Example of Ziyad: “What Jordanian and Israeli Officials have been doing to Palestinians needs to End—and only the World (including the USA) can End these Tragedies by DEMANDING CHANGE”
By Kevin Stoda, Middle East
Near where I now live and work in Salalah, Oman lives a Palestinian—let’s call him Ziyad—who has been facing one set of tragedies after another due to the fact that most nations in the world do not respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Recently, Ziyad’s wife and daughter of 6 months tried to travel from Oman to Palestine via Jordan. They have been left in Jordanian limbo now for over a week.
The Jordanian officials at the Jordan Valley border crossing don’t allow the poor 6-month-old girl to travel without her Oman birth certificate, even though the baby has a Palestinian passport on hand already. From my perspective this blockage of passage to Palestine appears to be an attempt to get Ziyad’s wife to pay a bribe in order to let the baby go through, but Ziyad assures me that similar things have happened before to his children and wife.
In the meantime, I ask my readers to recall that Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. & (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Quite obviously, the Jordanian border patrol ignores blatantly these international rules through arbitrarily creating barriers to movement for Ziyad’s wife and baby daughter.
A CASE OF PURSUING HAPPINESS
Already some months ago, I learnt much more about Ziyad’s lifelong attempt to pursue work, education, and “happiness”. Along the way, he has constantly been faced with barriers by various governments—but mostly from the Israeli and Jordanian regimes. I think it is appropriate to use the term “pursuit of happiness” to describe Ziayad’s journey from childhood to becoming a university professor. I focus on the “pursuit of happiness” because life has been a struggle for him from early on, starting with his birth in the West Bank of what is now called Palestine under Israeli control. Only struggle can spawn happiness for many peoples like Ziyad.
“Pursuit of Happiness” is an American theme, too—and I am from the United States, a country which broke from Great Britain over 225 years ago, according to its own Declaration of Independence, in order to allow its people to “pursue happiness”. Likewise, pursuing happiness is a Jewish concept that has not yet been fully internalized in Israel of this century.
I learnt that the pursuit of happiness was extremely important for modern Israelis (including Zionists) when watching the musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF as a child. In that famous American musical production, which is based on a Russian literary classic by Sholem Aleichem, one of the key figures is the tailor, Motel Kamzoil.
In one of the early important scenes of the play, Motel persuades the main characters Tevya and his wife, Golde), to condone his betrothal to Tevya’s eldest daughter, Tzeitel. How does Motel succeed in this? Motel calmly concludes his plea with this rhetorical statement, "Even a poor tailor is entitled to some happiness." Isn’t he? The Jewish characters in the play and tale from Aleicham all agree.
Likewise, despite his humble surroundings, my friend Ziyad has always had big dreams, especially in terms of education. In the 1980s and 1990s he tried several times to travel from his Israeli ghetto (aka Palestine) on the West Bank to North America in order to try and pursue university degrees. He was first accepted at a university in the United States but Israel reused to provide him the exit clearance, i.e. passport & visa clearance, he needed to leave his Israeli occupied homeland and head to North America. A few years later, Ziyad tried again to leave Israel and travel to Canada where he had again been accepted to study. Once again, Israel would not give him permission to leave.
Finally, Ziyad’s luck turned and he was allowed about one decade ago to travel from Israel in order to move to nearby North Cyprus (a country only recognized by Turkey) and begin a doctorate degree there. Happily, this is why Ziyad anticipates the chance to defend his thesis later this summer and to return to Oman with his doctorate degree in hand.
In the interim, Ziyad was finally able to marry. His first child, a son, was born a few years ago in North Cyprus. As noted above, his second child—a daughter—was born here in Oman just after Christmas 2011. This birth in Oman is now why the baby girl is now unfairly stuck with her mother in Jordan awaiting an opportunity to visit her grandparents and family on the West Bank this May and June of 2012.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Sadly, this current freezing-out of Ziyad’s child at the River Jordan is not a “first” for Ziyad and his experience with Jordanian border control personnel. Similar to the Israelis immigration and security apparatus which have been so arbitrary in the past with Ziyad and his lack of free movement globally, the Jordanian immigration officers have often proven quite fickle over the past decades when allowing peoples to pass from Jordan into Israeli or Palestinian territory.
I recall that my first attempt to cross into Palestine to Israel from the Jordan Valley about 7 years ago was blocked by Jordanian border control officials who apparently wanted more money for their services. (I refused to pay “what I viewed as a bribe” but came back a year later--and tried again. This time successfully.)
