We sure love our foreign passports! We seem to rise socially as we accumulate “high-value” travel documents and somewhat demean others ‘less-fortunate’ with our “oh, you need a visa? Tsk, tsk” comments. Michael Karam has written a tongue-in-cheek article for The National on the issue. Here are a few excerpts:
…having a foreign passport is generally quite an asset. Indeed a man’s eligibility can soar once it is learned that he has such a passport, as can his employment opportunities. It is, if you like, an economic tool of sorts.
But Lebanon would not be Lebanon if there wasn’t a nationality hierarchy. I was recently having lunch with a friend whose family owns one of the largest car dealerships in the country. She bemoaned the fact that her foreign husband could only deliver her a Canadian passport.
“I mean, why not a British or a French passport?” she sighed. “I could even live with a US passport, just. But Canadian! I might as well be Australian.”
I can see the personal ads now:
25 yr old male looking for Lebanese woman from a good family for marriage. Have US passport.
Lebanese are proud and boast they are Lebanese but feel the need to nitpick around the benefits (or lack of it) attributed to their nationality. So instead of ‘begging’ at an embassy for a visa, they’d rather ‘beg’ at an embassy for immigration only to come back a few years later, new nationality in hand, while having no real connection or allegiance to their new found country. Here’s a typical conversation I would have with a dual nationality-holding Lebanese.
Me: So where are you from?
Other: I’m Canadian.
Me: Oh, really? Who’s Canadian, your mom or dad?
Other: No man. They’re Lebanese, I have the Canadian passport.
Me: Right, silly me. Just a question, if Lebanon and Canada were to declare war against each other, which side would you be on. [Now this can go two ways]
Other: Lebanese of course!
Me: So you’re Lebanese.
Other: That’s what I said!
Me: My mistake.
Me: Why is that?
Other: Because they’d kick Lebanon’s ass!
Me: Of course they would.
It’s great to be Lebanese 🙂