Why this story is no surprise to me

The BBC reports on the detention at Newark-New Jersey Airport of a Bollywood film star for two hours, apparently because he has a Muslim name. This comes as no surprise to me from my experience of that airport.

In 2006 we returned to the UK from Mexico via New-New Jersey Airport, and the way passengers were treated in the name of security was preposterous.

When we were going through security to get back in to departures, having reclaimed our luggage from our connection, we were stood behind a white American man who was ordered, by security staff, to remove his shoes. He explained that he was wearing calipers and could not remove them. He was then ordered, with security staff arriving and standing around him with their hands on the gun holsters to "remove your shoes sir." Again, he explained politely that he was wearing calipers, he rolled his trouser legs up and revealed the metal and strapping. Now I would have expected anyone with a shred of decency to say politely to him "No problem, we need to sort this out, could you follow us to this room so we can sort this out". But oh, not in America. He was then grabbed by each arm, force marched to a desk, and another US security gut then shouted something about him being uncooperative and he would be required to undergo a DNA test. They then in full view started taking sample from his mouth whilst an armed guard stood over him.

We all know about the shoe bomber and 9/11, but this was a massive overreaction and appalled both myself and my wife.

So no, I am not surprised to read what happened to this Indian film star.


Anonymous said...

The US now has an excuse to be gung ho and authoritarian and boy will they abuse this power.

Gallimaufry said...

But the statistics must be made to show that certain ethnic groups are not over-represented in stops and searches. Presumably why Paul O'Grady was accused of being Cuban at an American airport recently.

Quietzapple said...

Ten years ago Cuban airport security looked pretty menacing to me: the USA might not enjoy the comparison.