[Part 3]

Hold on.

It’s too soon. I would never forgive myself if I don’t push you back. So, I choose to live with the regret of letting you spitting your apology.

“I was insane. I don’t know what to do. She took all my life in a second. That I should’ve told you from the very first, I have a twin. Like before he took his own life, he had this girl and a baby.”

Again. Hold on.

“So this girl came, with teary eyed and a red baby in her arms, asking me to take care of them. My decease twin passed me a thing that never been mine: his responsibility. I was speechless, Nina. Believe me.”

Wait. There are a lot of things that couldn’t fit in my head. A twin. A decease twin. A twin’s girlfriend with a baby. A twin’s girlfriend with a baby coming to him asking a responsibility.

Well, slow down.

“Then, I refused. All I could think about is you, my future. But the next day, she put a note on my desk that she wouldn’t bother to kill the baby then kill herself if I didn’t change my mind.”

“But why didn’t you tell me? How could I not know that you had a twin. We’ve been together in years. How could you hide it?”

“Because I don’t want you be hurt this way. I know it is cliché. I know it is bad. Very. But I couldn’t think at the time, Nina. I just don’t want to lose you but apparently you’re gone.”

“No. I wasn’t gone. It was you.”

The chilly wind blows my hairs and it strikes me to the reality.

“I just want you to understand me, Nina.”

“That is a huge demand.”

“I know. I know. I couldn’t ask anything. But, let me ask for once. She was insane. I could understand how my twin finally chosen to say goodbye to this world and everything. It is better than stay with her.”

Now, you put something in my wit.

“I am listening.”

You stopped. Then I realized, we’ve arrived in my front door apartment building. Okay, let’s end tonight here. Maybe tomorrow. I will need an extra sleep to ensure this is not a dream, to decide that whether it is a good or bad.

“Can we have a cup of tea? I miss your bergamot one.”

 

Hati dan Logika ala Perempuan (Seakan) Realistis

Saya menulis tulisan ini sebenarnya rada gimana gitu. Well, maunya sih keep silent tapi gatal pengen komen soal si perempuan yang mengklaim dirinya realistis dalam menata dan memilah milih masa depannya. Iya, Selmadena Aqilla. Perempuan yang memilih realistis menerima pinangan Haqy Rais yang saat itu memiliki seorang pacar.

Pasti kalian sudah membaca kisah ini. Pendapat kalian tentu beragam kan? Nah, sebagai perempuan saya juga merasa berhak berpendapat dan kita di sini saling menghargai, bukan? Okay, mari mulai!

Bermimpi ingin menikah muda, di usia 25 tahun. Di saat Haqy Rais melamar Selmadena Aqilla, usianya sudah (atau hampir, saya tidak pasti) 25 tahun dan sang pacar yang sedang menempuh pendidikan kepolisian belum kunjung menampakkan itikad untuk memberikan pernikahan. Iya, Selmadena Aqilla menjadikan umur sebagai alasan bagi dirinya untuk bisa membenarkan apa yang dia lakukan: menerima pinangan Haqy Rais. Mungkin dengan menjadikan patokan umur sebagai alasan, Selmadena Aqilla akan bisa menuai dukungan. Secara, umur mana ada mundur cuy? Jadi, kalau umur jadi alasan tentu siapa bisa menolak? Kenapa gak sekalian bilang ajal, mbak Selmadena Aqilla? Kalau alasan mbak pengen nikah karena ajal siapa yang tahu, ya jelaslah siapa yang bisa menggugat?

Kalau memang tindakan kedua orang yang dimabuk cinta dan terlalu ingin ke masa depan berdua, adakah mereka memikirkan perasaan sang pacar yang terkhianati? Katanya sih, Haqy Rais menghargai pacarnya. Tapi, apa bukti penghargaan itu? Mau kenalan 2 atau 3 bulan dulu kalau oke nikah kalau gak ya gak usah? Hwhat? Saya baru sadar kalau menghargai pacar orang ya tawarkan saja opsi itu. “Sorry bro, gue gak cocok ama cewek lu. Ambil aja. Trims.” Oh iya, buat mereka sepertinya “You can’t fix yours by breaking someone else.” itu gak berlaku. Asalkan bisa nikah, gak peduli pacarnya si Selmadena Aqilla mau hancur bagaimanapun.

