Shame on Europe
Posted by Pia på onsdag 6 augusti 2008
In the year 2055, I think we will look back at Europe in the beginning of the 21st century with shame. I was ashamed last week when I took a bus from Riga to Warsaw and met a young woman from Moscow. We started talking because she was reading the lyrics of a well-known Swedish song. I asked her about it, and she said she is learning Swedish, she has visited Sweden a couple of times, her boyfriend lives there. She works for a company that sells Russian property mainly to Europeans. Her job includes a lot of travelling in Europe, but last year she couldn’t go meet her European partners for six months, because the French embassy had denied her visa application. ”Why?” I asked. ”Oh, you know, it’s like that. I’m a single Russian woman travelling, they just assume I’m a prostitute”.
I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like to have an authority deny me something because they thought I was selling sex. She has just had to get used to it.
Some people would be lucky to ever get a chance. My friend is trying to invite her Ghanan friend to come visit her, and she sent me a link to the rules that apply. She has to go through the Danish embassy and it’s just an absurd mess. If you are from Nigeria, you can’t even theoretically be granted a visa for private visits unless you have a spouse or under-aged children i Denmark. If you are from Congo or Benin, you don’t need any familiar ties to apply. If you’re from Mali you can apply for a tourist visa. If you’re Somalian, you might get a visa to come if a family member just died. Have a look at the one of the web pages yourself.