Friday, August 11, 2006

Flying on August 10th, 2006

Had a toasty toasty vacation in Cyprus.

It was a very lazy time, much lounging by the pool, reading magazines and some good books, and spending time with a great friend before flying back to the States.

Yesterday morning, when we got up, we turned on Sky News in our hotel and like the rest of the world learned about the terror plot at Heathrow. We weren't that worried about flying home that day, but it did affect our travel slightly. Our plane was late in arriving to pick us up, because its previous trip had been from New York to Düsseldorf, and it incurred delays leaving the US.

I saw one interview on Sky News that impressed me. It was an interview of a British man of Middle Eastern descent who was supposed to travel from London to New York on British Airways early yesterday morning. He recounted how as soon as he got onto the plane he fell asleep, but was woken by a stewardess a little while later. He said the stewardess politely explained that they had gotten word from TSA that all standby passengers would have to leave the flight that day, because of the elevated alert level. He said he complied, because he didn't want to make a scene on the plane, but it was quite humiliating, because he was the only one debording, and he was quite sure that he wasn't the only standby passenger on that flight.

And he said, “I must have fit the profile.” And the interviewer asked, “What profile? The profile of a terrorist?”

And the guy, still visibly distressed, and angry, replied “yes.”

But he re-iterated that it wasn't the airline's fault, and stressed that it was from TSAs directions, and then put it in a nutshell saying “a few bad people are making it hard for the rest of us.” By “us” I am understanding, the majority of British citizens of Middle Eastern descent. I felt really terribly for this guy, but I also don't think you can be safe enough during an alert like yesterday morning. I had expected the usual lashing out at racist profiling, and blaming the US and Britain for creating terrorist reactions. But instead I was pleasantly surprised by his dignity, and I empathized with his distress and his anger.

2 Comments:

Blogger kbug said...

It is truly a sad state of affairs, but unfortunately, when the terrorist activities are committed by people of middle-eastern descent, profiling is something that should be done, in my opinion...as politically incorrect as that may be. I really do feel sorry for the good people who have to suffer because of this, though, and I understand their frustration completely. But actually, everyone who flies is suffering because of this...so, in essence, the terrorists have accomplished their mission...they have caused terror and discord and disrupted air travel. The only thing they didn't accomplish this time was the murder of innocent people.

7:00 PM  
Blogger bee said...

How awful for that man! All of us who fly are going to have to make minor sacrifies, but it's unfortunate that this man was subjected to racial profiling as a "sacrifice" for safe flying

1:42 AM  

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