Wednesday, 23 May 2007

America is allegedly becoming more like NAZI Germany. Or...

I am, for reasons of an idle grab at my bookshelf, re-reading Riotous Assembly by Tom Sharpe (if you haven't read any of Tom Sharpe, you're missing one of the funniest English satirists of the past century if not longer: Visit the Tom Sharpe Bookshelf for downloadable versions). His first novel, written in 1971, it was set in South Africa where had moved from his native England to do social work in 1951 until he was deported in 1961 (according to Wikipedia, anyway. Frustratingly, the wiki doesn't say why he was deported, which may help explain the book).

I am assuming that his depiction of the legal landscape is fairly accurate.

A chapter in, I started to see some resemblances to the political landscape of a certain large north-American country with an active Internet population:

There is a Terrorism Act. Under its powers, the police have the right to arrest someone and detain them indefinitely, without access to legal representation or any Habeas Corpus provision to challenge the detention before a magistrate. Sound familiar? Plus, under the Terrorism Act, it is "guilty until proven innocent" and the responsibility of the detainee to prove their innocence. Without access to legal representation.

The government had the power to prevent contact between individuals. Control orders?

They also had racial segregation which extended to different ambulance services, which I don't think has been re-introduced in America yet.

Frightened, paranoid, suspicious, hate-filled regimes really are the same the world over.

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