Melamar. Sebuah kata yang merupakan awalan proses panjang sebuah komitmen dari pernikahan. Dengan lamaran TIBA-TIBA (well, si Mbak Selmadena Aqilla suka capslock), Selmadena Aqilla menjadi bimbang lantaran dihadapkan pilihan take it now or leave it. Dalam sujudnya, dia berdoa selaiknya perempuan yang bimbang. Apakah menerima pinangan lelaki yang menawarkannya sebuah kepastian atau menanti lelaki yang sedang berjuang saat ini demi masa depan yang lebih baik? Tapi, sepertinya opsi pertama menjadi jawaban atas doa-doanya. Memilih sesuatu yang pasti itu. Entah pasti dalam kategori apa. Yang pasti adalah yang melamar atau yang pasti adalah yang sudah punya modal masa depan yang tidak sedikit? Tentu, Haqy Rais adalah lelaki yang pasti itu: melamar dan sudah punya modal masa depan yang tidak sedikit.

Selmadena Aqilla sadar bahwa hidup adalah pilihan. Bahkan dia tidak mau menyakiti hati Haqy Rais, lelaki yang membuatnya galau. Membuatnya harus memilih. Membuatnya harus realistis. Ya, kata itu. Realistis. Selmadena memilih realistis mengandalkan hati dan logika. Jadi, please.. kata-kata si Mbak sudah jelas. Hati dan logika. Logika yang bersandar pada bagaimana formulasi hitung-hitungan materi (sesuatu non abstrak ya, jangan langsung diartikan harta loh) akan bisa membuatnya berpikir masa depannya aman bersama Haqy Rais. Sementara hati, “Cinta datang karena terbiasa. Aku harus terbiasa.”-nya Selmadena Aqilla bisa kalian artikan, bukan? Bahwa sebenarnya dalam keputusan ini, logic comes first and love (or heart, she mentioned) would follow. Jadi, kenapa masih dihujat sih?

Sampai saat menikah pun, Selmadena Aqilla mengakui belum ada cinta itu. Namun, at last Selmadena Aqilla bisa menumbuhkan benih-benih cinta itu karena melihat bahwa kegigihan si Haqy Rais membuktikan kesungguhannya dengan menikahi Selmadena Aqilla. Selmadena Aqilla harus juga dong berkorban: korbankan perasaan pacarnya.

Walaupun berat, keputusan itu diambil Selmadena Aqilla dengan berat. Mengutarakan kejujuran kepada sang pacar bahwa dia memilih lelaki lain yang telah menawarkannya kehidupan masa depan duluan. Okay, Selmadena Aqilla yang dibantu kedua orang tuanya untuk memantapkan hubungannya dengan Haqy Rais akhirnya bisa move on. Menikah.

Bagi saya, Selmadena adalah sosok yang berani. Berani menyakiti hati orang lain yang telah memintanya menunggu walaupun masih lama. Berani menyatakan bahwa dirinya realistis dengan memilih Haqy Rais yang tentu sudah punya nama besar di belakangnya. Berani mengambil keputusan yang tentunya tidak lepas dari apa yang akan terjadi di masa depan. Dan, berani dihujat banyak orang.

Bagi saya (lagi), Selmadena Aqilla hidup di dunianya. Dunia dimana dianggapnya dia adalah sebuah inspirasi bagi makhluk-makhluk tidak berjakun untuk harus realistis dalam memilih pasangan hidup. Duh, sudah barang tentu kita perempuan adalah makhluk yang memang mengandalkan perasaan dan kadang menjadikan kita lemah. Tapi, menjadi perempuan yang gampang teralihkan oleh sebuah alasan logis justru menjadikan kita perempuan yang tidak berhati. Kalau saja urusan ini menyangkut negara, tentu logika menjadi first point. Namun ini menyangkut masa depan yang berkaitan dengan setiap jengkal tindakan kita, adakah Selmadena Aqilla berpikir bahwa hati adalah sebuah benda yang sangat fluktuatif. Terbolak balik. Tidak menutup kemungkinan Haqy Rais akan berpikir “Gue nikahin cewek realistis, bro. Besok kalau ada yang nawarin dia lebih baik dari pernikahan gue, kira-kira dia bagaimana ya?”. Hanya sebuah dialog fiksi, cuy. Yakalik..

