Friday, June 24, 2011

Paraguay #1: Papers, Privilege, Paraguay!

On July 5th at midnight, I will be 40 000 feet above planet earth with four other people. We will be en route to Paraguay for a Development and Peace Solidarity Tour and won't be back until July 23rd. Paraguay #1 This is the first of I hope many posts (it'll depend on web access)

The idea of our Solidarity Tours is to give D&P members the opportunity to meet our partners in the Global South, learn about their work and how D&P supports it, then come back and tell their stories. This is my third tour and its extra special because my Mother, the one who taught me to seek Loving Justice in the world, will be there beside me. On Wednesday I was sitting with a bunch of papers in my lap and was struck with a thought. So I took a photo to share the moment.

The 'bunch of papers' are 5 passport applications to Paraguay with all supporting documentation. As I looked at them I reflected on how linked papers are to privilege, especially with respect to freedom of movement: 1) Canadian Passport papers ($95CAD per 5 years) give us the privilege to seek entry virtually anywhere in the world. 2) the visa papers at $65USD each (double the monthly income of much of our human family) allow us to enter the country for 90 days. 3) The letter of support from D&P tells Embassy officials that we are guaranteed by a respected NGO (ie have the support of a large organized body of people) 4) The airline ticket at $1675CAD means we have the financial means to experience the beauty of another country and also proves to the embassy we intend to return home.

Without these papers, or their accompanying privilege, we would not be going to Paraguay. They represent the trust and wealth necessary for us to go visit our partners 7984KM away.

"Are your papers in order?" "Make sure you have your documents." "Sorry, there appears to be a problem with your papers." "We can get you the papers you need..." Papers, Papers, Papers - conferring privilege the world round.

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