GERMAN FOREIGN AND INTERNAL MINISTRIES KEPT MY WIFE FROM ENJOYING THE ELTON JOHN CONCERT IN WIESBADEN WITH ME
By Kevin Stoda, Germany
The open-air concert started with the powerful melody, chords, and rhythms from the opening of Elton John’s YELLOW BRICK ROAD album. Naturally that music took me back to my Junior High Days in Kansas. (We, in Kansas are partial to anything that has to do with the WIZARD OF OZ.) The sounds of the YELLOW BRICK ROAD album echoed among the longest set of building columns in Europe, located at the Kurhaus, where I had settled in at the start of Elton John’s concert at 8pm near the Bowling Green in Wiesbaden on June 30, 2009. Naturally, I immediately sent my wife an SMS in Kuwait telling her where I was and what I was up to. Later, I called her in Kuwait and tried to share the music with her.
My wife’s name is Maria Victoria M. Baradero and she has worked the last 8 years in Kuwait. We have known each other for years but only decided in early autumn last year to commit ourselves to the rest of our lives together. This occurred just about the time I received a call from Germany inviting me to consider moving here and working. I had asked her if she wanted to be part of my life and whether she, too, would like to go and live in Europe—rather than work six days a week in the deserts of Arabi.
By the way, for nearly 20 years I had wanted to return to Central Europe to live and teach. I also wanted to travel with my Victoria and show her the beautiful world of Europe and its cultures—which I consider my second home—and the home of my family’s ancestors. I felt and feel that we can live a fun and low impact (on green-house gas producing) lifestyle in Europe because of the great public transportation systems there—i.e. rather than returning to the USA and trying our luck this 2009. Besides, my youngest sister is moving to work in Germany this summer, too.
GERMAN KEEPS CALLING THE STODA’S BACK
It is likely that from present-day Saxony or Thuringen in modern Germany where my great-great grandfather Friederich Stoda came to the New World from. He was originally named von Stade. However, like many emigrants around the world, his name’s spelling was changed during the migration or arrival in the Promised Land of the USA. Friederich Stoda’s story is quite sketchy. American history records only that Friederich died of ailments contracted during the U.S. Civil War, when he fought on the side of the North with Wisconsin unit. America was simply his chosen home. You see, he seems to have given up on Germany getting better on its own. The time of Friederichs arrival in the USA in the late 1840s certainly seems to have been related to the increasing Diaspora of Germanic peoples emigrating from Central Europe. This mass emigration occurred in the mid 19th centuru after the clear widespread defeat of democrats and democracy movements, which occurred after the failures of the continental Revolutions of 1848-9.
150 Years later (in January 2009), I (Kevin Anthony Stoda, who is fluent in German) arrived for the third time in two generations in Central Europe to try and eek out a living in Germany with my new bride. After some struggle, in March of this same year I received my German work visa and quickly had Maria Victoria, my soul mate and wife, go to the German Embassy in Kuwait and apply to come to Germany on a spousal visa.
I really anticipated only a little opposition to the visa. This was expected due to the fact that Maria Victoria and I had only gotten married in a civil ceremony in late December in Kuwait—despite knowing one another since 2005. However, because the European Union clearly supports the uniting of spouses under its current visa system, I hadn’t anticipate German officials trying to both use and abuse use every obstacle they could think of in order to keep my poor bride, Maria Victoria, from getting to know the Land of My Grandfathers—i.e. Germany.
Things began to go wrong right away.
First, in April the German Embassy in Kuwait misplaced my wife’s application for a visa. The application was found and it eventually arrived in Wiesbaden–over five weeks later. Next the Interior Ministries at the local visa processing office in Wiesbaden began to peck on the application and play games with our hearts, minds, and souls. First, the Wiesbaden officials had the nerve to question the validity of our Kuwait marriage certificate although it had more than the required stamps and names on it—and on the additional translated versions of that wedding document. This questioning of my marriage’s authenticity went on for several weeks before I finally contacted the Kuwait Embassy in Germany and told them that local German officials did not accept wedding certificates from the Kuwaiti Ministry of Justice.
Next, the same local Interior Ministry Officials in Wiesbaden raised an arcane claim that I did not have nor earn enough money to take care of my wife in Germany. Eventually, the local Wiesbaden officials claimed in writing that I was “about 200 dollars shy” in earning local currency each month in Germany to take care of my wife. These same officials refused to note that in addition to my salary I receive an annual annuity from my late father of over 300 dollars a month (and share rent-income with siblings members as well as receive other support in housing money through my firm each and every month.) Finally, as a very clear sign that injustice and double jeopardy are rampant in German governance and bureaucracy, this same interior ministry office in Wiesbaden also determined in mid-May to immediately begin taxing me each and every month an extra 400 dollars.
This 400 dollar additional tax is because I am currently living as a single, i.e. living alone and without a wife. That means single people pay more taxes than married couples in Germany.
Wait a Minute!
I said, “Wait, you are the very same ministry keeping my wife out of Germany (by refusing to giver her a visa)—and you have the NERVE to soak me with unfair taxes, i.e. as though I am single or an unmarried person in Germany?” In America, that would be double jeopardy, which is a crime against a citizen.
Finally, exactly seven days before Elton John arrived to give his concert in Wiesbaden this June, the local Integration and Immigration Offices in the city of Wiesbaden decided to officially claim in a very-very questionable final decision that I (Kevin Anthony Stoda) do not have enough money for my wife—despite the fact that I currently fully support my wife’s living expenses in Kuwait at a rate of well over 360 to 480 Euros per month—i.e. more than twice the 147 Euros per month that this same Tax and Interior Ministry’s civil servants in Wiesbaden, Germany claim “that I still need to earn each month” to bring my wife here.
What’s worse still?
What is even worse is that yesterday the German Embassy in Kuwait told my wife (and I pray it was stated to her in error) that my poor wife, Maria Victoria, is not allowed again to apply to come for another full year.
Another year of Forced Separation and Unfair/Illegal Taxation by German Officials
In summary, the Interior Ministry of Germany will (1) continue to keep forcing me–under false pretexts—to pay a “single person” tax of nearly 400 dollars a month and (2) maintain a forced separation for me from my wife, i.e. living on separate continents, for quite a long time.
Finally, (3) my wife was thus banned tonight from enjoying the Elton John Concert tonight in Wiesbaden tonight.
Can I (and my wife) demand an apology and justice here, Deutschland? ???Meanwhile, Elton, please, sing me a sad song.
“Guess there are times when we all need to share a little pain
And ironing out the rough spots
Is the hardest part when memories remain
And it’s times like these when we all need to hear the radio
`Cause from the lips of some old singer
We can share the troubles we already know
Turn them on, turn them on
Turn on those sad songs
When all hope is gone
Why don’t you tune in and turn them on
They reach into your room
Just feel their gentle touch
When all hope is gone
Sad songs say so much
If someone else is suffering enough to write it down
When every single word makes sense
Then it’s easier to have those songs around”