My lack of faith in my intuition about the dual citizenship issue has sort of encouraged me to keep my opinions wishy-washy and indirect—to criticize with glancing shots. In my previous post, for example. I have to asterisk the most important point out of diffidence.
The wariness was the result of the fact that though I suspected that my eligibility for Lithuanian citizenship had not changed as a result of the 2006 Lithuanian Supreme Court decision regarding dual citizenship, I did not know that it had not changed.
In preparing a letter to the editor that I sent to Amerikos lietuvis to denounce the dishonest distortion of the citizenship issue provided by my representative, PLB chairperson Regina Narušienė, I decided that the force of my rhetoric crucially depended on my being able to turn my suspicion into fact.
Turns out I was right—and I didn’t even have to make a phone call. The Lithuanian Embassy’s website says clearly (and in mostly intelligible English, even!):
[P]ersons, restoring or applying for the citizenship of Lithuania as of 16th of November, 2006, must remounce their current citizeship after it will be stated that he or she is eligible and can become a Lithuanian citizen. Those who are willing to apply may do so according to the established procedure (see bellow). After analyzing the application the person will be informed if s/he is eligible to become a Lithuanian citizen. Person, willing to obtain Lithuanian citizenship and a passport, will then have to renounce his or her current citizenship and prove this fact to the Lithuanian migration authorities. [sic all of this]
The “bellow” includes both eligibilities:
- persons who were citizens of the Republic of Lithuania prior to 15 June 1940, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, residing in other states (provided that such persons, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren did not repatriate);
- persons of Lithuanian descent who reside in other states.
In other words, and I’ll write this in huge letters:
Everyone who was eligible for Lithuanian citizenship before the Supreme Court ruling is STILL eligible for Lithuanian citizenship.
There is no “taking away.” There is no “revoking.” There is no “abusing rights.” There is no “betraying.”
All that changed after 16 November 2006 is that anyone who exercises a right to citizenship must, also, renounce their previous citizenship.
This is obviously not a small thing to renounce. But it does mean that anyone who complains about the decision is not actually complaining about a right to citizenship. Given the recommendations by the Seimas work group on dual citizenship, this complaining person (read: Narušienė) is using the rhetoric of rights to argue for the mere privilege of indecision. If I want Lithuanian citizenship, I can get it. But it, like everything in life, has a cost. It is now a far steeper one than it was before. But I can still get it.
The payoff: to say that the focus of the argument is misguided when it is about dual citizenship, as the focus should be on the revoking of a birthright is A LIE.