Later, a few years ago, i.e. after the birth of Ziyad’s first son while he and his wife were living in North Cyprus, both his wife and the new-born baby boy had made a similar trek to their homeland to visit their family. Ziyad’s boy was only 4 months old at the time. Upon arrival in Amman, the baby was detained by Jordanian immigration, and the mother was told that she would be allowed to enter the country but her new-born could not.
Well, the baby had been born in North Cyprus and North Cyprus was not recognized as a country by the Kingdom of Jordan. Therefore, even the baby’s birth certificate was considered invalid.
Ziyad’s wife wryly replied, “Here are the baby, the baby’s milk, diapers, and food. I will leave the baby here and you take care of him while I go outside and bring back an official in the government to tell you what you need to do in my son’s case.”
The Jordanian official was in shock as the mother began to walk away. (Ziyad’s wife didn’t actually leave the room, but she assure us, “You should have seen the look on the guard’s face as she turned and left the baby on the table in front of him.”)
I ask, “Why should the official have been surprised?”
“When you drive people to desperation, you should anticipate desperate reactions.”
Naturally, not only are Israeli and Jordanian officials and regimes guilty of trashing the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
In any one year, practically every nation on the planet is guilty of such inhuman shenanigans, such abuse of authority, and continual breaking of international agreements. For example, recently for an 18 month-period, the German authorities in Wiesbaden kept my wife separated from me and off of the continent of Europe. My wife has a Filipino passport and the lowest level German immigration officials in Wiesbaden were allowed to manipulate and reverse decisions for many months at a time.
Later, in another incident, one Philippine airline officially arbitrarily decided that my wife could not return on a flight with me to Taiwan—even thought my 7-month-old daughter would be allowed to because she had a USA passport instead of a Filipino one as my wife does.
My baby was still nursing. The option for me to travel with the baby was non-existent as our many of the kangaroo-court shenanigans of so many visa and national security officers world-wide.
In short, Ziyad and his family are far from alone in feeling internationally persecuted and obstructed in many ways from “pursing happiness.” This is horrendous practice because in any one year approximately 200 million people on planet Earth are immigrating or seeking to become immigrants. 
I wish to take this time to encourage immigrants and émigrés of the world to unite and demand better treatment before so-called legal regimes or state governments which disrespect the rule of law and have trashed Article 13 of the UN Declaration nearly continuously since its inception over 6 decades ago.
 FROM: http://www.globalissues.org/article/537/immigration
Why do people emigrate?
People emigrate from one country to another for a variety of complex reasons. Some are forced to move, due to conflict or to escape persecution and prejudices, while others may voluntarily emigrate. Although such a move may be necessary, it can be quite traumatic on top of the challenges experienced so far.
From another perspective, immigration can also represent an act of courage. For example,
• Moving to a different country with different culture and norms can be quite daunting;
• The potential loneliness to be suffered is not always easy to overcome;
• There may be the additional pressure to earn enough to live (in a more expensive-to-live-in country) and send back meager savings.
An economic migrant, a person searching for work, or better opportunities, will be stepping into the unknown—an exciting prospect if the person is already well-to-do, or daunting at least, if out of desperation.
Effects of Immigration
Immigration can have positive and negative impacts on both the host (recipient) country, and the original country.
The recipient country is usually an industrialized country in Western Europe, or the United States. For these countries, immigrants offer various benefits such as the following:
• Immigrants will often do jobs that people in the host country will not, or cannot do;
• Migrant workers often work longer hours and for lower salaries, and while that is controversial, sometimes exploitive, it benefits the host country;
• Immigrants, when made to feel welcome in the host society, can contribute to the diversity of that society, which can help with tolerance and understanding;
• For the host country’s economy, immigrants offer an increased talent pool, if they have been well educated in their original country.
But there are also numerous drawbacks:
• Immigrants can be exploited for their cheap labor;
• Developing countries may suffer “brain drain” as the limited resources they spend in educating their students amount to very little if that talent is enticed to another country. (The UK for example is often accused of actively hiring medical staff from developing countries. The previous link details this issue further.)
• Immigration can also attract criminal elements, from trafficking in drugs and people to other forms of crime and corruption;
• Immigration can become a social/political issue, where racism can be used to exploit feelings or as an excuse for current woes of local population;
• Where there is a perception that immigrants and refugees appear to get more benefits than local poor people, tensions and hostilities can also rise;
• Concerns about illegal immigration can spill over to ill-feelings towards the majority of immigrants who are law-abiding and contributing to the economy;
• Many die trying to flee their predicament, and this can often make sensational headlines giving the appearance that immigration is largely illegal and “out of control.”
Despite what appears to be large population movements, Gary Younge, from the Guardian noted some time ago that people still are not able to move as freely as commodities. In some places around the world, there are additional restrictions being put up on people’s movements.