Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So, where would they send me?

Usually, I only post to this blog once a week or so, but this week has certainly seen some action. So, could I get deported next? I have no idea where they would deport me to since I am an American citizen, and Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. Maybe strip me of citizenship? But that would still leave the issue of where to send me. Guantanamo? Of course, that would not be deportation, more like a disappearance. Anyhow, with a story like this one, "Britain to Deport Scholar Who Downloaded Al Qaeda Guide at U.S. Government Web Site," one cannot help but wonder. And then some people in the U.S. wonder why we get nervous over things like the PATRIOT Act. In brief,

"An Algerian academic is awaiting deportation from Britain after he was arrested for downloading and printing out an Al Qaeda handbook from a U.S. government Web site, The Independent, a British newspaper, reported."

So, just for printing out material that would be used for research? Keep in mind the material is freely available on the Internet here (PDF file. Oh, and it is also here. Hell, even Wikipedia talks about it over here with a link to it in the references.). So, I have to wonder.

You see, I read quite broadly. One of the things I read up on is current events and history. I like to stay informed. It's a librarian thing. What I am reading lately? I am reading Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden. Lock me up and throw away the key. Yea, right. Now, someone out there would be asking why I would be reading that book. Well, I happen to believe that one should get to know their enemy. And what better way to know the enemy than to read what he has said? It does not mean I am a terrorist. It does not mean I am planning the overthrow of the government (regardless of how I feel about certain dweller of the federal executive mansion). It does not mean I am leaving my library job to go join "The Base" (did you know that is what "Al-Qaeda" translates to in English?) It means that I am curious, and that I would like to learn more on the topic. I am sure that curiosity and a desire to learn is what would drive scholars, with Ph.D's or not, to go find the manual as well. You don't learn and become better informed by censoring or being paranoid about information. You learn with more information and ideas. And if you think stuff like what happened in Britain could not happen here, maybe you want to talk to people in places like Deming, Washington or those librarians in Connecticut. At least for now, we can read what we want, and it is not the government's (or anyone else's for that matter) business. Let's make sure it stays that way.

I am going back to my book.

Update note (6/2/08): Seems Britain has put the deportation on hold.

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