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Here's an absurd little tale from our bitter farce of a barbed wire world.

Theivanai Balanchandran , a Sri Lankan citizen, has been refused a six-month visa to enter the U.K.

"Well," you may ask, "what's so noteworthy about that?" After all, it is local election season here in the fifty-first State of the U.S.A. and immigration officials have doubtless been warned in confidence by the Government not to let anyone from South Asia even speculate about the merest possibility of visiting the U.K.

Because God forbid that the Labour Government should actually reject the veiled racism implicit in the anti-immigration rhetoric of the Tories, rather than shamefully attempting to out-Herod Howard. And so in recent months, we have been subjected to the obscene and cowardly spectacle of the Labour Government aping Tory immigration politices themselves designed expressly to appeal to BNP voters.

But I digress.

Returning to my absurd little tale, Theivanai Balanchandran was denied a six-month visa to enter the U.K.

Let us ask "On what grounds? Why was she denied? What was so terrible about her that she could not be permitted to set foot in the U.K.?"

Well, her home was damaged by the tsunami that struck in late December last year. So consular officials thought that she might be coming to the U.K. to try and improve her living conditions.

Also, she lives in an area harshly affected by civil war and she is Tamil. Apparently "The war has created a strong pressure to emigrate and this is most keenly felt by people from the Tamil community."

So in other words, because Theivanai Balanchandran has lived through both a civil war and a tsunami, she cannot get a visa to visit the U.K. I don't know about you, but the last I heard, tsunamis weren't contagious.

Well, why did she want to visit the U.K., leaving her husband and children behind her?

She wanted to visit her family in the U.K. Specifically she wanted to visit her daughter-in-law, Suthakaran Lalitharani, in order to give her a priceless gift. Suthakaran Lalitharani has end-stage renal failure. She urgently needs a kidney transplant, but she has a rare blood type and none of her relatives in the U.K. are compatible. Theivanai Balanchandran has been identified as a compatible donor and was coming to the U.K. in order to donate one of her kidneys.

Theivanai Balanchandran's visa application clearly stated this, and moreover, the hospital treating Suthakaran Lalitharani provided supporting evidence, but immigration officials refused her anyway.

Do you imagine for even a moment that this would ever have happened had Suthakaran Lalitharani's mother-in-law had white skin and/or New Zealand or Australian citizenship?

But of course immigration regulations have nothing to do with racism . . .  

Yeah right. Look up in the sky. The pigs are flying south for the summer.


Originally posted to dove on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 05:06 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I suspect (none)
    that Jonathan Swift would have had a field day with this one.

    I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

    by dove on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 05:06:29 PM PST

    •  First off (none)
      It's refreshing to see somewhere else then Canada called the 51st state.  But more importantly has there been any official reason given.  Is her relative that needs the Kidney a British citizen (not that it matters).  

      Do you have any contacts?

      •  I was paraphrasing (none)
        one of my favourite songs, "Heartland" by The The. It's an indictment on Thatcherite Britain (though it felt plenty applicable to New Zealand in the early 90's as well) Here's the lyrics. It's a great song. Canada strikes me as anything but the 51st State.

        The Guardian article doesn't specify Suthakaran Lalitharani's citizenship status, but reading between the lines my guess would be that she now has right of abode. But that's just a guess.

        I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

        by dove on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 05:23:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, (none)
          the official reasons given included the one's cited from the Guardian article, accompanied by the bog-standard "Oh we don't think you'll have suitable accommodation or enough financial support."

          I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

          by dove on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 05:25:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Culture of Life!!!! (none)
    Tom Delay is not busy right now, maybe he can help this woman get her life-saving transplant?
    •  Hmmm (none)
      I don't think Delay's terribly interested in saving women's lives unless they're white and in a persistent vegetative state.

      God, even the thought of it's pretty awful actually -- Slimy Delay is the last thing Suthakaran Lalitharani needs visited on her -- she's already having to put up with dialysis.

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 06:07:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  AND (none)
    he knows people who can pay his way to London.
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