Litkicks Message Board Archive

terror in the skies, again?

Posted to Poetry and Politics




this morning, i read an article on salon.com called the hysterical skies, written by patrick smith, an airline pilot and columnist. he was writing a response to an article by women's wall street writer annie jacobsen, in which jacobsen tells of her nerve-wracking experience of being on a plane with 14 syrian men, who were, incidentally, musicians. (i tried to read the original article by annie jacobsen, but it made me want to punch her, so i had to respectfully stop reading.)

apparently, jacobsen's article has been the subject of many blog posts and other commentary, which i have been blissfully unaware of until right now. the main thread that i seem to be picking up in what i've been reading (with the exception of smith's article, which is nice & sarcastic) is that we are essentially unsafe, because (oh my god!) it's possible for 14 arabs to get on an airplane and fly somewhere! we need to either stay home all the time or make sure that there's more racial profiling at airports.

granted, it's pretty impossible for me to be even remotely objective in my thinking about this, since i am an arab and i can't even dream of getting through airport security without having things like my blow dryer and my cd case thoroughly inspected by bored security people. this is something i've come to find alternately irritating and amusing, and i can't imagine what it must be like to be an arab man trying to get somewhere. i think about my poor dad flying to yemen next month for his son's wedding, potentially having people be afraid of him, when all he really has are health problems, charm, and a sly wit.

but i think i've digressed.

anyway, in thinking about the attitude that i've picked up from some of this writing (that if you're on a plane with arabs, those arabs must be terrorists), i feel kind of disgusted with people. of course, i know that when it comes to the way the world is run, my feelings don't really carry all that much weight.

so, in order to salvage this rambling post a little bit --

it's not like i don't know that those responsible for all sorts of terrorist acts around the world were arabs and/or muslims, but does that mean that widespread suspicion of them as a group of people is okay?

would you be nervous if you got on the same plane as a bunch of arabs who carried duffel bags and talked back & forth?