Wednesday, 1 February 2012

spanking and the state

Yikes, feeling guilty at not blogging more. But life will take over your virtual reality if you let it. Your kids, parents, friends, job and love life will just eat away at your time -- to say nothing of your parents' friends whose kids have love and job problems ... Anyway, my month-after-new-years resolution is to be more responsible towards my online self.

One last Addis thought to share. My hotel was in the middle of extensive gardens, with a swimming area and tree-lined walks. Security was an issue. The gardens were walled, and uniformed guards were stationed at the three or four entrances. The hotel itself had an airport customs-style metal detector set up just inside the front doors. It was all somewhat disconcerting at first, but after a few days I got a truer sense of things.

The guards had uniforms but no weapons or phones. They spent all their time sitting down. Never saw one on his feet. Generally they'd be in a cafeteria style chair, tipped back to lean against a wall, sun shining down on them. (Except that the dozing guy seems to be Asian rather than African, this pic is spot on.) I'd walk by and they'd nod. I thought I might be getting an easy ride because I was a visible minority so I watched, but no. The next guy through would also get a nod, and so would the family after him ... Same story with the metal detector. I'd walk through it and it would go off, and I'd stop, and one of the hotel guys would smile and wave me into the lobby anyway. The couple behind me would go through the detector, and it would go off for each of them, and they too would be smiled at and waved in. The detector went off every single time anyone came into the hotel and no one ever did anything about it.

I'm puzzled. There is the potential for oppression. You are aware of a security presence. You get the feeling that an oppressive act could happen at any time. But it doesn't. And it doesn't. And it keeps on not happening. So is this actually oppression? I don't know. And I don't know what it does to a society. A dad who threatens to spank you all the time but never gets up from the couch is certainly better than a dad who is always spanking. But it's odd parenting.


Stephen said...

I suspect these nodding dog security guards could bite but looked upon you as a trusted friend. For them to oppress you could lead to a telling off from their kennel master. Security of genuine tourists tends to be gentle.

Richard Scrimger said...

Probably true. Try as I might, I could not exactly blend in. But I did not witness obvious state bullying of any kind. Not even the tough city cop stuff you can see in Toronto ...