Rights that come with citizenship and the duties that may also attend with the same mainly to criticize the deeply uneual nature of different sorts of citizenship as well as the absurdity of having basic political rights becoming a tradable commodity Citizenship far from being a universal category that provides the basis for universal human rights turns out to be as varied in its ualities as the states that supply them What s clear however is that having passports means ou have rights and so for many globe trotting elites having multiple passports represents both a convenience and a political insurance policy in case things get dicey for them in a particular locale A foreign passport can serve as a literal get out of jail free cardBut the other category of consumers for these commercial passports is even intriguing namely the stateless for whom the possibility of a being able to purchase a passport and thus finally gain access to the the right to have rights as Arendt put it might seem like an unmitigated blessing Here however is where Abrahamian s story turns particularly interesting and dark It turns out that in the case of the Comoran passports some of the biggest customers turn out to have been the Kuwaiti and Emirati governments which were interested in purchasing thousands of Comoran passports in order to give them to the bidoon The bidoon are Gulf born residents who for various reasons often because their forebears had been immigrants from elsewhere did not claim or receive citizenship status when the opportunity arose in the postwar period The statelessness of the bidoon have been a political embarrassment for ears one made worse by the progressive hardening of the Gulf states definitions of citizenship in the wake of Ira s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 which was prompted in part by a desire to re write the kinds of state and citizenship lines that the Brits and French beueathed to the middle east as part of the postcolonial succession In the rising commercialized passport industry these governments saw a brilliant solution to their dilemma of what to do ABOUT THESE PEOPLE WHO THEIR LEGAL MACHINATIONS HAD RENDERED these people who their legal machinations had rendered by giving them a Comoran passport these lifelong residents of the Gulf states could now be declared visa less foreigners and deportedNeedless to say this wasn t what most of the bidoon wanted themselves what they wanted was Emirati or Kuwaiti citizenship since these passports are far valuable For example Kuwaiti citizens get 55Kyear in direct cash transfers from their government than those associated with some remote and impoverished Indian Ocean archipelago Thus the great irony the process of expanding citizenship to the undocumented worked in practice to violate their subjective desires while the Gulf States attempted to deploy the language of human eg political rights as a way to deflect economic social and spatial claims making Thus are the ironies of the liberal global human rights regime in an age where everything even citizenship becomes a commodity wealthy and white ou re an expat hard working and from a third world country ou re an immigrant poor or black or on the brink of death ou re a migrant the sale of citizenshipspeaks to the arbitrariness of the concept of belonging to a nation to begin with This is a marvelous book I knew virtually nothing about how citizenships are sold nowadays by the rich who want useful passports either for international travel or to avoid taxes eg did ou know that one of Facebooks co founders renounced his US citizenship in order to avoid taxes as well #as by the poor Kuwait the Emirates etc are trying to get rid of their stateless population # by the poor Kuwait the Emirates etc are trying to get rid of their stateless population deporting them with freshly bought passports Definitely gets ou to think about the concept of a nation and borders 2500 ears after the first cynics and stoics hated the idea and thought of themselves as being cosmopolites At first I tread through this book extremely cautiously as I remembered that historical don t tread on me type saying but later on I found Abrahamian s style incredibly harmless positive and constructive for this brave new world that we are building togetherAbout halfway through I remembered to check the back for the endnotes She does not note where each comment is inserted where it is meant but I am OK with that as what she had to say intrigued meIt encouraged me to check out the paper Al Jazeera a little bit often Beforehand I thought maybe I shouldn t since I was honestly just willing to hide in my closet with my cats since the world is a terrifying place But seriously my International Relations professor discussed Al Jazeera right alongside the New York Times Why no. Ding passport burning atheist hackers the new Knights of Malta California libertarian seasteaders who are residents of floating city states Bidoons who have been forced to be citizens of the island nation Comoros entrepreneurs in the business of buying and selling passports cosmopolites who live on a luxury cruise ship called The World and shady businessmen with ties to Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. The rejection of all