Saturday, January 28, 2012

Danger! Danger!

As an American citizen overseas, I occasionally get ridiculous emails from American Citizen Services (apologies to anyone I know who works in this department). Worldwide Caution!!! Well, the last email was actually "Worlwwide Caution" which must be even worse, what with all the w's floating around.

There are places in the world where it is genuinely unsafe for citizens of particular nations, or foreigners of any stripe. By making fun of these emails, I'm not poo-pooing the real dangers that people face as tourists, contractors, journalists, aid workers and many other professions around the world. enjoy this lovely piece of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink fear dredging:

"The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of
terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against
U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Current information suggests that
al-Qaida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist
organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests
in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle
East.* These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide
operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.
Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons,
and target both official and private interests. Examples of such
targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices,
hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas,
and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad
where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.**
U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack
public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.***
Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail
systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past several years,
these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London,
Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City."

Oh dear. Did they leave ANYTHING out?
*They could have just said: "Anywhere in the world but South America, Antarctica and Australia" and said the same thing!
**Did you note, in the thorough treatment of all the options, that "in the United States" is conveniently sandwiched in between all the dire warnings? Lest you think that staying home is a safe'd be better off taking a trip to Down Under. Or Rio. :)
*** It bugs me that public transportation systems are lumped into the category of "tourist infrastructure." Tourists may use cities' infrastructure, but that hardly counts as being created for the sole purpose of tourism. Maybe they're referring to double-decker buses and Jeep tours? Because I don't see a lot of commuters using that infrastructure...

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Yes, I think you should all come down under for your assured safety... however we cannot guarantee you protection from the crocodiles, sharks, poisonous snakes and spiders, and marine stingers...