Wed | Jun 19, 2024

Letter of the Day | Passport is not merely a travel document

Published:Wednesday | May 22, 2024 | 12:07 AM


As we re-examine the paramount importance of citizenship and the profound responsibilities attached to the ownership of a country’s passport, let us not confuse having an allegiance with spying for the state.

Citizenship is not merely a legal status; it embodies a commitment to the nation, its values, and its people. In contrast, possessing a passport without allegiance to the state embodies a concerning detachment from the societal fabric and dilutes the essence of being a citizen.

Citizenship confers a range of rights and duties that go hand in hand. By being a citizen, one pledges loyalty to the country, upholds its laws, and contributes to its progress. This allegiance is not merely a formality, but a vital bond that ties individuals to the collective welfare of the nation. It entails a sense of belonging, responsibility, and a duty to participate in civil society.

The ownership of a country’s passport symbolises more than just a travel document; it signifies recognition by the state as one of its own. With this recognition comes a set of responsibilities, including the obligation to abide by the laws, pay taxes, serve one’s community, and defend the nation’s interests when required. A passport is not a commodity disconnected from the ideals and obligations that come with belonging to a nation.

When individuals hold a country’s passport without a genuine commitment to its values and well-being, it erodes the very foundation of citizenship. It reduces citizenship to a transactional relationship, devoid of the mutual obligations that underpin a thriving, functioning democracy.

Swearing allegiance to a state does not automatically make you a spy for that state. When individuals swear allegiance to a state, they are usually expressing their loyalty and commitment to that country, its values, and its constitution.

Being a spy, on the other hand, typically involves covertly gathering intelligence or engaging in espionage activities on behalf of a foreign government or organisation, without the knowledge or authorisation of the country in which the spy operates. Spies aim to obtain secret or confidential information that can be used to give an advantage to the foreign entity they serve.

While it is possible that someone who has sworn allegiance to a state may also engage in spying activities for that state, the act of swearing allegiance alone does not automatically make someone a spy. Spying is a specific and covert activity that involves much more than mere allegiance or loyalty to a state.

As we navigate an increasingly interconnected world, it is vital to uphold the sanctity of citizenship and honour the responsibilities that come with it. Citizenship transcends mere legal status — it requires active engagement, respect for the rule of law, and a dedication to the common good.


Mandeville, Manchester