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balaton

Dual Nationality is not a thing that the American Government approves of.  Events this week have proved it right.

Much is being made this week of the fate of Mrs Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff, an Iranian born woman who came over to Britain and married.  She has a young daughter.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliff is a journalist, which if we are honest is probably not the best career move to take in Iran.  But she works in Britain for Thomson Reuters, and was able to pursue her choice of life-style unhindered.

Until that is she went “home” with her young daughter to Iran to see her mother and was arrested for spying.  Her British family now want the British Government to dig her out of this situation and are fierce in their condemnation of the Foreign Office for being unable to help.

Trouble is as far as this situation is concerned Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliff is NOT British.  She is Iranian born, she continues to be an Iranian citizen, she has a current Iranian Passport which she entered Iran with, and has been charged by her own country for crimes committed in her own country according to law.  There is not a lot the “other” nationality can do except lean on the authorities a little.  Fat chance that will get anywhere.

Perhaps if Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliff had been more honest with herself and accepted that as she lived in Britain, worked in Britain and had family in Britain, she might have considered it wise to drop the Iranian nationality and go all Brit.

But!  I hear you cry how does she keep in touch with her family?  How does her child get to know its grandparents?  Well, the answer to that is the same answer I remember other families in the West taking, back in the sixties and seventies when they had family behind the Iron curtain.

They went on holiday.

balaton 2

West Berliners could not cross and meet East Berliners whilst the Wall was up.  Displaced family in other countries also might not choose to return to East Germany,  So, they all went on holiday together at the same time to some third country.  Like Hungary and the fabulous Lake Balaton with its chalets, hotels, camp sites, beaches, beer gardens and restaurants with huge tables to accommodate the large extended families who came back year after year.  There were sports facilities, flumes, boating, fishing and all in a beautiful climate.  Even in the early part of the Twenty-first Century when my wife and I visited at the suggestion of a Hungarian friend, it was impressive.  A very upmarket Butlins even then when its raison detre was by then all but gone.  Ripe for a renewal I suggest if Spain continues to get antsi?  The Brits really would love it.

Dual Nationality sounds lovely.  You don’t quite let go of your old identity but get all the lovely advantages of your new one.  Trouble is, as American authorities point out, that romance comes with a price tag.

Next time  “Better Go to Balaton”.

Copyright David Macadam 2017

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