When it comes to the future of the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, I always wonder why those who are against it are running a campaign called “Close Guantanamo”.
I looks to me like Guantanamo is already rather closed with all its fences and cells and guards and barbed wire and lack of access and communication. In fact it is so closed that even those whom the US government deems innocent aren’t released. How much more do people want to close it? And why?
It gets more confusing when those who approve of this eternal detention without due process rally around the cry of “Keep Guantanamo open”.
As I pointed out, Guantanamo is not open. It is the most closed off place in the Western hemisphere. When I read the arguments of the “Keep Guantanamo open” people, it seems that they don’t want to open up Guantanamo in the least bit, they rather want to keep it as closed as it ever has been.
This mix-up of words confuses me terribly in all these debates.
My proposal? “Open Guantanamo” for all prisoners who have not been charged and who won’t be tried in a court. Let them go. If you think that they might be dangerous, put some surveillance on them.
My most favourite character in literature is Burma Jones. The only black, the only sane, possibly the smartest and yet the funniest person in A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, he works for “minimal wage” – not his only mispronunciation – as a janitor in a shady bar to avoid being re-arrested for alleged vagrancy, although his arrest was probably sparked more by racism.
Sadly, I don’t remember much of the dialogue, except for the exclaiming “Whoa!” which accompanied many of Burma Jones’ sentences, his mispronunciations like “po-lice” and “a-ward”, comparing the work at the bar to work “on a plantation” as well as the messed-up grammar and syntax. If you have A Confederacy of Dunces at hand, please add a few of his quotes in the comments below to give other readers an impression of the style. If you haven’t, go and get a copy. You will enjoy it!
Despite its literary success, A Confederacy of Dunces has not yet been turned into a movie. Since this week, I know who could play Burma Jones very well:
(Charles Ramsey, who helped rescue three kidnapped girls in Cleveland, Ohio on 6 May 2013)
That’s exactly how Burma Jones sounds in the novel and how I imagined him!
I love shortcuts. When I was a child, I walked to elementary school through a dense and dark forest instead of following the well-lit road around it. When I went to high school, there was a shortcut across a derelict industrial site. When I wanted to get from A to B, I often just cut through people’s backyard. Even now, when I need to go somewhere, I don’t like to follow the signs, but I prefer to take out a map and find the shortest possible route, even if it leads across rail tracks or if I have to jump across a deep ravine.
But there is one exception:
If you are ever in China and you want to get to the top of Hua Shan, you might meet a monk who will tell you “I know a shortcut. Trust me!” - You should neither trust nor follow him, because this is the path he will lead you along:
In winter, you can even have a snowball fight on the way.
Never ever in my life would I even get close to this plank path. I will rather take a long detour, even if it will take days.
When watching this video, I get physically sick – and shocked when at the end of it, the guy says “OK, I should finally use two hands” before turning off the camera.
I just read this:
A new CNN/Time … Poll indicates four in ten Americans say they are willing to give up some civil liberties to fight terrorism.
Only 38% favor expanding government monitoring of e-mail and cell phones.
While this is not a majority, they must not despair, because there are wishes that can become true even if you are in the minority. It’s like becoming vegetarian or quitting smoking. You don’t need to wait for Congress to enact a law. You can start adopting the desired policies in your own life right away.
To those citizens who have spoken out for more surveillance, I suggest taking the following steps:
- Put together a list of all your login details and passwords for your e-mail account, your Facebook account, your online banking, your Amazon account, your airline, hotel and other travel sites, your libraries, your online dating profiles, your university account, your Couchsurfing profile, your Dropbox, your newspaper and magazine subscriptions, your Twitter account and send that list to the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, your state police, county police, local police, campus police, ATF, Highway Patrol, DEA, Marshals Service, ICE, Secret Service, NSA and CTU.
- Write down your cell phone numbers with the appropriate PIN and send that list to the aforementioned agencies, asking them to feel free to check your voice mail. Do not delete messages once you have listened to them, as others might still find them useful.
- Let the aforementioned agencies know your WiFi connection and your password. If your WiFi is not strong enough for law enforcement to use it from the van outside of your house, prepare the extra bedroom for them and allow them to live with you.
- Install cameras in your bathroom, kitchen and bedroom and stream the images online, so that all agencies can have real-time access.
- Ask a police officer to accompany you all day, every day.
- When you send or receive mail or e-mails, forward copies of them to the aforementioned list of agencies.
- Never close the curtains.
- Don’t wear any clothes. After all, you “have nothing to hide”, right?
You will notice that you will feel so much safer. If all of this won’t be enough, ask to be taken into preventive custody.
What little democratic progress was achieved in Ukraine, the Netherlands are undoing it.
A mother who trusts her son:
A mother who doesn’t trust her son: