Adonis Diaries

Western States penalize “Arab Spring States” nationals for revolutionary zeal

Posted on: March 20, 2012

Western States penalize “Arab Spring States” nationals for revolutionary zeal

Tough new visa rules have been introduced for travellers from countries caught up in the Arab Spring unrest.

If you can make sense of  British Home Secretary Theresa May, please clarify me.  She told MPs: “We see the transit visa regime as a necessary measure to protect the security of our borders.  The situation in Syria continues to pose a serious concern to us and the wider international community. Libya and Egypt are emerging from a period of instability.

“We therefore assess that requiring nationals of these countries to obtain a visa for transit through the UK is both a sensible and proportionate response to the threat posed to the UK’s national and border security.”

Under the changes Syrian, Libyan and Egyptian citizens will have to apply for a visa if they are travelling through UK airports.

The transit visa regime, introduced in response to threats to national and border security, covers passengers who are only in the UK to change flights and never leave the airport.

The three countries, which have seen major upheaval following the Arab Spring wave of protests, have been added to the list of nations covered by the Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) requirements.

Mrs May said that since the introduction of the DATV regime in 2003, a number of countries have been added to the list of those required to obtain a transit visa.  She told the Commons in a written statement: “This has been done as a direct response to emerging security and immigration threats to the UK, and we will continue to monitor risks and threats.  The implementation of the DATV regime allows us to run comprehensive checks on those transiting the UK, and prevents high harm individuals from travelling here.

“Since the original introduction of the DATV there has been a noticeable fall in transit passengers destroying their travel documents before claiming asylum. The visa process means that we are able to collect pre-travel information as part of the application process which makes identification and checks more robust.” End of quote

A month ago, many Lebanese organizations covered these indignities subjected to.  I decided to re-edit an article on that subject that I had posted.

Visa to where?  Dignity deficiencies, official pre-humiliation tactics
If you are a European, US, Canadian…citizen, you have no idea what many other citizens have overwhelming beefs related to visas problems, passports, and headaches for traveling overseas.  These problems of ridiculous delays for a stupid visa can linger for months. And if the visa is denied? You are not entitled for refunds, and all your expenses go down the drain.
Harassment of “foreigners” from States considered not to be “true democracies” have emerged acutely after the 9/11/2001 attack on the Twin Towers… The western States, including other smug States, rekindled their racist tendencies under smokescreens of preserving “Home Security” from potential terrorists…
Ramez, a friend of mine from Lebanon, published his beefs.  He wrote:  “I have three beefs with the embassies.
First beef is related to the cost of visas. A European Schengen tourist visa (for entering and traveling in the European Union States, excluding England) costs about $80.  A cost compared to the zero or $10 that Europeans or U.S. citizens pay at the airport for their entry visas to Lebanon, and they have not to apply for visas prior to entering.  If you apply for a visa to Europe or the United States their embassies will inform you, rather haughtily, that you won’t get the money back if your request for a visa is denied!
A visa application to the United States costs $140 and to the United Kingdom can get into the hundreds of dollars depending on length of validity.  For most of the embassies you also have to come prepared with the exact change, or lose your turn and be asked to come back later. Next in line?
My second beef is the amount of documents you have to show to get a visa to spend a measly week-long vacation! Passport, photos of a specific size, letter of employment, a document attesting to the financial status of the company employing you, a family certificate, a statement of your bank account for the last few months, travel insurance including repatriation coverage, in case your bladder burst while hunting for a toilet in Rome.
All of these documents will set you back at least another $60 and must be translated by a sworn translator – and don’t forget to bring photocopies.
What documents does a European or US citizen need to get into Lebanon? Just a passport, carrying a photo of the holder smiling smugly.
My third beef is the process. To apply for a visa to most European countries one must first call a pay-per-minute number to obtain an appointment. You appear on the set time and wait an hour or two outside in the open air, rain or shine. Then, you wait indoor for another 30 to 60 minutes.
My worst experience has been with the German Embassy who once gave me an appointment for 9:00 am and when I arrived precisely at 9:00 am was informed that I should have been there at 8:45 am, so they could look at all my papers before my 9:00am appointment!
Here is a suggestion, Herr Ambassador: make the appointment at 8:45.” (End of quote)
Mind you that we are asked to go to these horrendous processes even if we are invited by organizations to attend conferences or we have to deliver a talk to conventions…
Lebanese are promptly punished by Arab States for one reason or another.  It is like: “We don’t like the politics of your current government.  All Lebanese are denied visa for an unlimited period.”  Lebanese residents in these Arab States are harassed and warned to leave their businesses and years of connections and vacate the country within a few days.  Whatever dignities these dictators and absolute monarchs have for human rights are denied the Lebanese.
That is why Turkey and Egypt are excellent destinations: Lebanese need not apply for a visa to these wonderful countries, far more exciting, varied cultures, with cheerful people.
If we ever manage to have a State, reciprocity should be the norm, and the cost of the European and American not responding is minimal; we may generate millions in saving redundant expenses by stopping applying for expensive visas and the humiliating processes and procedures.
If we had a State we could take a stand and be rewarded for our stand…Dignity in this century is to just show your passport and enter any country you like…
We permitted to be the mockery of smug States, simply because we gave up our responsibility to demanding to have real governments and not a ridiculous multi-theocratic political system…
I suggest that the UN deliver UN passports to all developing States citizens.  If we have to submit to these humiliations, let us submit to them once for all to a world organization that should be representing and honoring recognized States.

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March 2012

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