Lantas, saya tidak sepenuhnya against her at all. Ada beberapa poin yang disampaikan Selmadena Aqilla yang menurut saya memang pantas dijadikan pertimbangan. Misalnya, laki-laki harus serius dan punya timing and goals. Laki-laki harus meyakinkan perempuan untuk bisa bersama dengan dia suka duka, ehm. Laki-laki juga tidak akan membuat perempuan menunggu sesuatu yang tidak pasti. Well, adakah sesuatu yang pasti di muka bumi ini? Oh, dan katanya Selmadena Aqilla “wanita harus menemani dari NOL, harus RELA MENUNGGU” dan jujur saya ngakak. Mbak sendiri, udah nemenin dari NOL dan RELA NUNGGU belom? Lucu loh.. Sumpah! Oh, sorry mungkin Haqy Rais yang dimaksud ya? Ups. Lucu lagi.

Perempuan memang membutuhkan kepastian namun perempuan juga harus tetap memiliki dignity. Perempuan memang berhak menentukan pilihannya, namun jangan sampai pilihan kita mengorbankan yang namanya harga diri.

Bagi saya, Selmadena Aqilla sangat jelas bukanlah inspirasi, namun bukan juga seseorang yang harus dihujat.

Better you chin up, turn, and walk away while crying nobody sees. Instead of complimenting  and puffing yourself in your wishful thinking. Oh you sweetheart, poor you..

PS. Saya menggunakan nama lengkap karena saya merasa tidak memiliki hubungan dekat untuk menulis dengan nama kecil saja. *lebay

Spouse Visa of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Hello there!

Last month was so hectic. It’s a good thing to know that I am now able to get together with my husband in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Well, I’ve got the visa. I was applying the visa from Indonesia and it’s not a fast process thou. I’ve been waiting for almost two months. Have to admit that that country is quite strict for visa issuing. In this post, I’d like to share on how to get spouse visa for KSA.

My husband is a student in KAUST. Since, he was graduated from Turkish university, he had to maintain stamps from KSA Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education in Turkey on his diploma. To get that, he had to get back to Turkey as well. Yet, he didn’t. His master diploma was refused since he didn’t have those stamps. As he got admitted in KAUST with his bachelor diploma, in which he already got those two requirement stamps, he was allowed to use its making an application for a calling visa. This calling visa is highly required for me to get an actual visa on my passport. Actually, this process took almost two months.

What do you need is to provide:

  1. A calling visa
  2. A passport with expire date no less than six months on the date you apply the visa
  3. A copy of your sponsor’s (spouse) residence permit
  4. A copy of certificate of marriage
  5. A certified translation of certificate of marriage, a translation issued in KSA will be rejected and you should provide a translation made in the country where you are applying the visa
  6. A medical check up result

After obtaining all of these requirements, I went to the visa agency and paid around SAR 2,660 or IDR 9,500,000. For the medical check up, I spent around SAR 364 or IDR 1,300,000 in an appointed private medical centre named Salamat Medical Centre in South Jakarta. It was Tuesday afternoon I applied and my visa was done by Thursday afternoon. I get a single entry for 90 days stay. It’s a plenty of time to apply for a residence permit here.

The agency was good and fast. The problem was in the initial process in KSA in issuing a calling visa. After getting this, you would be having no problem anymore. Except, if you have an issue in your medical result.

I hope this information is helpful enough. Just drop me an email for another questions that perhaps I could answer regarding this post. (:

How to Adapt Living in Foreign Country?

I have been living in Istanbul, Turkey, since February 2015. It’s then almost two years. apparently, being able to survive in here is quite a hard work in terms of the acceptance in culture balancing. Yet, I don’t bother living here for years more. Its just a matter of security and high level of politics life here that play as a huge consideration for me to leave this beautiful country as soon as I can.

Well, it’s so common nowadays living abroad. Moving overseas could be seen as a phenomenon that raise my awareness to be studied. Yet this post would openly show the less serious part of being a migrant or let’s make it more casual: a foreigner.

