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America on Lockdown – 2
Wednesday, 07 March 2007 09:11
by Rod Amis

Because I've always thought the "www" in all our URLs should reflect the fact that it was a World Wide Web, I decided back in 1996 that my own Web site would feature voices from around the planet. This was definitely against the trend in those days. There was only Netscape as a browser and if you surfed at all, everything was USA-centric. I was running against a trend but that didn't matter to me then or now. At the same time I was doing and thinking this, America was going on lockdown. I'll talk more about this in this article, as I began to do in my previous.

I've been an internationalist my entire life and the Web was something I'd been waiting for since reading William Gibson's Neuromancer. Besides, I've always been cussedly patient. I knew eleven years ago that my own publication, which I pompously call "The World's Magazine," would outlast all of our competitors. We have.

I bring this up because of a recent experience. One of the writers I have worked with over the last few years, who lives in Mombassa, Kenya, is a single mother. She recently lost her job at an NGO and e-mailed me that it would be helpful if I could send her the meager earnings she had made from an anthology I published last year featuring African writers.

Her share of the royalties, to date, is all of $15 (USD.) International fund transfers are not inexpensive and I advised her that it would cost me more than the money being transferred to make the transfer she requested. She made me know that her situation was dire. Kenya is a country where the employed make an average of $1 - $2 (USD) per day.

Under the circumstances, I could not bring myself to send only her share of the royalties. I had to send more. In the process, I went through having my bank freeze my account until I telephoned them, irate; having Western Union refuse to deal with the transaction, under the claim that it conflicted with Patriot Act/Homeland Security regulations here in the United States and; then, sending the funds via MoneyGram dealing with an incompetent clerk at their offices who typed in the words "Mombassa, Texas." It took me three visits to their offices in my neighborhood to solve the problem.

In a previous and my most recent article here at Atlantic Free Press, I've written about the increasing restrictions on the ability of Americans to travel and make telephonic communications to other nations. I should have been smart enough to know that transferring funds would also come under increasing interdiction. But I wasn't. I am perhaps too optimistic and want to believe that all of our freedoms are not being taken away willy-nilly. Shame on me.

As the influence of the Empire expands, I suppose that naïve people like myself will have to accept more cruel lessons.

Now here's what galls. I am a poor Black man living in one of the poorest neighborhoods of my city, so I feel the desperation this African sister was relaying to me in her e-mails and it was worth eating beans for a while to help she, her daughter and her mother out to me. And my own government was standing in the way of that. It had set barriers to make it more difficult for one poor person to reach out and help another. I was incensed and I still am.

The small bit of money I can afford to send to this woman would not buy a bunch of bullets, let alone finance a terrorist attack. Let's be real about that. But, my ban account was frozen, Western Union rejected my attempt and I went through Hell to send a few measly dollars – less than a hundred! – to a woman who really needs it but happens to live abroad.

This is no longer and not America.

The country I was born in represented something else, something that has been perhaps irrevocably lost. I feel more like Cicero every day.

It is facile, I believe, to simply blame it on the Bush Administration. The process of Empire has been evolving for a century at least. America's sense of exceptionalism and will to dominance has a long history. Since the second World War the institutions and market forces have since been put into place while Europe, its only serious competitor prior to that war, was being rebuilt. The Russians, then calling themselves Soviets, never had a real chance to catch up to the juggernaut.

But today, even as America locks down its citizens, the balance is once again changing. It faces being a bankrupt nation, a huge debtor, because of imperial over-reach clear for anyone to see. Its citizens stare into the abyss and decide the best thing to do is buy Wii machines and watch "American Idol" hoping that denial of the problem will make the problem go away, much like children who believe that if they close their eyes you cannot see them.

As with twelve percent of my fellow citizens, I have a passport. I believe I should try to get out before the lockdown of America becomes complete. I hope and pray that I have time.
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a guest said:

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go ahead
Some of us still love the USA and are willing to stay and try to restore her to her former glory or something close.These Global elitist may go down in flames when the economy gets so bad it effects all people.Don't underestimate nessesity and her accomplishments.The dollar system needs to go away ,along with global free trade
 
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