Monday, July 13, 2009

Architectural aspects in a state of police, if not in a police state...

Image of a shoot tied in a knot.Dear Gentle Reader,

The police state bit comes lower down in today's post.

Bear with me, please.

I am still a bit tied up in knots (the Heroine sends her love, though, as seen in the picture) and I will explain my recent e-absence.

First, the Heroine and your humble scribe are back in town.

That is a blurry Heroine in the background.

She is all smiles, as you can see from the photograph.

I am still all grimaces.

Sorry for the delays; I have no recollection of typing up that haiku after surgery a couple of weeks ago--I wouldn't normally post about that stuff.

Surgery, that is. It seems to me that nobody else would be interested.

But, I don't know why, but some of you seem to want some info.

Yes, I have just received your emails.

Thank you very much for your concern.


Some complications set in after I wrote haiku under the influence and out of consciousness.

The surgery was simply a highly invasive checkup (45 internal biopsies! Plus extra things!), but it wasn't that big a deal.

The bad things the specialists feared were not found.

They (the specialists) just couldn't explain what they did find.

All is neither better nor worse, and I am relatively happy with the status quo.

Things, after all, could be much blacker.

For the politically correct legions out there, black has been correlated with the opposite of life, goodness and health in every major religion and mythology that I am aware of, including most African mythologies and religions.

I do use the word most, because, of course, there is one great exception which is also located on the African continent.

That exception, of course, is found in the resident Gods of the mythologies of Egypt, particularly of the lower Nile (the region around Cairo and Alexandria).

There, the black banks of the Nile yielded fecundity and fertility and life.

Benevolent Hor, or Horus, the sky God, is black and his opposite, his nemesis, is Seth.

Seth is red and, throughout the Egyptian Empire, red was associated with the burning, inhospitable sands bordering the life-giving black banks of the Nile.

Anyway, enough self-justification for saying that things could be blacker.

There is much life flowing through your humble scribe, and I am not in denial.

From your perspective, no worries, I am back in the e-saddle and looking forward to both e-writing and e-reading.

So, seeing as how the doctors found nothing particularly vile and unpleasant to tell me, merely unfortunate and importune news, off we all went to China as we had previously decided to take my Dad and another house guest to Yunnan Province, China.

Let me tell you, though, just in case you might not have suspected it... recuperating from surgery during a cross-country jaunt in rural China is not exactly restful.

Also, I would have posted from China, but even when I found Internet access, I could not access my blogger account.

I had no idea why, at the time.

Now that we are out of China, and know all that is happening in Xinjiang, we know why I couldn't access my accounts.

Maybe I will post at some point in time on past trips into Xinjiang.

Lovely part of China.

Lovely people.

Fearsome repression, and that was in the police state that existed in Xinjiang then...

I shudder to imagine it now.

Being back in Hong Kong, now, I am meditating a bit on the nature of the police state. I might well start posting, but my natural reticence is still high with regards to China.

My thoughts did stray, however, to the nature of civil liberties and police states in other places.

Where did my thoughts stray?

Well, I thought of the degree of e-invasion of official, state-installed, closed-circuit cameras in "good, old England".

England, of course, once released a black slave held on an American trading ship which merely docked in an English port.

This, of course, was after England finally criminalised slavery.

The judge freed the slave as he had been in a safe harbour and he determined that England's freedoms had attached themselves to the slave and had transformed the slave into a free man.

Great concern had been raised, during the trial, regarding the international repercussions of the freeing of a person that was seen as a thing, specifically a person seen as an American chattel stored continuously on the vessel flying the flag of a sovereign state, the American flag.

Despite the dire warnings and imprecations delivered through the defense trial lawyer, the judge said, in his decision, "fiat justitia ruat coelum". Translated from Latin the judge said "let justice be done though the heavens (or the sky) may fall".

The power of civil liberties, then, in England, were such that those civil liberties would accrue to a poor, huddled misery that was a man held in indentured slavery. Further, those civil liberties released his shackles.

Now, those same civil liberties have been sacrificed on an e-altar of security, safety, and video surveillance cabling.

That is one architectural illustration of a state of police, if not a police state.

The architectural element here is, of course, the closed circuit television camera.

Another architectural element found in a state of police, albeit more metaphorical, would be the structural wood in the American edifice of criminal justice.

Wood from the forbidden tree.

The famous caveat to the use of evidence gathered by the state in criminal prosecutions via illegal search and seizure law, in the United States of America, is the use of the fruit of the forbidden tree.

This relates to the state's inability to use, in court proceedings, evidence, or fruit, which was unlawfully obtained--which came from a forbidden tree.

This exclusionary doctrine was first developed in Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 40 S. Ct. 182, 64 L. Ed. 319 (1920) and was fleshed out, with the famous "fruit of the forbidden tree" tag line, in Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 60 S. Ct. 266, 84 L. Ed. 307 (1939).

But, metaphorical architectural elements do not produce good pictures, except maybe in the mind's eye.

So, finally, and still shying away from China, which actually is a police state, and its use of force in Xinjiang, I think of home, today.

