Sunday, May 24, 2009

“I Am An Asylum Seeker”.

Immediately I joked like that an American who could not contain me in a forum said “after this I am going to call the immigration not to let you live in this country. If you are not deported and are given a stay you cannot talk about righteousness” he reechoed. They hassled me daily about my immigration status so I decided to finally state my status in my introductory page on my blog. Yet one question needs answered: is Asylum a bad thing?

Asylum was and is to give refuge to people who could not live in their home country because of persecution: religious, political, or whatever type. In others words it is the willingness of a host country to offer refuge and protection to a runaway. That is how many people came to America and other western countries. When you come it is claimed you obtained asylum status.

Actually seeking asylum is not a bad thing and should not be regarded as a bad thing. Asylum is only bad when people after telling stories about their state and the next year they want to run home to visit relatives. How do you feel very comfortable to go back home to the same country that wants to kill you? Others like some Cameroonians and Nigerians are in the party in power in their refugee countries.

Let us say you are a Cameroonian. You run away to the US because you are afraid the government wants to kill you. Then when you reach the US you join the CPDM. Though the CPDM is not the only party in the government but it wields a bigger stake. So if the government led by the party in power is pursuing you why would you join them? Isn’t that a proof that you are merely an economic refugee?

We all know that the majority of the stories told are lies. I read one story from a guy who said Biya used to tie him in his living room and let his dog lick his anus. I don’t think President Biya lacks things to make him happy that he will be happy seeing his dog lick your dirty butt. That is a terrible way of getting pleasure.

In 2005 I was translating for a lawyer in Atlanta. As the asylum seeker was speaking, he reached a point where I was confused myself. So I asked him in French that: “je ne savais pas que tu es pede” since I knew him because of his girlfriend. Then he told me that they are stories. Another one said he does not understand English. So when I made a mistake in translation he cut me impolitely and began explaining in English. The lawyer looked at me and looked at him then asked him “didn’t you say you don’t speak English”. He meandered his way out by saying that his English is different from that of the lawyer. He does not understand the type spoken by the lawyer.

All those stories pain a gloomy picture of the country yet they are not totally false. People are politically persecuted in Cameroon. Rather than the embassy destroying their passports they should advise the home government to allow the people a freedom of speech, worship and sex.

In a case like Cameroon one cannot refuse the fact that political opponents are maltreated. One cannot refuse the fact that students are beaten up and their lives threatened during strikes. Rather than reject their claims for asylum the political climate should be made conducive so that people can speak their minds or place dissention without fear of retributive repression.

The thing that worries most people is the fervency with which liberation groups in Cameroon sell affidavits for asylum. By selling the affidavit to everyone even those who have never heard of the group dilutes the sacrifice for the struggle and makes true liberators to lose interest. When you are an asylee, you should join and fight with other human rights or freedom oriented organizations so that the same rights that you were denied are given to those behind you or those who are left in the country.

Consequently, asylum seekers should spearhead groups that fight injustice in their respective countries rather than side with the same government that they claim has repressed them. That makes their claims and case bogus.
Until then there is nothing bad with asylum
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