The Arrogance of the French Embassy

13 Jul, '08

I was supposed to travel to Greece later this month to attend a Middle East Conference at the invitation of the Greek Foreign Ministry. Unfortunately for us poor souls from this area of the world who intend to go to Greece, we have to go through the hallowed and completely arrogant portals of the French Embassy first.

With my documents almost completely in order apart from a stamped letter from the hotel I am supposed to stay at, a requirement that I thought would be dismissed especially that it was specifically mentioned in the invitation letter that it is the organisers who will pay for both the tickets and hotel charges, was not a sufficient excuse for the gatekeepers at the embassy. But when it was explained to the lady behind the bullet-proof glass, she brought out another fillip in that I have to provide a company letter and commercial registration. Apparently the explanation that I was the owner and detailed six months of the company’s bank statements weren’t enough as proof of sources of funds – if that is indeed what they require – or proof of ownership, as I doubt very much that a company would hand such sensitive details to an employee.

Add to all of this that I sat in a sterile room – which contained notices in English which seem to have been translated from Arabic or French by an 8 year old with an attitude – for more than 10 minutes without knowing when I would be called even though my appointment was supposed to be 10AM, a time which I respected but seems to mean nothing to the French Embassy. Nor does time appear to be of much importance to the French Consul, M. Philippe Touieain whatever who scoffed rather abrasively and arrogantly at my complaint of having to wait for that “just ten minutes, pfah!” and demanded rather loudly to give him a valid excuse of why I withdrew my papers and expressed a wish to no longer wanting to go to Europe!

“It is the arrogant attitude of the lady behind the glass. She could have been a bit more customer friendly at least in explaining the missing pieces of information”

“Ah, it is the attituuuuude then! pfah!”

This is when yet another defender of the European Nation jumped up from behind another plate of glass vouching for her colleague in that I had the attitude problem and that I had that right form the moment I stepped into the Visa section because I had the temerity as to enquire why when my appointment was at 10AM was I not called at the prescribed time and why I had enquired – rather politely I might add – as to what the procedure was?

I suppose I should have felt rather privileged to be in their hallowed offices and that I should just sit, shut up and dream up rather beautiful French thoughts and images while whiling away the time taken from running my business or pleasure, for theirs.

I can now completely understand how the French ambassador rejected allegations made by our very own Ministry of Foreign Affairs “over the ill-treatment of Bahrainis applying for Schengen visas to Europe” but only with the proviso that the respected officials at the embassy must still be wearing rather dark and completely opaque glasses as to restrict their vision and have that abject belief that it just cannot be that their staff are actually in error! Oh mon Dieu!

What shock and horror that the peasant Bahrainis complain of ill treatment and the arrogance of particularly M. Philippe Touieain who I am sure looks at himself as the gallant Asterix who, together with his chosen cabal, protect Europe from the invading Bahraini hordes!

What is it that the lovely lady behind the second plate of glass said in parting? Oh yes: “if we had to deal with just three customers like you in a day we would be shut down.”

Well, don’t let me stop you. Shut down. I don’t think a self-respecting person is going to miss you.

You can keep your precious Europe – at least the part that you have put your hands on for some reason – to yourselves. And thanks to the French Embassy, I shall miss participating in the forthcoming conference in Athens.

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Comments (88)

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  1. Loki says:

    Consulate employees are the closest genetic link to airport customs officials. its true.

    Your first mistake was not approaching them on your hands and knees. Your second mistake was to assume anything with regards to documentation.

    Lastly, consulate employees don’t view applicants as customers. They view them as an inconvenience.

  2. Abu Arron says:

    Oh dear, yet another victim of French rudeness. Don’t take it personally Mahmood, they’re like that with everyone.

  3. Merlin says:

    I ask the Bahraini government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to explain what they are doing to improve the stature of the Bahraini passport and the visa requirements imposed on us. Why is that Bahraini nationals need visas to countries that we welcome visa-free? Europe, UK and US being some of them!

    Have a look at these links of what the UAE government is to remove visa requirements on its nationals based on a simple concept of reciprocity:
    http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/06/29/10224533.html
    http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/06/30/10224758.html

    Nonetheless Mahmood, whatever you have faced at the French Embassy, pales in comparison to the US Special Registration System. They will give you the visa but once you land at a US Airport, good luck with the wait and the endless questions until they register you in their “special” database before allowing you to enter (everytime). This is not what Bahrainis should expect from hosting the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, being a major Non-Nato Ally, being a major Free Trade partner, and a proven ally in the war on terror. We should be on the Visa Waiver Program and we shouldnt be put through this horrendous registration system everytime we visit!!

    Again – I ask of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify what efforts or steps they are taking to improve the stature of the Bahraini passport?

  4. mahmood says:

    Yes, it’s only fair to be reciprocal with our visa issuance. I see the current situation where we have to submit to rudeness and arrogance as that I have experienced this morning and return that favour by their citizens receiving visas at the points of arrival in our country without so much as by your leave.

    To be fair to our American friends, I have not had any problem whatsoever on my recent visit to the States. I do know several who continue to have problem when visiting there; however.

    Abu Arron there is no way I’m taking this personally, I still enjoy my French-CANADIAN chanteuses and the PSEUDO-French cuisine I partake in once a month!

  5. Merlin says:

    But how can we find out more from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Is there a way to ask whether any initiatives are underway to deal with this issue?

  6. mahmood says:

    So far, that has been the most secretive ministry we have had. I don’t know if we can get answers on their plans, other than what they want to leak or talk about in the press.

    I have no in route to them either, so maybe I should just write a letter to the minister explaining my point of view and experience and then he could take that up with hopefully some feedback to me.

    Or, to make it more interesting, how about starting a petition to demand reciprocal rights? That should be fun!

  7. Salman says:

    Mahmood, was the woman behind the bullet proof glass at the visa section Egyptian? Because the times I tried getting a visa to enter France, she was always the one to deal with my application (to my misfortune). The arrogance she displayed was simply disgusting.

  8. Merlin says:

    Mahmood – Letter or petition either way, I think many people are fed up with this issue and demand answers. Let me give you an example, can someone explain why a tiny nation such as Brunei, who is Muslim, oil dependent, ruled by a monarchy and has no more than 300,000 people is practically on every visa free / waiver program that exists in Europe and the US? I am sure the answer has something to do with their government’s initiatives to secure a dignified status for the passport of that nation. I want to see some of that happening for us, dont you??

  9. mahmood says:

    I don’t know Salman, two of them looked Moroccan and one at least (the one that was offensive – or discourteous to say the least) might have been an Egyptian. But regardless of their nationality, they need to go on a good course in public relations, a course that their own consul is in dire need of too.

  10. mahmood says:

    Merlin, I’ll have to write a letter in Arabic and send it to the Foreign Ministry as a complaint. Let’s see where that will take us.

