Single entry only

Categorizing this post was difficult. What does this fall under? Human rights violation? Racism? Slavery? I’m thinking of the fact that I am stuck out here in the bitter cold of Nowheresville, only able to go home once a year. But I have agency here. If I could afford to go home more, I would. I’m thinking also of what I went through to get here. Queues! Waking up at the crack of dawn countless times, to get to the American embassy in the capital, to be subjected to hunger, to rain and wind and abusive Ghanaian security guards who can only bully to relieve their sense of powerlessness. But again, I always had at least one of my parents with me…they would miss work for this. And I didn’t have to hustle with public transport, we had a driver.

I’m thinking about visas because I wanted to go to London this spring break. My friends are all jetting off to exotic places but I have to get a visa for many of these places. I let slip to my friend that I can’t go to London with her because the British require me to have a visa, although they didn’t need one when they were coming to colonize my country. She asked me if I was bitter. Ha! Do I sound bitter?

I am also thinking about visas because I just heard about an Iraqi student in my school who was lucky enough to obtain a 4-year student visa to come and study at the number one liberal arts college in this land of the brave and the FREE. The only thing is that the best they could offer him was a single-entry visa. So this is the price he is being asked to pay for his education. He cannot go home…he cannot go anywhere…he cannot leave. Well, technically he can, but good luck in getting back in. So here the idea of a country’s borders takes on a new meaning. Borders become living stretches of barbed wire actively hemming people in, barring them from the rest of the world. I wonder if any of the US marines who “liberated” and are still “liberating” Iraq needed visas. But of course sovereignty means nothing if you own the world. Except in cases where backward Africans are hacking each other to death and there is nothing in it for you. Then you can hide behind the word sovereignty and still sleep at night….

But hey, even this Iraqi kid has agency right? It was his choice to come here in the first place. Unless you consider where power is concentrated in this world. Consider the set up of this global village, with some places as the village center and others as its septic tank. How much choice does he really have?