I was thinking about this thing about restricting photography in public places. I think it’s sad in many ways but mostly it is sad because it means giving in. Let me explain.
These days you see a lot of talk about terrorism in every conceivable type of media. The aim of terrorism per definition is to create terror, fear. This fear is the fear about things you cannot control but which can have a big negative impact on things in your life. Big things, huge fear of the unknown, the uncontrollable danger that lurks everywhere and can strike at any moment unannounced. That is very scary indeed.
The restriction of photography in public places feeds this exactly same fear of the big dangerous unknown. It works in the same way as the threat of terrorism, with the only difference being that it’s not implemented by some strangers from outside one’s own culture or social circle, but by one’s own nation, own people. It is the fear that trickles from the powers that be into the minds of every citizen. It is a message from our leaders, and it tells us to be afraid. We have to give in, and fear the unknown.
Now, think about it, if you would like to sow fear into a group of people, wouldn’t it be best to turn peers against each other, to find a threat within the group so that the group starts controlling and restricting itself and its members? That’d be the ultimate deed of terrorism, terror feeding terror.
True, a bomb here, a plane crash there does get the media attention, wreak havoc and generate fear, but it also bumps up national pride, which fuels the fight response and might make people mentally stronger. A fear of harmful actions that can be taken by anyone anywhere is a fear without a specific target or face, or perhaps the face of someone you know, which is absolutely horrible in many ways. That’s a big fear, and that fear lurks not only near big internationally known targets, but also in small villages, on every street, in your neigbourhood, next door from you… perhaps even in your own home. How do you fight that? How do you fight a possible enemy hiding in plain view in your own community? Either you don’t fight it, which makes you look like a quitter and people start thinking you’re supporting this unknown menace, or then you fight it and at the same time spread more fear and paranoia in your own community. It’s a lose-lose situation for ordinary people, but a huge win for the ones that want to control.
I mean, if I was a terrorist, I wouldn’t go around taking pictures. Nope. I’d be the one telling people that taking pictures in public is something to be feared, something that shouldn’t be done and something that needs surveillance, preferably by every citizen. You know, go around actively planting more and more seeds of fear into people. It wouldn’t be as fast as a bomb, but certainly more destructive in the long run.
But I’m not a terrorist. I take pictures and believe that is good thing.