I've noticed a growing trend over the past eighteen months for our leaders, our politicians, our military and the all powerful news media to continually refer to the threat to our way of life that exists today. The threat of terrorism. The threat of extremist Islam. The threat of brown people in deserts across the world that "Hate us for our freedom" and other equally catchy slogans.
Am I the only way that is beginning to view the coverage of this growing threat as something very, very similar to the way that communism was portrayed in the west during the '50s and '60s? The threat to democracy, to freedom, to what is good and right in the world. How long will it be until we start seeing McCarthy-esque witch-hunts? Here in Britain we've already seen a woman convicted for the crime of writing poetry.
Think about that. Convicted for writing poetry.
Her work sympathised, some might say glorified, the actions of the insurgents/terrorists/freedom fighters/threat to democracy/whatever you want to call them over in Iraq. While I disagree with the woman’s desire to view the acts in such a positive light (doing so through those ever present faith based glasses that everyone attached to this conflict seems to be wearing nowadays), I am shocked that she has been convicted for writing them down. I mean, think about it, what this conviction means is that, essentially, your opinions are not safe anymore. You may not write poetry about something that doesn't agree with the official party line. Taking it a step further, it indicates that one may not produce a play sympathising with the enemy’s plight, or create a sculpture showing the true horror of the war that the politicians want to forget.
That to me seems to scream out as a precursor to the return to McCarthyism.
We have our Prime Minister telling us he wants to turn our city centres into concrete barracks, our lives to be monitored, observed and watched every day for our own security. Well, call me crazy, but I want to retain my individual freedom to choose how to live my life. I want to see glass windows in shops; just because a bomb might turn the material into dangerous flying shards does not mean that they have to be done away with. A boiler blowing up could demolish a building full of people, should we get rid of them as well? We cannot bubble wrap the entire world and make everyone live indoors just because of the "threat". If that was the case then no one would ever leave their house for the "threat" of being hit by lightning.
If we were able to survive thirty years of the IRA bombing us from an island less than half an hours plane flight away then I'm sure we can survive the "threat" of freedom endangering extremist Islam. Of course, we all know that the last thing that the governments of Britain and the United States want to keep their citizens from realising that. Keeping the populace afraid makes them easier to control. It makes their opinions easier to mould when the threat to their territory is always in the back of their mind. It keeps the wheels of Government constantly greased to surrender new powers to the leader of the day so that they may better help us fight terrorism.
That's how Hitler got started.
I do not mean to be alarmist, but after yesterdays bombing of the U.N in Algeria, I am sure we will once again see the scaremongering of our overlords put into full effect, telling us that no one is safe! Just remember that sometimes risk is necessary. Sometimes it's necessary to have principles and opinions that fly in the face of prescribed opinion. Mark Twain once said "Patriotism means supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." Well, the bumblers and botchers that are currently in power do not deserve it, let me tell you. They have the gall to try and impose on the spot street searches, fifty two days of detentions without charge, or arrest a young woman for her opinions, citing that they are doing nothing more than protecting us from the threat of terrorism when THEY STILL HAVEN'T CAUGHT OSAMA BIN LADEN.
The threat of communism was real, but the world kept turning. The threat of the IRA was real, but the world kept turning. Do not let the threat of extremist Islam be blown out proportion as an excuse to stop the world turning. In this technocentric age, all we have that is safe is what is inside our heads. And I would rather retain that and live under the threat of attack than surrender it completely and not ceasing to really be living at all.