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Welcome to our world…

So this was supposed to be a quick jaunt to the cyber cafe sans a blog post, but I’m still here an hour and a half later after trying to catch up with emails and some random surfing…and I just read something via Meskel Square that is worthy of a quick post.

Andrew linked to this article by Michela Wong on her visa woes.

Wahh! Cry me a river! Cue the violins!

You get my drift.

Over the last few months, I’ve come across many Westerners who are making money based on their “Africa expertise” (not!). I need to find a way to get in on this racket. Quickly. Anyone looking for an expert on Africa (ok we can narrow it down to Kenya) who’s actually from Africa?

But I digress.

The article begins in the following way, “It’s the way an embassy turns down your visa request that tells you everything you need to know about the country in question.”

So what does the humiliating process of applying for a visa to the U.S. from countries like Kenya tell you about America?

I’d be interested to read your take on how your visa application process went. Maybe a spoof on Michela’s piece? Will gladly post it.

If we didn’t need the tourism money, I wish Kenya could run a one month visa requirement program targeted towards visitors from the U.S. and the U.K. that mirrors the visa application process one goes through to visit those countries. There’d be like ten thousand articles about how wretched Kenya is (OK maybe a dozen).

The article continues, “The Congolese official behind the glass didn’t even bother to make eye contact as she pronounced the words. “You will have to go to the ministry of information in Kinshasa to get authorisation.” For a moment I stared at her, wondering if she was pulling my leg. Given that I was applying for permission to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo in the first place, suggesting I go sur place to sort things out made all the logical sense of an Escher diagram.”

Like I said, welcome to our world Michela. At least you didn’t have to spend three nights camping outside the embassy.

11 comments to Welcome to our world…

  • msaniixl

    “Given that I was applying for permission to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo in the first place”

    like they should make an exception because “our” country is “worth” shit in their eyes. shindwe!…lol

    I have never got this expert in africa/middle east studies business, is does Nauru have any current experts? i would like to fill that need…*smh*

  • Here’s how Brazil responded to the US’s addition of extra requirements to an already stringent system back in 2004 (from http://www.v-brazil.com/tourism/visa-to-brazil.html):

    “The US government is submitting citizens from several nations, including Brazil, to having a picture and a fingerpring captured on arrival to the country.

    “Based on reciprocity, a Brazilian judge determined that all Americans arriving in Brazil should have the same treatment; abiding by the sentence, the Federal Police started to take photos and manually take fingerprints of all American citizens; delays of up to eight hours were observed in the first days that the new procedures were implemented.”

    Countries which don’t require visas of Brazilians are for the most part exempt – http://www.brazilhouston.org/ingles/vpaises.htm.

    Wish we all had the guts to act like this.

  • JKE

    Isn’t Michela the one who wrote “In the footsteps of Mr Kurtz” (about Mobutu Sese Seko)? Hence the connection between the denial of a visa and journalism.

  • Ayele

    Won’t even go into details, but considering the shame, degrading and denigrating that goes on in places like Ethiopia and Kenya in order for an ordinary citizen to get a visitor’s visa to the US or Canada, Ms. Wrong was actually one of the high flyers, who unlike Canadian visa applicants, did not have to sit idle while awaiting the return of her passport and application for one whole month, with the high likelihood that it would return with a one liner indicating that it has been denied.

    She got some nerve.

  • valdez

    Ms. Wrong is misusing international journalism and westerndemocracy .

  • hi
    Read your comments on surfing the web at cyber-cafes and just thought that I might suggest 2 items that I found invaluable when I was in your shoes. The first is a USB drive – the largest size I could afford and the second was a program named HTTRack found at http://www.httrack.com/ that allows you to copy a an website onto the USB drive to read at leisure wherever. All you do it point it to a web site and click copy and it save a browsable copy of the site on the USB drive.

  • Tsegaye

    How wrong Ms. Wrongs keeps on being.

    This “expert” is not done damaging some more African souls. She had recently published an article on the BBC website, an article that was unprofessional at best and very divisive and hateful at worst. The article was about what she said attitudes taken by ordinary Eritreans regarding their bretheren to the South, in Ethiopia, especially the Tigrigna speakers.

    Anyways, as she keeps on specializing fumbling the facts and distorting truths whenever she has the chance, I just remembered a video movie that was produced in Ethiopia showing a visa interview session at the US embassy in Addis Ababa. I was laughing through the roof when I saw the scene where this otherwise normal and decent middle aged Ethiopian tell the white consular officer, “you go to your country!”. As she is bewildered and wide eyed with astonishment and looking for an explanation through the interpretor, the really angry man tells her, “if you don’t want me in your country, then I don’t want you in mine either.”

    Well, surely an argument he will never win.

    Ms. Wrong, do you have any idea how wrong you are?

  • chepkemboi

    Am with you Ory, she has to get over herself and join the rest of us.

    I read her book about DRC and the thing that struck me is that she had very few congolese as references. Kwani how can you research a country without talking to it’s people ?

    As you aptly put it, welcome to our world

    Keep writing

  • Osas

    I reserve judgement (rare with me, I know)… But for all those who are interested, and who want to gain a deeper impression, here is the URL for more of Michela Wrong’s writings:


    Rare indeed :-)

  • MG

    Thank you for your response.
    I am an Ethiopian-Eritrean who was raised in America. Let me tell you my feelings about this Italian journalist. She is a so-called expert on Eritrea. Eritrea was Italy’s first colony.

    I accidently brought her book about Eritrea (“I didn’t do it for you”). Let me start off by saying that I never finished the book. Within the first couple of pages I was completely dumbfounded with her overall condsending attitude towards Eritreans. Her book is a historical account of Italy’s colonization of Eritrea. (I guess, the 1930’s to 1970’s/present). It gives details of the terror that Eritreans lived through by ger forefathers but yet it was …
    It seemed as if she wanted to relive the good ole days.
    At times I wanted to burn the book, but I have to remember that the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree. I can’t help but wonder if she’s related to any of the colonizers??
    Thanks for your well warranted response.

  • […] o be able to travel ‘Westwards’ the Kenyan Pundit has little sympathy when the shoe is on the other foot, as was the case when someone needed to go to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Wan […]