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Re: [xml-dev] Welcome to Balisage in America?

Here is an anecdote, and an explanation as to why I feel it is relevant:

More than a decade ago I was detained and questioned closely for more than an hour while entering Canada through Ottawa airport, coming from the U.S. with no other recent travel on my passport. It was a baffling experience, and very uncharacteristic of Canada, then and now. They read my paper calendar and asked about each appointment, which I found intrusive but there were tax issues to be addressed since I was on a consulting trip.

That done, they insisted that I start my computer for them. It was running Linux, which they had no idea how to operate. I'm not kidding, just telling you what happened. I said, "Maybe if I knew what you were looking for, I could help you find it." They said they were looking for photographs of people having sex with animals. I could scarcely believe it. But I at least pretended to take them seriously, because they wanted to know where I keep my pictures. I said, there could be pictures anywhere on the disk! Which surprised them. Eventually I did a command-line "find / -name '*.jpg'" and the output showed them a long list. Eventually they picked a couple of .jpgs from my browser cache, and those turned out to be wee tiny graphics from web pages, like the corners of picture-frames, etc. In the end they said, "Welcome to Canada". It was nearly midnight by then. Relieved but mystified, I said, "I have no interest in exporting pornography from the U.S., but if I were doing that, I certainly wouldn't be carrying it in physical form across the border. It would be so much easier and cheaper just to send it as e-mail or something." They seemed to appreciate having that information. All in all, it was a Kafka-esque experience.

Later I concluded that it was probably retaliatory harassment due to similarly unfriendly treatment given to incoming Canadians by the Bush administration; the only alternative explanation would be that these people (all males, by the way) really were as ignorant as they appeared to be.

Why is this anecdote relevant? Because I did not, and do not, choose to be intimidated by it. Instead, such stories should be occasions for mirth, because public ridicule is the most powerful antidote to pubic intimidation. By the way, American reporters sometimes have their equipment confiscated at the U.S. border and it is effectively *never* returned to them. So Patrick is right; don't bring anything you can't afford to lose at the border. Perhaps this absurd behavior by the U.S. government is the reason why the market for used laptops on ebay.com is strengthening. There must be an awful lot of computer junk in storage somewhere. These days, you can install Ubuntu on almost anything, at no out-of-pocket cost, and do it pretty securely, too. All part of the cost of a ticket to the U.S.: innoculations, visas, disposable computers...

On 02/17/2017 02:42 AM, Dave Pawson wrote:

Rather more hot than a warm welcome.



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