  11. Barry says:

    Eh, it sounds a lot like the stereotype of government employees here in the US: They talk and treat you as they please because their jobs are secure.

  12. Ali says:

    Is the French Embassy any better than our CPR office?

  13. Marie says:

    Well, so “normal” I don’t know what to add. Happens all over the Europe, and actually USA are the worse. There you can’t say you actually are born and raised in Europe, your color skin tells it all anyway; you are and will always be that terorist looking person trying to kill every white person getting cloes to you! Always! Rememeber that!

  14. Ibn says:

    Question Mahmood:

    Is Bahrain similar to the UAE with regards to allowing most Western tourists to travel there without a visa? (Or more accurately, to have their visas stamped on their passports as soon as they arrive?)

    Why is that? In the Emirates, an American can come waltzing in at a time and day only limited by his chosen flight, but Lebanese, Jordanians and other Arabs need to apply for a visa beforehand. Why is that? And is Bahrain similar to the Emirates in this regard?

    The reason I brought this up was because I was just going to say “Reciprocation!” regarding the treatment of Bahrainis by the French Embassy, but if Bahrain is like the Emirates and gives visas to “farangees” of the Western persuasion willy-nilly, then there cannot be proper reciprocation. Argh! 😡

    -Ibn

  15. mahmood says:

    Ibn, yes. Unfortunately. This makes us feel like third-class citizens – or plebes, to be more accurate – as even select foreigners are welcomed with open arms in our countries while we get treated with this form of disdain in their embassies in our own countries, let alone at the immigration checkpoints in theirs.

  16. Sam says:

    About a year ago, a family member of mine came home from a visit to the French embassy and said “I’ve never been so humiliated in my life”.

    Whatever letters/petitions you guys draw up please CC it to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris.
    The more noise we make, the more action they’ll take (i hope).
    Would be nice to see the likes of M Philippe booted!

    Shame there’s no vomit emoticon to use here..

  17. Tanya Degano says:

    Take a look at this…a very similar topic…
    http://oneofthose3.blogspot.com/2007/07/whos-hurting-who.html

  18. Anon- 4 ever says:

    Mahmood you should have been to the German or the Italians, i tried the 3 of them and the Germans are the best! tell me about the French- the definition of the word “rudeness”! As for the letter, and i dont mean to put you down but it wouldnt work- a petition might!
    Good luck anyways!

  19. Grace says:

    Lol! It seems people are trying to blame the ministry instead of the embassy itself?!
    From personal experience, the minister is very proactive and always welcomes such inquiries. I really doubt a petition is necessary.
    Why not give it a try and talk to his office. Ask them to look into the said Embassy’s process of granting visa’s to Bahraini nationals.
    You, Mahmood, more than anyone else, knows the power of productive reasoning even if it takes a bit of time…

  20. Migy Mao says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. This has been going far too long and nothing has been done. The French embassy has to be stopped doing this. It is not right and I hear horror stories daily. Sadly, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs is incompetent and is there for only 1 purpose, open embassies in countries where the royals visit so that they can meet and greet them. Bahrain gives the impression that foreigners are better than locals from the airport. This is the only place where the specific GCC line for immigration includes only white people as well as GCC individuals. Imagine you standing at the EU line at Heathrow. Foreigners from the first minute realize that they can bend the laws by going to the GCC line and have their passport processed. They always say that your first impression of a country is the immigration officer. So unless we correct these things, have our government actual intervene and require that its individuals are treated with respect than these things will continue.

    As for the US embassy, I respect them a lot. There is a system and they tend to be very good. No one can complain about a clear system and I hail them for that. It was chaos at the beginning but now it is very good. I wish all embassies could have a system like the Americans.

  21. Loki says:

    Have to say, non-GCC people in the GCC line at the airport REALLY does annoy me.

  22. Ali M. says:

    the funny thing is they are like that with each other as well. I have a friend who is a french national who was told that if he doesnt like their rules he can go back to france. How typically french he told me.. AND HES FRENCH!!!

  23. docxray says:

    The rudeness occurs in France too – directed towards individuals of any nationality. I was invited by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to spend a year in France as a Visiting Professor from Canada. On arrival I was informed that I must visit a specific individual in Paris (I was to work and live in another city) and present my passport and documents. I did so (a 2 h train ride each way) – four times! On each of the first three visits (which could only be made between 0800 – 0900 on Thursday mornings, I was told that I must submit more photographs or I was missing a document or I didn’t have the right stamp/signature, etc. On the fourth visit, that same bureaucratic again looked at my passport and documents and told me that I was exempt from the requirements as I was a guest of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He knew that the first time I visited but made me go through the hassle and inconvenience of the trips to Paris as well as providing needless documentation and photographs. No apology or comment – just a wave of his hand indicating that I should leave his office. I understand that nothing has changed in France, and the same games are played at the whim of the bureaucrat behind the desk.

  24. anon says:
    شحادك؟ جان رحت السفارة الالمانية او الايطالية مثل ما قال احد اللي علقو؟ Ùˆ الله ما في احسن من السفارة البريطانية على ايام اول الفيزا تبرز عقب ثلاثة ايام Ùˆ خلاص عكس الشنغن اللي تبرز عقب اسبوع Ùˆ انت Ùˆ حظك تطلع لك حق ست شهور او اسنة او سنتين …. Ùˆ اللي يبط الجبد اكثر ان الطلبة البحرينيين اللي يدرسون فالخارج مب مسموح لهم يقدمون على فيز الشنغن من البحرين السفارة الفرنسية تقول لك قدم عليهم من الدولة اللي انت تدرس فيها Ùˆ في بريطانيا اجراءات الحصول على فيز شنغن صعبة لازم تسوي مقابلة Ùˆ بعدها تطلع لك الفيزا يعني كله على بعضه تاخذها لها السالفة حول الشهر Ùˆ نص لي الشهرين Ùˆ انت مجبور انك تنلطع علشان هالفيزا …. المرة الياية باجوف حظي مع السفارة الالمانية يمكن تتسهل الامور
  25. mahmood says:

    docxray, unbelievable. Simply unbelievably uncivilised.

    anon, unfortunately as Greece’s affairs are handled by the French embassy here, I was specifically asked to go to them as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Greece will instruct them (!) to issue me a Schengen visa! Little did they know how they are here…

    Thanks Migy Mao and all for your encouragement and understanding.

  26. Mahmood: “You can keep your precious Europe – at least the part that you have put your hands on for some reason – to yourselves. And thanks to the French Embassy, I shall miss participating in the forthcoming Middle East Regional Security and Cooperation Meeting in Athens.”

    Mahmood, no Texan could have said that first sentence above better. Congratulations to all for finally finding deserving Westerners to scorn: The French! Those rude and arrogant, gratuitously uncivil, cheese-eating surrender monkeys deserve all the approbation you can unload on their big pompous heads, all the approbation you have wrongfully been unloading on us kind, sweet Americans. Why, they are oppressing you, the French. THIS OPPRESSION MUST STOP! Why, they’re probably chuckling THIS VERY MINUTE about running les petites Bahrainis around in circles.