What comes first is you should educate yourself.

It is recommended to know every possible important thing about the country that you are moving to. For me as an Asian, moving to Turkey is perhaps a challenge in the sense of cultural differences. Its language, politics, social norms, and religion are different with my motherland, Indonesia. Arming yourself with a plenty information regarding your destination country should be put on top of your to-do list before your departure date. Also, keep gaining this from sources that you could seize: internet and people who are there or were there. It could help you seeing the possibility of your life and another point of view that someday would be helpful for you.

It is the language you should know (or learn).

Merhaba! It’s a Turkish’s good morning, good day, good afternoon, and hi. Turkish language is acclaimed as one of the most difficult languages in the world. Yes, indeed. But it is not that difficult if you already know its language or eager to learn it. So, put it in the first place that being able to communicate with the local language would be your most benefited skill. In Turkey, if you are a foreigner and could speak Turkish, you may get a lot of smiles and help from the natives. Then, before you move its better to learn at least very basic daily life conversation in order to make yourself first acceptable. Indeed, body language is one that people will use to be able to communicate with other people with a different language. But most of time in Turkey, they will take you for granted and see you as an idiot if you are not able to understand Turkish. They will not give you their attention. So, how could you ask for help –in every single way- if you could not have their attention? And oh, don’t be afraid making mistake! They will try to understand that you are trying and for that they will appreciate your effort. If you are lucky enough, they will give their heart once you attempt to communicate with their language.

The social norms and politic life.

These two common things should you be aware of. For me, it took months to really understand how these Turkish people live their life. Politically they are so active and I could say they are politically educated as well. How they separate their life aspects: religion, social, economy, and politics is a crystal clear. You may find Turkish people are so integrated in politic sense. Yet, they could perfectly disintegrate their ‘other’ life with politic. You might have a debate with your Turkish friends regarding their political view in the classroom or coffee table, but crossing the door that issue is vanished. This is one of things I like from them. I haven’t find a punch in the face because one defends one.

So to speak, the social life comes very liberal. As what I have wrote in my other post, in Istanbul you can easily find lovebirds. They are everywhere. Living together without marriage bond is never bothering while in Indonesia I will be punished with public and state law if I do. Public Display of Affection (PDA) is a very common thing. Thus, when you feel bothered by that and show your dislike you could be judged as a hypocrite or too-religious-to-live. So, stay cool!

The availability of food that suits your appetite is a rare thing that you may have. For me, until I have this magical help –a rice cooker- I desperately crave for only junk food. Luckily, in Istanbul the food is all halal. But, what if you are moving to a non halal-friendly country? You should pack and stock yours as much as you can. Although this is not so suggested because if you will live for months or years its you who is tortured. You won’t save your baggage for those foods only, right? Be wise, you are going to suffer if you could not bear with local food. I could tell that.

What I am trying to explain is, start develop a new level of open-mindness. Everything you see and experience is a new thing for you. Thus, deal with it with your open mind. If you are not accepting this, your life will be so damn miserable and full of stress. Something you don’t want, huh?

Then, try to not have expectation in hands. I know it is a kind of excitement that now you are about to experience: a new phase of life that not everybody could. A wise proverb once says that a disappointment comes from the expectation. Try to rely on your information you have gathered before. It will help you shaping your new life abroad by embracing it and living with it to the fullest. Of course I am not saying to not to hope, but it’s different between expectation and hope.

So you should make friends as many as you can. Why? Because apart from your family, its your friends will take care of you if you are in trouble. Of course our embassy and general consulate will. Yet we, as an expat, should try to be more active in gaining acquaintance or become a part of a good circle. Not to hope they will take care us like our family will, but to at least lend a helping hand in case we are not able to get out of the trouble we may face alone.

The last but not least, don’t take it as a burden! Its the new chapter that you should explore and discover. Don’t lose yourself inside the local culture! Try to adapt with its value and norms. If it doesn’t fit you by your faith or heart, then you could stand with your dignity but still show your respect at best.

(PART 2)

We then walk in silence, holding hands. I couldn’t draw my hands of yours. That I think its fit perfectly. With the warmth of you beside me, my memory flew back years ago. Our days were so perfect and everything went good until that day, a woman who cut the loose came. Taking you away and leaving me heartache forever. It was that simple, you went away.

