Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES — I am citizen number 96111609987 – a non-organ donor, male. This is some of the information used to classify me, in much the same way a lifeless product is categorized.
I’ve hated IDs ever since I turned 16. Before that, I used to go out without a care in the world. Now, I have to take that parole document everywhere I go, as though I were a prisoner, for, if a police officer asks me for ID and I don’t have it on me, this can have a whole range of consequences.
Movies, documentaries and other materials have given me a sense of the disadvantages that having an ID entails. To be considered a human being, a person needs to have an ID and a passport (in the event they are in a country that isn’t theirs), even though all countries are on the same planet, no matter how hard one tries to separate them.
In the event an individual loses their ID, or has this document stolen or destroyed for some reason, they immediately cease to be a human being endowed with certain virtues and become an anonymous and grotesque homeless creature.
If a person were physically abused, had things stolen from them or were about to see the light at the end of the tunnel, they could in theory resort to the police, a hospital and other advantages of modern civilization. If they lack an identification document, they are denied all of the above.
If you are an immigrant living in the United States, it doesn’t matter if you work hard or run a business that benefits the State and society as a whole – if you’re not somehow registered under the US State bureaucracy, you are nobody. Your efforts, intentions and integrity mean nothing.
If you commit a crime, a criminal record is appended to these documents, condemning you for life, no matter how much you may have changed thanks to experience. No inner change in you will be able to shed that stigma.
All the while, thousands, millions of people harm others with impunity because many human evils aren’t considered criminal offenses. There are others who can freely commit crimes because of their political position.
Many will say identification documents are a necessary form of organization. I cannot help but ask myself how the universe works so well without the need of files and registries and why some aboriginal cultures who have no bureaucrats or offices appear to live in greater harmony than we do.
What do we gain from submitting ourselves to some pieces of paper on which anything can be written?