Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Lesson on Humanity

“Egypt does not recognize the travel document they issue to Palestinian refugees, on that basis, we cannot officially acknowledge the authenticity of your document”. This is the reason Japan refused to issue me – a Palestinian, carrying an Egyptian travel document for refugees – a visa.

“However, we are very keen on assisting any person interested in visiting our country and believe it is important to open our doors to potential tourists, thus, kindly accept this temporary Japanese travel document that we have issued in your name. It will allow you to enter Japan without any troubles at passport control.”

I stood there quietly, astonished. Humbled at the level of humanity exhibited by the Japanese authority representatives. Touched by the welcoming attitude clearly pulsing through their words.

The majority of Middle Eastern countries refuse to issue visas to Palestinian refugees for the same reasons stated above but instead of searching for solutions, they choose to simply reject applications, even before they are submitted to immigration.  

To the Japanese government, thank you for your undefeated greatness and to the rest of the world, well, there is always a lesson to be learnt from the humanity of others.

Note: My mother is traveling to Japan in a few weeks so I wanted to share the story of  her visa journey at the Japanese embassy, because to me, it exemplifies the true meaning of a great nation. I used first person, but obviously my mother is the protagonist.  

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