My teacher returned my politics exam today. I was satisfied, a good B, especially as I don’t actually pay any attention during the lesson. But on the last of three assignments I was only graded with 7 points (which is probably a C- or a D, don’t know). I suppose she didn’t like my answer.
The question was what one should do to fight terrorism under the aspect of the “security vs. freedom”-dilemma?
The “freedom vs. security”-dilemma, for those who don’t know, is the problem, that to guarantee freedom for a countries citizens (so they can walk around without being attacked), the state has to ensure their safety at the same time, which may, if it is taken too far, interfere with their freedom, especially when the state begins to suspect every one of being a terrorist.
So, I guess I didn’t exactly answer her question “How do I fight terrorism?” I don’t know…give them free hugs? I don’t know what she wanted to hear, as I hadn’t been listening in the previous lessons.
But what I said was this: The terrorists have won.
Whoever they are, the general aim of terroristic acts is to destabilize society and the government, right?
Nowadays innocent people are being arrested by secret services in democratic countries like Germany and France because you’re a suspect, having your rights denied and your advocate kept in the dark.
If you happen to be muslim or have an arabic name and inform yourself about Islam online, guess what – you might be a suspect.
If you use similar words and phrases as a terror organisation – you might be a suspect.
Our E-Mails and text messages are being monitored for unusual behaviour, the things we search for on the internet, the people we interact with are all factors that could make us a potential suspect for terrorism.
In the beginning, fighting terrorism was about protecting the general public, most people, that is, not few. Now the general public is being accused of endangering its own country.
What has this anti-terrorism fight brought us?
Xenophobia, fear of Islam, prejudice and a general suspicion among each other and towards the government – and the government towards us. Don’t you trust me, Angie?
The other day when we were flying to London Heathrow from Frankfurt Main I was travelling with only hand luggage. The guy at the security check made me unpack my bag and show him all my liquids. Nobody had told me that I needed to pack them separately in a see-through bag. So I had to unpack them all and go find a bag, for which my mother had to go through security check again as she bought the bag on the other side. It took ages. He scanned my back, then my liquids. It was shampoo and stuff! I’m a girl, I like hygiene, I am not a terrorist! I almost said that, but chances were we would never have been let on the plane.
How far has it come that they won’t even trust a superficial girl that doesn’t know anything about packing a bag?
We are all potential suspects now. I am now a potential suspect, in this very moment. We all are.
Our government doesn’t trust us. We don’t trust the government, especially not after Angela Merkel’s reaction the NSA affair.
First: “Oh, well, we’re all very new to this internet. But Mr. Obama has promised to stop spying on us. It’s all good.”
And then, when they found out Obama had been spying on the chancellor herself: Oh, well, we’re rather upset about that, yes.”
I thought a common enemy – in this case any form of current terrorism – was supposed to build a common bond and not scatter us into separate pieces, always looking over our shoulder, every day a little more paranoid about Mohammed who sells groceries on the main street.
They are winning. The hatred and suspicion are growing in our society, nobody really knows where to look or who to turn to and all in the name of anti-terrorism.
The terrorists have won. At least they still have a common goal.