    Are you going to take this laying down? Put down that anti-American banner and pick up that ANTI-FRENCH BANNER! Are you going to let a bunch of snail-eaters boss you around? Go get ’em, I say.

    Merlin: “Why is that Bahraini nationals need visas to countries that we welcome visa-free? Europe, UK and US being some of them!”

    Because Americans have no state religion that encourages us to blow up Bahrainis to make them submit to our creed of rock ‘n’ roll, fast food, short skirts, and free speech. You might note that all those countries/continent with the visa requirements have suffered Muslim terror attacks. That might be why they want to keep finer control of Arab Muslim visitors than Bahrain needs to keep over Western tourists who have no inclination to behead Bahrainis to please Jesus.

    Merlin: “Let me give you an example, can someone explain why a tiny nation such as Brunei, who is Muslim, oil dependent, ruled by a monarchy and has no more than 300,000 people is practically on every visa free / waiver program that exists in Europe and the US?”

    Name a Muslim terrorist who came from Brunei. If you can’t, then you have your answer.

    Mahmood: “I don’t know Salman, two of them looked Moroccan and one at least (the one that was offensive – or discourteous to say the least) might have been an Egyptian. But regardless of their nationality, they need to go on a good course in public relations, a course that their own consul is in dire need of too.”

    As long as the French embassy maintains a monopoly on issuing visas, they don’t need no stinking public relations. You have to come to them and endure their abuse. That is the way of government service everywhere. The government has no natural incentive to provide good service.

    Business always organizes itself to be as convenient as possible to its customers. I recall Mrs. Fields writing that they designed her cookie stores so that customers could walk right up to the cookies behind the glass counter because they found that if customers had to take even one step up, they lost 15% of them. Businesses do everything they can to remove even the smallest barriers to making transactions with customers. Government figures its barriers are your problem.

    Government organizes itself for its own greatest convenience. They centralize everything in one big office so they can control all their employees the easiest, even though that means all their customers have to travel from afar to get service. They never have enough windows nor employees to serve customers expeditiously. They make no attempt to manage your expectations. They don’t care if you wait in line an hour. In fact, the longer the line, the more government managers consider themselves to be efficiently using their people, eliminating any slack time between transactions. They limit their hours to what’s convenient for them and to hell with you.

    That’s why government should run the absolute minimum of anything. When I got my visa to go to India here in Washington, I was amused to find the Indian embassy had outsourced its visa office (!) to a private company. There was one person in line in front of me when I went in. My business was done in fifteen minutes. When I came back a week later to pick up my visa, I was in and out of the office in five minutes.

    Ibn: “The reason I brought this up was because I was just going to say “Reciprocation!” regarding the treatment of Bahrainis by the French Embassy, but if Bahrain is like the Emirates and gives visas to “farangees” of the Western persuasion willy-nilly, then there cannot be proper reciprocation.”

    When the US allowed Saudis in with a minimum of visa requirements, even an expedited program, they butchered Americans by the thousands. The European countries have similar problems with Arab Muslims jihadis posing as legitimate immigrants, students, and tourists. Given all the Westerners slaughtered by Muslim mass murderers, I would not demand reciprocation if I were you.

    You suffer extra security requirements when visiting the West because your culture indoctrinates its people to regard non-Muslims, particularly Westerners, as the enemy in an insane eternal religious war. Arab Muslims do not receive the kind of easy treatment citizens of other nations receive because they take advantage of every such courtesy to make war on us directly or undermine our countries indirectly. The bad behavior of Muslims in every Western democracy leads them to find ways to keep Muslims out rather than to expedite their entry.

    The solution is for Arab Muslims to give up their war on the world, to give up terrorism to promote their religion, to give up their bigotry and supremacism. When Muslims are recognized as people who come to join you in building up your society instead of colonizers seeking to undermine and destroy the existing order, that is the day all those obstructions disappear. The greater the net benefit you bring, the greater your welcome and the faster you will be whooshed through customs. However, when your greatest cultural export is terror, you will encounter every obstacle your destination country can erect.

  27. Merlin says:

    Mahmood to add more fuel to the fire, have you seen the article today:

    Walk-in visas to promote tourism
    By SOMAN BABY

    NEW walk-in visas for Indians and Russians visiting Bahrain will boost business and tourism, a top official declared yesterday.

    They will be granted two-week visit visas on arrival in Bahrain under a system being implemented “very soon”.

    Their countries are being added to the list of countries approved by Bahrain for visas on arrival, said Interior Ministry Under-Secretary for Nationality, Passports and Residence Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa .

    Currently, nationals of 35 countries are granted visas on arrival at entry points, including Bahrain International Airport and King Fahad Causeway.

    India and Russia are being added to this list as part of a government plan to encourage more business and family visits to Bahrain, Shaikh Rashid told the GDN.

    “The move will further develop tourism and promote Bahrain as a destination for tourists, families and businessmen from India and Russia,” he noted.

    “It will substantially contribute to the development of Bahrain’s economy in general and that of tourism, trade and commerce in particular.”

    The visitors should carry a valid passport and a return ticket and provide either hotel reservation details or family contacts in Bahrain.

    The new flexible rules will come into force very soon, said Shaikh Rashid.

    The countries whose nationals are already granted visas on arrival now are: Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Japan, Hong Kong, Portugal, Greece, Brunei, Malaysia, Monaco, Iceland, San Mario, Vatican, Honduras, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Republic of China, Thailand and Turkey.

    Nationals of Britain and Ireland are granted a three-month visa and others a two-week visa, at a cost of BD5.

    The visa can be extended for a further two weeks through the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence. Shaikh Rashid warned that there would be hefty penalties for those who misuse the facilities and overstay in the country. soman@gdn.com.bh

  28. Merlin says:

    Steve The American – I completely agree, you could not have said it better. We all suffer due to the patheticness and stupidity of a unrepresentative, backward and fanatical minority. It is your average guy who ends up suffering and losing out. Another reason why they must be stopped and not through mediation or political reasoning as some suggest. This disease needs to be eliminated and arabs need to be the first in line to hold a gun to the head of extremists and pull the trigger.

  29. Astro says:

    Ok, so the bureaucrats were rude. What’s new.

    The bottom line is Mahmood’s application was inadequate. What’s the big deal, happens all the time in Bahrain. Just need some wasta to get it processed by riding roughshod over the rules. Except when everyone tries the same thing, we get anarchy. Which is why Arab countries’ public services are all a mess – the bazaar writ large.

    Only thing is that this time, Mahmood didn’t have “wasta” so he feels slighted. Just like those poor 3rd world expats get slighted when they come to Bahrain looking for work. Except no one listens to them.

