Aug 24 2009

Mohamud Meets Kafka

Before the airport passengers’ lounge stands a Kenyan immigration official. To this official there comes a woman from Canada and prays for admittance to the lounge. But the official says that he cannot grant admittance at the moment, particularly as this woman has failed to pay the requisite bribe. The woman thinks it over and then asks if she will be allowed onto her plane later.

“It is possible,” says the official, “but not at the moment.” Since the gate stands open, as usual, and the official steps to one side, the woman stoops to peer through the gateway into the interior. Observing that, the official laughs and says: “If you are so drawn to it, just try to go in despite my veto. But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the least of the officials. From hall to hall there is one official after another, each more powerful than the last. The third official, with the Canadian High Commission, is already so terrible that even I cannot bear to look at him.” These are difficulties the woman from Canada has not expected; freedom of movement, she thinks, should surely be accessible at all times and to all Canadians, particularly those bearing 12 perfectly legal forms of ID, including a valid passport…

Pure Kafka.

Let’s hope that now that she’s home, the authorities will be more accommodating as she attempts to get some justice.

As for those who see Mohamud’s suit as a pure money grab, I’ve got one word for you: “empathy”. Try and get some.

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