While I was looking for a movie to watch at one of the movie theaters here in Seoul and I was happy to find a brochure advertising Le Silence de Lorna or Lorna’s Silence. It’s a French Flemish movie that was shown at the Cannes Film Festival.
The main character, Lorna, is an Albanian immigrant trying to get citizenship in Belgium by marrying Claudy, a drug addict. She plans to divorce Claudy so that she and her boyfriend Sokol can open their dream business. But because of previous business dealings, the Russian mob wants her to marry one of their own to get them Flemish citizenship. She doesn’t want them to kill Claudy, so she attempts to divorce him on the grounds of spousal abuse, which the police really don’t believe. Her contact to the Russian mob becomes impatient and Claudy is killed.
It was an extremely well done film, beautifully shot and well acted, not (too) melodramatic at all. Although there were times that I did shake my head at Lorna because of the situation that she got herself into with the Russian mob. Which did make me think about what exact lengths people will go through to get citizenship and not necessarily any of it legal. When countries have such stringent immigration laws, desperate people will turn to anyone that they think will be able to help them and forget about the consequences of turning to someone outside of the law for help.
I’m not saying that this condones illegal immigration in any way. But it does point out, in a dramatic way sure, but it does point out the things that someone people will do and that the government/society needs to step in and help prevent these kinds of situation. I have friends that have waited eight years or more to be able to come to the States legally and I have friends that are still waiting for anything that would allow them to live and work in the States or even become citizens. They have spent large amounts of time and money and frustration trying to get everything in order so that the American embassy will accept their applications and documentation.
Marriage is a sacred institution, in my opinion, which you are free to agree with or disagree, so to marry someone for the sole purpose of a marriage of convenience for a passport, goes against many things that I believe in. I know someone possibly will bring up marrying for money, but the most you could get out of a divorce is a 50-50 split if there wasn’t a prenup (that’s a topic for another time). Marrying and divorcing for a passport one person gets something that is more tangible and intangible than they had before or compared to money, they get citizenship and a passport.
Passports are worth more than money. I was eligible for a Korean passport, although I never had one, but last year I formally gave up any right to one and signed away my Korean citizenship. The reason why was simple, having an American passport has far more advantages than a Korean passport. As a Korean citizen, I could travel to Cuba and Libya (which really aren’t on my list of countries to travel to) and I need a tourist visa for every single country on the planet and even transit visa for some other countries. And the few countries that I need a visa for as an American citizen generally charge less than if I was a Korean citizen.