    So he throws his toys out of the pram and bleats about “customer service”. Guess what, there’s no such thing outside the private sector.

    I sympathise with the exasperated Consulate staff who’ve had to deal with a million “yes, I know its not complete but I’m special…” Bahraini applications. How were they to know if Mahmood is special or not.

    The moral of this story is : “read the fine print, and be prepared”.

    Mahmood: I’m sorry, but this one won’t run. Definitely a summer Silly Season story.

  30. mahmood says:

    Fair enough. Technically yes the papers were not complete, I accept that. That is still not a reason to accept their rudeness. It would not have cost them – all of them – anything to just smile and ask me to furnish further papers. There must be several ways of doing that.

    It doesn’t help when their consul just stomps around and be completely and arrogantly address anyone and everyone. When I tried to reason with him and asked him his name in order to at least calm him down he turned on me with: “I have no name! What do you want my name for? Are you going to go and complain about me to the police?” in a completely arrogant and challenging manner! He abjectly refused to tell me his name! And this is the person in charge of the floor!

    Does being civil require a wasta too?

    I fully accept that my papers might have been incomplete. I do not accept being insulted and to be subject to rudeness like this from them or anyone else for that matter.

    Would you?

  31. anon says:

    Steve the American: why do you generalize? in Bahrain and the Gulf in general we have a saying “evil is usually generalized, while the good is not” and maybe thats the case with you. If a few terrorists commited barbaric and unacceptable crimes that doesn’t mean that that rest supported them. I personally do NOT support these crimes and offer my full sympathy to the victims and their families. Coming to your comment about our culture, come and visit Bahrain. We are a tolerant society which respects other religions and allow them to practice their rituals freely. All what I’m trying to say it is unacceptable to generalize and label us as terrorists, and our religion does not have anything to do with these terrorist acts, its unfortunate that many people link Islam to these acts and this could be related to the misinterpretation or the lack of knowledge on our religion. I wist that my message is clear: do not generalize.

  32. anon says:

    * excuse me for my grammar and typos 🙂

  33. Bahraini going to Greece says:

    Hi Mahmood. You scared me a little bit with this post. I will be going to Greece within first week of August. Haven’t gotten interviewed yet for the Shengen visa .. but supposedly I will be entering the doors of “hell”? next week. Now you got me really worried there.. but does the saying say ..? when in rome do like the romans do .. I’ll be “French” in attitude

  34. Astro says:

    Mahmood.

    I’m sorry you had this experience with what sounds like an odious little man. He’s obviously still a bit sore because someone with “big wasta” ripped him a second orifice recently, so he’s taking it out on all the other Bahrainis.

  35. California Mike says:

    I’m more than a little confused here.

    Why does a Bahraini citizen traveling to Greece need to deal with the French Embassy anyway ?

    Personally before I had to deal with any arm of the French Government I think I’d walk instead.

    Maybe I missed the explanation.

    Mike

  36. Nine says:

    Steve,

    “cheese-eating”

    Wonderful stuff. You made me laugh!!

    I needed that following the blows I was getting over the past few days somewhere else in this blog!

  37. Salman says:

    No embassy treats you with respect, like the Swiss embassy does. Always greeted with a smile and welcomed with warm hospitality. Only thing missing is being served a fondue or some fine Swiss chocolates.

    I believe they will be entering the Shengen soon. They have said they will be since 2003 but I am still awaiting the rumor to becomes news.

    If that happens, kiss all your worries of having to put up with arrogant employees of other embassies goodbye. Well, at least I can :mrgreen:

  38. Been There, Done That says:

    As someone in an earlier posting pointed out, why should we be talking about visas at all? I would like to see visa restrictions removed from Bahraini passport holders in the same manner that we are liberating Russian and Indian visitors from such requirements, given recent announcements. I wonder whether this is on the priority list of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at all….

  39. diva says:

    Has the french embassy contacted you since you posted this? Have they even tried to remedy this situation?

    You should still go apply to the Germans…. take a copy of your blog 😈

  40. John Smith says:

    anon
    While I accept that Bahrain is less restricted than most Gulf countries I don’t think you could say that it allows other religions to practise their rituals freely. I doubt if I could distribute bibles freely in the Seef Mall.
    Muslims in the UK have over a thousand mosques in which to worship, have a muslim Council of Britain, a muslim parliament,muslim members of parliament, halal shops and full freedom of expression in the media. Bahrain is nowhere near giving this kind of rights to Christians and other non muslims. A muslim woman can’t even marry a Christian. You are still living in the 1400’s and there is no sign of improvement.

  41. John Smith says:

    California Mike
    It’s quite common for embassies to help various other countries. Greece may not have interests in Bahrain so will ask the French embassy to either help it’s citizens or to issue visas in it’s name. Happens all over the world.

  42. Sam says:

    I doubt if I could distribute bibles freely in the Seef Mall.

    John your quite right however I was pleasantly surprised to find that a certain bookshop in Seef Mall were actually selling a book by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins called ‘The GOD Delusion’ which questions the very existence of God!

  43. haji says:

    it seems a little bit weird to me,I went through the experience off applying for a visa at the french embassy a year ago. I had all the needed documents, the treatment of the staff was quite decent. The visa was ready withing a week. Moreover, i wrote a letter to them that i would like to visit other european countries in the future and got a the shcengen visa for a whole 1 year.
    I believe it all depends on the qualities of the person youre dealing with and their mood that day!!

  44. anon says:

    John Smith, thanks for your reply. Regarding your comment about distributing bibles, according to my religion -Islam- it is unacceptable to switch religions after becoming a Muslim, and its against the rules here in Bahrain. Muslim men are allowed to marry Christian and Jewish women, however Muslim women are not allowed to do so as their children would follow their fathers religion, and its against my religion’s rules.

    However Christians in Bahrain could practice their religion freely as we do have several churches. The main thing is that each respects the other and the rules and regulations of the country.

    What I find a bit irritating is the fact that still some people look at ALL Muslims with an eye of suspicion and label them as terrorrists just because a few had participated in terrorrist attacks which were condemned throughout the Islamic world. Furthermore comments like that we are still living in the 1400’s aren’t acceptable, respect our religion and its teachings.

    What we need is an increase in the level of awareness on Islam, and show the rest the good and bright side of it instead of focusing on negative issues.
    Salam

  45. John Smith says:

    anon
    Thanks for your reply.
    I apologise if I offended you by saying you were living in the 1400’s. I spent a few years in Saudi and Bahrain and all the official correspondence at work and when dealing with officialdom was always in the Islamic calendar which was 600 yrs after the death of Jesus. ( ie The 1400’s )
    As for having to remain muslim from birth to death. This is a terrible restriction on your free will and your ability to be open minded to new ideas. This will always prevent the Islamic world from achieving it’s full potential.
    I thought women were equal under Islam ? Apart from in important matters like marriage and children and the courts ?
    The majority of Westerners used to welcome muslims to their countries but after the bombs in Madrid, Bali, London, New York, India etc we’re a bit more wary.
    You seem like an open minded and fair person so hopefully we can re build trust with like minded people in our two countries.
    Salam

  46. Salman says:

    John Smith,

    We use the Christian calendar just like everyone else, but we also have our own Islamic calendar onto which refer to, which we use to celebrate or mark religious occasions. We accepted the birth of Jesus Christ as the beginning of the calendar, and respect it. Why can you not respect our calendar as well? When our calendar began is irrelevant here. I am sorry, but you have a weak argument regarding that matter my friend.

