Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Problem with Being Banned

A couple of weeks ago...I blogged up the situation with the German Nobel Prize-author....Guenter Grass.  For those who don't remember....Gunter, getting up in his years....decided that he'd write up a piece of poetry which kind of slammed Israel for it's anti-Arab stance and nuke warfare might eventually trigger some event.

A blitz of sorts then occurred....slamming Gunter, and eventually....Israel wrote up a travel ban on Gunter.  I kind of doubt that he cared.  I would imagine that he's never been to Israel and probably at 84 years's not a big thing to limit his travel opportunities.

I thought (as a typical American)....that things would die down and the Gunter episode would just go away.  This week....Gunter came out....slamming the terrible ban put upon him.  He reminded everyone that he'd also been banned from visiting East Germany (which has kind of gone away now), and Myanmar (formerly Burma for you folks with maps made before 1989).

Bluntly, Gunter hasn't exactly wanted to let the topic drop, and I suspect that everyday....someone around him brings up the subject and it just kinda rubs Gunter the wrong way.  Not that he wishes he could travel....but that he's got this ban on him.  Heck, he might even have a neighbor who just got back from a two-week beach vacation on the shores of Israel and bragged about the fine dining and buffet meals at the fancy hotel.

I sat and thought about this.  Out of eighty million Germans.....the vast number....probably 99.99999 percent walk around and have no bans from any country on the face of the Earth.  I'm guessing there's probably three thousand Germans banned from Turkey for bad behavior while drunk on vacation.  There's probably a thousand Germans banned from Italy for bad behavior while drunk on vacation.  There might even be sixty Germans banned from UK travel for bad behavior while drunk on vacation.

Gunter is in a rare German of the few Germans banned from three separate countries in his entire life.  Course, one of them is now incorporated into Germany, and you'd have to believe that all travel bans dissolved when the DDR flipped over.

The thing about being that you tend to think twice as much about traveling to the banned area...after you've received the typical statement from some foreign office.  It's like being kicked out of the village bar and demanding the next week to be allowed back in.

I'm guessing that Gunter will harbor this anger for a pretty long time.  I don't think the Israeli government will flip their decision very easily.  Gunter would have to write a pro-Israel poem.....which I doubt he really feels much like doing.  Life will go on.....just without any travel opportunity to Israel.

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