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Shit happens #1
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-01-25 09:39:44
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Reading that the Australian airline Qantas forbid the entrance of a passenger on to one of their airplanes because they didn’t like the t-shirt he was wearing reminded me of the late-70s and all the punk t-shirts. The man was wearing a t-shirt with the picture of George W. Bush saying, 'Wanted terrorist' or something like that, and I felt sorry I don’t have that fantastic t-shirt with the Queen and the logo of the Sex Pistols anymore.

Since when has George W. Bush become an untouchable institution? Why didn’t they tell me? Should I stop making cartoons with George W. Bush like with Mohammed? And who the hell do a private airline think they are to judge what is good or bad, what is ethical and what is politically correct? Is Qantas going to build shrines for George W. Bush next to their offices all around the world demanding everybody to kneel twice and kiss the ground? I know I’m pushing it too far, but what the hell is going on?

Perhaps I’m getting old. Sometimes I feel as though the late-60s were just a dream or something I wanted to have happened. It has become my reality, but in this illusion Paris was on fire, Berkeley was on fire, Rome was on fire, Berlin was on fire and people, mainly young people, were on the streets demanding freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of choice. In my dream, freedom of expression was a major right and my dream lasted well into the '70s, and then it was also expressed with the punk movement continuing into the 1980s with the post-punk movement and nobody daring to say anything to people who were calling presidents and prime ministers murderers.

Who the hell appointed Qantas and a bureaucratic employee protector of our institutions? I guess nobody told them that George W. Bush is not the institution but the position he holds for five years; democracy is the institution that has to be protected and freedom of expression and speech is part of this democratic identity. In which regimes aren't you free to criticize the leader? Let me see…hmmm! It was Iraq during Saddam’s era or Afghanistan; it was Hitler and definitely Stalin.

So does Qantas think that they have helped anything? What’s their next step? All employees will have to wear black uniforms all time with a brassard that separates them from the…others? But then perhaps I am too old and I have strange illusions. You see in my illusion I live in a representative democracy where I am the one who has the power and I elect representatives to protect my rights. For Qantas, obviously George W. Bush was sent by God to enforce his will…oh, to hell with it, I’m probably just getting older!

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