    As a Muslim myself, no one has hit me on the hand and forced me to be a Muslim. I am old enough to make my own decisions, and I understand my religion, have been educated about the other faiths in the world and have myself chosen to remain a Muslim. If tomorrow my opinion changes to the point that I renounce my religion, thats entirely up to me. I have the free will, to make my own decisions in life.

    And regarding female rights, you seem to look at what rights the governments or societies have given females. That does not reflect what rights Islam has given them. Read into it further please 🙂

  47. Franklin says:

    Well John smith what do you have to say about the Thai Buddhists and there different calender are they in the same category?

  48. Good grief! Why are the Greeks allowing this? I am Greek and can’t understand it. Family and Friends in Greece say “the Europeans come, vacation, shit here, and then leave.”
    Perhaps you might enjoy this:
    Most Obnoxious Tourists? The French, from TIME Magazine
    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1820358,00.html.

  49. Sami says:

    Hey Merlin, the many questions you have wondered about have one simple answer. In Bahraini and Arab goverments eyes, their people are cheap and worthless. However US, UK and EU people in their governments and Arab governements are called “Human beings”, ok? That’s why you have to get a visa and they don’t. Consider China for example, they impose a Visa on U.S. citizens because the U.S. imposes a visa requirement on their citizens, even the Chinese charge the same visa fees as the U.S. does to their citizens.

    However, Mahmood, I have applied to a EU visa at the French consulate in Atlanta and got it in few days, no questions asked! It seems when you live outside the cursed region, then you should be ok 🙂

  50. John smith says:

    Salman
    Thanks for your reply.
    I do respect your calendar. It’s good to celebrate special occasions. I just felt that the mentality of the middle east is reflected in the 15th century calendar that they refer to. Things like Absolute monarchy, one official religion, seperate laws and rights for non muslims and women etc.
    Being free to worship in a church in Bahrain isn’t the same as having equal rights in education , employment and roles in government etc. This is what we see as being equal and free in the West.
    I’m glad you have studied different religions and have decided that Islam is for you. Life would have been difficult for you if you had chosen Christianity , Budhism or whatever.( I’m assuming you live in Bahrain or Saudi ? )
    Even worse if you had been female since you state that Islam has given them different rights. I think you mean less rights ? How inconvenient for the females.
    But of course different muslim countries have different interpretations of what the Koran says with regards to women. Full veil ? Driving ? Owning property ? Divorce ? Genital Mutilation ? Child access after divorce ? Employment ? I could go on forever but it’s just a big muddle. Hasn’t Islam gotten itself twisted in knots over this subject ?
    Basically what you were taught or studied in your religious education and what you have decided to dedicate the rest of your life to is purely your teachers and your personal interpretation of Islam. You could have tried a different school of thought on the matter and been given different interpretations and you may have decided that Islam wasn’t for you. All very complicated.
    If you’re happy then I’m happy for you. Contentment in life is what it’s all about. I personally don’t believe in any religion and living in the West this has absolutely no consequence in my daily life because people here aren’t bothered. And even if people were bothered and tried to discrimante against me then they would be dragged through the courts and be heavily fined.
    Peace

    Franklin
    I’m not sure what you mean about the Budhists and the same category with regards to their calendar.

  51. Cape says:

    The French are an arrogant, cold, and lazy people who don’t accept how far behind the rest of the world they have fallen, nor understand how widely disliked they are. Most Detested European Nation award. Mother of attitude problems in fact, a little and worthless people, they always seem to be trying to get one over on you instead of joining in. Some humility would certainly help them to improve matters and their image.

    Then you add to that civil servants at a visa desk and you’ll have unbearably snotty nit-pickers. It’s the same for all of us hélas, not just you Mahmoud.

    Best thing is transparent procedures administered sensitively on a website accessible virtally with a friendly database behind it containing all your personal details.

  52. Cape says:

    But Bahrain? How are we doing? Look at the insulting and bureaucratic treatment reserved for our brothers from N Africa who want to visit.

  53. Sid says:

    Wow…I only skimmed through, and this slowly devolved from a discussion about visa applications, civility, and customer service to VERY civil, politically correct, polished, yet essentially bi-polar bickering about calendars?…*phew*…let the bickety-bick-bick resume folks, thanks for the entertainment!

    Marking, recognizing and respecting events of cultural, traditional and religious significance and value is everyone’s GOD-GIVEN right! However, for the sake of organizing and managing the human race’s magnificent creation of time, we need something secular and efficient and unclouded. But we’re only human – what were we thinking?! Time! Bah! do away with it all I say!

    As for the french, bless their wine, damn their attitude, but this is nothing new, they have always considered themselves the creme-de-la-creme (no pun intended).

  54. Anon: “Steve the American: why do you generalize? in Bahrain and the Gulf in general we have a saying “evil is usually generalized, while the good is not” and maybe thats the case with you.”

    I generalize about Muslim nations because Muslims generalize their violence against the rest of the world. The majority of the wars in the world right now involve Muslims making war against their neighbors. This follows Koranic doctrine that demands that Muslims make war on non-Muslims. Change that doctrine of generalized hostility to the world and you will find the world more welcoming.

    Anon: “If a few terrorists commited barbaric and unacceptable crimes that doesn’t mean that that rest supported them. I personally do NOT support these crimes and offer my full sympathy to the victims and their families.”

    The Muslim world approves of terror done to propagate Islam because it is in accord with the Koran, which demands Muslims make war against the non-Muslim world. We can see Muslims celebrate terrorist acts and support terrorists themselves. We can read translations of your media where such support is freely, even exuberantly given. The last thing I saw from the Muslim world after the Sep 11 attacks was sympathy. All I saw was lying and denial, which is exactly the behavior I expect from guilty perpetrators.

    Anon: “Coming to your comment about our culture, come and visit Bahrain. We are a tolerant society which respects other religions and allow them to practice their rituals freely.”

    It’s impossible to believe that any Muslim nation is tolerant of other religions. I’ll grant you that Bahrain is not Saudi Arabia but neither is it Canada.

    Bahrain chased its Jews out in 1947 and took their property, in classic Muslim fashion. Only 36 Jews remain in Bahrain. That’s hardly a history of respect. While it may be true in a narrow sense that you have allowed Jews a synagogue in Bahrain it doesn’t mean much if its congregation has fled for their lives.

