Welcome to Bush's post 9/11 United States, where visiting scholars, among the world's' best and brightest', are denied entry, and quickly become 'personas non gratas' owing to the tender sensibilities of our 'Limbaugh Land' gatekeepers. Read the following melancholic case of this internationally renowned music scholar and our dumb authorities' provincial 'unmusical and illiterate' reaction.
Nalini Ghuman, an up-and-coming musicologist and expert on the British composer Edward Elgar, was stopped at the San Francisco airport in August last year and, without explanation, told that she was no longer allowed to enter the United States...
In a written account of the next eight hours that she prepared for her lawyer, Ms. Ghuman said that officers tore up her H-1B visa, which was valid through May 2008, defaced her British passport, and seemed suspicious of everything from her music cassettes to the fact that she had listed Welsh as a language she speaks. A redacted government report about the episode obtained by her lawyer under the Freedom of Information Act erroneously described her as "Hispanic."
The Reality-Based site feels that the real reason for her exclusion is not that she speaks Welsh, but that it is musical, and her husband is a countertenor.
The case of Nalini Ghuman unfortunately, is hardly the exception. From 'the Chronicle of Higher Education'
Academic and civil-liberties groups say Mr. Lafta's case, (an Iraqi professor of medicine who was denied entry to give a lecture on child cancer rates) is troubling but not unique. They assert that during the last year or so the Bush administration has increased its use of heightened security measures, introduced after the 2001 terrorist attacks, to keep out foreign scholars whose politics or ideas it does not like. In such cases the government does not give reasons for denying a visa, making it nearly impossible to challenge the decision, academic advocates say.
"Each new case seems to underscore the doubts that the administration has any justifiable security basis" to exclude the scholars, says Jonathan Knight, director of the program on academic freedom and tenure at the American Association of University Professors.
The pattern not only hurts the scholars in question, but also damages America's reputation for academic freedom, those groups say. Some academic associations have felt forced to move their meetings to Canada to ensure that members from other countries can attend. They also report that the United States has become a less appealing destination for foreign scholars.
So the trend is a kind of reverse 'brain drain' to Canada, as occurred in the 60's and 70's, the other way round. The anti-intellectual Bush administration must be pleased that so many foreign academics, suspect, because of their high 'iq's' and possibly contaminating liberal viewpoints, can be denied entry to the US so easily, simply by the arbitrary and unverifiable suspicion of anyone, however anonymous. And then once you are on a list, even by mistake, it seems impossible to have your name removed. No wonder most of America doesn't like the direction, this administration is taking the country, all in the name of protecting our 'freedumb'.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!