Thursday, October 13, 2005


I don't know what it is about Christian Science that makes them publish the Christian Science Monitor. The Monitor is a truly outstanding paper. It does not cover the ball game, but it does very analytical, thoughtful pieces about issues that are important, but not necessarily immediate. Kind of like a very good weekly, but five days a week.

Today's Monitor had just such a story about the 11 million "stateless" people around the world. Much to my surprise, there are about 300,000 "Stranded Pakistanis" who are Urdu speakers who lived in East Pakistan when it became Bangladesh in 1971. Apparently they were not granted Bangladeshi citizenship after the war. Now they are people living in Bangladesh who are not citizens of any country.

Statelessness is a major issue in Estonia and Latvia, as well as Palstine and Iraq. All for different reasons, but still a serious problem. If you are not a citizen of any state, can you get the documentation necessary to travel to another state? Probably not. You are stuck, and that is bad.

That being said, statelessness is a stupid name for this condition. The one thing these people have is a state. They need citizenship. It's a different problem. Kurds are stateless. They may have Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian, etc. citizenship, but THEY lack a state. The Stranded Pakistanis have a state. They lack citizenship.

I'm just saying.


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