    Anon: “All what I’m trying to say it is unacceptable to generalize and label us as terrorists, and our religion does not have anything to do with these terrorist acts, its unfortunate that many people link Islam to these acts and this could be related to the misinterpretation or the lack of knowledge on our religion. I wist that my message is clear: do not generalize.”

    Your assertion that Islam had nothing to do with the terror acts on the US, Britain, Spain, India, et al is too preposterous for rebuttal. We need make no effort to tie terrorism to Islam when the Muslims proudly make the connection themselves.

    The widespread Muslim slaughter around the world has prompted us to make quite the study of Islam. There is no misinterpreting its bloody and belligerent message to the world it intends to conquer. The terrorists are perfectly following the perfect example of Mohammed in making war on non-Muslims, beheading them, and assassinating critics of Islam. If that wasn’t instructive enough, the Koran provides plenty of warning of your evil intentions to the rest of the world, beginning with the Verse of the Sword.

    What is unfortunate here is that you subscribe to this backward and belligerent religion whose hateful doctrine makes you unwelcome in the rest of the world. The non-Muslim world will not exchange respect for contempt. When Muslims respect non-Muslims, they will receive respect in return. However, the Koran forbids you to respect non-Muslims which means we would prefer you stay out of our country while we welcome the more genial and tolerant Indians and Chinese.

  55. Mahmood,

    Very few nations view visa applicants as ‘customers’. However, regardless of what you are (immigrant, inconvenience, etc.) there is absolutely no excuse for rudeness.

    I have had two recent experiences in the UAE:

    * Thai Consulate in Dubai

    The staff are overworked and not really interested in helping you. There are too many people applying for a visa and it feels like a fish market.

    Did not enjoy that experience, though Thailand itself was a blast.

    * Spanish Embassy in Abu Dhabi

    The staff were friendly, but the procedure was tedious and absurd. I had to submit a letter from my company to say that they don’t mind me going to Spain. Since it is my company and I am the one who runs it, I wrote the letter and signed it myself. I tried to explain this to them, but they insisted that I provide it to them anyway.

    I have found that in a lot of visa/immigration processes, it doesn’t matter how silly the requirements are. Just do it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t try to think of ways of improving its efficiency. Just give them what they want and move on.

    I am planning a trip to Europe soon, but now I know that I will avoid the French embassy here as well. The last thing I need is for some idiot to talk down to me like I’m asking him for a favor.

  56. anonny says:

    @Steve the American

    I generalize about Muslim nations because Muslims generalize their violence against the rest of the world.

    So because a minority of Muslims are doing all the killing you generalize that we all believe in the same thing and agree with it? What happened in Sept. 11 isn’t something that I approve of and I’m certain that most Muslims don’t approve of it. Many Muslim scholars disapproved this act. And Bin laden himself isn’t even a Muslim scholar therefore he can’t even claim or make a ‘fatwa’ that what he did (assuming he was behind 9/11) was the right thing.

    We can see Muslims celebrate terrorist acts and support terrorists themselves.

    Yet again a minority celebrate terrorist acts and I have yet to hear or see of a celebration of 9/11 in Bahrain or anywhere in the Middle East.

    Bahrain chased its Jews out in 1947 and took their property, in classic Muslim fashion.

    Just because Bahrain is an Islamic country doesn’t mean every action they take is based upon Islamic teachings. If you properly research Islamic teachings you would know that even in the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) there were many Jewish people living in the same city the Prophet was living in. They were allowed to practice their religion without any interference as long as they didn’t break any Islamic rules. If they weren’t forced to leave back then, how come now they’ll be forced to leave due to Islamic teachings?

    The terrorists are perfectly following the perfect example of Mohammed in making war on non-Muslims, beheading them, and assassinating critics of Islam.

    Can you provide historical evidence where the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) waged a war and he ordered the mass slaughtering of everyone including innocent people, elderly, women and children? I can provide you with evidence that he specifically asked for that not to happen and that is what we believe in. Those that have killed innocent people in the name of Islam aren’t following Islamic teachings.

    the Koran forbids you to respect non-Muslims

    Really? Can you provide me with the verse that forbids us from respecting non-Muslims?

  57. Anonny says:

    Hi anonny,

    Could you choose a different alias? You and I differ
    in so many ways, I’m sure!

    Warm regards,

    Anonny.

  58. Anonny says:

    Hi anonny,

    Just a note: I’d rather you chose a nom-de-screen
    that doesn’t look so much like mine!

    Thanks and regards,

    Anonny

  59. Jason says:

    What an outrage!!! How ridiculous that you had to wait for TEN minutes!!! They should have rolled the red carpet out for you and escorted you straightaway to the ambassador’s office once you arrived. To think they treated you like they treat everyone else (and like your embassy treats people)… it just makes my blood boil. I mean, how could they not recognize how incredibly important you are?

  60. Salman says:

    anonny, why are you wasting your time? Steve says these things just to aggravate you, and insult you with his ignorance of Islam under the banner of “freedom of speech”.

    The day he can read the Arabic alphabets, at least, then maybe we can take his words with credit. He cannot read the Quran, how do you expect him to understand it? Too much Bill O’ Riley I guess 🙄

  61. John Smith says:

    anonny / Salman

    I was a bit bored so I googled Koran and relationships with non muslims and also terror against non muslims.
    This is what it threw up. Not sure how accurate it will be but it said it was versus from the Koran. You can put me right about them.

    With regards to friendship / respect to non muslims there were loads of versus. This was one of them :

    Sura 3:28
    ” Let not the believer take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers, if any do that in nothing will there be help from Allah (pbuh)

    And as for showing mercy to non believers there were lots of versus to choose from. Here was one of them chosen at random:

    Sura 8:12
    “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them ”

    I don’t really follow religion as it’s a bit too heavy for me !

  62. John Smith says:

    Mahmood

    I enjoy your blog but heck man your treatment at the French Embassy was sooooooo much better than what I’d expect from Saudi or Bahrain embassies. Pages of paperwork and weeks of waiting for visas is the norm for us non muslim plebs.
    I’ve stood behind a plane load of Pakistani muslims and seen them get kicked and punched into line at Dhahran airport. I was scared as I thought “God they’re muslims what will they do to a Christian ! ”
    But it worked out ok. I soon realised that money and influence counted in the Islamic world more than religion. Sunni Saudis first, then GCC (Rich countries only), then Americans, then Brits, then other europeans, then Ozzies / NZ, Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Shia Saudis, Palestinians then Jews. Only joking about the Jews. They’re banned.
    Even Bahrain discriminates against it’s own Shia population so what hope for non religious types like myself !