Now that you come again. All my fortresses are freezing into an ice and I am skating on that thin ice. Before, the itch was something easy to scratch and you changed everything.

“I don’t know why I left.” You start with words I prefer left unspoken.

Keep silent is my choice. I would never want to hurt myself by giving you any chance to make it verbal. I want you to put it –whatever you may say it, there far the day you went away.

“But I know.” Then, I stop walking not loosening my hands. I want you to see me in the eyes. Directly.

“Yeah, it was so clear anyway. I know I won’t be forgiven. I don’t ask for another chance either.” Your gaze stops at mine, looking for something you may find. A madness. Tears.

“I believe you did. Giving you chance will also cost me another wound that I perhaps can’t deal with.” I better kill myself rather than giving you a shot to shot me in the heart with all your capabilities letting me down.

“I am sorry.”

I then continue to walk, still with your hands holding mine. I don’t want to bother myself to ask this and that, questions remain unanswered. No, they are all answered by my analysis as someone who hurts to the bone.

“Nina,” The way you spell my name, I really hate to admit that I miss it so much. “I don’t know how to start this over again because I don’t know if its okay to start it.”

“Don’t start anything you’ve threw! I am broken, Jem.”

I spill your name out. My defense is totally crushed tonight. Then you stop. Drawing me to your arms again, –twice tonight– and bend your head kissing me. It is a gentle kiss. Stupid, I am crying.

It has been said and done. I. Belong. To. You.

The dream of being with you forever is still there. Waking up is hard because the limbo you’ve been building since we met is the beautiful thing I have.

I live in the dream. I don’t live my life. I am zombie in a day light with routine like a human being. Inside, I am broken. Nobody noticed, but myself. How hard you have tortured me. Its my time to revenge you. But not, I don’t have energy. Furthermore, I don’t own those capabilities like you did to leave someone you love.

It is me who break the kiss. Kiss that I’ve missed. Kiss that wakes my mind.

“Nina, bear with me and I will explain.”

2016 to 2017

2016 was over. It is January again. 2017.

To me, 2016 was full of things that has changed me more or less. Having a lot of decisions to be made and everything was going ups and downs. 2016 definitely gave its stroke that would be hard to forget.

Getting married was definitely not my intention in 2016, yet I did. I got married at last.

I was 25 years old when 2016 had its March. Since 2015 I’ve been living in Istanbul where I don’t think I belong there. Too many things happened there good and bad, I am aghast with Istanbul cruelty in determining who is friend or not. Then, let’s say those people don’t deserve any single sentences –but this, to be written for. Like 2016, I promise myself to let go off that irrelevant itchiness behind. I would try to be more go-ahead-no-turning-back person and less indecisive. Staying abroad, far from family, friend and food I used to be surrounded with has taught me lessons: intensifying the use of social media to communicate and cook better.

Well, back to the biggest decision I have ever made as now I have been living my life for a quarter half of a decade: marrying a man.

Knowing him for less than 3 years to finally tie the knot, I am sure that I will be definitely regretful if I didn’t. Never in my mind I will live my life seeing him happily with other woman. He is more than I deserve. Sound like I’m so in love with him? Indeed. If not then why on earth I married him? Too many things that he owns I need. His patience placed in the top of my never-will-end list. He always knows how to treat me and fulfill my irrational thought and will. So, how I think I could get another him if its not him? Even presuming it would take years. Staying in a marriage bond with him will be my lifetime resolution every year from now on.

So to speak, we only had less than a month to prepare everything for the wedding by ourselves. Well, literally it was me here in Indonesia having this and that going here and there. He was in Jeddah, crossing leg in his couch whatsapp-ing me how the preparation went. Yet, he was not. He didn’t have a plenty of time to help me, thus I summon up my squad to replace him doing his duty. Therefore, I thank my family and friends for my hectic last November. A lot. Keeping my good relationship with them definitely be my 2017 resolution

Talking about family and friends, I could say that I won’t be able to survive without them. My hard time was coming when I was in Istanbul trouble-ing myself to unnecessary thought that should be put million miles away. For those people who scratch my dignity, they are replaceable. Those kind of people would come and try to stay in my life, thus my obligation is to kick them out. Perhaps they would stay in my mind with their negativity, so I think I would give yoga a shot.

