Another year, another EIBF visa debacle

‘I apologise for my country.’ This might of course not be my country; I wasn’t born here and I’m uncertain they will let me stay here, but still. I apologise.

Ehsan Abdollahi by Chris Close

After the debacle over a visa for Ehsan Abdollahi’s appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last year, I thought we had this ironed out. Stupid, I know, considering what has been going on domestically in the last year. But I really thought so.

Now it seems that what was done to him, the Home Office are repeating and doing to lots more invited authors and illustrators due to be in Edinburgh very soon. That includes Ehsan again, as well as his colleague at Tiny Owl, Marjan Vafaeian. They are either too rich or too poor, or too much something else, or too little. Or any other excuse.

As the MP for Edinburgh North and Leith says in the Guardian, ‘You have to ask why they think highly acclaimed artists would throw away their careers and leave their family and friends to live as illegal immigrants.’

How can they do this? How dare they?

Even when Britain was a normal and reasonable country, you’d have to ask yourself why the rest of the world would suddenly want to come here and stay forever. As things are now, no one would.

The word international in the Edinburgh International Book Festival does not only cover Americans or Nordic Noir authors, whom I assume are deemed worthy enough to be allowed in. It covers people from all sorts of different countries.

By next year none of them will want to come.

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2 responses to “Another year, another EIBF visa debacle

  1. odetteelliott6

    Really distressing reading about visa problems. Most embarassing.

    (Also commenting because I want to thank you for all your interesting posts throughout the year. It’s good to hear about the Edinburgh Book Festival. I went two years running but now my daughter is living in Inverness – too far for a day trip.) Keep up the good work! Love your conversational style. Odette

  2. Thank you, Odette!

    The visa issues have now been mostly resolved, by which I mean the other authors have got theirs, even if it means they missed their events. (EIBF are organising more, though.) Ehsan Abdollahi is still waiting to be allowed into the country. I’d have thought he proved last year that he wasn’t going to stay on illegally.

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