Saturday, 2 September 2006

Amish

Mr & Mrs F had recently seen a group of Amish.
Dear K
Thank you so much for your kind email. Yes, I really look forward to seeing you both again soon, however briefly. It really has been such an enormous hole in my life not having A in the neighbourhood but I am so very, very happy that she has found the person she has been searching for all these years who is so in tune with her.
I was just thinking about the Amish yesterday. There are so many bizarre frustrations about modern life: little things that would crush the human spirit. It is difficult not to feel a longing for a time-machine to convey us back to a simpler time when people wrote with pens; a time when we waited for answers; when we were not slaves to instantaneous expectations.
Yes, I know that there are many wonderful things to see in the United States. Sadly I feel that the barrier of powerful suspicion that surrounds the country would be too much for my own arrogant pride. I care little for the stupidities of self-important bureaucracy and I would bristle at being prodded and probed and recorded. I have been fingerprinted before when I had to get a work permit in Indonesia and I had my thumb print recorded by a door in a youth hostel in Buenos Aires. I did not like it but I submitted because I neither feared the Departmen Imigrasi Indonesia nor the Youth Hostels Association of Argentina. I am too much of an oddity: I fit awkwardly in people's boxes and I hate answering impertinent questions. I am angered by the thought of stupid people with far too much technological power being able to play with my life. Those in control of the United States give me the image of a lawless frontier barbarian having toys which can obliterate the world: a bloated bully who cries at a pin prick then tries to crush the heads of those who dare to face him in the eye.
I would, I fear, not submit to a moment's stupidity from immigration officers or police. I would probably either get put firmly on a plane whence I came or get detained, interrogated, tortured or shot. I do not want to suffer the indignity of being subjected to that needlessly.
Hollywood has counter-advertised the USA for a century. ‘This is what we are like; do you really want to come here?’ There is much that is beautiful there and the people include those, undoubtedly, who are intelligent, well educated and wise. But, unless the nature of the administration changes drastically to one that is human, truly democratic and far less brutal and arrogant, I do not see myself ever stepping foot willingly in the United States. I hope to visit America frequently, if God grant, but never to what is now the territory of the United States; at least under the present conditions.
With fond affection,
Rafiq