|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/12/14 10:07 北京青年报|
Chinese students having trouble getting a US visa may wonder whether ordinary Americans care. Today's cartoon is a partial answer: most Americans do care provided they are truly aware of the difficulties foreign students face -- and if they distinguish between foreigners studying in America and the stream of immigrants entering the country. Those, however, are two pretty big ifs.
Do American newspaper readers know that it has been harder for all foreign students to get permission to enter the US since 9/11? There are sporadic accounts in the press of such problems, but not enough to make much of an impression on the ordinary citizen without a personal reason to pay attention to such matters. The US response to 9/11 has been so large and on so many different levels that the problems of foreign students seem to most people of minor concern -- much less important than, for instance, all the problems associated with airport security. And some Americans feel that the visa authorities were much too lax before 9/11 -- after all, several of the Arab hijackers had been residing in the US on student visas -- so perhaps extra strictness, despite all the attendant inconveniences, is justified.
Foreign students could get the story into the papers more if they knew how to work the system. In this regard East Asian students are among the most clueless: too often incurious and self-absorbed, they are notoriously out of touch with American society, and also slow to form advocacy groups. Thus most of the coverage in the US press comes not in response to effective student agitation, but to complaints by university presidents and business leaders to Congress or the State Department. And it has taken a long time for that irritation to build up among these prominent Americans: only in the past year have their anger and concern made it into the headlines, and even then usually not on the front page.
Gary Varvel's cartoon is unusual in taking up an issue of such limited concern to most people. In contrast, illegal immigration, hundreds of thousands of people flooding in from Latin America every year, is very much on the mind of the American man in the street. But note that even this sympathetic cartoon is ill-informed: student visa applicants would be delighted if the arrangements in American consulates around the world were as friendly as in the cartoon. Why, you could actually insist on a civilized conversation over this sort of open counter! Just try insisting on anything through the heavy glass partitions in the usual US visa office these days!(听英文53598)