Travel On The Red
In other words, respecting the issuance of Diplomatic and Special passports...
In about 6 hours I leave for 'home', aka, where my parents and brother Greg currently are. I've been stuck here in Canada writing my final exams and as such, can only start packing all that I need for my trip home tonight. This particular post in the Caribbean poses an interesting dilemma for the Winter Holidays, as I am bringing more articles with me for my parents; comforts of home that they can't get anywhere else (like Tim Horton's Coffee and Liptons Red Rose Tea), little things that living in Canada one takes for granted. It got me thinking what other 'little things' I guess people take for granted when asking me about my impending trip home... mostly if I know how lucky I am (I do) and how much fun I am going to have (I don't). But most importantly they ask what privileges I get as I travel on my diplomatic passport, a burgundy book seemingly filled with endless law-breaking possibilities.
And so I write.
The diplomatic passport I hold in my hand is the passport I use on 'official travel'; meaning that I can only travel on the red to and from my parents post and nowhere else in the world. Within Canada I have had to use it on a lark, when my regular passport expired and my drivers license was still stuck in last nights clubbing purse. This way the privileges my parents have worked years and years for can and only will apply to the post they are currently serving.
I admit: I go through the significantly smaller 'dips and locals' line at the airport, meaning I clear customs and pick up my baggage long before the pour soul who is caught at the end of the touri line ever makes it halfway. I also go through security pretty seamlessly, but that is more a testament to my innocent demeanour and cooperative and behaved personality. Even when I readily offer to turn on my Ipod or laptop, or mention that I am wearing a necklace, rings, maybe a buckle on my mary-jane shoes to the security guard at the metal detector, I am usually waved on through with no issues whatsoever... but not because I am holding a diplomatic passport; but because I am a good citizen and not a threat.
Movies like Lethal Weapon 2 give the impression that with my diplomatic passport I can shoot a cop in front of another cop without penalty, and events such as the Russian diplomat driving drunk and killing a woman and injuring another give the impression of an impenetrable fortress of immunity from which I and all other diplobrats can disobey any law we feel does not suit our immediate needs. Let me tell you now; that is absolutely NOT true.
Think about it; why would the government issue such power to someone who would abuse it? Does that give a good impression of the country the diplomat is representing if he or she lies, cheats, steals, murders, rapes, or destroys? I don't think so, and neither should you. Sure, if I am accused of a crime at post I will be deported back to Canada for trial, but why would I do that in the first place? Why would I take a full licence at post when here in Canada I can't even get into the front seat of a car without a full G with 5 years experienced driver by my side? Why would I rob a bank or museum or some rich guy at post when I have a good job here in Canada? Why would I do or deal drugs... period? Logically, it doesn't make sense for the representatives of a country to be on their worst behaviour and have the country they portray defend and protect them.
Not to say that immunity is not handy. Oh no; diplomatic immunity was originally issued so that diplomats of both sexes, all races and religions can go about their business without harm. With this protection, each countries diplomats can establish good relations with each other so that their immunity-ace might never need to be played. But you know what, shit happens. Diplomatic immunity is the governments way of protecting the asses of their workers, and in turn, the asses of their countrymen and women visiting other nations. In the end, we are there to help you.
So next time you see a diplomat, or a diplobrat travelling on the red, don't be too harsh or judgemental. We're travelling for you.