Monday, September 17, 2012

Looking for bolt-holes – Part One

Once you’ve made your home somewhere, it’s hard to be truly objective about the changes you see happening. You’re aware of the physical changes, as time goes by – a new apartment block, a new marina or entertainment complex, new roads – but you tend to forget the order in which they came. At least, that’s what we’ve found, in the several places we’ve called “home” in our 45 years together.

We remember when we could leave all our keys in the car and find them there next morning. But we can’t name the exact year when criminals became so cheeky that absent-mindedness of that kind became costly. What year was it that we put burglar-bars on all our house-windows? We don’t remember. It all just crept up on us.

In this Caribbean island, most of the changes have been recent. Two generations ago there were only 12,000 residents, all of one ethnic identity. What money there was, had been wired home by men working on American merchant ships; local work-opportunities were limited to fishing and dirt-farming. Now, we have 50,000 people of dozens of different nationalities; our tourism and Offshore tax-haven bring in more money than our government can sensibly spend.

Today, things are about to change again – but this time it’s serious. We are faced with the prospect of a new world order, imposed by the criminal cabals in charge of Western countries today. They seem to be planning the world’s future with the help of two famous instructional books. One is 1984, the other is Brave New World. It would be prudent to familiarise ourselves with their outlines in Wikipedia.

Personal freedom in future might not always be an option for individuals within the reach of the cabals and their enforcers. Already we see some representative democracies developing into Police States, as economies collapse into high unemployment and super-high inflation. The rule of law is weakening, as the definition of “terrorism” is broadened to include ordinary dissidence. The Wikileaks persecutions (Assange and Manning) are clear evidence of that.

The changes in police uniforms over the past fifty years illustrate the point. The gentle English bobby and his counterparts have become stormtroopers; his policeman’s whistle has become a taser gun: his polite enquiry, a debilitating kick. Not in Cayman, I hasten to say, but sooner or later even the gentlest of Caribbean islands will be urged to follow suit. Guantanamo is only ninety miles across the water, from our Islands. That's handy.

What can we do? Where can we go, if push literally comes to shove? That’s the question of the moment.

Our grandchildren and their parents all live in Norway, a country that shares that wonderful Scandinavian reputation for freedom and safety. But Norway was a Police State in 1940-45, during the cruel German empire; and there is no guarantee it won’t become one again under the cruel American one. Norway is a member of NATO, after all, whose members all claim the right to abuse human rights where they find them. Libya and Syria are a long way from Oslo, but you can understand why we don’t regard Norway as the ideal refuge in a 1984 world.

There are some places in Latin America that seem attractive to us. The nations there are famous for the ease with which they revert to Police States at the drop of a hat. However, the US-government-sponsored death-squads in the latter half of the 20th Century didn’t regard resident expatriates as threats to national security, and actually killed very few peaceful foreign residents – if any. We might be safer there than in any of the NATO nations or their dependent territories.

It’s a topic worth taking a second look at.