This Temple of the Unfamiliar

The unfamiliar is always a strange terrain.

But it could be a temple of that which is possible, a temple of your dreams.

Or its exact antithesis.

The strange land is a strange terrain, with everything strange, like accent and language, like mind and mindset, like the idea of good and ugly, bad and evil--or the granting or denial of a tourist visa by any country's consul to another country's visa applicant.

Today, the American press is going gung-ho about this morale booster in the Iraq problem that has cost more than thousand American lives.

Include the limbs lost and you have an enormous cost sacrifices at the altar of peace.

The intent in the coalition's excursion in Iraq is to stop terror, name it pointblank that it is innihilating, and do all what humanity can to spread the idea of peace and progress, including the right to seek the temple of the unfamiliar in the United States.

But this has not happened as expected, this protracted war.

As it is, there is a gulf of difference between intention and end-results.

The means and methods to achieve the end are factors to be considered.

What this war has cost many includes its cost on migrants to the United States from all over the world.

This morning, for instance, one lady interviewed on ABC 7 has said it well: All those who want to America are welcome.

But has this been the case in the aftermath of the now infamous Nine-Eleven incident that required the sacrifice of more than two thousand lives in its temple of destruction?

The migrant and immigrant community has been affected for many reasons.

And the effect comes as a logical consequence to tighten the screws on immigration precisely because those who were involved in the twin tower havoc came here either as tourists, students, or migrants.

In short, they are strangers, outsiders, foreigners--or aliens coming into the country.

It is the inherent right of any country, any country without an exception, to protect its own people, to secure itself from any threat, to make it sure that its territorial integrity is respected.

These purposes are clear and even if their impact on immigration is enormous, with every Filipino tourist suspected of overstaying and then wait for the amnesty to come about, the long lines at the U.S. Embassy has not shortened, not for a single day.

The idea that the United States of America is a place of salvation has remained the same all throughout historical times beginning at the landing of the first immigrants on Ellis Island.

Talks have it that one day in December 2005, all those who applied for a tourist visa were granted visa. That was some kind of a manna from heaven.

Talks have it as well that whose who was scheduled to have the interview the following day were all denied the visa.

That was not a manna from heaven.

Then again, who can question the irrevocable decisions of consuls who have the right to grant or deny you the visa?

It is their country you are going into, not ours, we who are seeking entry.

Life's mystery comes in circles sometimes.

It has always been in many ways, tourist or not tourist.

A. S. Agcaoili
June 9, 2006
Torrance, CA

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