Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Read this and weep

I came upon this wonderful article by Matthew Parris in the Times when catching up on the story of Samina Malik. I was reminded of the prosecution 31 years ago of Gay News for publishing James Kirkup's rather tasteless poem. Now here we are again with a dissident poet, though probably this time being jailed rather than sued.

I thought it was places like North Korea where thinking incorrect thoughts was supposed to be a crime. Maybe in a few years visitors to Britain will be obliged to bow to statues of Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher or be punished.

Then I read this story, which brought to mind Parris's comments about Chris Langham. OK, Tibbert had actually been creating videos, so this isn't exactly a "thought crime". But just think about it. Here we have a guy, creepy though he may be, standing in a public place, photographing children who are also in a public place. He wasn't poking his camera under toilet doors, or shooting through bedroom windows; he was filming on a public beach. It seems to ne that if you don't want your nudity or partial nudity to attract attention, you don't parade it on a beach, whether you're six or sixty. The parents of these children were perfectly happy for them to run around "semi-naked" (what that means is not made clear, though I doubt it involved erotic lingerie) until someone spotted a camera. Eh? Did they want a royalty payment? If the issue is that their kids were spotted showing more than they should, is that not the parents' problem? In any case, morality has been assuaged by Mr Tibbert's being:

  • ->banned from any beach where children are present, on pain of imprisonment;
  • ->prevented from taking any of his photographic equipment out of his house ;
  • ->barred from any contact with under-16s;
  • ->put on the Sex Offenders' Register for 3 years (despite having neither committed nor filmed any sexual act whatsoever).

I wouldn't deny that Tibbert is most likely a disturbed individual. But it seems harsh to destroy his life (and let's be clear, placing him on the Sex Offenders' Register will do that: if he's not been murdered or mutilated in three years time, he'll never be able to work, find a flat, or have any kind of a life ever again) for actions which caused no actual harm or potential harm to anyone.

In North Korea, too, it is illegal to take photographs of anything without obtaining official clearance.

Welcome to the future.


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