Wednesday, December 18, 2013

...and you wonder why the rest of the World hates ya....

Thanks to a FB friend with waay too much time on her hands this story was brought to my attention.
The US immigration authorities arrested an Indian female diplomat while she was taking her child to school, strip-searched and charged her for Visa fraud due to inaccuracies on her maid's Visa application. The strip-search bit was a bit surprising for a white-collar crime-- were they expecting to find stashes of drugs or a concealed weapon? The fact that she is a spokesperson for women's affairs adds a certain irony to the situation.

Wow! Guyana being as small as it is, I have come across many American diplomats who seem like such nice human beings - never mind the probable stirring they do;  even in our small topsy-turvy part of the world, if a diplomat were found in serious breach of the Law, unofficial channels would be used to sort out the problem. I mean - we would probably call in the Indian ambassador and contact New Delhi to lodge a complaint for whatever reason.

What on earth would possess the Americans to publicly humiliate this representative of India?  India's neighbours who would be benefit from this rift - Pakistan and/or China probably couldn't be happier! Or maybe the great USA has fallen to the small-minded politics over here where the opposition takes pleasure in one-upmanship, never mind how the country would suffer?

Given that over in India, it appears that the majority of women are treated abominably themselves - gang-rape being reported with alarming frequency- this is hardly an example for an 'enlightened country' to set! The general consensus on my friend's and the internet page is that the Indian diplomat deserved this harsh treatment as pay-back for exploitation of the maid. I immediately remembered a dreary book I read this year which gave the servant's point of view (he was the cook and general dogsbody) - his glee of being given a closet to sleep in, in Washington - a step-up from sleeping on the pavement of Bombay/Mumbai. And rather like 18th Century England, if the nanny was not doing this job, is it possible she might be subjected to something even worse back in India?
I would like to hear the nanny's side.  Apparently the US is holding that their minimum wage is U$9 an hour and the diplomat lied on the application form saying the nanny's salary satisfied this requirement -- um so my question is -- what concern it of the US government? Will they be collecting taxes and ensuring that the servant gets healthcare insurance? Are the illegal and unclassified workers who work under the radar and ensure their economy runs, getting at least U$9 per hour minimum wage?? And if they are concerned about the on-the-breadline-earners shouldn't they be turning their attention to their trans-national companies-- maybe institute the rule that anyone working for an American company anywhere in the world gets the American minimum wage - like Britain threatening to prosecute any British company who is found guilty of bribery overseas... but I digress...
It smacks of outdated colonial upmanship:  Here funny coloured people, WE are entitled to exploit your ignorant asses because we are superior, know what best and created the system but you have to dot the i and cross the t.  It is ironic but karmic that the same diplomat might indeed be guilty of the same thing back in her own country.

Postscript: (4hrs later) apparently the nanny/maid read the Visa application and felt she should be getting what was stated on the application- approximately U$4000 per month- and then reported her the vice-consular general. Ha- the next step would be to apply to stay in the US on refugee grounds - in the book referred to above, the guy 'ran away' and worked illegally in an Indian restaurant and lived with an African-American woman- think I tossed the book aside meaning to return to it when I had more time - wonder if the maid's story will follow suit?
Postscript 2: In an odd situation of Life imitating Art- from VS Naipaul:
also: the US point of view:      The comments after are also interesting  - seems a mutual corrupt situation - strange story where one has no sympathy for any side!

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