Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Musing on US Citizenship and Edward Snowden saga

Following the Edward Snowden saga made me reflect on the power that governments have over citizen when it comes to asylum and citizenship, a power one cannot take very lightly.

Edward Snowden leaked US Government’s NSA secrets and has reportedly spent the past few weeks in a “transit zone” in Moscow. While there he has continually been in news applying for asylum for a slew of countries. In the meantime, the US government has revoked his passport and continues to pressure countries from granting asylum. (interesting list of countries where Snowden applied)

The saga also reminds one of the plight of Viktor Navorski, a character played by Tom Hanks in the movie “The Terminal.” The film was supposedly based on a real life incident “The most famous transit-zone dweller was Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who stayed in Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle Airport for 17 years, but he moved freely within the terminal. Some have noted that the film appears to be inspired by the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who lived in Terminal One of the Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris from 1988 when his refugee papers were stolen until 2006 when he was hospitalized for unspecified ailments.” (wikipedia)

Play the Snowden saga against the immigration debate in America and one can see two sides of the coin emerge. One side are people like Snowden who willingly risk the privilege of American citizenship to make a point at the world stage. On the other side are millions who continue to make the trek to the land of opportunity, only to find they have to climb huge walls, sometimes literally and mostly walls of bureaucracy before they are granted the privilege Snowden is willingly relinquishing.

Few countries in the world are able and willing to offer asylum to someone wanted by big-brother. If anything, this saga shows the real might of America in the world stage.

Technorati tags: Edward Snowden, Immigration