  63. Ibn says:

    @ Steve The Confederate

    When the US allowed Saudis in with a minimum of visa requirements, even an expedited program, they butchered Americans by the thousands. The European countries have similar problems with Arab Muslims jihadis posing as legitimate immigrants, students, and tourists. Given all the Westerners slaughtered by Muslim mass murderers, I would not demand reciprocation if I were you.

    Hmm, interesting – Was this before or after the US abandoned its Jeffersonian ways and sold its soul to help found an Israeli terror outpost of its own in the middle east? Which then went ahead to kill OUR thousands? Just curious.

    You suffer extra security requirements when visiting the West because your culture indoctrinates its people to regard non-Muslims, particularly Westerners, as the enemy in an insane eternal religious war.

    You suffer from incessant guerrilla warfare on steroids because your culture is adamant about supporting terrorism until the return of JC. It took 600,000 of your own dead during the civil war until you people realized that slavery was wrong, and yet it still managed to live on and rear its ugly head within other forms for another 100 years. (And Im being conservative here). One wonders how many more of your dead it will take for you to realize that your support of Israeli terrorism and hypocrisy is wrong, and right on par with slavery.

    Arab Muslims do not receive the kind of easy treatment citizens of other nations receive because they take advantage of every such courtesy to make war on us directly or undermine our countries indirectly

    Who’s ‘they’?

    The solution is for Arab Muslims to give up their war on the world, to give up terrorism to promote their religion, to give up their bigotry and supremacism.

    Im sorry, were you talking about the Mid-West, or the Mid-East?…hahaha!

    However, when your greatest cultural export is terror, you will encounter every obstacle your destination country can erect.

    I agree! When you export terror to foreign countries, they will place obstacles in your way. Like IEDs. 🙂

    -Ibn

  64. Salman says:

    Let the grilling, begin.

  65. Anonny says:

    Salman, Steve, et al,

    That wasn’t me. That was anonny, I am Anonny. Somebody
    has chosen a name that is very close to mine …

    The Real Anonny

  66. Anonny says:

    Salman, Steve the American et al,

    That wasn’t me. That was anonny with a lower case ‘a’.
    I spell my screen name with a capital ‘A’.

    The Real Anonny

  67. Aliandra says:

    Oh dear me, Ibn-The-Wannabe-Slayer-of-Israel, is on another rant against the US. One can only wonder why he chose to study in a country he can’t stop complaining about.

    Don’t encourage him– it distracts…

  68. Ibn says:

    Aliandra,

    One can only wonder why he chose to study in a country he can’t stop complaining about.

    Oh, I dont know Aliandra…maybe for the same reason you run your SUV on Saudi oil but continue to bitch about them? 😀

    -Ibn

  69. Aliandra says:

    Tsk tsk Ibn, you do have a choice of over 190 countries to study in, and most of them aren’t full of whiners riding their H3s to their many dens of Zionist-loving iniquity. 👿

  70. Salman says:

    Comment #67 was one hell of a comeback.

  71. Ibn says:

    Oh Aliandra, the irony. Perhaps if you made more noise prodding your government to stop Israeli support, we would have stayed in our otherwise bulldozed homes instead of coming here. Call it Karma.

    But yes, you are right. Studying at a random mathematical sciences program in the US means I must also believe that Iraq has WMDs. How dare I say otherwise. I mean, I study in the US… and… and the US says Iraq has WMDs… so.. so..umm.. yes! Iraq has WMDs! Because I study here! Yes! hahahah!

    Tell you what – let me give you my bike – you’ll see where Im going with this – its white, a little rusty, but otherwise works great. I think it has 18 gears as well, medium tires, so you can even do some mountain biking, should the temptation find you. That way you won’t have to refill your SUV with the Saudi’s gas you hate so much, and you can stop living a contradiction.

    You dont have to pay me anything for the bike, but just tell me, since I am studying here, which meal from the iconic all American McDonalds combo choices am I also supposed to like? And with or without pickles? 😀

    -Ibn

  72. Aliandra: “One can only wonder why he chose to study in a country he can’t stop complaining about.”

    Ibn: “Oh, I dont know Aliandra…maybe for the same reason you run your SUV on Saudi oil but continue to bitch about them?”

    Glib but empty rhetoric. America creates knowledge while the Saudis create nothing of value, certainly not oil. The phytoplankton from which oil is made were more productive than Saudis and more beneficial to mankind. They only profit from oil because Americans discovered it under their feet, developed it, drilled it, and treated the Saudis fairly enough to allow them the majority of the profit.

    You come to America to learn because our system is productive and its lessons worth learning. The lessons of the Middle Eastern countries are not worth learning and their schools produce fools. Despite all your trash talk, you voted for America with your feet. If you really believed your own words, you’d be in a madrassa.

  73. Ibn, calling me Steve the Confederate is as foolish as if I called you Ibn the Rabbi. However, it is of a piece with the rest of your wildly bigoted and fallacious rhetoric. Those who are so foolish to buy it are not worth my time to rebut it. However, thank you for pitching me such an Islamic softball in your earlier post, which I will answer on the weekend.

  74. M says:

    “Aliandra: “One can only wonder why he chose to study in a country he can’t stop complaining about.”

    Ibn: “Oh, I dont know Aliandra…maybe for the same reason you run your SUV on Saudi oil but continue to bitch about them?””

    Besides, if Aliandra took it to the same level as Ibn has, she would have to move to Saudi and continue to “bitch and complain” about them while she was driving that big SUV around…….anyone want to guess how long Aliandra would last in the magic kingdom 😈

    I prefer to think that Aliandra is driving that sucker around on Canadian oil….go north, lassie!

  75. Aliandra says:

    Ibn;

    You lost coherence at 22.16 so here’s the question again. Why does the great defender of the Palestinian Cause™ choose a school in the country that most supports Israel?

    M;

    I’m taking my entire collection of Hummers to Canada!

    Steve;

    I think Ibn (pbuh) is really some kind of fleshy Turing test …

  76. Ibn says:

    Aliandra/M/Steve-The-Confederate

    Glib but empty rhetoric. America creates knowledge while the Saudis create nothing of value, certainly not oil. The phytoplankton from which oil is made were more productive than Saudis and more beneficial to mankind. They only profit from oil because Americans discovered it under their feet, developed it, drilled it, and treated the Saudis fairly enough to allow them the majority of the profit.

    See below.

    Despite all your trash talk, you voted for America with your feet.

    See below.

    Why does the great defender of the Palestinian Causeâ„¢ choose a school in the country that most supports Israel?

    When my right foot touched American soil, I voted for American Higher Education. My right hand then preceded to pay for it. Are you suggesting that US Foreign Policy derived from US Higher Education? Haha! Come on, dont be silly – US Higher Education is actually full of really smart people.

    But on the other hand, when your right foot touches your SUV’s pedal, you voted for and continue to vote for Saudi Oil, which your right hand then pays the Muslim err, terrorist clerk at the gas station for, thus indirectly also paying for his wages.

