In a double-whammy in the Independent (subscriber-only), Andreas Whittam Smith and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown inveigh against the government's anti-terror laws. Whittam Smith declares, "I would rather go on running the daily risk of being injured or killed in a terrorist incident than have my freedom from arrest without trial removed." Yasmin (who is a friend of mine) complains that we are losing our grip in the face of scare stories about "swarthy" Muslims. "What is wrong with the British masses?" she asks.
I'm not convinced.
I think the choice comes down to this: over-react today or over-react after a terrorist attack some time in the future. Better to do it now, I think, while race relations can still bear the strain. A while back I wrote a Times op-ed [can't find it on-line at the moment, unfortunately] arguing in favour of racial profiling at airports (which would affect me more than Whittam Smith, since I'm often mistaken for a Muslim, as are my wife and sons). I haven't changed my mind since then. Yes, there's a danger the new legislation will be abused. Yes, Abu Ghraib can happen again. Even so (and I know this sounds pious) I'd rather face that problem today rather than leave it to my sons' generation.
I wish I could think of a better, neater answer, but perhaps there isn't one.
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/02/dilemma-in-double-whammy-in.html|||2/28/2005 11:25:00 am|||||||||