One reason why I’m late on my blogging duties is this trip that took me to such cold and remote places like Cleveland and Toronto. There is a lot to write about these places and the people that live there, some of them really wonderful, even though I had hard time to catch up with their strange language and some of the local habits… but this blog is not about travel and seeing places.
As my travel delayed me on my blog writing, today my writings retaliated and delayed me on my travel. I landed in Toronto’s airport at 8:00 pm and passed the first passport control like everybody. But, being from a suspicious 3rd world country, I was directed by the local police to go to another hall where really intelligent Immigration Officers will do the real checking.
As I handed over my passport to the officer, he clicked my name on the computer and apparently found some interesting materials. He read me the long title of some article about the crisis of imperialism and asked me whether I wrote this article. I couldn’t tell him for sure but said it is likely that I did. So, while trying to read fast, he asked me whether I’m a journalist. I said no. “But you write articles?” – Well, yes. “How comes…?” – Well, I mean I’m not a journalist in the sense that nobody pays me to write… “So you just write and publish whenever you can?” – Yes, something like this.
He was trying to read more, so I said: I thought that Canada believes in free speech. “Yes they do. But this is on Palestine. Are you Palestinian?” In what sense do you ask? “Were you born in Palestine?” – Yes, I was born in Palestine. “That makes sense.”
“Are you a member of Abna AlBalad?” Yes I am. But what is the problem about that? “No, only that I never heard about this party.” I wouldn’t expect a Canadian immigration officer to know about all the parties in each country. He smiled.
“Were you ever arrested?” Yes, many times. “Did you commit crimes? Are you going to commit crimes in Canada?” No. I didn’t commit any crime. I was not even convicted of any crime in Israel. “So you were just arrested for demonstrations and such things?” Yes, you know.
“Are you going back to Israel, after all the things that you write…?” Well, these are my positions. They are no secret. I stay there in order to make it a better place.
It is not a simple thing to grasp, even for an intelligent Canadian Immigration Officer. So he asked me to sit in the waiting hall until he will finish his reading and maybe even consult some better informed friends.
I very much enjoy when people show interest in my blog. Somehow in this particular case I wished he will find my writings boring and meaningless.
After some time he let me in. But I was left with the feeling that something is wrong with all this process. It is good that government would mind what people think and say – but it is damned wrong if you will be interrogated about your political activity whenever you travel from one country to another.
My dear reader from the Canadian Immigration Control,
I hope you found this blog interesting and you are invited to continue reading without keeping me on hold.
If you really believe in democracy you should know that what leads to political violence is the repression of legitimate political activity. So, if you find that one of the visitors to Canada is writing against Tyranny and Imperialism, just use the “favorite” key, keep the site and read it later.