March 6, 2006
Terror in the Night
They came for him in the night. Two government agents in plain clothes came for him in the night. They came to his house and took him away without warning. They demanded his identity card. He showed it to them and it was in order. He was authorized to be where he was. They were not satisfied. They took him away, put him on an airplane, and flew him to another state where he was incarcerated.
He was not told the charges against him. This 73-year-old immigrant had been in the country for half a century. For the last 47 years he had been married to the same woman, who was and is a citizen. She was now in ill health, suffering from dementia, and required his constant care. Although he was the primary caregiver for his wife, he had serious health problems of his own. He had cancer and had undergone radiation therapy for this. He had heart disease, and had suffered several heart attacks. For the latter condition he was required to take medications, which the agents did not allow him to take with him when he was seized. He had raised a large family in the city, worked hard all his life, and purchased a nice home in an older but upscale neighborhood. Now he was alone, caged like an animal in a strange place, and badly frightened.
Perhaps you think that the above scenario was played out by the Gestapo in Munich, Germany, in 1937. It could have been Leningrad, USSR, in the '40s. Maybe it was Peking, China, during the Cultural Revolution. It also may have been in any one of several South American dictatorships in any one of the decades of the last century. It could be happening today in North Korea, Syria, Iran, Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Congo, or any of the other police states around the globe. In fact, the scene of this heroic capture of an innocent man was the capitol city of California, United States of America, and it took place only days ago.
I know this quiet man. I sat and talked with him and with his wife at their dinning room table some years ago in the nice home where he was seized. You would look for a long while to find a less threatening individual. It made no difference to them when they took him away. His wife was so distraught as a result of these events that she was hospitalized. The family was shaken to the core by this senseless act. What can my government be thinking of?
Ah, you say, but this man was not a citizen. No US citizen would be treated this way in the Good Old USA. You would be wrong; it has already happened. Besides, this aint the Good Old USA any more. This is post-9-11 America with a president who gets messages directly from God, and who listens only to those sycophants who surround him and tell him what he wants to hear. A nation and its leadership are judged not on how well they take care of the powerful and wealthy members of society, who, after all, can take care of themselves. No, it is instead the treatment of the most vulnerable, least fortunate in the populace that reveals the true values of a society and takes the measure of a country.
The recent events in the Gulf of Mexico brought on by Hurricane Katrina demonstrate for all to see the callous disregard of our current leadership for the lives and well-being of those who are not part of the power elite. The seizure of one person close to where I live confirms my worst suspicions. They came for him in the night. They are coming for me soon. They will get around to you eventually.
It is time we took back the country from these frightened, security-crazed politicians who have hijacked it. The real terrorists are not only to be found in Afghanistan and Iraq; they have also taken up residence in Washington, D.C. Less than one third of the adults in my country agree with the way that our President is running it. It is high time that the other seventy percent stood up and were heard from.
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Last updated on March 12, 2006