Saturday, July 10, 2010

The New Black

When I was a lad, America was afraid of communists. They were everywhere. Or could be. You never knew. Even worse, they had rockets and bombs that could destroy America. Constant vigilance was essential. To call someone a communist in those days was tantamount to calling someone a traitor or Enemy of America.

These days "terrorist" is the all-purpose enemy, the constant danger. Brand someone a "terrorist" and that someone is suspect, their civil liberties restricted, even forfeit, in the interests of national security, of public safety. Most recently, respected Colombian journalist Hollman Morris was denied a US visa because of "terrorist activities". His transgression: associating with a rebel group while reporting on Columbia's long-running insurgency. Now America will not allow him a visa to accept fellowship for journalists at Harvard University.

Morris' reporting has embarrassed the Colombian government security forces which most likely assembled the allegations to torpedo Morris' visa. It may be a frame-up but the frame that worked was "terrorism".

America. Land of the Fearful.

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