Sunday, January 12, 2014

Should we relinquish our citizenship?

Sunday Morning Sermon - Jan 12 2014

Renunciation is the voluntary act of relinquishing one's citizenship or nationality. It is the opposite of naturalization whereby a person voluntarily acquires a citizenship, and distinct from denaturalization, where the loss of citizenship is forced by a state.

Renunciation of citizenship is particularly relevant in cases of multiple citizenship or dual nationality, whereby a person obtains acceptance in a foreign nation based on many available factors. Each country sets its own policies for formal renunciation of citizenship. Some countries may not allow or do not recognize renunciation of citizenship or establish administrative procedures that are essentially impossible to complete.

While the passion for nationalism could be identified to be a negative attitude that makes people attached to their country of birth while at the same time abhorring other nations, human beings do have a tendency to affiliate themselves to a land with very emotional and sometimes, even violent attitudes. Most of us attach ourselves to the community, ethnicity, religion, town, school, into which we are pushed into since birth. Basically, it is emotional without a doubt.

People seek immigration to other lands where they are willing to give up their nationality at birth for economical reasons, education, development of family and children, and opportunities that may not come so easily back home.

Growing up in the land of ones birth brings with it many facets of nostalgia, memories, and feelings for the land without a doubt. Reality, on the other hand demands people to make choices to move away from these passions seeking better opportunities for themselves and their loved ones.

Whatever said and done, however democratic and human rights loving nations may claim to be, migrants will still be treated as second hand citizens. The so called "sons of the soil" even if their ancestors were immigrants, will always make first claim to their "right" to be a cut above the newbies who come in hordes thereafter. Many nations also offer immigration to people who are oppressed in their own nations for various reasons of conflict and abuse.

When one is confronted with a situation of accepting migration into a new nation one has many options to worry about, especially when they have to start all over from scratch in an environment that is alien to them.

We saw the massive exodus of the Burgher community from Ceylon when Australia opened their doors to them. Most of them have done exceedingly well in settling down and developing careers for themselves which they may not have had back home. The mass movement of the Tamil community to UK, Europe, and North America, after the ethnic crisis of 1983 is another situation when large populations have been forced to move and seek asylum in western nations.

Migration has massive impacts on the lives of the migrant as well as that of those sons of the soil living in the host nations. Clashes of culture, religious requirements, and other differences begin to have some form of impact on the people. Some are willing to accept this intrusion while others may find it unacceptable.

At the end of the day the decision to make up ones mind to stay or to move becomes totally dependent on the needs of that particular moment in time.


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