I know I haven’t written an article in a while, but between juggling all my make-up appointments before the wedding season dies, getting my summer hijaabs ready for sale, and going through the whole process for applying for a visit visa to Canada for my summer, I’ve been struggling with time to clear my head out. For those that don’t own a “white man’s passport” – EU, American, British passports – you obviously know how tiring and frustrating the whole process is of applying for a visa, anywhere.
Even with a 10 year visit visa to the States, multiple visit visa stamps from the UK,Spain,Greece and even a previous Canadian visa,travel stamps all over Asia, substantial funds in my accounts, a company license, even with all that and more, the Canadian embassy denied my visa application! Dumbfounded is a total understatement of how I felt to find my letter of rejection. I re-applied yesterday morning with an invitation letter from friends who I’ll be residing with through my 3 week stay, and with a letter to re-evaluate my case. I’m not betting on anything, but I had to give it one last shot before I called it a day!
Well all this got me thinking, first off, never assume…anything…ever. Every time I seem to forget that, wham ! There’s that ‘life’ reminder in my face ! For most believing Muslims, we go through this life with the understanding that whatever Allah wills, is what’s best for us. Of course that doesn’t mean that you should just sit on your behind and hope and pray you get that job offer, or in my case the Canadian visit visa, it just means that no matter what you do, no matter what, if its meant to be for you, it shall be, at the exact time that it should be. And if something should be taken away from you or denied, even that has greater meaning and understanding. It’s a little something called ‘faith’ right ! He is the Master Planner, and whether we can see or understand the benefit of what He has given us or taken away from us, is besides the point, as He is All Knowing.
My second realization was that regardless of how viral and connected the world has become with the internet, TV, Skype, Facebook, twitter, we are still very much governed by borders, hundreds of them in between, for some of us.
If I get my visa granted, great, it’ll save me the hassle of changing flights, planning another trip elsewhere, and applying for a visa to Europe – ugh ! But this is just a small issue regarding a summer vacation, and not the end of the world.
What hit me was what about those people who are in real danger and stuck in a war-torn region and their only option is to travel elsewhere? What if your only chances of survival depend on those borders being opened to you? The people of Palestine are constantly turned away from health treatment and educational facilities as everything has been divided and governed off by the Israelis. Most pregnant women are denied entry to hospitals and it’s more than common to see women go through labour at roadblocks. Countless children have succumbed to illnesses and death as they are continually denied passage across their own lands for treatment. No matter how much paperwork they’ve got in their hands, their I.Ds, their reasons for traveling to the other side of the country they live in, they are still, in the most dire of situations and emergencies, being turned away !
A trip to the mall, a clinic, or a restaurant, to most of us, is nothing considered out of the ordinary, but to people like the Palestinians or those inflicted by civil unrest and war, these trips are feats of struggle, fear and frustration. Over the past month, hundreds of men, women and particularly children have been massacred in Homs, Syria, yet borders of GCC countries have been purposely closed towards the Syrian people, in fear of an influx of refugees. If their own neighbors won’t open their doors to them in time of need, then when is it a good time ? In the Bible and the Qur’aan, loving your neighbor has been constantly stressed upon. You may take it literally and just mean your next door neighbor, but what makes you think it doesn’t or shouldn’t also extend to neighboring countries.
Every country has absolute right to protect itself from foreign invasion and intruders that may impose security , health and financial risks to their country, but where does your humanity go at that moment, when you turn away people who’s only hope for survival, is you opening those invisible borders to them ?