Wednesday, October 27, 2004

even these days.

this morning, till brought a page from today's faz to our admin class.

it was an ad for us-visit, the screening program for visitors of the department for homeland security.

just like he had anticipated, the ad made me laugh. because, you know, vomiting in the middle of admin class, wasn't really an option. or maybe crying, at the irony of it all.

"the flight to america takes about 8 hours.
making your visit safer only takes a few seconds."
the headline above a picture of a smiling mother with her children being photographed in front of the statue of liberty reads.

"visitors from germany have always been and still are welcome, even these days, when we are working to secure our borders", the ad continues.

even these days?
i guess it is time to thank you once again for not bombing hamburg after 9/11, america. our country hosted the terrorists, after all. thank you for understanding that we, like you, failed to read the signs that this was to come.

america, where did the transatlantic friendship go? we miss it. we liked it.
you freed us, america, because you truly cared for us back then. you enabled us to rise from the rubble of the war and to build a democracy, a true democracy. you didn't let us down. we owe you lots, more than we sometimes care to admit.
but why don't you love us anymore? isn't true friendship about disagreeing every once in a while, yet still remaining friends? why are you so hostile these days?

"that's why we have introduced us-visit, simple steps taken at airports or cruise ships arrivals, which will improve the security of our citizens and visitors.
an inkless machine will take two fingerprints of our visitors, and a digital photo will be taken. it's a matter of seconds, and the privacy of our visitors is preserved and protected."

the privacy of our visitors is preserved and protected?
pardon me: how long are you keeping this data? what are you doing with it? are you now keeping files on all of us, who come to visit as friends? forever? why are you not being open with us? how are you preserving our privacy by taking our images and fingerprints? will we all have to worry about being sent away when at your doorstep, like cat stevens, because of our beliefs, or because of flaws in your computer systems?
we understand your worries, we understand the pain you still feel, we understand your fear. but why are you sacrificing your, and our, most precious posessions? why are you sacrificing freedom, your wonderful constitution, your true self?
why are you letting fear rule? you were always brave. why aren't you anymore?

after 9/11, we came together, you and us and the rest of the world. we were all americans then. we felt your pain. our lives stopped, just like yours. that's why we supported you in afghanistan. but since then, so much has been lost because we don't understand you anymore, and because you stopped talking to us. "you're either with us, or with the terrorists" the man who rules your people, even though he wasn't elected by them told us. he started a petty war by calling french fries freedom fries. but how can we be on your side, when he is not being honest, and ridiculous like that?
why did you let him lie to your people, why did you let him lie to the world? why did he open war in a country that was not the source of the terror that hurt you so deeply?

we don't understand you anymore, america. we worry about you.

but we haven't given you up, yet.

we're friends, after all. we go way back, you and us.