So many rules in this nation have changed. One has to question the constitutionality of some and also wonder if, perhaps, we are involved in overkill in others. Here I speak specifically about the visas required of performers to perform in our country---a country that has for some time believed in cultural exchanges. Think ping pong if you will. Think ballet, symphony orchestras to N Korea, Russian Folk Dancers, and more if you will.
Today I find that Eric Bogle will not be returning---ever---to tour in this country. He will be doing a farewell tour in Canada since their visa restrictions for known artists are less draconian than ours.
Basically, no longer can his agent request and receive a visa for him. He now needs an attorney and many other expenses and no guarantee the visa will be approved. Canada does not have this stricture so his farewell tour of Canada is not cancelled. You can read his comments below.
My thoughts go to wondering how many artists will we be deprived of seeing and hearing because they cannot and, frankly, should not have to go to the expense and red tape to come to this country. Illegal immigration seems an easier thing to pursue than legitimate performers going through the visa process due to the Xenophobia that this administration has foisted on the public. The results are, of course, a return to the insularity and closing of cultural interchange that has benefited all sides for many years.
Please read Eric Bogle's own comments on the subject from his web-site ---but an excerpt is below:
However, Canada still has reasonable requirements as far as work visas are concerned, so John and I are still heading over there in November/December to do a tour with John McDermott.
For the history questionnaire now---can anyone name a more damaging president for this nation in all its history? Question two---does brush clearing on a non- working ranch that is a summer home count as being a great outdoors man---or hype as one? Question three---How does one reconcile the thrill of fighting in Iraq (as he has done for his misguided war) with avoiding Viet Nam. Probably best to ask his VP.
On another note now---SUNDAY SIMCHA for April 27. While it is the end of Passover it is also a few days before Yom Hashoah (5/1) We end Passover with some wonderful pieces by Kim/Reggie Harris, Rabbi Johnathon Kligler, Pete Seeger and a cast of---well, not thousands. Then---you do not want to miss this---a a 13 minute description of Buchenwald by, arguably, the greatest news-person of this or any century---EDWARD R. MURROW in a rare recording of this sad and yet so poignantly described event.
And so we leave this commentary with a shot of the lady who used to welcome people here---including myself.
Perhaps that time will return once we all find a mature way of dealing with each other---which many writers, singers, artists, and dramatists try to tell us about. It was easier for them to communicate these sentiments prior to the insularity that this administration has foisted on us in the name of national security---a national security they have put in jeopardy with the misguided (to put it kindly) policies of the past 8 years---with Iraq at the top of the list.