    It is just then that you notice a bunch of mini-American flags behind that Muslim/terrorist clerk, so you decide to buy one so that you can wave it at tomorrow’s rally in Washington DC against the Mooslims in your country, whom one of which ironically, just sold you that same flag. But this
    Mooslim clerk happens to be a real chap, so he decides to remove the “Made In China” sticker from your flag’s wrapper for you, just as he hands you the change to the money you just gave to help prop up Communist China.

    So lets see:

    1) You prop up Communist China everytime you buy a plastic fork.

    2) Send money to the Saudis Mooslims every time you drive to your anti-Moooslim rallies.

    3) Pay the wages of and hence support illegal Mexican fruit pickers every time you purchase a basket of vegetables, which this time includes a bucket of the citrus variety on advice of just about every American left-of-Barry-Goldwater you have talked to because they always end up suggesting that you go “suck a lemon” after their encounters with you for some strange reason.

    And that, ladies, is why I am here. Because whatever reason you put forward to explain the contradictions you wake up in everyday, I will take that, divide it by ten, and give it back to you as my own answer.

    Plus, come on, I have to admit – I get a real kick out of it. Teaching Americans about their native laws in their own native tongue does make for a nice juxtaposition of sorts. 😀

    -Ibn

  77. Godder says:

    Ibn wrote: “Perhaps if you made more noise prodding your government to stop Israeli support, we would have stayed in our otherwise bulldozed homes instead of coming here. Call it Karma.”

    Karma indeed. The Palestininans must have been quite naughty in their past lives.

    Friend, to continue your logic, by living in the United States your expenditures directly support its economy and by extension its power to levy its policies and provide aid in favour of whatever nation it likes. As Steve said, you voted in favour of it with your feet and your wallet.

    Americans who intensely dislike Saudi or China sure don’t go there to live. America isn’t going to stop its support of Israel anytime soon. Either deal with it or move elsewhere.

  78. M says:

    “Aliandra/M/Steve-The-Confederate”

    Well talk about being in good company; sorry, Steve. I was of course referring to Aliandra. 👿

    Ibn,

    Gotta tell you this is not some of your best stuff although it did start my day out with a smile. It did make me pause to wonder if you are just saying you are here for the “higher education” when perhaps you are really a closet Hollywood screenwriter sent by the Palestinian underground by day and a “higher education” junkie by night (aka night student for you Hollywood types) 😀

  79. Nine says:

    Ibn,
    I can not criticise you for choosing to live in the US. It is the land of the free afterall. It is the richest country on earth and I do not mean in money only but in almost every human endeavour. O it is far better than the cultural desert that you left behined.

    I can however, criticise you for being unreasonable.

    You dig tirelessly through two centuries of a huge country’s history trying to find the odd wrongdoing just to revile it. And guess what you find this time? Slavery!

    Well! Well! Well!

    America may not be perfect but it admits its mistakes and makes amends. Until few years it had an African American as its top soldier. It is on the verge of having another on top of the helm.

    You are not only unreasonable dude but you are also a little bit ungrateful too.

  80. Usman says:

    I am Cameroonian and I have travelled extensive but every time I have to go through a lot of stress with the embassy staff and customer officers. Get use to it, makes life easier.
    Most of this arrogant embassy employees are locals who just feel very power doing the dirty Job for the Europeans and Americans. Do not give them that satisfaction by backing off. Escalate and ask to speak to other staff if you feel you have not been well treated. It pays off sometimes.
    May be we should fix and make our countries comfortable and restrict access to our resources to this people who know just arrogance and injustice. Our Governments allow them to treat us like dogs.

  81. Vile says:

    For some reason I’ve read this post and all its subsequent comments from the start to finish and I have just two remarks:

    1. long way at the top of this page i could swear that this was a post about a guy that didn’t get treated well at some embassy or the other, but somehow(i’m guessing by the magical intervention of blog-room fanatics, they only have 1 nationality these days btw…… oh wait it was post no. 27 by steve the good american) it has developed into one of those sophisticated net forum fights about how americans are good and muslims are bad or vice versa. Since i love these kinda of friendly chats so much, I personally vote to change the title from “the arrogance of the french embassy” to ” the arrogance of….. a.Muslims AKA(terrorists) or b.Hotheaded Americans ”

    2. Hell of a show Ibn, you are great. made it worthwhile reading this.(just a small thing, i would advice that you loose that “haha” part, it ruins what is otherwise a great retort.)

    p.s.: For all the good patriots out there, i appreciate your patriotism, i really do. but i think you should understand some things about your posts summarized in the following points:
    1.They are really boring.
    2.They are very silly and childish.
    3.They are irrational and show prejudice.
    4.They are hateful.(at least to muslims and arabs)
    5.They are overused(seriously, everyone is doing it these days)
    6.They just show that you are not very bright.

    on these grounds i would ask that the fanatics would stop posting, only i know they will never resign, so all i’m asking here is that when writing hateful or silly things Dear Spammers please do only 2 small things:

    1. Please try to be not so boring.
    2. Try To keep it in Minimum, so we can scroll through it faster.

    Thank You

  82. Khalifa says:

    reminds me when I went to the Japanese embassy in Qatar.

    The Japanese and Indians there were SO friendly, however the Syrian man working there to process the visa tried to add ‘more’ rules, although not mentioned on the site nor on the phone. (Luckily I factored in every possible request and came prepared).

    He ended the process saying

    “Don’t go marrying a Japanese girl while you’re there. You’ll make your parents very sad.”

    To which I replied “My fiance is Japanese, please mind your own business” and walked away.

    Imagine! He says that and WORKS FOR the Japanese embassy.

  83. Usman says:

    Thanks for sharing this very funny but smartt move with us. It made me laugh out so loud 🙂
    These people should really learn to stop sticking their noses in peoples business and just be the the slaves they want to be doing the dirty jobs for the Europeans and American..
    Well done. atleast someone told him the truth.
    Thanks,

  84. Usman says:

    It is time for us to stop blaming the Americans and Europeans for everything that goes wrong in our countries. Yes they came here they divided us and gave us names but we have since moved on and we have plenty of things that they want from us and may be that is the key to the solution.

    It is time to hold our governments responsible for our misery and lack of dignity. These our leaders don’t have the problems getting Visa or being treated like dogs around the world,just because we are Muslims or belive in something. They have invited these ‘people’ and given them every right to kill torture, rape and do what ever they like. Let us hold them responsible now.

    Lets start cleaning it from inside. We have what they need so badly, lets put our conditions on the table as well.

    THIS IS NOT A HATE MESSAGE AGAINST ANYONE, BUT WE HAVE TO OPEN OUR EYES AND FIND THE ROOT CAUSE OF OUR MISERY AND LACK OF DIGNITY.

  85. hilma loo says:

    i think you are all right but we have to blame our own people you know what i mean,to put on desent life style and stop fooling around

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