Health improvement also occupies my list for this year, I start to realize that healthy life is nothing but very important. So to decrease the minimum chance to get hospitalized or not able to live my life to the fullest, I will take everything seriously concerning healthy life. Trying this and that as a necessary tool for the good way of life.

As it might be seen, 2017 will come with its complexity. I am no longer as only a daughter or a sister, but also a wife. This year, I am planning to add a new tittle: a mother. Insha Allah.

This is my blog challenge with my lovely Meike ! Let’s spread the love together :p

Bravo!

I was thinking to step back when your smile filled up my brain. You know what, I’ve been busy altering my life, my future. And, simply you asked me to place you on top of my list. You asked me to make you my only one because you did the same way towards me. How dare you! Don’t you know that you already asked my only thing: my life.

Yet apparently, I did. I said a yes for it.

To bind our life together.

To be on the same road having each other.

And to abnegate our ego, okay my leviathan ego, in every possible way for one thing: a happiness.

Our path is crossing in a hallway where we shall consider as a coincidence. Anyway, I believe that there is no coincidence here and after. Thus, I see you as the way you see me. I have to admit you are so heartless dealing with my complexion making you an ace. Well, you’ve got my frailty and dealt with it victoriously. Nobody before you could step in this far.

And then you?

Why me? Why must me?

I can’t really ask. In return, I don’t have the answer.

But in the end, who need the answer of this whys? I won’t say it twice that I am really glad to have you having me like this. So, beware that our next level may be harder!

PS. I know that you love me. A lot.

 

(Part 1)

Standing there in front of me, a man with deep brown eyes and dark brown hair, and oh with his smile. My beating heart betrays me; it aches me knowing you are now back. My thought wanders a few years ago, when I saw you walking away. It hurt me thou, my heart was bleeding. A hard bleeding no bandage could stop. Oh, if only you were there seeing me after heartlessly you left me.

My body is shaking. I pray a lot for my legs not to collapse in a minute like a jelly on my weekend desert. And, my mouth is sealed. I look at those lips. Remembering I used to taste it and I still long for it. Until, you say something. “Hi, there.”

What do you want? my voice inside speaks. Instead, I reply “Hi.”

I think you don’t deserve my hi. I should walk away like what you did on a summer day five years ago. I was stoned that day. Consider that I would’ve die tomorrow when sun rose. But, it is cruel. I stay alive to watch you standing in front of me in this snowy afternoon.

“How are you?” You ask this silly question. Oh please don’t show that smile, smile that I always want to forget. I buried. I am just a few days away of my victory getting over you. I hope. You just break it, my hardwork, in a second. How powerful!

“Good.” Such a lie. “And you?” I can’t believe myself asking you back. You should run! I shout to myself. Again, my legs betray me. I stand still. Tell me, I hate how my body doesn’t work the way my thought. My body and my heart, likely, belong to you. Until this time. Really?

“Not too good, but it is okay.” That smile again. “Where are you heading? Can I walk you?”

No. No. No. “I am on my way home. Still waiting that bus. 62 bus.” That long answer I shouldn’t let spill out of my mouth. Hey, my lips! Stop betraying me, please! At least stay in my side.

Five seconds silent. Thanks God! Let me think for a while, preparing some wise words to say. A wise goodbye, a proper one from me. Can I?

“Would you allow me to see you in your door step?” You pull me back into my real in time situation. Mean time.

“Sure.” Well, I’ve just cursed myself.

That time, I hate myself more than I hate you.

“You do good? Still working hard, yeah?”

I can see your artery in your neck. I like the way your low voice reaches my ears.

“It’s been a year ago. I quit. I am now teaching.”

“Wow, it’s been a long time thou.” A silent that I can’t resist. “You know, I miss you Nina.”

Suddenly, you put me on your arms and hold me tight as I will run. That smell of sandalwood and red musk pushes into my lung. I can’t breathe. I can see my bus passes me. But, I enjoy this moment. Well, it seems like I can’t hate you.

