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you have been warned
“It is a fact that we are not immune from finding the odd rotten apple in our midst. If I knew of such a one, he would not survive tomorrow. No faffing about. Because I’m a humanist. That’s why I think that way… All this drivel about no executions and no death penalties – all BS, comrades. Execute, if necessary even without a court decision.” Erich Mielke, head of the Department for State Security in East Germany, 1982
In East Germany we were always aware of the possibility of someone listening to what we said, even if we were not always exactly sure who to be careful around. But we knew it was there, and ‚Stasi’, if we had done such research back then, surely was up there as one of the most-uttered words in the land, not far behind ‚Scheißstaat’, I guess. But even I wouldn’t have dreamed that the head of that omnipresent snooping apparatus, a cabinet minister equivalent, no less, would seriously say something like this.
As East Germans we didn’t really get to vote for the government that installed this formidable protection mechanism for its treasured revolution against its own people, if needs must. In the end, we had to go and overthrow it, and we did.
You, and we all now, however, do get to choose the lot that governs us. Therefore it pains me to witness so many people who had the good fortune not to grow up in what is (to an extent) justly described as an oppressive regime, allow a chosen few to be given powers in the name of protecting the people that include systematically accessing private information of and about those very people they are meant to protect.
It gets worse when legislation gets passed that removes those great protectors of the people from democratic control, i.e. from control of the people’s rule. They end up giving themselves more powers yet as there is nobody there to check on them. Not even maliciously, just out of something that with time becomes a kind of self-perpetuating fanaticism, this simplistic idea of serving good against evil, and everyone is a suspect. And after a while of being in the intoxicating pull of this absolute power where they can do anything in the name of their office and answer to nobody, such people come up with such utterances, just like Erich Mielke did in 1982.
You have been warned.
Keywords: human rights, life, politics
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