Monday, November 12, 2007


IMAGINE


Let's say for the sake of extreme fantasy that you have an eminently capable government (stop laughing hysterically, it's just a fantasy), and in that government there is an appointed official with the title of Minister of Justice, who has just fully approved a new immigration system for fingerprinting and photographing visitors from abroad as a way of preventing terrorism and stigmatizing foreigners, even though your country depends a great deal on tourism and is trying to encourage more, and even though during the past 60 years the only terrorist acts in your country have been committed by fellow citizens.

If such a bizarre situation were to occur, you, as a responsible citizen of an honorable nation, would at once demand an explanation for this incompetence. Imagine further that this oxymoronic minister, in response to a question put to him only by a foreign reporter at a foreign press conference, further justifies his foreigner-stigmatizing system by saying: "A friend of a friend of mine is a member of al-Qaeda, and has entered Japan numerous times using false passports and disguises." He then adds: "This particular person was actually involved in the bombings in the center of Bali. Although he is a friend of my friend, I was advised not to go close to the center of Bali because it would be bombed."

As a loyal citizen you would rush to your nearest Center for Responsible Government (stop laughing, this is serious) and demand that this patently incompetent official be tried for treason, having knowingly allowed a terrorist to enter the country repeatedly under false pretenses, and for multiple manslaughter by omission in not passing along that tidbit about the bombing to Balinese officials, who might thereby have saved hundreds of foreigners' lives, one of whom was a fellow citizen.

But as I say, that's an extreme fantasy. Except for the quotes. And the oxymoron is still in office, in charge of the foreigner stigmatization program.

In most of the world, we're all foreigners. Try not to look too alien.

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[Update Nov 13:

6 comments:

Chancy said...

You lost me at "eminently capable government"

How do I stop laughing?

Bob Brady said...

I have the same problem, chancy, but fortunately it's interspersed with welcome changes of helpless weeping and bitter sobbing, so I manage to get a few things done...

Maya's Granny said...

To quote Sylvester Stallon in Oscar, "You're right. He is an ox and a moron."

Winston said...

"In most of the world, we're all foreigners."

Absolutely profound!

Jon said...

C'mon Bob. You're asking a bit much of my imagination there.

Leaving aside the laughable notion of accountable government (*snigger*), you ask me to imagine a minister who would admit not only to having mates (alright - mates of mates) in Al Qaeda, and to being privy to terrorism plans prior to the event? And who admits to doing nothing about it? You'll be asking me next to imagine this mythical minister being given a chance to put the whole thing down to "being misquoted", but instead compounding it all by repeating it. Oh, and then perhaps that there was no public outcry and he wasn't sacked? LOL!

Bit of a stretch to imagine all that happening in a modern, first world democracy, dontcha think?

Bob Brady said...

Yeah Jon, guess my imagination did get a bit carried away there; you know how dull eminently capable government can be...