To be continued, next day perhaps (?)

Rejecting Refugees: Political Asylum in the 21st Century by Carol Bohmer and Amy Schuman

Published in New York by Routlegde Press in 2007, 288 pp., ISBN 938 0 415 77376 8

 

Starting with the personal motivation, Carol Bohmer and Amy Schuman raise questions regarding the nations in accepting refugees. Along with the development of the policy of refugees’ countermeasure, they find that nations’ policy became more restrictive and burdensome. Therefore, in this book the question ‘how do the applicants of asylum construe their stories of persecution into an acceptable narrative to the officials?’ and ‘how do the officials determine whether to accept or not the application?’ would be answered.

They begin with the story of St. Louis that sailed from Germany in 1939 with more than 900 Jews fleeing away from Hitler’s persecution. When the passengers were not allowed to disembark in Cuba where they have the landing permission, St. Louis sailed back to Germany. No wonder why almost three-quarter of the passengers ended up in Nazi concentration camps. This refuge phenomenon as an old anomaly should be highlighted as the driven factor in creating promising laws for anyone fleeing from a persecution on the basis of conflict among races, political opinions, or social movements.

Rejecting Refugees is about the reciprocity between the asylum seekers and their upraised cases to be judged by United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) autorities. Bohmer and Schumer criticize the hypocrisy between the ideal of the nations welcoming the asylum seekers and the actual practice. By comparing US and UK, they try to come up with the wider analysis of how the idea is presented in different actual policy. They align themselves along with the government of US and UK as one part, yet in the same time, they also show the disagreement with those governments’ policy.

As they illustrate, the stories became the emerging interaction between the asylum seekers who are considered suspicious and immigration bureaucracies who are enforced to apply the conservative immigration law. The interactions, somehow create very strange questions to be answered about for whom, why, and how the asylum claims should be given. Both authors address an aim to reveal the injustices in the asylum systems of US and UK, in particular for those indigent asylum seekers.

In the very beginning of the book, Bohmer and Schuman present the distinction between two terms: refugees and asylum seekers. The term ‘refugee’ is commonly used to describe anyone who flees his country unwillingly. He gets a legal status that allows him to be brought into a host country’s expense and benefits certain public rights (p.24). Meanwhile, asylum seekers are people who travel to US and UK under their own steam and apply for asylum (p.25). This is an important thing that makes Rejecting Refugees easier for the readers, who are not so knowledgeable this terms, to be understood. They also emphasize the asylum seekers as the subject of the book, thus, the readers would not be lost on the track.

In practices, both US and UK pull out the strict policy that cut the number of asylum seekers that succeeded the applications. Whether it is because the fear that asylum seekers are potential terrorists or job stealers, the number is getting decreased by days. Rejecting Refugees presents several asylum seekers experiences that vary in many process and results. Some of them get the benefit of legal aid that government provides, some of them not. In returns, many of them ended up with a rejection of application due to the lack of sufficient information and incapability to understand how the system works.

As US provides the 589 form for a claim, the UK has this SEF form. Both of this form is multi-paged but US’ 589 is less complicated compared to UK’s SEF. After completing this form, the asylum seekers should attend the interview and a hearing. Bohmer and Schumer also criticize this form, that seems so simple for us to be completed, but for the asylum seekers -that are displaced people- the form is very complicated. For instance, to claim an asylum, these people should provide the permanent address in order to be kept updated about the asylum process. The applicant would be informed about hearing after the assessment of their documents, which they have no idea when the exact date. The fact is, mostly they failed to attend the hearing because they missed the information after changing their addresses because they have to move since they have no permanent one. Bohmer and Schumer see this as the governments’ effort to keep these asylum seekers ‘illegal’.

Rejecting Refugees is an avant-garde in the sense of the interview with these asylum seekers who mostly seen as criminals or terrorists entering the border without the necessary document. The authors also raise up the possibility to suggest that the fear of persecution because having an ‘illegal entry’ could encourage a refugee to claim for an asylum. Yet, many of them ended up in a decision to stay ‘illegal’ because they were afraid of being deported. As Teinzin’s story (Chapter 3) was told, there is a possibility to succeed in claiming the asylum with expired deadline and no sufficient documents.

