An Open Letter to the Boys in Powder Blue


251px-Emblema_Stasi.svgI’ve been doing a lot of thinking since my arrest last week and talked to a few people and I’ve come to a firm decision.

As far as I can determine, you do indeed have the legal “right” to stop anyone and everyone on the street and demand their identification, name and birthday and ID numbers, writing it down in your stupid notebooks. I realize that you “must” do this because frankly you’re too lazy and incompetent to do anything else and would be unemployed if recording IDs was removed from your job duties. All you’d have left to do is sit around the station house or go out and harass gypsies.

I for one however am not going to play along. It’s called civil disobedience. I don’t care if it’s technically illegal for me to refuse giving you my ID at any hour of the day or not because I’m not going to be obedient. You’re going to have to keep hauling me down to the station and I’m going to keep making a ruckus because if I can’t change the system at least I’m going to do my best to clog up the works.

This obsession of yours is some East German Stasi bullshit. It’s Communist-era Securitate crap, this monitoring and checking people’s IDs for no reason at all. You cowards hiding behind your anonymity and cheap blue uniforms have stopped me a total of four times in my years here in Romania, each time without me being suspected of anything. I’ve just been going around doing my business, not harming anyone, and yet you came up to me and started with this fascist bullshit simply because you allegedly have the legal right to do so.

Some of you hide behind masks, the rest of you hide behind your cheap polyester uniforms, refusing to give out your name even to people you’ve got locked up in your crappy police station, threatening to keep them “all night” if they don’t obey your commands. Your salaries are paid for with public money and yet no one knows how much you take home, what your department budget is or even what your names are.

You don’t have an “Internal Affairs” department or any kind of office where I can file a complaint against your abuses and hope to have an objective arbiter review your actions. You run away from me when I have my camera so from this day forward I shall never leave my house without it, a film record being my only insurance against you abusing your already overinflated authority.

I realize that you don’t know the community, have never bothered to patrol the streets in your jurisdiction despite the fact that the city is split up into zones (precincts), that you could barely find my house even with me in the back seat telling you where it was. Not one of the three of you even knew the cross streets! If I hadn’t been there you would’ve gotten lost in your own “zone” that you supposedly work in.

I’ve been in a hell of a lot of taxis in this city and 99% of cab drivers can find where I live without my help but then again they’re actually out there on the streets, unlike you, who are hiding back at the station when you’re not in town running personal errands on the clock.

You carry guns in a country where they are severe restrictions on the civilian population owning them and yet you do not properly guard your weapons. You bring them into secure areas where there are prisoners that haven’t been searched, prisoners whom you don’t know at all, who could snatch them out of your holsters and turn them against you. You have no clear rules of engagement and would probably end up shooting an innocent bystander if you ever had to fire your weapon in the line of duty. It’s only due to the peaceful nature of your city that you rarely get a chance to demonstrate your dangerous incompetence.

I realize that you’re used to a scared, cowed populace which is well-trained on the necessity of constantly having to prove who they are, so your “job” is easy and mundane. But I for one refuse to be good, refuse to be obedient and refuse to be a party to immoral and authoritarian laws. When you can accuse me of committing a crime other than failing to possess ID then I’ll be happy to give you my digits.

Until then, leave me alone or be prepared to get stuck with me for a few hours (or hell, all night), where I will once again be emphatically informing you that no, I will not do what you tell me.

Sincerely,

A human being, not a number for your files

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Nadia Laribi says:

    ”This obsession of yours is some East German Stasi bullshit. It’s Communist-era Securitate crap”: Have you ever been in France Sam? I don’t believe this is a Communist-era Securitate crap…I think iit is a ”Power” crap, be it communist or capitalist…punto basta…if you are darkish in France they ID you a few times a day…don’t they do that in the USA?

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  2. Simona says:

    Dear Sam, your open letter is in english and on your blog, therefore I doubt your target was the police, but the people reading your blog.

    Anyway, I found on the site of Politia Romana a place where you can send complains
    http://www.politiaromana.ro/sugestii/sugestii.aspx

    and a list of contact detailes http://www.politiaromana.ro/adrese_si_telefoane_utile_directii.htm

    Probably the 4th one (directia control intern) is the one you were looking for-something simiar with internal affairs.

    If you complain on the blog, but not to them, you are just as romanian as me, and no more!

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  3. Life is not quite easy when you were born in Romania says:

    From my experience I believe in many places in this world police has a poor attitude. I remember in States when I was stopped by a cop. Trying to get him to tell me what did I do wrong he saw me as a threat (me with my little car, and not able to hurt a fly.. but well he can not read my mind I suppose) so he touched his gun and called backup, just because I was asking what did I do wrong. Apparently I did not have a full stop before I turned right… So I strongly believe that cops have a problem, whether in Romania or States. I also would like to mention the most ridiculous thing that I experienced. Someone very closed to me had a breakdown because someone dear died. So that person was in need of medical attention to alleviate the agony; in the Romanian hospital asking what medication were using I’ve been told is “secret profesional”. Also they were lacking staff so who else they used to administer the medication, can you guess?? enough suspense already… a patient from the psychiatric ward. I am speechless, how do you even continue to talk to a doctor that does things in this fashion. Maybe call the police… which we already know how helpful they can be, and have the best of both worlds, medical and public safety. It is a vicious cycle. Moral of the stories, do not go out without an ID, do not go breaking down because your heart is aching for someone you lost in your life. I believe every country has some kind of deficiencies. Some countries take accountability and it starts at the top. I believe Romania is not one of them. Most of the top people have cushion jobs and God forbid to jeopardize that status.. Some countries love their people and socially the people are helped to have a high standard of living. That is national pride, not the fact that in Romania we think there is nobody better or more beautifully than Romanians are. I got news .. there are plenty of people in this world with the above mentioned attributes and yes indeed Romania is a charming and beautiful country, but again is one of the many beautiful country. It hurts me to be so blunt because Romania is where I was born; but we need to speak up.. On the other hand I see very often how we are engaging in our day to day struggle, very often is a jungle out there, whether is not having an ID with us, or needing medical attention. We are at the mercy of the government and in one way is good, otherwise would be chaos here on Planet Earth but there has to be a line, somewhere. Being meek is not the solution although very often works specially in Romania, being obedient they like that, they feel that the pray is contained .. in this jungle.. Let’s take a stand where we can and change things for the better, for the new generation, for Planet Earth to become a better place to be. Let’s shame those who are opposing to progress and the right attitude. Let’s take care of our people, whether young or old, everybody. Let’s stop being so selfish and self involved. Let’s have a voice and address concerns in a polite manner. Let’s stop evil from happening. Let’s do something for the greater good.

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  4. Jack Black says:

    Well done mate. Attitudes like this are single-handedly why immigrants are generally viewed with such xenophobia. The sheer level of condescension and arrogance that you exhibit is mind-boggling: you’re not some glorified freedom fighter, in a little one-man army, despite what you clearly think! You’re not doing Romanians a favour by insulting them, or insulting the very police that you have previously praised as doing a generally pretty good job in another article. You’re just making people think that all foreigners are to be treated at an arms-length distance, because if you let them in they’ll get airs, call themselves the King of Romania and end up writing self-aggrandizing blog posts like this one. To any Romanians reading this, this guy doesn’t speak for general developed world – I know the trend is to look up to what foreigners think, for their ‘brave and fresh’ views, but in this case it’s just total rubbish.

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  5. Adrian says:

    You at the same right have the right to ask for the people in blue to identify themselves as well.

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    1. Adrian says:

      *same time.

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