Irans Missile Capabilities to "Guarantee Regional Peace"
By Mehr News Agency
"Fair and Balanced"
"We report, you decide"
This is a change of pace. Not a news article. And humor.
Who should be searched? Khalid Akhmed Al-Habibi Bin Hamal or Sister O'Connor, the Irish nun
Iranian ^ | 08/02/03 | Sean Tohibi
I am outraged. Not a day goes by without talking to a fellow Iranian who tells me about a friend who's neighbor's cousin's classmate's brother told him that his girlfriend's uncle had a friend who was treated very harshly during a security check at some US airport.
As an Iranian-American I am outraged by this treatment of Iranians and all Middle Eastern men especially, for that matter. I travel quite often for work and have been through at least 34 airports in the last year. I have never been subjected to this harsh treatment myself which is strange given the fact that the odds are certainly against me. Actually everybody is always very nice to me at the airport. I even got free upgrades a couple of times but that doesn't matter. I am outraged nevertheless.
It is totally unacceptable to subject people to tougher standards just because they fit a certain profile. Imagine you own a store and a guy wearing a "Metalica" T-shirt and a "F#ck U" hat comes to your store and buys a pack of gum and malt liquor and pays with a check. The check bounces and you are stuck with the bill. Another guy wearing the same kind of "Metalica" T-shirt and "F#ck U" hat comes in a couple of days later and writes you a check that again bounces.
After a while you have 19 bounced checks all given to you only by guys who wore "Metalica" T-shirts and "F#ck U" hats. Does this mean you should stop honoring checks from guys who wear "Metalica" T-shirts and "F#ck U" hats? That would be profiling and you would be a racist pig! Think about that before you start treating people who wear "Metalica" T-shirts and "F#ck U" hats any differently!
Anyway, I decided to do something about this very alarming trend. I wanted to do my part and I decided to write to my congressman to express my concerns and to demand that something be done about it. So I sat down at the kitchen table and fired up the old laptop and started to type a letter. I even told my dear wife to take the trash out by herself because what I was doing was very important and that I couldn't be bothered with trivial things. I didn't understand why she gave me the finger later when I ask her for help in writing the letter!
Anyway, the letter was coming along quite nicely. This whole thing was very appropriately timed since I had a flight to Miami the next morning for a meeting with some clients. So I kept pounding on the keyboard and words kept popping up on the screen. I have to confess I was very pleased with myself. I was doing something, I was taking action and it filled me with a nice warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I guess sometime between page 17 and 22 I dozed off right there at the kitchen table. Must have been the Chelokabab and the double mast-o-khiar my wife told me not to eat so late in the evening.
When I woke up it was 7:35 in the morning. My flight was for 10 and I didn't have much time. Fortunately I had already packed the night before and we only live about 15 minutes from the LA airport. I took a quick shower, called for a cab, got dressed, picked up my bags, kissed my wife good-bye and headed out the door.
I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Checked in at the counter and picked up my boarding pass and kept waiting for someone to pick on me. But to my disappointment everybody was quite nice. I tried to put on my 'mean look' when I checked in and later when I went through the security checkpoint. I had all the lines ready in my head and was planning on giving a grand performance about injustice and racism. It was going to be a performance worthy of an Oscar.
When standing in line to go through the security check, I noticed something peculiar. It was a pretty long line so I had time to confirm my suspicion. It appeared that the guards at the checkpoint were only selecting one in every 15 passenger for a thorough search. I guess that's what they call random checks. Great! All I needed was random checks. What if I don't get picked? I was really looking forward to giving my performance. Well, maybe I'll get lucky, I thought.
As the line moved ahead I noticed this other guy in the line. He looked like he was also Middle Eastern. I am pretty sure he wasn't Iranian. He was too hairy even for an Iranian! He was looking very intently at the guards and seemed like he was counting something. After a few minutes I realized that he was counting the number of passengers going through the checkpoint and the number of people ahead of him in the line. A couple of times he even repositioned himself by moving back a couple of spaces in the line. It kind of looked strange but I didn't give it much thought. I was too busy thinking about my performance and rehearsing the lines in my head.
I was trying to count the people in front of me so I could be the 15th passenger to get searched but I must have lost count when I was distracted by the blonde I thought was giving me the eye. I got to the checkpoint and after getting my carry-on bag x-rayed I was waved through. Nobody even looked at me funny. I was so mad at them. I had this long speech ready and never even got to deliver it. To make matters worse people kept being all nice and pleasant. I think they knew I was on to them and were just trying to piss me off.
I picked up my bag and walked pass the checkpoint. As I looked back I saw the hairy guy got through as well. He seemed relieved and I could swear I saw a little flash in his eyes after he was cleared to go through. The security guards then stopped this Irish nun for the random check. This was as close to a perfect world as possible.
What is the world coming to, I thought to myself. They let me and this Khalid Akhmed Al-Habibi Bin Hamal guy go through and instead search Sister O'Connor the Irish nun. Then I thought, this is what I wanted, right? This is how it should be in a perfect world. No profiling, only random checks. Actually, in a perfect world there wouldn't be any searches at all and there wouldn't be terrorists who want to blow things up. But at least we now have random checks. I think I am going to call this "Almost a Perfect World".
So we were off and it seemed like it was going to be a nice flight. About an hour into the flight I was still trying to get the last peace of crumb out of the little peanut bag. Why do they have to make these bags so small? I rang the little bell to ask the flight attendants for more peanuts and that's when all hell broke loose.
I saw the hairy guy get out of the lavatory. He had a red bandana around his head with Arabic stuff written on it that I couldn't make out without my glasses. He had what looked like a bomb strapped to his belt with a wire coming out of it to a little button that he was holding in his hand.
The scene back at the airport flashed in my head. As I was counting the passengers trying to get picked for the search so I can bitch about it later, he was counting the passengers to not get picked. Looked like he succeeded too. I didn't have much time to think about anything. All I could think about was this asshole is going to blow us up at 30,000 feet because O'Connor, the Irish nun was searched instead of him. So much for my "perfect world".
The hairy guy then gave us all a crazy look and shouted something that sounded like "All you infidel pigs are going to die now." I wanted to get up and say "Hey man, I'm Iranian. I'm a Muslim just like you. I'm no infidel. Please don't kill me!" But I didn't have time. Next thing, there was a big flash. I felt the warmth of the explosion on my face. It was all over. My entire life flashed before my eyes and it was boring as hell. It was so boring I wanted to walk out in the middle of it but I didn't have much choice at that point. It all became dark after that.
I woke up at the kitchen table and felt the warmth of the blast on my face again. I opened my eyes and it was already morning. The sun coming through the blinds was right on my face. Thank God it was a dream. I got up and walked around a little to make sure I was alive. I don't think I like this Almost Perfect World at all. That could have actually happened. I could have turned into shark food all over the Gulf of Mexico. Not that I have anything against sharks. I think they are fine animals, I just don't think I like the idea of them munching on my body parts.
I sat back down at the kitchen table. My laptop was still on. I moved the mouse and the screen came back on. The curser was blinking at the last thing I wrote before I dozed off. The words were "racial profiling". That's as far as I got. I read the whole thing from the start. I wrote this for a perfect world, I thought. I'm not so sure about our Almost Perfect World now. This would be a great letter to send if there weren't any lunatics in the world. But...
The last thing I did before shutting off the laptop was to highlight the entire document and hit the delete button. I still think this letter is very important and I sure hope someone writes it and sends it to as many people as possible. I just know that I am not going to. But what the hell do I know. I am just shark food!
(A bit predictable, but a break from the usual)
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