Rejecting Refugees also reveals the inconsistencies the states show regarding the asylum seeking process. Back to Nazi era, the asylum policies were developed to cater the humanity sense for those who suffered from Nazi and fled. Yet now, the present circumstance constructs the confusion and finally hinders the asylum process. Bohmer and Schumer also put altogether how the system fails: a gap in the production of knowledge; the reliance on narrative as a primary form of evidence; credibility, cultural differences; persecution description; law and policy implementation; and incompetence and inadequate resources.

This book is very informative and thorough to at least provide the basic information about what happens in the process of claiming asylum by analyzing cases of real life accounts. By that, I personally see that Rejecting Refugees is suitable for students of political science, international relations, sociology, anthropology, and law. It shows the sight from the refugees, the obstacle they face that mostly their stories are incoherent and undocumented in which caused them in a trouble. They are likely incapable of proving themselves as what they describe because there is no legal authentic document with them. This kind of story will be read almost in the entire cases this book presents. It also shows the stories from the lawyers’ perspective. Thus, the readers can have two sides in every case. In a nutshell, it does a great job in describing the asylum claiming process and system from both perspectives: the seekers and the lawyers with its biases.

The importance of identity is also covered very well in this book with the incapability of the several people who fled with the false document or even with none. Both in US and UK, the identity is very important in claiming asylum. In 2004, the UK passed a law that it is not possible to enter the border of UK with no passport of a false passport unless this person has a ‘reasonable excuse’ (p.96). As Bohmer and Schuman analyze, this is a violation of the 1951 UN Convention that forbids the imposition or penalty for illegal entry. This just is a prevent action for letting more refugees come.

The limitation that is faced by the asylum seekers left a question that Rejecting Refugees should answer, what is the most possible asylum system in this century? Bohmer and Schumer bring up the concern for the states providing a legal advice for asylum seekers who cannot afford to manage the laws and regulations. They appoint the double standard system that states create to protect their citizens from the arrivals of these asylum seekers in terms of economy while at the same time they have to obey their legal, moral, and treaty obligation to provide a help for those asylum seekers.

Istanbul: a Love-Hate-Daunt Relationship

Well, this is my second spring here in Istanbul. Just to realize that its more than a year I’ve been living in here. So many thing have changed into something more virtue compared to my real life that I am now in. Sum of everything has blown my mind into several words that even dictionary could never explain the exact means.

Living with a fear, fear of being a victim not for a heartbreaking thingy that I mostly avoid, but being a victim in what so called a terror. This ‘terror’ definitely hit the button. I am scared, in the sense of losing my life, my only one life. On Saturday March 16, 2015, when a bomb blasted in Istanbul, it was a nightmare.

One or two days before, there were a lot of messages reminding us not to go out if it is not so necessary. For us to avoiding crowded places, it is not a possible thing to do. I mean Istanbul itself is a crowded city, where every corners of this Istanbul is an elbow-to-elbow one. Let me see this as one thing: going everywhere by busses or subways, we are all sardined. So, would you please just let me know, cut the crap, and straight to the point to ask me to only stay home this day? Frankly, I am not the type of it, of staying home all day. That day I decided to watch a movie and have a lunch with my friend, but I canceled it after a bomb has blasted right in Taksim, the heart of Istanbul. Hard to admit, yet yes I was having a cold feet that time. “Don’t go out Dee, please!” This was what my friends exactly told me. Stay home and don’t go everywhere!

Anyway, I am raised with a wise saying: if someone or two tell you not to do something, just don’t. if you do, something bad will happen. Then, that day when my friends called only to make sure that I wouldn’t go out, I bowed to that honour advise.

Several were killed and injured, scared me as heaven. How if I walk out, waiting for my bus to come and a blast is 10 meters away or even just right to me? Or, I wait for my train and a blast is just in the seat I sit or in another car of the train? Or, I sit in the bus and a car is blown up just in front of my bus or beside or behind and I cannot definitely run away? Or let’s make it simple by saying that I will be the victim? Come on!

I never imagine this kind of thing could determine on how I will live my life from now on. I start to love Istanbul when it starts to freak me out.

Anyway, I should welcome the spring at least.

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