Thursday, April 29, 2010

The lack of good character

If there is one thing in life that I hate more than being falsely accused, then it is to be treated a certain why because of the misbehaviour of other people. Priviledges that are taken away because someone else didn't know how to behave. I am currently filling in a visa request to go to the UK. Despite the fact that the British authorities claimed that this move is to "better protect their borders", as well as saying that  "the introduction of a visa requirement is in no way a reflection of any deterioration in our continuing and strong relationship with South Africa", we all know why South Africa failed the Britain’s strict new Visa Waiver Test. They don't trust us anymore. And you can hardly blame them. Apparently you can order fake South African passports over the Internet. I will not go as far as mentioning who else is involved, but to get back to my point stated is because of these criminal minds and activities that I have to sit and fill in a visa application form that has taken me at least two hours to complete.
I am not very familiar with the reasons why some countries have to apply for visas while others don't, but my common sense tells me that it is a better way of identifying the prospective traveler from certain "suspicious countries" before he/she is allowed in the host country. The only way they can get this information is by asking a few very indepth questions. But how deep can you go? Look at some of the questions from this 20 page online questionaire and decide if you would trust anyone that answered any of these questions with a "No". 

- Do you have any criminal convictions in any country (including traffic offences)? As far as I remember, or as I was told, when you pay a traffic fine you admit guilt on the spot, meaning that you were convicted of a crime (disobeying traffic rules) and that you have "served your sentence" (paying a fine). If this is the case then I have plenty criminal convictions, as well as some outstanding cases. Do I answer "YES" in this case? And if I do that, will I be seen as a threat to the Britsh government and their people?  I am very reluctant to answer yes, what if I am refused a visa just because I drove too fast on the N1 freeway?
- In times of either peace or war have you, ever been involved in, or suspected of involvement in, war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide? How many people who were involved will honestly stand up and say, "Yes, I have been, but can you please still give me a visa?" Get real, questions like this and the ones to follow just add to the irritation and frustration and no-one in his right (criminal) mind will admit to this if he/she wants to go to the UK for what ever reason.
- Have you ever been involved in, or supported, or encouraged terrorist activities in any country? Have you, ever been a member of, or given support to an organization that has been concerned in terrorism? Now I have to be very cautious before I speak my mind on this one. Firstly, again, would anyone say "Yes" and stand the change of not getting a visa? Secondly. What is the definition of "terrorist activities"? Is planting bombs and killing people under the cloak of "fighting for freedom" not classified as terrorism? If this is the case, then I am sorry to say that the majority of South Africans belonging to certain political parties are not allowed to enter the UK according to this questionnaire.
- Have you ever, by any means or medium, expressed views that justify or glorify terrorist violence or that may encourage others to terrorist acts or other serious criminal acts? If you sing a song that says "kill the whites" and it leads to more farm murders (which is a serious criminal acts despite what the SA government might say), does that mean you cannot go to the UK? Then sorry Julius, you will not be able to drink a warm beer with your fellow South Africans who managed to infiltrate the British Isles before we were classified as a threat to the British national security.

Now the last question really had me on the floor laughing. "Have you engaged in any other activities that might indicate that you may not be considered a person of good character?" WTF? Are they serious? "So in other words, if you are not a traffic offender, a war criminal, an ex-terrorist or a serious crime instigator, is there anything else about yourself that you would like to tell us before we issue you with a visa?" Yes, I sometimes watch porn when my wife is not around, or yes, I get drunk when the Lions cannot score enough to win at least one game in the Super 14. No wait, this one is probably the worst, I'm a seen as a racist because I am white and I don't support the Bafana Bafana....

 Now I beg of you my fellow South Africans, please behave like civilized human beings so that the rest of us don't get punished for your "lack of good character"!! I want to go to the UK for work and to visit a good friend of mine, I am NOT a criminal and I don't want to be treated like one. And most of all, I don't want to be tortured with questionnaires like this anymore....

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