Home > Daily life, National Politics, Society > I don’t want to be safe

I don’t want to be safe

The eight years of the Bush Administration caused no end of anguish and contempt in my heart. Nothing, but nothing, is as important to me as freedom. That the most powerful country in the world, mine, would lie its way into taking up arms and deciding of the fate of the Iraqis, that it drew us in the shadowland of the ugliest precedents in history, of deceit, spying, arresting, torturing, hidden agendas, prison camps, made me deeply ashamed and furious. NSA

I hated that I, as one of the people, became an excuse for the inexcusable: all the security programs, the human rights violations, the covert operations, the harassing of journalists were done in my name, for my protection. Rebellion against this situation reminiscent of the worst moments of contemporary history—the Stasis and KGBs of the world and dark memories of the American past—McCarthyism, the Japanese internment camps, the Tuskegee experiment and more—filled me with bitter thoughts.

Yes, terrorism exists and entire societies are at risk. And yes, September 11, 2001, is a date of horror seared on our collective minds, but nothing justified the creeping, day after day, of this lava of suspicion and moral gray areas. We could only watch, appalled, and wait for better days. As a democracy, we knew there was a countdown to the end of the reign of pathetic Bush, evil Cheney and their incredibly nasty flunkies—the Rumsfelds, Roves et al.

So, fast forward to the present administration, to a president we loved and admired and voted for twice. Like those cartoon characters repeatedly banged on the head, we now wake up each morning to new revelations of how the programs of the Bush era have expanded—with improved tools such as drones—the spying is infinitely worse, whistleblowers are threatened, journalists are not allowed to keep their sources or their correspondence private, civil liberties are fast becoming an obsolete concept –our freedoms are trampled in every way. The all-powerful intelligence agencies are intimidating us into accepting that without the massive invasion of our privacy, terrorists running amok will blow up our country tomorrow. (While NRA card-carrying thugs and mass murderers continue killing Americans with total impunity.)

So where do we go from here? We send Bradley Manning to jail for the rest of his life for having leaked to Assange documents showing human rights abuses committed abroad by our military? The CIA, NSA or other alphabet-soup agencies start planning the disappearance of Edward Snowden, the Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who pulled the plug on the NSA spying program on millions of Americans?

Thank you folks, thank you for caring about my safety but I’ll have to say no. The price to pay is far too heavy. If you don’t mind, I’ll keep my privacy. And hope against hope that this too shall pass, that our country remains the land of the free, that we once again become respectful of individuals, of society as a whole, and of other countries.

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  1. Khristian Khosrow
    June 10, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Thank you for having the courage Madam, to express what a majority of us think but do not have the tools to tell it publicly.
    I await your next “The counter argument” with impatiance
    Christian

    Like

  2. Carol Gilhooley
    June 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I usually agree with your post, Saideh, but this time I feel compelled to offer another perspective. While protecting privacy is fundamental to our freedom, the importance of accurate reporting can not be over emphasized. As my Mom used to say, “two wrongs don’t make a right” and in this case there has been some very inaccurate reporting. Perhaps this is another result of the technology age, but we should expect more- especially from the Post. It seems that they rushed to get the story out – in the most inflammatory way – regardless of accuracy. In a follow up article they did revise their language and eliminate their comments regarding “direct access to servers”. As of today, what seems to be accurate is that NSA does not have direct access to servers. Many companies, including Facebook, Apple, Google and Yahoo, stated that they do not provide the government with direct access and that they provide information only to the extent required by law. All have established legal procedures. Additionally, as of YET, I have not seen any information – just speculation – regarding information collected within the US. In other words, there is no accurate information that information is being gathered by the government without warrants.

    So, if you don’t mind, I’ll reserve judgement until the facts are out, and I’ll continue to press for accurate, factual reporting, so that opinions regarding safety vs personal freedom can be based on what is real – not just speculation and hyperbole in the “Twitter age”.

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    • June 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Carol,
      Thank you for your measured and reasonable comment. However, my post does not address the accuracy of the information; it doesn’t really matter what the Washington Post or other media have done with what they found out. I’m concerned with the overall principles. The fact remains that for the longest time now, ever since the beginning of the Bush era, privacy and civil liberties have become an issue and the administration, this one as well as the previous one, are trying to convince the public that it’s okay and even legal to do certain things in order to preserve security. I don’t agree with that. Freedom and privacy are absolutely the most precious things every individual has. There is no question that AP journalists’ communications were being looked into, that drone surveillance is increasing, that the NSA has twisted the arms of various social media and internet providers into allowing access to users’ email addresses and and telephone calls (it doesn’t matter if the law allows this intrusion and if the actual content is not accessible; I find the fact itself reprehensible), Guantanamo still exists, etc. etc. My point was that all this creates an atmosphere of fear and distrust as we never know who is looking over our shoulder. The citizens of this great country deserve better.

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      • Carol Gilhooley
        June 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

        Not sure creating fear and mistrust of the government – especially with inaccurate information – will lead to better outcomes. Seems to me that many of those who are supporting unrestricted access to guns use that same “fear of government” argument. I do believe that it matters what the press does with information and that accuracy counts!

        So, I guess this time, we will have to agree to disagree!

        Like

      • June 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        OK. Thanks for your interest.That is the main thing, I guess, remaining alert and aware.

        Like

  3. Paul
    June 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Who does The President say sir to? Obama stated early on a return to the rule of law, close Guantanamo, get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and so on. I had hopes the adult were back in charge. Obama, why the change of heart? Who really runs this freak show anyway?

    Like

  4. June 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    You’ve been drinking the Kool Aide haven’t you, Carol?

    Great post, Spakravan.

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