Why has USA rejected my VISA if it claims freedom of speech!
I was nominated to participate in the (International Visitor Leadership Program) “Political cartoonist program”(( UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Bureau of Educational and,Cultural Affairs, Office of International Visitors)) on,June,20,2011 to July,9,2011. After I got the VISA,
and had the tickets for flying, I took a while off of my work, I canceled all my obligations, even I missed more than 2 work chances and I prepared myself for traveling in few days.Then, I received a call from the general consulate in Jerusalem, few days before traveling, and he told me that they refused my participation due to the anti-Semitic nature of some of my cartoons.
I was extremely disappointed to hear the bad news about reconsider the decision of granting my visa to the United States.
I talked to the General Consul in the American Consulate in Jerusalem, and I told him that there are misconception in explanation and understanding these cartoons. In fact, I’m not (anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish), I respect all religions, I just wanted to express that I’m against the Israeli occupation, settlements, killing, siege and injustice, and how much we want democracy, human rights, freedom and two states solution.
I’m open-minded and I carry all the respect to all people in the world regardless of their gender, religion, race or color. The human beings have some differences which I believe was made to help the creation of a human who is able to accept, understand and appreciate others.
I appreciated very much the nomination to travel to USA to meet and learn from people from a different culture especially that I spent all my life in Gaza
Only as I have gotten older, have studied the issue and have learned to distinguish between Israel and Jews– and of course, having the opportunity to visit the US would give me another way to further learn about and get more perspective about the world, to further improve my ability, to express myself and my views through my cartoons.
I asked the consulate to send me a written letter to explain reasons of rejection my participation but they said if I asked to have a written letter this means that I will escalate the cause.
For information, the Program will discuss the Freedom of speech and Freedom of press in the United States, WHERE IS THE FREEDOM?.
I don’t kill anybody by some cartoons that explain the crimes of the Israeli Occupation.
Cartoonist Majed Badra