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Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement

meself 27 Jul 09 - 11:23 AM
meself 28 Jul 09 - 10:24 AM
Peace 28 Jul 09 - 11:19 AM
Gweltas 28 Jul 09 - 11:01 PM
sian, west wales 29 Jul 09 - 07:50 AM
meself 29 Jul 09 - 11:06 AM
meself 30 Jul 09 - 10:57 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 30 Jul 09 - 09:12 PM
Beer 30 Jul 09 - 10:10 PM
meself 30 Jul 09 - 11:06 PM
Beer 30 Jul 09 - 11:09 PM
Peace 08 Aug 09 - 09:25 PM
VirginiaTam 09 Aug 09 - 03:52 AM
Peace 12 Aug 09 - 04:27 PM
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Subject: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: meself
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 11:23 AM

I've copied this from the Cape Breton music list. I can't vouch for the veracity of the story. According to the talk, the fiddler in question didn't have all her paperwork in order. (There is, of course, a school of thought according to which anyone who doesn't have their paperwork in order deserves whatever they get ... ) I'll add a clicky.


PLEASE SIGN A PETITION to ease visa regulations that are choking off cultural exchanges:

Recently, a Cape Breton fiddler was interrogated at the Maine border for 4 hours and then banned for life from visiting the US; all her events were cancelled. Same with her driving companion, who was banned for "attempting to smuggle an illegal alien" into the US. The guards had searched her laptop computer to find contacts with people about workshops and small performances -- she had no contracts, just an expectation of earning something for sharing her expertise here. She was told she could apply for a waiver but Homeland Security informed her they only give waivers to convicted criminals.

This is not a new situation, and things have gone too far: festivals such as Boston College's Gaelic Roots Festival have died due to increased difficulty in obtaining visas. Cultural exchange is being choked--Irish, Hispanic, Asian, African-- because visa regulations focus entirely on commerce--no one is permitted to earn a penny including pocket money or accommodations without a work visa. Musicians are treated like major security risks. The problem is that cultural exchange is not about commerce; it's about demonstrating and teaching cultural traditions across borders. It's often prohibitive to pay visa fees, provide a firm itinerary with no permission to change it more than 95 days in advance of visa approval, or pay $1000 rush fee if approval is needed sooner than 95 days. This is not a problem for big bands doing tours, but impossible for short visits by experts to schools, house concerts, music camps, community dances, and small venues.

You can help--sign the petition for CEFTA, the Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement, which I have written in consultation with people on both sides of the border and plan to present to Sen Snowe and others. The more signatures, the more seriously they will take this.

You can read info and sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/cefta -- Thanks and please pass the word!

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/cefta


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: meself
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 10:24 AM

Back to the top.


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: Peace
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 11:19 AM

If you miss I'll keep this thread up there, meself.


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: Gweltas
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 11:01 PM

Signed !


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: sian, west wales
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 07:50 AM

We've had something similar here in Wales. One of our best traditional singers was barred from the States and his gig at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival but the problem there was that he went through official channels and told the truth. As it happens, he had been involved with the Welsh independence and language campaigns of the 1970s and had 'done time' for taking down some English-only road signs ... about 40 years ago. There are many of us who believe that there wouldn't be a National Assembly in Wales (as well as a lot of other things like a Wales Regional BBC) without these protests. So it's fair for us to say that without the protests Wales wouldn't be in a position to accept the Smithsonian offer in the first place.

Anyway, they offered him a one-off waiver but said he'd be banned for the rest of infinity (can you have a 'rest' of something infinite?) so he said thanks, no thanks. I cancelled my trip too, and I have enough places in the world that I want to, and can, visit without jumping through the hoops the American Gov't is holding up for me to even get a simple visitor's visa.

Interestingly, I'm supposed to be welcoming the American Attache with responsibility for Wales to the Folk House at our National Eisteddfod on Monday. Still, I'll remember what My Aged Mum advises: If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. (Prov 25) Of course, Mum wasn't so much concerned for the Lord's reward; her slant was that being nice to your enemy drives 'em mad... Sly fox, my mum.

We've also had a problem in Swansea. A Russian Ballet Company has relocated lock-stock-and-tutus to the city and has been resident there for a few years now. 5 principle dancers went back to Russia for some 'do' or other, and now they can't get back into the UK! 'Though they live here! And Principle Ballerinas are not in over supply in the Welsh work force. Don't know if that's been settled yet.

Mind you, as initially said above, the Cape Breton artist was going in under the radar, and that is always going to run a risk.

sian


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: meself
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 11:06 AM

The American Attache is not necessarily your "enemy" - in fact, he may be your ally - depending which faction he belongs to ...

The CB fiddler in question no doubt knew she was taking a bit of a risk - but could hardly expect that, if caught trying to slip across the line to do a few low-profile, low-paying gigs, she would be banned for life.


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: meself
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 10:57 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 09:12 PM

There is a historic cultural and family tie between Cape Breton and the "Boston States". Borders are artificial barriers that impede exchanges that enrich us on both sides. In this case the penalty seems very heavy handed! I know who this fiddler is and she is a fine talented young lady. It seems the greatest loss would be to those denied hearing her play.


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: Beer
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 10:10 PM

Well it has gone way to far and this sort of thing is happening more frequently. I am scheduled to play in a town called Peru Vermont in September and I'm getting concerned. Not in that I have done anything wrong in the past (that is on record), but that I may be held at gun point for something I am not guilty of. Laugh if you will but this is happening.
Meself, is it possible that what you said; "attempting to smuggle an illegal alien" had something to do with it?
I am going to the Champlain Valley Folk Festival this weekend and if I have no problems I will sign the petition when I get back.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: meself
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 11:06 PM

I take it that the "illegal alien" referred to was the fiddler herself - the driver of the vehicle in which she was the passenger was accused and, in effect, convicted, of attempting to "smuggle" her into the States, according to the account above - please note, I merely copied-and-pasted it; I didn't write it.

Have fun at Champlain Valley - I went to that one once many years ago - it was great.

As for your Peru event - if you're doing everything by the book, there should be no problem - if not, who knows?


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: Beer
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 11:09 PM

Thanks buddy for clearing that up. My mistake in reading the article.
adrien


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: Peace
Date: 08 Aug 09 - 09:25 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 03:52 AM

signed and comment left on petition


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Subject: RE: Cultural Exchange Free Trade Agreement
From: Peace
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 04:27 PM

refresh


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