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par Andre VLTCHEK
Perhaps you thought that the security at the Atlanta or Newark, or Dallas airports is bad, obnoxious, the worst in the world… Think twice… Of course it all began there, in the United States, from the first glory days of that hypocritical and deranged “War On Terror” : the humiliation of people, especially Arabs, especially Muslims, especially all those who are not white, but eventually everybody, at least to some degree. But it did not just stay there. The allies joined in almost immediately, and then the "client" states jumped on the bandwagon, competing in tactics and strategies of how most to humiliate those confused and helpless passengers, by censoring internet sites, digging into emails, monitoring mobile phone communications, and relentlessly spying on both citizens and foreigners.
I have travelled all over the world, to some of the most imaginable and unimaginable places. All the while being monitored and harassed, threatened and periodically attacked, even physically, I have also spread many counterpunches : I have observed, recorded, and published, who does what to whom, who is the most diligent, methodical, and ruthless bully ? Unsurprisingly, the toughest surveillance comes from Western allies and "client" states, all over the world –from places that Washington, London and Paris routinely call "thriving democracies". Countries that have collapsed socially strive to impress their Western neo-colonial masters, by imposing increasingly harsh security and surveillance measures against their own people. At the same time, they are full-heartedly and enthusiastically signing up to the bizarre, "War on Terror". It gives the local rulers many privileges. If they play it right, their gross human rights violations, and even their killing of the opposition, is not scrutinized.
When I recently worked in South Africa, I was told that the country is now one of the freest on earth. It has nothing to hide and it is not particularly afraid of scrutiny. “You can photograph here, whatever you want, and nobody will tell you anything”, many of my South African friends explained to me, in Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, as well as by those living abroad. It is true. In fact, after few days there, you can easily forget that there are any restrictions, like a ban on filming or photographing police stations or navy ships. Nobody would ever stop you from taping, for instance, battleships at the Simon’s Town base.
South Africa is a proud BRICS country, a left-wing beacon on the African continent and, together with neighboring Zimbabwe, a target of an aggressive negative Western propaganda campaign. Just as in South Africa, not once was I stopped from filming or photographing in Zimbabwe. And not once was I intimidated, harassed or humiliated by their immigration or customs at the airports.
That is in stark contrast with the West’s allies on the continent –Rwanda, Uganda, Djibouti, Kenya, Ivory Coast or Senegal, to name just a few. It is not just that "everything is forbidden" there, but "violators" can easily be arrested, harassed, even "disappeared".