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The Power Of Your Passport- You Are As Powerful As That Passport You Hold

An international ID is a swag. It is a characteristic of belonging to a family. It ensures the holder’s rights and assurance, beyond any doubt, yet more promptly, a specific sort of international ID suggests certain things about the holder similarly as a Rolex infers you are rich or a luxurious British intonation infers insight.

The shade of one’s travel permit takes into consideration, regular boisterous explanations like “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!”. Men and ladies now rank potential mates in light of the adaptability of their passports.

So truly, the contemporary identification serves two fundamental functions:  it affirms your national character, and it is a travel report.

There is power in both.

The first function is pretty straight-forward. A money green passport says you’re DupeOghene, or Salisu from Nigeria.  If it’s burgundy you might be from the United Kingdom. If it’s blue you could come from the United States, perhaps black for Mexico and India. I could go on.

This matters. In a world of unequal realities where the achievability of dreams changes as you cross  borders, simply being from a certain place can be aspiration enough. Greater wealth, better healthcare, and better education all attach themselves to certain nationalities while being absent for others.

For expansive quantities of “third-world” nationals, basically holding a created nation identification implies holding a reality accessible just in the most stunning of dreams. It is actually holding trust.

The second capacity is more specialized. Beside telling the world your identity, the international ID’s significant reason lies in where it enables you to go. Where your travel permit enables you to go shifts strikingly relying upon where you’re from. Holding one international ID may make you an individual from the group of countries, a worldwide native allowed to stream set between outside grounds. Holding another is a risk – a certification of extensive visa handling times, letters of welcome, and requests for the “benefit” of spending hard-earned cash abroad.

They perpetuate a narrative, and contribute to the stratification of nations into those that hold power in today’s world order and those that don’t. If you aren’t sure where your country stands in the world, just draw up a list of countries your passport can get you into, visa-free. If you’re from the United States or the UK, you can get into 147 countries visa free. If you’re from Nigeria, that number shrinks to 61 (padded heavily by ECOWAS and countries like Vanuatu and Micronesia). Iraq and Afghanistan are down at 38.

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Maybe I’d feel better if passport policies were rooted in some deep statistical analysis. But they aren’t. The passport conveys nothing about character, criminal tendencies or financial stability. A Senegalese man carrying a Senegalese passport can only get into 57 countries. If he marries a French woman (and holds it together for the requisite four years), he receives a French passport and visa free access to pretty much any country in the world.

The man is the same. The character is the same (unless marriage really does change people). Only the paperwork – and thus the assumptions made about him – have changed.

The history of passports show that today’s travel policies aren’t very old. As recently as the turn of the 20th century, passports weren’t required to travel within Europe, as enforcement was seen as difficult due to expansion of rail travel. With World War I came the need for enhanced border security, and more attention to the passport.

Sometime over the following 80 years, “security” somehow seemed to break the traveler community conveniently into developed, emerging, and third world countries, with that last group firmly on the outside looking in. As a country’s global standing (or, sometimes, harmlessness) grows, so does the list of countries its citizens can travel to visa free.

African athletes know the feeling all too well:

Last July, eight Nigerian athletes aiming to participate at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Colombia had their participation threatened by the rejection of their transit visa requests by Brazil. Forget permission to get into countries; some of us can’t even get permission to pass through countries to get to countries we already have permission to enter.

In 2013, top Eritrean cyclists were denied visas to Switzerland to train at the World Cycling Centre, despite their reputations in the sport, the invitation from the WCC, and the 1000km journey they had taken to Khartoum to apply.

Worse still, it’s becomes so acceptable to treat visitors from certain countries a certain way that even poor countries do it to each other

Travel policy has nothing to do with what nations think of you personally, and everything to do with what they think of your nation. Your passport embodies whatever reductive mythical or diabolical perceptions the world holds of your country, even if those perceptions aren’t based on experience.

Individuals purchase German since “German” equivalents to “solid”. They sound British since “English” equivalents “modern.” They shop French since “French” equivalents “in vogue.” They bolt out Syrians since “Syria” squares with “Isis.”

Individuals follow up on who and what they think you are, not really who and what you really are. Without encounter, observation is the go-to include, and where an international ID enables its holders to go is as clear an impression of discernment as essentially whatever else.

 

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Written by How Africa

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