Friday, August 14, 2009
Why, yes, that WAS a good question ...
... and now I have another one. Back here, I was my typical wickedly insightful self. But let's continue this train of thought, shall we, and ask -- hypothetically, how much worse could it have been for Suaad Hagi Mohamud?
Recall that, in terms of being able to prove her Canadian citizenship, Mohamud could not possibly have been in a stronger and more defensible position. She had a passport. That should have been the end of the discussion. But beyond that, she had reams of other ID, which she produced. She had a son for eventual DNA comparison testing. And, quite simply, she resembled the photo on her passport. What more could any human being have been expected to produce?
But wait, you gurgle! The problem is that she didn't look like her photo. To which I say, crap. When you're making a decision as momentous as to whether to void someone's passport, deny their claim of citizenship and allow them to be thrown in jail in a foreign country, you really have to do a lot better than, "Her lips look different." Seriously, how pathetic is that?
It's one thing if a young, black woman produces a passport that includes a photo of an old, white man. OK, then you have grounds for massive suspicion. But when a young, black woman produces a passport that contains a photo of ... a young, black woman, how cripplingly feeble does your logic have to be to dismiss that based on lips that look different? But that's not why we're here.
Recall how, even with all the supporting evidence, Mohamud was basically screwed, and was only saved by the lucky fact that she had a son for DNA comparison testing, and how fucked over she would have been except for that. But what if it had been even worse?
What is she'd been mugged and robbed? What if she had showed up at the Canadian Consulate in Nairobi, claiming to have been assaulted and having all of her documents stolen? Or simply having lost them? And not having a close relative for DNA testing? Can any of us, even for a second, imagine how shit out of luck she would have been? She was treated like crap and abandoned by her government when she was loaded to the gills with supporting documentation. How contemptuously would she have been treated if she had had nothing, and arrived at the consulate, pleading for help and expecting that, as she was a Canadian, they were ready to help her out any way they could? Just imagine the scorn and derision that would have been heaped on her.
But maybe I have this backwards. Maybe, just maybe, it would have been in her best interests to lose her passport. After all, if this was all about her not matching the photo, it might have been to her benefit to not have that passport. Which is something that should creep you out entirely.
Quite simply, Mohamud did nothing wrong. She could not possibly have had more proof to back her up, and she was still abandoned by her government. Imagine, then, what kind of shit you're going to be in if you run into trouble overseas, and you don't have all that paperwork, and you expect your country to give you a hand, and they tell you to take a hike. Because if they can do that to someone with all the documentation they need, it's a safe bet that, if you manage to lose your passport, you are well and truly fucked.
Well, OK, only if you're brown. I don't want to over-generalize.