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Cops and Robbers

kids_playing_029_01A very popular children’s game, especially for the younger ages, is cops and robbers. The rules of the game are simple: one group plays the robbers, the bandits having done something bad, most probably robbed a bank for example, and the other group plays the policemen chasing after them in order to bring them to justice, i.e. prison. The game is based on the commonly acceptable rules of how society works.

But when did the cops suddenly become the bad guys and the robbers the good ones, the ones who are actually supported and justified by everyone else? In the violent riots that have broken out in countries facing the ruthless measures of austerity, where their people are brought to the brink of exasperation and suicides and crime have seen a dramatic increase, why are the police portrayed as the bad guys? The ones who attack and strike without reason. Who throw tear gas and pin commoners to the ground with unjustifiable causes. And the robbers, those that run amuck, looting and destroying private property are rationalized by public opinion. But most of all, why is it that every group of people is generalized? That all policemen are bad. And all robbers justified for having resorted to stealing?

In Greece, Golden Dawn, an extreme nationalist and right-wing party is gaining ground faster than you can say its name. It is after the robbers. But it is no police. At least it has no authority like that mandated by policemen. Its members take matters into their own hands, simply because the police – being dubbed as the bad guys – are no longer able to act, out of fear they might be persecuted themselves. And going back to the generalization trend, Golden Dawn targets immigrants, because it declares that all immigrants are bad for this country and that they overstay their welcome. It might be true that the more frequent robberies, looting, stabbing and killings are the “work” of immigrants but maybe, just maybe, not all immigrants are bad. Of course nobody considers that. Because when your child, your relative, your friend, is out for a walk one evening and ends up being stabbed by immigrants in an attempt to steal, then you end up understanding the reason behind Golden Dawn’s anger and begin yourself to feel a despise for these immigrants that have turned your country into a purgatory. But not all robbers are immigrants. Just like not all immigrants are robbers. And Golden Dawn certainly cannot be justified for targeting them all.

But you see, that is the problem with games. You never quite know how they will turn out in reality. If the cops and robbers – the good guys and the bad guys – reverse roles, what happens? And yes, there also are Cowboys and Indians, but who is the good and the bad there? For the Conquistadores in South America were the ones who plundered and took over by force the land of the Indians leading them to near extinction. Good and Bad are in the end theoretical terms. And it remains up to the perception, understanding, principles and ethics, of each individual to give them meaning.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Toy Story

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