citizenship and politics going all the way back to the Cynic school of ancient Greek philosophy In the book this is characterised by Roger Ver a radical libertarian tech entrepreneur who wants to opt out of interference from the state and create a kind of Galt s Gulch of Ayn Rand s Atlas Shrugged where he can exist free from the reach of any goverment infringement on personal liberty including the obligation to pay taxesSecond a universal concept of citizenship which envisions all humankind united under a global government The only slightly less ancient Stoic school of Greek philosophy advocates this and so too did Garry Davis the deceased founder of the World Service Authority granting the unrecognized World PassportMy main criticism of The Cosmopolites is that I wish some of the very interesting developments in this space could have been fleshed out The Seasteading Institute Bitcoin and Estonia s e residency were all mentioned but only in passingHowever The Cosmopolites raises some very topical uestions especially since as Abrahamian notes such so much of lives are now onlineI will finish this review with my favorite uestion the book poses What does citizenship become when it becomes detached from any kind of civic engagement and political identification when it is a matter of convenience not community What are the states when members of a community no longer feel a particular kinship or loyalty to any particular place I started re reading this book during uarantine because of the situation we re all faced inThis book is a great read as it examines a good variety of ways citizenship has been commercialized and also in a sense weaponized Fascinating stuff I wish it had expanded a little bit to discuss global immigration trends or trends with regard to visas and passports Nonetheless it goes into some really detailed discussions on specific issues for example the purchasing of Comorosian citizenship by the Kuwait government so that they could get rid of their stateless people or the passport industry of St Kitts and Nevis which now makes up around 25% of their entire GDP Would recommend Some are born citizens some purchase citizenship and some have citizenship thrust upon them this in a nutshell provides the narrative arc to Abrahamian s wonderful little book At its analytic core this book is an account of the rise of the passport sales industry pioneered by various passport entrepreneurs who have figured that this is a good revenue generation scheme for many impoverished island nations she Focuses On The Comoro Islands A Former on the Comoro Islands a former colony in the Indian Ocean and St Kitts and Nevis a former British colony in the Caribbean who often have very little else to sell Essentially these passport entrepreneurs arrive in these islands with a pitch for arbitraging one of the great remaining barriers within our globalizing world namely the stolidity of citizenship still something that the vast majority of people inherit as a birthright much as titles are inherited by aristocrats Some of these citizenships are worth a great deal than others the Swiss being the best and Afghan perhaps the least valuable measured both by the global mobility that the passport afford as well as the social benefits the holder can claim from the state As Sam Moyn and others have pointed out citizenship in a particular state is the still the primary vehicle through which rights are claimed Many of these passport entrepreneurs combine hucksterism with ideological passion either
of a libertarian sort claiming they are undoing arbitrary and repressive government regulations or a a libertarian sort claiming they are undoing arbitrary and repressive government regulations or a sort claiming they are solving the problem of statelessness Both types also claimed that by providing a new income stream to these poor islands they were kick starting a development process that in the case of the Comoros involved imagining these islands as a future Arab HawaiiPart of what is most interesting about Abrahamian s account is the varied customers for these passports for sale On the one hand the primary customers consist of the most privileged people on the planet who prefer to have multiple passports since each one comes with a particular mix of privileges these are the primary customers that the libertarian hucksters see themselves as serving In this phase of the story we seem to have a classic story about globalization eroding national sovereignties with these passport entrepreneurs promoting themselves as avatars of modernization and global cosmopolitanism against the atavistic mono citizenship regimes inherited from the 20th century Abrahamian asks some difficult uestions here about the relationship between the. Ch or poor intentional or unwitting from 1 percenters who own five passports thanks to tax havens to the Bidoon the stateless people of countries like the United Arab Emirates Journalist Atossa Abrahamian herself a cosmopolite travels around the globe to meet the people who have come to embody an increasingly fluid borderless worldAlong the way ou are introduced to a colorful cast of characters inclu. ,
review ò E-book, or Kindle E-pub Ï Atossa Araxia Abrahamian,
