I was in the UK visa office a few weeks ago when it struck me: what IS this phenomenon of paying a lot of money, spending hours in a visa office, being scrutinised by dour immigration officials, simply to be allowed into another part of the world, OUR world?
On the same trip to the UK I visited a beautiful castle with my Northern Ireland friend Philiy, where we watched a film about the violent history of the castle. No visas in those days, you came within firing range and you were killed!
The modern day equivalent is imprisonment. My poor sister was thrown in jail last week for entering the US on the wrong visa to join her US husband of 12 years. What?
Have we gone mad? Who in their right mind wants to live in a world where we cannot move freely? And sure, inequality in the world creates dangerous conditions and leaves people vulnerable, but surely if we can clone living beings and send people to the moon we can solve this? Instead we seem to blithely accept visa and immigration regulations, dig in our pockets and pay up. Queue with everyone else and swallow the hostile treatment we get when we enter another country. This has become the status quo.
Hogwash, I say! And although I need a little more time to take on the bureaucracies of the world I have a suspicion we tolerate this in other areas of our lives, where we DO have more control and influence. Where we can change how we are treated.
So this week I would like to challenge you to find just one incorrect assumption and challenge it. Just one… And note what new possibilities arise.
Let me know what you discover.
PS: My sister made it back in one piece. Furious, but in one piece.