04 September 2011

A simple twist of fate

Sitting in my office last week, across the desk from a young Indian couple, both sobbing. Good thing I've got that desk there. These kids (20-somethings, my daughter's age) made one big mistake: they bought what we were selling. It was our second biggest export industry for a while, though now we don't need them any more because the Chinese will buy anything we can dig up. But ten years ago it looked as though we really needed these guys. So we went out and sold them the dream. It's a dream families will go into debt for, children will promise their parents to live for, marriages will be made for, lives will be destroyed for. For these two, we didn't deliver.

Actually, it was just a stupid bureaucratic stuff up that Kafka could have written about. They were living in a rented apartment and the landlord kept the key to the letter box. An important letter from Immigration came, and went, because they didn't get it. Now their applications for visa extensions have been refused. Our stupid laws say there is nothing you can do about it. A 20 year old kid gives an address on a form and their life can be trashed because a letter doesn't get to them, even though they gave an email address also but Immigration chose not to use it. Joan Baez sang about a simple twist of fate. I'd hate to think my kid's future depended on a twist like that.

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