I will probably never have children. And I am glad. I would be ashamed to have to turn and say to my child or grandchild that 2012 was the year it all started, that this was the year when democracy in the west failed.
What could I say to them? That by 2012 the voices of those who believed in democracy and the values of a democratic state finally gave way before the ceaseless onslaught from cynical manipulators within and without government who believed in total monitoring, backed by the naked greed of a security-industrial complex that saw only a profitable new source of income.
That those of us who fought against more and more repressive legislation saw our efforts undermined by weak politicians who blindly believed in a shallow orthodoxy and simply followed the party line.
That while people and governments around the world struggled with near-constant recession and ever greater levels of poverty, state security departments used their massively increased budgets to watch and interfere with anyone who dared to question any aspect of establishment convention.
That those who tried to stand against the increasing power of the security services found their lives and livelihoods destabilised, their work undermined and their families subjected to gross interference in their personal lives.
That anyone who dared to criticise would be subjected to continuous aerial surveillance from drones that were originally developed for military use, and subsequently found to be perfect for monitoring troublesome individuals.
That this monitoring from above would be 24 hours a day, at home, at work or while travelling almost anywhere in the world, and that any domestic laws limiting such surveillance were simply ignored.
That these drones were not only able to monitor, but also to attack individuals by bombarding them with tiny chemical projectiles that could poison an individual’s environment.
That people could have their lives made miserable and whole neighbourhoods undermined simply in order to force a targeted individual away from his or her home, and once removed subject that person to ceaseless biological and psychological attack until the inevitable descent into illness or death.
That most men or women who found themselves victims of such attacks took years to work out what was happening to them, first because of not understanding the source of such attacks, and second sheer disbelief, sheer horror, that state agencies in supposed mature democracies could be so free of governmental oversight that they could persecute their own citizens with impunity.
That a man or woman who managed to resist such attacks found life was driven by one single motive, to somehow survive. And to find a way to hit back at those responsible, and shine a bright light on this cancer within the state.
That, if at the end all attempts to reign back a deliberate fostering of security paranoia failed, to try and make that failure as costly as possible to the perpetrators, in the hope that one person’s failure might give time for others to carry the flame of democracy forward.
These are the things I would be forced to say to a child. And to admit that, in 2012, some of us stood but, we failed.
© Philip Hunt, 2012.