Wednesday, 1 March 2017

How to greet people (US edition)


“It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Ms Fox,” said the American immigration officer. As for Ms Fox herself: “I was close to collapse, very close to fainting, and this nearly broke me – it was the creepiest thing of all…. It couldn’t have been a pleasure for him to treat me like that, unless he was a psychopath.”

This is how Australian author Mem Fox describes how she was treated at the American border en route to delivering an opening keynote at a literacy conference for which she was receiving an honorarium, and because of which she was detained for questioning.

So I was taken into this holding room with about 20 other people and kept there for an hour and 40 minutes, and for 15 minutes I was interrogated.
    The room was like a waiting room in a hospital but a bit more grim than that. There was a notice on the wall that was far too small, saying no cellphones allowed, and anybody who did use a cellphone had someone stand in front of them and yell: “Don’t use that phone!” Everything was yelled, and everything was public, and this was the most awful thing, I heard things happening in that room happening to other people [which she describes in some detail] that made me ashamed to be human…
    The belligerence and violence of it was really terrifying…
    In that moment I loathed America. I loathed the entire country. And it was my 117th visit to the country so I know that most people are very generous and warm-hearted. They have been wonderful to me over the years. I got over that hatred within a day or two. But this is not the way to win friends, to do this to someone who is Australian when we have supported them in every damn war. It’s absolutely outrageous…
    I am a human being, so I do understand that these people might not be well-trained, but they now have carte blanche to be as horrible and belligerent as they want.

Give scum “power beyond right,” and. as John Locke observed over three centuries ago, you unleash tyranny.

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