One of my colleagues recommended this book though I can t recall how he or she used it or the subject matter of the class I currently teach a writing class and am interested in using a theme of global engagementcitizenship so this looks interesting It s absolutely not what I was expectingI figured the book would be about seeing beyond national borders to see ourselves as citizens of the entire world thus making international concerns our own and that was actually not far off in some ways Abrahamian focuses on the issues of those people who are not legally or officially recognized as "Citizens Of Any Country I Would Argue "of any country I would argue a significant part of the population in the US doesn t have to worry about that I know I certainly didn t But for people who were legally in a country until they suddenly weren t life is close to a guessing game The book also looks at countries who are not well off economically and how business people can take advantages by buying and selling citizenship This is what happens when whole countries have agreements to honor the passports and citizenship of other countries It s politically and economically convenient and apparently it s also a pretty successful business But countries that weren t well off to begin with still aren t well off It s sort of like having the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil police brutality unemployment political instability and horrendous violations and rape of women aren t going away anytime soonI m living in a time where my passport isn t a big deal I mean I can t just go live in Italy but my passport will get me there and home and I won t be arrested and moved to some other country that I ve never known And I don t think the possibility of a President Donald Trump will change that necessarily But man we re talking a lot about borders these days and it s worrisome that all it takes is a politician s signature that can so dramatically change the worldThere really is no closure to this issue of course it s still happening But I think it really effectively brings up the concept of borders and how often we rely on them and on the ideals of nationalism I also have to give to the author Abrahamian does a fantastic job of relaying the information in an objective clear and powerful way This isn t to say that she doesn t have a message but she s letting the information speak for itself I am absolutely using this book in my writing class and I m interested in reading of the Columbian Global Reports They re short easy to read and significant This was an interesting book but it wasn t as varied as I had expected There s a couple of interesting story arcs in but it wasn t as varied as I had expected There s a couple of interesting story arcs in anthology of extra citizenship and a tolerable minimum of filler There s in the way of uncritical reporting than actual analysis though every mention of Bitcoin makes my teeth itch A fascinating thought provoking book about citizenship in the 21st centuryThe book s main story arc covers a group of stateless people known as the bidoon who live in Middle Eastern countries like the UAE and Kuwait As non citizens of the countries they inhabit the bidoon are denied many of the benefits that full citizens enjoyThe oil rich Middle Eastern governments did not want to grant their own citizenship to the bidoon so they instead hatched a fanciful scheme to give the bidoon citizenship of Comoros a tiny impoverished island nation thousands of miles away off the coast of AfricaIn exchange for selling Comorion passports to the bidoon in the Middle East the Comoros would receive a much needed injection of funds For their part the Arabs hoped to ease the pressure coming from the international community who were demanding they solve the bidoon s stateless status The reader gets treated to a wonderful piece of investigative journalism around how the whole affair played outHowever the part of The Cosmopolites which I enjoyed the most was the author s probing inuiry into the concept of citizenship itself in our globalizing worldNation based citizenship is something which most people take for granted because it has been the only system we have really known in our lifetimes It originated in the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 It might be long overdue for a shake up As Abrahamian writes The nation state system 1648 It might be long overdue for a shake up As Abrahamian writes The nation state system neither humanity s first conception of citizenship nor will it be the lastGiven the greater international mobility many people now enjoy their identity is often not so easily categorized into one particular place Add to that the fact that many of the world s most crtitical challenges are global rather than local in scopeIn particular the book raises two contrasting visions of those who dream of a world without bordersFirst. The cosmopolites are literally citizens of the world from the Greek word kosmos meaning world and polites or citizen Garry Davis aka World Citizen No 1 and creator of the World Passport was a former Broadway actor and World War II bomber pilot who renounced his American citizenship in 1948 as a form of protest against nationalism sovereign borders and war Today there are cosmopolites of all stripes ri.