What is Fascism?

I caught this piece at the Bibliophile bullpen and it got me thinking. Dangerous!

I was arrested in the 60s for following candidate, John V. Lindsay in Bryant Park, but only for a few minutes. I was a teenager and he was just so delicious to look at, I wanted to keep looking. The NYPD didn't agree but they ultimately understood I wasn't a risk.

I was threatened with arrest in Washington Square Park, on numerous occasions, and all of them bogus. I lived across the Street, but one night in particular, a warm summer eve, my friend, colleague and neighbour and I were just sitting on a bench catching the breeze having returned from a film, when the bull-horns screamed, "Out, out," and "Curfew."

I don't take well to shouting and resisted. My friend, a native of occasionally fascist Brasil, grabbed my hand and tried to pull me up and out, but I resisted that, too. I couldn't then and can't now accept curfews in public (repeat public) spaces and especially parks.

The NYPD officer was rather belligerent, but I told him to take his attitude to his superiors. He wasn't happy with me, at all, but gave in to my insistence that public property wasn't in his jurisdiction, asked me more politely to leave and with my friend quaking and anxious at the perimeter of my vision, I knew I probably should and did. But I would have accepted a wee gaol sentence to see that one out to its conclusion.

This curfew issue was taken up by some citizens groups in the East and West Villages and I was interviewed for one of the local television stations. If I remember correctly I was chided by the Dean for inappropriate behavior for appearing (listen to me laughing).

I was also detained in the 60s at the huge 14th Street subway station, underground, for about 2 hours because I looked like someone. I never found out who, and the officers apologised, and let me go. It was, however, fascinating to discover that all those underground passages, offices and cameras existed in New York City.

But the only time I was detained about photography was at Tel Aviv Airport. I had a few extra camera lens in my pockets, a SLR Nikon, and the authorities thought I was a German terrorist. Nothing I said, and the upturning of my luggage and the minute examination of my camera equipment, would convince them I wasn't a member of the defunct Baader-Meinhof Group. At the time, more than 20 years ago, I vaguely resembled Gudrun Ensslin.

All I could do was laugh!

Hours later they released me, my equipment but kept my name on file and seemed to be following me for a day or three.

The most recent detention was at the United States-Canadian border in May 2007, and the nightmare left me exhausted and disenchanted with Canada until today.

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