Sunday, May 02, 2010

Carrying Papers

I was thinking about those poor souls in Arizona that will always have to be carrying papers to identify themselves as legal. Then I remembered living somewhere overseas as a child where I had to always have my papers. I wasn't sure where it was, but I assumed it was Spain, because I lived there when Franco was dictator - and he was a pretty scary character. All I remembered was that it was thoroughly drummed into my head that I was never to leave home without my papers. I could also remember exactly what it looked like, and how terribly awkward it was to carry. I had a vague memory that I had saved this thing. I'm a pretty organized person, and I knew where it would be if I had it. And I found it! To my surprise, this was for when I lived in France, of all places.

As you can see, it was very long. But it did fold into a more manageable size - 3.5" X 5". But I was always having trouble finding places to carry it, since it didn't fit into any of my pockets. You can also see that it got a lot of abuse - it's torn and full of water marks and spots.

Shortly after I found this, I ran across an article in The Atlantic about French ID cards, which they apparently still have, although they rarely ask for them. The only people who are asked to show them are youngish, African or Arabic looking males.
"As far as I understand, such identity checks have been a long staple of police work in France going back to the Revolutionary/Napoleonic era wherein the State underwent a reinforcement of its prerogatives over the citizenry."
Wait until the conservatives in Arizona hear about this. They'll be horrified to be compared to the French!

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Ha ha! Good joke about the French at the end.

Loved seeing your papers, Casey Ann. Reminded me of Casablanca, the movie. Remember everyone is always having to show their papers?

Would be interested in hearing about your experiences in Franco's Spain. Do some posts some time about it.

Jane said...

I had a carte de sejour too when I lived in France. I think it was green, but unlike you doubt I could find it! Don't remember ever being hassled.

Art Vandalay said...

And nobody in Arizona will be required to show "papers" unless there is probable cause. Jeez, the law technically already exists.

Merisi said...

I vaguely remember that a jaywalking pedestrian was arrested in DC for not carrying an ID. Apparently, when you commit trespassing or a crime, you ought to have an ID, otherwise you are automatically arrested.