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:: Saturday, 8 February 2003 ::

Arrests. Some will not lead to charges. G'uh already.

From the Guardian about arrests in Italy. It's just awful, as far as that paper is concerned. Apparently policing is not important in Italy, in the opinion of Guardian writers.

Arresting folks who police consider may be or are involved in criminal activity has got to be able to occur. That is a given, right? That's the job of the police, right? It is how we keep society civilised, right? The thin blue line? Right.

Investigating the arrested folks has got to be able to happen, to work out whether to charge those folks. Or not charge 'em, in which case to release 'em pronto, right? And if they are charged, investigating them as part of the justice process has to be able to happen, right? To work out whether those folks are innocent of the charges or guilty of 'em. Given. Right?

Squealing that people should not be arrested because of their nationality is as stupid as squealing that people should be arrested because of their nationality. It ain't the nationality. It is the behaviour, the activity, the things folks say and do that gets 'em arrested.

Living in a squalid flat filled with more other folks than ever were meant to live in that squalid flat, and selling stuff on the streets in Italy is going to get you noticed by police. You know why? Cos your neighbours will complain about the squalor and about the crappy rug with the knock off merchandise on it outside the train station. About the simple fact that the sound coming from a flat with two in it vs the sound coming from a flat with twenty is different. The twenty are usually noisier. Neighbours gonna complain, man. About the fact that round some train stations it looks more like Lahore than say, Firenze. Italians are going to complain.

In come the coppers. It's a straight line, in my opinion.

Too many folks in the flat, man. Too many things getting sold on the streets, man. Italian cities ain't Lahore, man. Italian police will be asked by Italian citizens to act. And when asked, they should act. Because that is their job.

I do not doubt for a second that the Italian police has arrested folks who are wholly innocent of any criminal activity. Innocents. It happens here in Oz, it happens in the US, it happens in Spain. It happens.

And that fact is not the end of the world. It is a fact worth keeping an eye on, worth trying to rectify, worth trying to minimise the mistakes. Never stop trying to be better. But you cannot stop trying just cos you're not the best.

How can Pakistan authorities positively state 28 of their people in Italy are not engaged in criminal activity? How can they state that? They cannot with any confidence. It is as absurd a position as if the 28 guys in this story were not arrested but were charged and found guilty all at once.

That has not happened.

And yet the Pakistani authorities have found their guys innocent.

The Pakistan authorities have to take their absurd position, of course. But it is freakin' empty. I mean, Pakistan is the zone that Talibanners and bin Ladenites have an likely still move into and out of a heap. Pakistanis living twenty to a flat or whatever, in Italy or Sydney are going to get scrunitinised. And God help 'em if they are the praying five times a day guys. Or the head scarf girlies.

Cos that stuff is over the top. And you do not have to do that to be Muslim. No. You. Do. Not.

For me, we got a balance going on here. We got Italian citizens being able to report stuff to police about possible criminal activity in the community. We got police action where they feel they got enough to arrest and make a charge and have it stick on the guys alleged to be engaged in the criminal activity. And we got a justice system that will test the charge and free folks if the charge won't stick.

What about the innocents? What about 'em? They are innocent.

What about the awful intrusion into their lives, the appalling loss of liberty, the injury to reputation, the compromise to visas?

What about it? Like I said. There are checks. There are balances. It ain't perfect. Jeebus. But it ain't anarchy. You cannot do nothing. Nothing is anarchy. I do not want to live without my justice system. I want it. I want it to work. I want to keep a jaundiced eye on it too, to make sure it does not get worse, but always strives and does get better.

But I cannot countenance doing nothing. Releasing these 28 guys on the say so of the Pakistan authorities. Please.

Get far away.

:: WB 7:20 pm [link+] ::

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