Hong Kong...
Image of a concrete turret in Hong Kong.
Wherever this is, it certainly looks well fortified.

This image comes from Stanley Village on the backside of Hong Kong Island.

This image is repeated at each corner of the Stanley police office...

Image of the Stanley Police Office, Hong Kong.Many police stations in Hong Kong are this fortified.

One does not just enter a police station, here, to make a complaint or to bring cookies.

Presumably there is a reason for these extra architectural pillbox/garret/turret elements...

And Hong Kong is not a police state.

Although it does have a lot of police, and a lot of quasi-police in various other branches of the state, and a lot of state-sanctioned closed-circuit television cameras.

And, Hong Kong also has a lot of private security...

Group 4 Securicor, a private security company, has over 4,700 security officers in Hong Kong and there are about 900 other licenses issued in Hong Kong for other private security companies...

Anyway, those are some architectural details (cameras, metaphorical wood, and fortified garrets) found in states of police, if not police states.

In absolute police states one just sees things like this...

Image of a tank...
While these mobile units are not architectural aspects, per se, they make very short work of architectural units. Even Hong Kong garrets.

And dissent, too.

Tschuess, all.

PS. That previous post on the signal tower in Hong Kong? That was just a draft I had started to work on, and it went up without any further input from me. Sorry about that one, folks, it was still to be worked on and escaped from the lab...


debra said...

So glad you are ok, Chris. We take a lot for granted, I think. The photos of the police stations are sobering.
And your words are strong and clear.
Thank you.

Teresa said...

Hi Chris,

We are just glad to have you back. We enjoyed your smeary incisions in the clay, even if they were not as pristine as you would have liked. We were impressed at what you got up to on pain killers after surgery. So no need for apologies.

Thank you for showing us the architecture of police and for your well-formed thoughts on rights and oppression (complete with legal precedents and citations). Very impressive for having just returned from China.


jjdebenedictis said...

If you went gallivanting around, I assume you're doing well, but El Husbando and I are concerned... Stay well and take care.

Steady-as-rain said...

Hi buddy,

Surprised by all this. Hope to talk soon. Have a few medical issues of my own just now.



murat11 said...

Chris: Good to hear from you again, very good. We all must continue our continuing educations, in your good hands.

Apropos of blackness, I understand your hesitations and needs to explain. As a welcome, alternative read on darkness, there is the radiant dark in several traditions, notably Sufi, Hindu's Kali (albeit a fiercesome radiance), and a Christian radianta here in my own Tres Leches backyard: the Black Madonna.

It is good to have you back.

Candace said...

Hello Chris and to the Blurry Heroine, too.
(Well, I'd be blurry if I were having to go through all this, too, no doubt.)
Happy beyond telling that you are all right. I appreciate this post much more than you know, too, re: the -- ahem -- architectural aspects.
Take good care, My Friend.
Candace in Athens.

Travis Erwin said...

glad to hear you are okay.

Jenn Jilks said...

Quite the story. Internal and external, medical and technilogical. People do want to know how you are feeling!

Sepiru Chris said...

Hello Debra,

Thank you very much. The fortified garrets startled me, but so did the tank on manoeuvres, which I saw on a recent trip...

Hi Teresa,

Cheers and thanks. It is, unfortunately, fairly easy to have thoughts on oppression these days...

Hello OxyJen,

All is well, give my best to El Husbando, and to you. All is quite well. No fears. You, sweet thing, have lived through the same thing. Ish.

Heya Rickster,

Let' skype after my houseguests leave and before the next batches arrive. I wish you all the best from the sauna that is Hong Kong (Yunnan was considerably cooler, and I have to reacclimatise).

Dear Murat,

You know, I hadn't thought of the Black Madonnas, or of the radiant dark of sufism. Although my firtst thought on that is that sufism has more of a mystical accretion of opposites that Hegel would approve of.

But, Murat, I would respectfully disagree with Kali. It is her fiercesome aspects that are black and are to be feared. Just as Buddhism's Mara is also black and to be feared.

I am not supposing that Black is the antithesis of good, but it is the less than antithetical opposition doublet to light.

And I hear you, loud and clear, Murat.

Looking forward to e-visiting, although things are still a bit fast-forward here.

Dear Candace,

Thank you so very much.

I really am quite touched by everything.

And not just by the surgeons.

(The nurses could have touched more, too, but I fear age is starting to ravage the flesh in a way that only maidens used to.)

So, thank you for your thoughts.

Cheers, Travis. You gave up MTM! Well, it certainly is a tremendous burden as Junosmom and I discovered in our short stead of holding your fort for you.

Hello Jenn,

Thank you so much. You know, for a Canadian, it is a tad bit startling to be on the receiving end. Or maybe I have simply been away for too long.

Tschuess, all.

Barbara Martin said...

I am working my way backwards in the posts and now I see why you made the comments previous to this one.

Glad to hear you are okay, and recovering. Take care of yourself so we can get more of your wonderful posts.

Barrie said...

Good to see you up and about again. As always, I learned something from your post.