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In the Shadows
I did what many thousands of Americans do quite often; I returned a movie
rental. What I experienced though,
hopefully is not what many of you have experienced; I was followed, I was
watched. As I entered my local
supermarket to return a movie rental, everything seemed normal, until I turned
to leave the kiosk, a ‘rent a cop’ and his female companion, made it obvious
they were watching me, glaring, sarcastically smiling as I walked away and
continued on my daily routine.
have our daily, even weekly routines: we may buy our coffee, or newspaper, every
day at the same shop, perhaps even at the same time of day or night. We tend to shop for our groceries, on
the same day each week. We even do
our banking like clockwork each Friday, Saturday or Monday. And as we live our lives of routine,
under the watchful ‘eyes’ of more and more cameras in shopping malls, parking
lots, bank lobbies-- our lives become less private, less random, more
predictable, and more transparently clear to those who may be watching us.
years ago, I first became aware that I was being followed, my picture taken by
strangers, while I shopped, not once or twice, but several times. Now my son complains to me that he too
is followed as he commutes to and from school. No, these are not ordinary
patrols on the subways or streets of the city. The oversize shirts covering radio and
service revolver, can’t seem to cover the identity of the personages who shadow
people on every day activities, as they cross streets, or enter school
phone no longer produces a clear connection; there are clicks, echoes and
distortions. My mail stream has
been reduced. People I know
complain about their mail to me being returned. Ordinary bills like bank statements,
credit card billings, insurance policies are either delayed or never
arrive. As the months turn to
years, it becomes obvious to me that these incidents can no longer be
attributable to random occurrences. Is this
not a kind of warfare, an economic sabotage, indeed psychological
wonder what the concern is all about?
Are the activities my son, a college student, engages in, which are tied
to his concerns for the betterment of humanity; whose concerns are for the
environment; whose concerns are for completing his education—are such concerns
the nefarious makings of a threat to public security? Is membership in the
Student Sierra coalition or in The Students for Bhopal Campaign, cause for being
watched and followed?
perhaps perceived as a threat for my leadership of this website and its
organization, and hence my family, by extension, threats as well? Are my contacts being identified in
order to target them too? Or is this a ‘game’ of elaborate intimidation, so that
I cease my activities related to this website? But intimidation would not
explain why my food shopping habits seem to be of interest to those who seem to
shadow my movements. Why the avid
concern over my nutrition?
is my answer: I don’t feel intimidated, I am not scared even if my death is
being contemplated and planned. I
fully accept the fact that I no longer have the comfort of privacy, that was
lost years ago and it matters little to me, but I wish to make this abundantly
clear, I refuse to be intimidated or frightened by ‘men’ who bask and cower in
anonymity as they plot to alter and destroy the lives of others. What sort of human being does that?
society is being transformed into just a shadow of its previous grandeur.
How ironic, that as President Bush accuses other nations of being
evil, that same darkness is flourishing as well, here in the 'land of Liberty.'
Victor Saraiva, Editor
Saraiva is senior editor, he can be reached
by email email@example.com
Posted September 06,
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