The US/Italian writer Anthony St. John is having some problems with the US/Italian bureaucracy. In fact, the problem has remained unsolved for 16 years. So, now he have written an open letter to the US President Barack Obama, asking for help. He’s really not asking for much, just to be released from his US citizenship:
“I ask you, President Obama, to instruct your muddleheaded dependents in the DisUnited States Consulate in Firenze to cease lying to me and quit hiding behind bullet-proof glass.”
Anthony St. John
Some time ago I stumbled over some of Mr. St.John’s writing. I really don’t know much about him, but I have found his work quite fascinating, especially his essays on the Vietnam war. But recently I discovered a letter addressed to the US president. A letter that tells the real life story of the 64 year old Anthony St. John,
Here’s the first part of the 15 pages letter:
“President Obama, Please Release Me, Let Me Go!”
“For I Do Not Love the DisUnited States of America Anymore!”
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
WASHINGTON DC 20520
I hope this communication finds you, your wife and your children well.
On 27 March 1994 I reduced to ashes my United States’ passport and mailed a letter renouncing my DisUnited States’ citizenship. The passport had expired that day, and I had set it to flames so that no one could find it—stolen DisUnited States’ passports can fetch a handsome sum on the black market; the possibility—although remote—that mine might wind up in a terrorist’s hand, was not to my liking. It was also my intention, at that time, to make a dramatic gesture that would mirror my antipathy and help myself realize more the seriousness of my action.
At that point in time, I thought erroneously that my connection to the United States—which I had considered breaking for many years before—had become a fait accompli, at least in one authentic mode: I had dealt my own hand. It was not until years later that I would have come to realise that my abnegation was not in any sense “legitimate.” Since 27 March 1994 my swan song to the DisUnited States of America has been true-to-life only for me! When I dwelt at first on the newly-discovered realization, I was genuinely flabbergasted! I guessed then I would have to visit the DisUnited States Consulate in Firenze (Florence, Italy) and submit to bureaucratic rigmarole! I was verily disgusted. I did not even have the democratic right to give up claim to my own citizenship! Worse, now that repudiation depended on dull, foggy-bottomed office workers set, in an aura of an institutionalized paranoia, behind bulletproof glass. I do not like to go to these sterile places. But I had to.
On 30 October 1997, I strolled to the consulate in Firenze and signed first an original of three papers and, after, two copied sets of them documenting my official request to cut the cord which binds me to my DisUnited States’ citizenship.
Your subordinates, true to form, did not disappoint me by not acting pettily. When I asked them for photocopies for me of the official papers, they refused to oblige. Very unkind. When I asked them if I was then now “officially” a non- DisUnited States’ citizen, the consul himself replied curtly: “99%.” Very not nice. When I asked him to explain, he told me it depended on whether or not the DisUnited States’
Department of State would be inclined to approve my solicitation; yet, he saw no reason to believe that Washington would not approve the pleading. I was informed that I would “probably” receive Washington’s official sanction in two weeks and it, then, would be dispatched to me by post.
On 16 May 2000, I called the consulate (055-239.82.76) to check on the status of my petition. Maria (“…the one handling your case…”) suggested I should re-submit my beseechment. I propounded that she make a photocopy of the original and send that to Washington: “No.” I must come into the consulate and sign again all the forms! I asked her to look further into the matter. She said “O.K.”; and , on her own, she promised she would call me back with her findings. Still today, no word from Maria.
Why all this delay? Why the false information? False promises? Why am I not allowed to renounce my own citizenship?
I ask you, President Obama, to instruct your muddleheaded dependents in the DisUnited States Consulate in Firenze to cease lying to me and quit hiding behind bullet-proof glass.
If we must meet again, I will be happy to return to the consulate and sign “new” renunciation documents provided someone promises me that those official papers will be sent to me within thirty (30) days of my signing them.
Anthony St. John