Friday, June 4, 2010

Taken back in time by my name is Khan!

Gosh who would have thought that I would have actually sat through such a cheesy movie. It had all the cliche shots in the book and looked like a cross between forest gump and rain man. What could have turned out to be a hard gritty movie like natural born killers turned out to be a ball of mush. But that's the Indian touch for you. Nevertheless I was captivated by "My name is Khan". But it did take me back in time to 1996 when I visited the US on some work. As I was about to board my flight from Hong Kong to LA I was stopped and my papers were checked thoroughly. When I landed in LA and was walking to collect my luggage I was checked again by a roving police lady. And then once more when I was clearing customs. I was the only person who was checked and it was not a cursory inspection but I had to take my clothes out and show this guy the inside of my bag and prove to him that I was not carrying any bombs. Well the only conclusion I can arrive at why all this checking was done is because of the color of my skin. And this was before 9/11.
It was amazing at the same time I got to know of three incidents of Sri Lankans being treated badly by immigration officials in other countries.
The first one was that the world renowned architect Anjelendran was refused a Visa to England to give a lecture on his new book.
The other one was in Singapore where a guy had gone to see his girlfriend and had been detained for three days without a change of clothes or a tooth brush because the Immigration lady who was bad in English could not understand why he was coming to Singapore so frequently.
The third was a husband and wife once again who was trying to clear Singapore immigration at two different counters. The husband was given a visa while the wife was detained as she was pregnant and they thought her purpose of entering the country was to give birth to the baby on foreign soil.
Well it makes me sad the way our countrymen and others like us from the third world are treated. I can still remember a very intelligent gentleman talking about USA and Europe in a highly critical manner and say how can they espouse the values of democracy and equality for all when they don't give everyone the freedom to enter their country. Isn't that hypocritical.

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