citizenship with Italy. As you know, it doesn't give that permission for every country. I mean I didn't know this either but when the topic came up by happenchance at the office of a lawyer friend someone jumped in and said “I'll check it out and let you know.” Turned out our almighty government permitted it with Italy, I didn't know there was anything else to be done. Until I heard from you here...
How absurd is it to bound people by rules and laws that they cannot know, by things that would never occur to them! I mean how and why on earth am I supposed to think I may not be allowed to apply for another citizenship? I mean there are laws I would be knowing without waiting for anybody to tell me. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie... Sorry, the first two are fine but lying is not illegal. It's not, right? Fine but... Really, why is it not? It in fact needs to be. But of course the government cannot keep track of a lie, prove it, put a fine on it. It would be beyond its depth to deal with so many lies of so many people. Besides, in such a case, it would need to constantly pay a fine itself. It wouldn't be appropriate, that is. Against its interests. Conflict of interest.
Okay, on a more serious tone, (Don't get me wrong, I was, I am dead serious in the above things I said too.) You either make the laws simple. Write a list on a sheet of paper, like the ten commandments. Then I'm fine. I'm fine with being bounded by that. Then you may have the right to say I cannot say I didn't know the law. I cannot claim neglience or ignorance of the law. Or, everybody should have a personal lawyer. Do you know how much are the lawyer fees? If you don't, may God not make you learn ever. If you insist on making such intricate laws and expect me to abide by them, you have to at least provide free lawyers. Everyone needs to have a private lawyer supplied by the state.
“That's a very good point you have there. Seriously a good point.”
“Okay, thank you... But I'd still go for my first suggestion: Ten commandments and no more than that please.”
Whatever... Let's get to the topic.
Are we students who are supposed to raise his hand asking for permission “May I go to the toilet?”? I mean we are.
Actually I should just talk on my behalf. I see myself like that. I should say “We fell for someone born out of the borders we were born in and got married, we acted like a fool, made a grave mistake, have mercy.” That's what I should say. “Our life gets difficult with the bureaucratic stuff, would you let me call someone else papa?”
Or it's as if we are taking a co-wife when we get another citizenship. Subject to permission.
I mean I will do it too. That is when my citizenship comes -if it comes one day that is!- but naturally the days God promised will be coming,- I will say like Feyza Hanım “I didn't know I had to get permission, I'm very sorry.” (May the ones who claim rights over us from the moment we are born, put rules that make our lives harder and make us say such things to ease those troubles a little bit... let them be ashamed.)
Okay, we may say it, no big deal, but...
Keeping in mind we are calling the bear uncle... Let us be aware that the one we're dealing with is not an uncle but a bear. We don't show the uncle's respect to the bear.
The state is neither mother nor father nor uncle, it would only be a bully if anything.
Note 1: I actually wouldn't have called the state a bear. But we have a saying in Turkish “Ayıya dayı demek,” meaning “To call the bear uncle.” Also, the state is referred as a mother or a father in different languages. So it followed. As for being the bully, I believe it deserves the name. After all, it is an institution based on brute force. It even dares to tell me who the father of my child is! What insolence! I mean it is a law enacted to protect women but the woman who that law is supposed to protect has no idea about the law anyway. Even if she did, she doesn't have the power to enforce that law. I'll tell the details later... Likewise, with the surname. The Turkish government imposes me “You will carry your husband's surname if you are married,” the Italian government imposes “You will live with your father's surname even if you get married,” I bear the brunt! What is this? Whose what public order does it protect? And of course these are the least examples of its bullying.
Note 2: In the meantime, the law has been changed. There is no need to ask for permission before applying for another citizenship anymore. But it doesn't make much difference. There's still a tower load of “superfluous” procedures piled in front of a person to live outside where s/he was born. As for me, I got married and came here. My task was relatively easy. They still drive you from pillar to post, but they take it for granted I have a right to live in the country of my husband. They may not have done so! Then there are those people who struggle to get the right to live somewhere other then where they were born. There is incalculable pain and suffering and misery in this world because of borders and visas.
Now let's use the quote that is generally attributed to Stalin but the original of which belongs to Erich Maria Remarque, the writer of All Quiet on the Western Front. "One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic." We've become inured to people perishing on boats a bit better than rafts, under truck tires, in freezers in meat trucks trying to go from one country to another. They've got into the statistics for us. Recently, a website has been launched for it. www.borderdeaths.org . They say “It is necessary to begin a process of evidence-based policy-making.” To me, what is necessary is to begin a process of principle-based policy-making. And that principle is “It is WRONG to tell any one human being that s/he cannot cross some imaginary border that someone, or rather a group of people with power have drawn by a bloody war or by a political war called diplomacy just because s/he was born within a different imaginary line.” You cannot do that to animals, you shouldn't be doing that to people. Full stop. The study the scholars of Amsterdam University are conducting is of course a good work for debating the topic. However, the thing that shouldn't be overlooked is that, even if not a million, even if not ten thousand, these are three thousand one hundred eighty eight single deaths. “United Against Racism” quotes the number as 17,306. “Fortress Europe” website says “At least 19,144 people have died since 1988 along European borders.”
The stories of people who manage to make it to another country alive is not so bright either. They're put in detention centers, their future unknown.
When a child told an immigration lawyer that she was raped, the lawyer said “Good! Tell me the details, the more sordid the better.” At which point she realized in horrror how she stopped guarding the well-being of children and became a part of the system. She did this because then they could stay on compassionate grounds. Of course it's a horrible thing. Saying such a thing “is appalling. It transforms something barbaric (child rape) into something positive for the purposes of fighting expulsion.” It earns the family the right for asylum along with the children.
A father committed suicide. It's not important he is from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somali etc. He did it so that his son could get the right tp stay in England under the child protection law. Left a message behind telling his son to work hard and be a good person.
Then there are the tragi-comic stories. Like The story of the girl who had to reject her Indian nationality in order to go to India.
Well... I said it all at the start. You don't need to read any further. It is true. Not a joke. That's the state of the world.
This Indian girl was adopted at the age of three to Italian parents. She grew up and was leading a normal life as an Italian. Then came one day. The day she got engaged. And the fiance wanted to go to India to visit the place where his beloved came from. So it was to be. They go to the Indian Embassy to apply for a visa.
This is actually where the story starts. Because the Indian Embassy realized that the girl's name was not erased from their registry when she was adopted. So she was considered Indian. And being an Indian, she needed to have an Indian passport in order to travel to India. But guess what? The passport would take three weeks to be issued. As the papers needed to go to India, be approved and come back.
As they had already made the travel arrangements, thinking and believing the thing that was written on the website that they'd get the visa in a day, the girl was cornered. “Isn't there another option? A way around this procedure?” she investigated.
They said, “Yes, actually there is a way. But you have to denounce your Indian nationality. Then, we can give you a visa tomorrow and you can go.”
“Okay then” said the girl, “Give me the papers, where do I need to sign?”
Thus, the girl became a total Italian even though her genetic heritage and personal history said she was Indian. Whatever the papers say, they are true.
You do not dare to object! Or DO YOU?
Note 3: To read about a redefinition of citizenship, have a look here.