So, the latest on the ordeal described in the previous post is that the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, who in my humble view is one of the most down-to-earth and unpretentious people in this country, and probably one of the least prone to intimidation by an unnamed superpower, summoned the US Ambassador to the Ministry and gave her an earful about the treatment Erla Ósk Arnardóttir was subjected to at JFK. The Ambassador gravely concurred and claims the matter is under investigation. To which our MFA responded that she expects US authorities to issue a formal apology to the woman in question, once that investigation is completed.
Incidentally, according to the US Embassy, Erla Ósk was treated the way she was because she was supposed to have a special visa, on account of having overstayed her welcome 12 years ago. Which the Embassy has not made a point of publicizing, even on their website, until – uh – now.
Apparently, since this matter became public, the MFA has received numerous calls from individuals who claim to have received the same sort of cantankerous welcome at JFK. Morgunblaðið has a short interview with another young woman who was deported on arrival at JFK last month [the interview doesn’t say what for]. She was traveling with her eight-year-old daughter, and according to the report, the border guard shouted at her repeatedly asking what she was doing in the US. Eventually they were taken into Homeland Security and made to sit there for five hours. She was not permitted a phone call and nobody told her what was going on or what her status was. Eventually she was informed that she was going to be deported in 20 hours, and she and her daughter were taken to a small, dirty room with no place to sleep and food remnants all over a chair that was there. During the night there were repeated disruptions and guards kept showing up to check on them. “Everybody was incredibly rude and hostile. I was photographed and my fingerprints were taken repeatedly, nobody spoke a kind word nor told us what was going to happen,” she says.
Hearing these sorts of stories seriously makes me question whether it’s worth it to subject myself to the risk of passing through border control in the US. I mean, it’s almost like it’s hit-and-miss. You may get hauled in, you may not. I don’t believe that I, personally, have done anything to warrant anything of this sort happening, but all the same I’m starting to wonder if there really needs to be anything substantial. Maybe it’s enough that the border control people don’t like the look of your face. I know exactly what she means when she talks about the harshness and hostility – when we passed through JFK in September we had to wait in line for about half an hour to get to an immigration officer, and there were several little fascists shouting at people to get into this line, or that. The energy in that place was incredibly hostile and unwelcoming, enough to completely set you on edge.
How very sad that it has to be this way, because – as has been pointed out repeatedly – the average American is a decent, friendly person, so very different from the antagonistic and belligerent people at the border. Maybe they could all just move to Europe or something, and leave the a**holes behind.
THERE’S BEEN A SEVERE STORM ALL DAY
And people have been advised to stay inside, hence YT is suffering from a serious bout of cabin fever. Elementary schools told parents to keep their children at home and police authorities issued a grave warning that people should not be out on the highways. We’ve had gusts of up to 40 m/s today [in case you don’t know, that’s a lot – 15-18 m/s is enough to give me pause about going outside for a run] and needless to say there’s been massive damage to property. It’s fairly mild, though, 5°C [41F], sunrise was at 11.14, sunset at 3.30 pm. Oh, and I think my SAD light is working! I don’t feel half as draggy-ass as I have for the past month or so.