Good Reads, Politics, Testimonials

Read This: Notes from the RNC

2600 has posted Notes From the RNC – The 8/31 Experience, a long recounting of the thirty three hours that one journalist experienced in detention, after being penned in by the NYPD for standing on the wrong sidewalk at the wrong time. It is definately worth a read by any American. (Thanks, Mike!)

I’ve been lucky enough to talk to a few people, both online and in person, who were also swept off the streets during the convention. We shared stories and experiences and it became obvious that we really needed to do this. A tale of injustice, even one that is dwarfed by others, needs to be told.

The narrator is a sharp guy with a healthy sense of humor. The piece is disorganised but the writing is a pleasure to consume. Several excerpts, perhaps, to tantalize you:

I was more interested in the amazing scene that was right in front of me. Dozens and dozens of cops were sitting at rows of desks and nearly every one of them was asleep. What exactly were they doing to these people? How long were they forcing them to work? What kind of bizarre paperwork triathlons were they being made to endure?

This time, though, I was chained to four other people and led down long corridors, and eventually to a stairwell where a window was opened a crack. And it was through that window that we heard the most beautiful sound in the world. People outside were singing, chanting, and beating on drums. They must have been there because of us. I don’t think there was anyone present who wasn’t deeply moved by this.

We became aware that there were also “real” prisoners here. They were in an adjoining cell and they just stared at us like we were from another planet. Some people tried to be friendly but got no response. It was unsettling, especially with the occasional hints from some of the cops that we would eventually be put in with dangerous inmates. I wondered if these scary looking people had been placed there to emphasize that point.

In the past, this kind of a thing would be dealt with by issuing a ticket and making a court date. Imagine if everyone who got a traffic ticket was put through this sort of thing. That’s pretty much what was happening here. And of course the system got backed up with the lousy equipment and lack of coordination. It seemed obvious to us all that the inefficiency of their system was being used as an excuse to keep us locked away for as long as they wanted. If only Kafka had been around to appreciate this.

We were then herded into another cell across the hall and then about five minutes later into the cell next to it for reasons unknown. This cell was unusual in that it had two phones, one on either end. I discovered that one of the phones cost 25 cents for a local call and the other one was 50 cents. If we weren’t all such pacifists, I’m sure we could have established a class system inside the cell where the privileged few got the cheaper rate and the rest were screwed.

Others seemed to notice it at the same time. We no longer heard the helicopters. And the police were starting up their cars, vans, and scooters and beginning to pull away. “Bush is gone,” I heard someone say.

Go ahead, and read this now or at least bookmark it for later.

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Categories: Good Reads, Politics, Testimonials

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