Monday, September 29, 2008

The Preliminary Step

Dear Colleagues,

The political issues between Iranian government and some western governments has been a serious problem for scientists born in Iran and all their paternal and academic families. It is clear that in a short time it is an immediate problem just for such people but obviously its effects in long time are too much wider.

Certainly I am not the first and unfortunately I am sure that I will not be the last one who has too many drastic histories with visa difficulties. This time after waiting two months to get French visa for a post-doc period in Dijon I was obligated to cancel my and my family’s one year plans. It is clear that waiting two months, up to just hours before your travel time with hope of getting visa without obtaining any response finally, is a torture for a family with a little child. We have even written the history of this torture.
It is not too difficult to understand that the damages of such tragedy have a wide spectrum including psychological, academics and economics problems whenever it corresponds to the case of a university professor with wife and children, doctoral students among many other academic responsibilities.

It is evident that in a generic situation these difficulties hinders the communications between nations. I should also emphasize that as a natural consequence of these problems we may observe (in fact we have examples!) the lack of interest of researchers to accept Iranian students or even rejection of financial supports by agencies.

As a first action I would like to ask you to write me the examples and the name of people who crossed a similar (or different) difficulty with French authorities and also your suggestions of where we can divulge these problems and protest. I invite to work more effectively to do something for solving the visa discriminations. I think that also as a preliminary step, the people in the similar conditions should create a virtual place to comment and protest about their real problems and and make their serious comments and suggestions and try to divulge it in a broad sense. I beleieve that IMU(International mathematical union) should help in this direction and create a global helping mechanism. We should just point out the example of ICTP in Italy which is working in this direction well.

If you believe that “Scientific though is the common heritage of mankind-Abdus Salam”, I ask why scientists should not intervene in an effective way for the mankind problems?

Sincerely yours,
29 september 2008
Ali Tahzibi

New Authorization

My travel to Germany was scheduled to 27 September till 4 October 2008. As an Iranian who has a good amount of experience in consulates of different countries, I knew that I have to apply for visa in advance and to provide all necessary documents in order to prove that I am a good man. This time I was in doubt if I will get visa or not. It was less than two years that I was working in Brazil as a Mathematics professor and my two years Brazilian visa was expiring 30 September, exactly in the same time that I was supposed to be in Germany for a conference. I had just a sheet of paper issued by Brazilian Justice Ministry saying that I have applied for a permanent Brazilian visa for the period after September. Usually the consulates verify whether you have a permission to enter the country which you go after leaving their countries. I had two options. Either I could reserve a ticket from Brazil to Germany and then to Iran. With this, my documents would be perfectly complete, even if I had no intention of visiting Iran. Or, I could go to the German consulate with the document of the Brazilian Justice Ministry and my job contract in Brazil. I chose the second option because I wanted to be a honest man and my intention was to participate the one week of the conference and right after to come back to Brazil. I applied for visa in advance and, as I suspected, they rejected my documents. "I have to provide the consulate with a document of Brazilian Federal Police ", the officer said. Well, 10 September 2008, I had my Brazilian permanent visa and I decided to apply for a German visa. "The minimum time is 10 days and the authorization may not arrive at time", the officer said. I just made the risk and said no problem. I was supposed to fly 26 September and the authorization did not arrive until this day. After a long telephone conversation, the officer suggested me to postpone my travel for few days later. "I cannot postpone the conference, however, I am going to postpone my departure to few days later and so I will have the chance of participating just two days of the conference". I did so, and an hour later I informed the consulate of my new travel plan. "Well, now we have to ask another authorization for your new travel plan and it can take more ten days", the officer said. In this point I understood that some people are completely out of logical arguments of the daily life. I lost my conference, enough amount of time, visa fee and two penalties of the air-ticket, one for postponing and one for canceling the ticket.

Hossein Movasati
29 September 2008.