It’s all about our passport lately, isn’t it? And isn’t it quite odd that our passport is being discussed so fervently by almost everyone given that the news that is seemingly new is actually anything but? I remember writing about it way back in July 2012 and nothing has changed since, as is expected obviously (link).
Well, there are two interesting reactions to observe regarding the latest non-original news about the Lebanese passport. The first is by some Lebanese regarding the ranking of our passport, a reaction that you can observe via the comments on the list that had us ranked in the ten worst passport list, which I’ve screenshot in the following gallery:
Lebanese people sometimes miss the bigger picture. Well, in the case of the aforementioned comments, the big picture was missed alright for the sake of a picture. Our passport sucks? Well, I guess that’s okay some Lebanese would say as long as the you show our girls rocking Skybar and our men holding their favorite alcoholic drinks and flashing their million dollar smiles to Beiruting cameras. It’s also the case with all those Lebanese feel-good short movies that give everyone a happiness boost to get them through a day. Denial can go a long way.
Of course, denial is what the second reaction to our passport ranking is all about as well but it’s at a higher level as Lebanon’s General Security apparatus had an official statement on the matter that went almost as follows: Nope, nope they got it all wrong. This is what happens when things get lost in translation. Our passport is actually one of the best!
I’m not kidding. The official text, as translated by yours truly, goes as follows:
“Some news platforms have incorrectly translated a report labeling Lebanon’s among the top ten worst passports in the world, which affected Lebanon’s image. In fact, the Lebanese passport is among the best in the world and will soon adopt biometric standards which provides its holders with more benefits, making the Lebanese passport similar with international standards.”
I didn’t know the merits of a passport were contingent upon the way it is. To tell you the truth, I have no idea what General Security mean by whatever they wanted to say. Is our passport awesome because of its navy blue color? Remind me to consult with some fashion expert and see if navy blue is in.
Is our passport awesome because it has a golden cedar on it? But I thought those cedars were being uprooted in Bcharre for the wedding of a former MP’s son. Is our passport superior because it’s expensive? Lebanese logic seems to dictate as such.
Is our passport grand because its first page tells its holder that losing this document is punishable whereas most other countries inform their passport’s holder that they would go to the ends of the Earth to defend them? Our security apparatus would definitely think that is great.
Is our passport the best because it will soon have a biometric imprint that has been available for years and years now in the passports of all those countries that can access much more countries than we can, including some countries that we like to laugh about? I’m sure General Security thinks improvement renders us the best. Will that make our passport even more expensive? That’d make General Security happier too.
Except, of course, a passport’s merits aren’t in the way it looks, its size or the feeling it has in your hand or how efficiently it gets scanned at border controls. But don’t tell people that because we can twist any simple data we have into whatever gets us to sleep better at night. Let’s call it a way of life. Let’s call it perpetuating the status quo. Do Lebanese really want to improve their passport? By the looks of it, many of them probably couldn’t care less.