L. Neil Smith's
Number 255, January 18, 2004

"Life Goes On ...."

Let's All Wear Yellow Stars
by Caleb Paul

Exclusive to TLE

On occasion, I do catch snippets of the news (despite generally trying to avoid it) where I live, and I heard yesterday that the US government is now photographing and fingerprinting people as they enter the US. There are twenty seven countries (most in the EU) whose citizens are exempt from this, but the US government is expecting those countries to provide passports with biometric identification by the end of the year. Apparently, Brazil has already responded to the US by making its citizens go through similar procedures when they go to Brazil.

Firstly, I don't see how Brazil doing that is actually going to help the matter. It would seem that's actually what the US government wants. It's based upon the false assumption that the US government really cares if its citizens are inconvenienced, humiliated and denied some form of human rights. If anything, they want other people to do that too, just so people will learn to expect and accept it back home.

Secondly though, it does seem like the thin edge of the wedge. I am sure that some countries may resist for whatever reasons, but it can be guaranteed that Britain and Australia at least (being the lapdogs that they are) will follow suit fairly quickly, and New Europe (being lapdogs in waiting) won't be far off. The only hope I have for eastern European countries (since that's where I now live, although my passport is Australian) is that a) they're generally pretty disorganised and lax with many such matters anyway, b) they'll be too busy trying to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops for the EU before, when and after they join the EU this year.

This whole latest move by the US government is scary beyond belief and it really surprises me that it's happening so easily, although it actually doesn't surprise me at all. Little does these days. It's supposedly justified on the basis of knowing who people are and where they are. Obvious parallels can be drawn to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Jews (amongst other groups) were forced to wear identification at all times, just so the authorities would know who they were and where they were at all times. It was meant to be for their own good and for everyone else's too. Yet we all know what happened to them.

Today it's people not from those twenty seven countries. Tomorrow it will be them too. The day after tomorrow it will be everyone. Let's all wear yellow stars shall we?


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