Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Sascha wrote the following in Frankfurt and didn't know what to do with it. So it is today's guest submission.


Flying home to Leontine today, I experienced the feel of being an international pariah. I didn’t much like it; neither did I know much what to do about it. I suspect this is how Iranians feel.

Here in Frankfurt, for instance, flights to the US are cordoned off beyond a second layer of boarding-card control and metal-detectors from the rest of the international flights, “due to US security regulations.” US flights are stuck at the end of a third-rate concourse, abandoned by all but the hardiest beer-and-sundries purveyors. I saw a snack bar called “Beerlift” and took to it: I needed one. It was clear, out at the end of our pariah concourse, that the US government didn’t want furriners mingling with US-bound travelers – and that the Germans were perfectly happy about that.

Meanwhile, we raise visa fees for tourists, causing their countries to raise visa fees for Americans and discouraging travel (and thus discouraging understanding); meanwhile, we prosecute citizens of our firmest allies in military kangaroo courts, without rights.

The effect of our government’s moves isn’t one of comforting security; it’s of a nation under siege, hated by the world, and consumed by fear. Given the current administration’s demonstrated incompetence in managing the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan and its pretty-much-guaranteed re-election, I despair. Simply that. At least I'm in love.


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