October 06, 2012

I'll always have Eritrea

I went to brunch again yesterday. Oops.

Usually I find myself socially amazing and the wit of everything, but yesterday I felt very flat and uninspiring. I think part of it had to do with the crowd, who were all born and raised here. Including locals, with whom I will always pause when I hear their nationality. The status and power that comes with it overwhelms me, to the point where I mention my American nationality with forced flippancy. I also vaguely alluded to America's military influence in the UAE, which was a totally lame attempt to make myself feel less inferior.

At one point, I was talking to someone who had the opportunity to get citizenship here, (if you work closely for a sheikh, it can be gifted to you) but his family declined and went with the American passport. And I was outraged on his behalf. He kept talking about the travel benefits of the American one and insisting he doesn't need a UAE passport. But the nationality here has insane financial benefit and I could not fathom anyone turning down such a wonderful opportunity. Granted, it was offered to his family at a time when it wasn't clear just what exactly it would entail, but I still insisted they picked the wrong passport.

But maybe I don't know anything. I kept babbling about how useless I think an American passport is to a rich person. But to a rich person, how useless are the UAE benefits? I didn't even think of that until this moment, to be honest. My worldview is skewed greatly by virtue of the fact that I am a poor, naive American.

I did impress someone by knowing where Eritrea was though. She said most people don't even know it's a country. So at least I have that.

8 comments:

  1. I don't know. I love my US passport. Even though the US has lots of problems, I was born and raised there. My parents were born there. The country has done a lot for me. For the wealthy, unless someone has familial or cultural ties to the UAE, it's not a very prestigious passport to have on a global scale. Would you change your citizenship if offered Emirati status?

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    1. Sorry, I didn't mean to comment anonymously.

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    2. Haha, I wouldn't be offered it. Like seriously, it's impossible.

      And no, I wouldn't take it because I don't want to live here forever.

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  2. I didn't know that Eritrea was a country, and after looking it up, realized that I thought that it was part of Ethiopia, which I think that many more people have heard of.

    I think that which passport you have depends on where you plan on living what what you plan on doing with your life. If the family wants to travel a lot, then a US passport is probably the right choice. But if they planned on staying in the UAE most of the time, then I'd think that an Emirati passport is probably the right way to go. The nice thing about the US is that dual citizenship is allowed - so long as the other country is okay with it, you can have two passports! (That's what my parents do.) But if I were to guess, the UAE doesn't allow dual citizenship, so the family would have to make a hard choice.

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  3. I know where Eritrea is, yay! I know the names of every country, not to brag or anything, but it was an educational game I played that made me memorize them all.

    I thought you said in UAE you can only be Emirati if your ancestors were, no matter where you're born. Does that not have anything to do with naturalized citizenship?

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    1. Well, it's a monarchy (more or less) so if you're close enough to the ruling family, they can do whatever they want. They don't do it anymore really, but when the country was first coming into it's own (so like... 20, 30 years ago) there were certain people who helped the ruling family out a lot. And as a reward, they were offered citizenship. These people who get offered it are all Arabs from nearby countries who showed loyalty to the Emirati cause and had been living here before the country became a country. (which was 40 years ago.)

      I haven't heard of it happening any time in my generation, it was our parent's generation. And it was not naturalized citizenship so much as favoritism by the ruling family.

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  4. Of all the "useless" country passports in the world, the U.S. is not one of them. Sure, the country has its faults, but it's a desirable passport to possess.

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    1. It's useless to specific people. Rich people living outside the USA, mostly. The taxes alone make it a detriment. And if I'm flying first class and can afford travel visas, my travel wouldn't be curtailed by having a different one. Why else is it desirable? If you tell me embassy support, I'll laugh because they can't do anything for me except get me out of the country on a loan, should I need it desperately.

      If someone lives in the UAE, it is very beneficial to have a UAE passport. You get priority for absolutely everything, including jobs. Your salary is automatically increased above what any other passport get. Outstanding debts are often forgiven, big debts like entire car costs. You're the only nationality that can own land.... if you're going to live here, the USA passport is pithy by comparison.

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