Someone told me: “We should get rid of our entitlement...”
I smiled to myself. Actually it's the other way around. The fact is... I/We do not have entitlements and I am actually asking/demanding entitlements! I demand, not for myself only, but for everybody, the entitlement to go wherever they/we wish in this world without the need for visas and controls. Yeah... I think we are all entitled to that. Even though in this world we live in, we are not. Therein comes my fight. To get that entitlement granted for/to everyone.
Should governments be entitled to make visa rules that are not clear, or even their own authorities do not know about as in the case of China? Should governments be entitled to make changes to these visa rules without informing all the authorities involved world-wide as in the case of Djibouti and Gabon? Should governments be entitled to make us go around like rats in a maze? Should we be at the order of their whims?
Should governments be entitled to make any visa rules at all, should governments be entitled to block us from moving around the world we were born on? Oh, so you are one of those who believe governments are bestowed with the natural right to decide who gets within their borders? Do you believe that the necessary and decisive battle against terrorism justifies putting groups of certain people under general suspicion and requiring visas from people of certain origins when they want to move around the world they were born on? Okay, but then, why was all the big fuss about Trump's travel ban? If you believe in borders, the imaginary lines, if you believe in visas and the status-quo and you were backing up Trump in this case, I commend you for your consistency. Because consistency in argument is a very important trait:. which one does not come across often.
Visa requirements are nothing but tarring people born within a certain line with the same brush.
So the question is one of national sovereignty versus personal freedom of movement.
Whose entitlement are we talking about here?
I believe government authorities are the ones who need to give up their entitlement to hassle us. We are the ones paying their bills, we do not deserve this treatment. When I took the overland bus from Yaounde to Libreville and we were stopped at literally every corner -those of you who have travelled in Africa overland will understand me so very well. Roadblock. Stop. Show your ID's. Get down. Some random shakedown. Get back on. A couple of meters -okay let me not exaggerate too much - kilometers later, repeat all over.- I was just perplexed thinking... “Who gave the money to these 'soldiers' to buy these guns they carry? Who bought them these guns and what for? It's the people who paid for these guns by their taxes. And I'm sure the people didn't buy the guns so that the guns could be used against them. But that's exactly what happens! The guns are used against the people whom they are to protect. And as I said, the most ironical, farcical ironical (Is there such a term? Even if not, I just coined it now) thing is that the people have paid for these guns used against them!
No no no... Don't even for a second think that this is about Africa. It's no different in the “Western”, the so-called “civilized” world. The only difference is they do it in a much more subtle way. They do it with a nicely thought of scenario making people think that they need to be protected and the government is only protecting them. So people accept having to give up their liberties. I hope we have all heard of Benjamin Franklin's quote:
I'm seriously amazed that people see authority figures as their protector... Oh, of course, they put on uniforms, put on badges to make themselves important, to give themselves an air of grandeur. In some cases, they also carry guns. These people, oh such big big people, carry out such an important task, the task of protecting us by hassling us with 110 milliliters, or baby milk, or snow-spheres, or baby spoons, or wooden snake toys, oh how well are they protecting us! Then there is an explosion at some airport, at some concert, at some metro station, a truck running over people. Oh but we are protected! Governments are protecting us from dying up in the air! If we blow up in a bus, that's not their concern.
“Oh come on... How can they do that, how do you expect them to security-check everyone getting on and off at every bus-stop?”
I'm not. I'm not expecting such a thing at all. If you come up with such a counter-argument, you do not get anything I am saying. On the contrary, Exactly my point! I'd like you to be aware that they are doing the security checks at airports just because they can! One big load until destination. Buses, trains do not fit so nicely and easily to their control method. I am only saying these in order to open your eyes to the fact that airport security is nothing but a farce. I want you to be aware of it. It's a “security theater” as Bruce Schneir puts it.
I'd say okay, let people act in this theater if they wish; don't interfere. After all, the “feeling of security” is important too. Perhaps even as important as “real security” itself. But here is the catch:
At what cost? Who is paying for all that? We are paying of course. We are paying for it with taxes added into our tickets, an amount over which we have no say. We are the little people.
The cost is not only money, it is also the amount of time and energy which could be put to a much better use. The cost doesn't stop there either. There is also the psychological cost of the hassle we are exposed to. And perhaps the most important is a hidden cost, a far-reaching cost that we are not aware: The fact that we are dumbed down and start taking this for granted. Like the frog who is not aware he is being boiled as the temperature increases slowly.
I want people to be aware that the security controls at airports are way-too-far a farce to be acceptable if not totally pointless. The only reason why there are no more bombs exploding in the world is not because of these “security” controls but because there are not that many awful people plotting and lurking behind a corner to get us. (Or they are working in other territories.)
I'm not saying there is no need for protection. Sure there is. But that is achieved not by hassling ordinary people going about their business, hassling millions of them every day at every airport around the world, but by intelligence services. I don't know how they do it, but yeah, some guys up there have the tools to know who is plotting what. It's their area of expertise. I'm good with them. I'm just not good with the ones that I come face-to-face with every day in my life. Those are the bad kind. Sure, there are the good and well-meaning ones among them, but way too often there are the power-abusers. I don't want those kind in my life if you please.
And I love this quote! I think it is as essential as Franklin's:
I'd be fine if you didn't force me to accept giving up my liberties for your fears. I would indeed appreciate that a lot!