Sunday, July 31, 2005

Back to reality:
The Schengen dream falters

In June 1985, representatives from seven European nations met in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, and began the process of bringing down barriers to the free movement of people across European borders. The document that outlined this unprecedented step in civility and liberalism is called the Schengen Treaty, and the number of nations following its provisions has grown to fifteen in the years since. Well, it was fifteen until just after the July 7 attacks on London. France suspended its partipation in the Schengen zone on July 8, exercising a clause in the treaty allowing for such action when circumstances require. Their decision appears wise, given that one of the July 21 bombers has been apprehended in Italy.
Feels like old times

Unfortunately, civility and liberalism are not likely to make a big comeback anytime soon. British officials today announced quite bluntly that they will use the intelligence they have to target specific Underground riders for searches, though it will clearly amount to de facto ethnic profiling. (One British civil liberties activist said that this will merely force terrorists to recruit non-Arabs into their homocidal operations. So what? Should we be making it easier for them or harder? Besides, they've already done this at least twice in England. The shoe bomber was a West Indian convert to the religion of peace, as was one of the London bombers.) The Italian senate just passed a set of laws curtailing civil liberties and greatly increasing the powers of the state to investigate terror suspects. The new law also makes it illegal to cover your face in public, effectively banning full-face motorcycle helmets, balaclavas, and--get this--burqas. England has finally realized the foolishness of protecting Rachid Ramda from prosecution in France for a terrorist attack on Paris in 1995. The E.U. is considering making it simpler for law enforcement agencies to monitor phone calls, text messages, and emails. And back here in the U.S., it looks as if the emergence of the ummah's fifth column in England has given the Patriot Act a much-needed boost.

France has not said whether or when it will return to compliance with the Schengen Treaty. Italy and Spain are considering joining France in backing away from the agreement. Sadly, one day I may be telling my grandchildren how I once drove from Lisbon to Frankfurt without having to open my passport--that one time I had no idea I'd left Belgium and entered France until I looked at my mobile phone. They will shake their heads in disbelief. Later, on their way home through the checkpoints and past the surveillance cameras, they may wonder if their world will ever regain the freedom taken away by terrorism.


Blogger Zaira said...

Hello! Zaira here..I think you have a real nice blog there. I have read it and its pretty interesting.. Hope to read more from you..i'll be posting new blogs too..just finding some new hot topics to natter

2:29 AM  

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