Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Forget Snakes on a Plane, Anti-Arab Hysteria on Planes is Deadly

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU
McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:54 PM
Original message
Forget Snakes on a Plane, Anti-Arab Hysteria on Planes is Deadly

"All of the fear-mongering and political exploitation of terrorism from the Bush administration and its loyal supporters (including the British Prime Minister) is starting to produce predictable results. Passengers are becoming unwilling to fly on planes with Arab males. Yesterday, British passengers on a Monarch Airways flight to Manchester "mutinied" because there were two Arab men on the plane"


"As passengers refused to fly, police arrived and "escorted the two Asian passengers off the jet." The plane was searched, nothing was found, and it took off three hours later -- "without the two men on board." For the crime of looking like Arabs and speaking Arabic, these two travellers, completely innocent, were banned from flying on the plane and were forced to stay overnight in Malaga and fly the next day."

This is wrong. WRONG. Two innocent passengers were subjected to persecution on the basis of their ethnicity and religion. A plane load of other people were terrorized by airport officials who catered to the prejudices of a few passengers, lending credence to their unfounded suspicions--for if the plane was delayed and searched and two passengers were removed, then even the majority who were not alarmed by arabs would have been convinced that a terrorist act was narrowly averted. The story was publicized, furthering the rift between the arab and non-arab world.

The antidotes to fear are knowledge and compassion. It might have helped some of the people who have bought the Neo-con and Right Wing line that all muslims are terrorists to know that muslims come in all shapes and sizes just like Christians and Jews. The renowned poet Rumi wrote "The heart's the only house of safety, my friends." He also wrote "Only Love itself can explain Love, /Only Love can explain the destiny of lovers./The proof of the sun is the sun itself./ If you want proof, don't turn your face away." The only way to end fear, is by opening yourself to love, and the only way to open yourself to love is to truly see others, not as reflections of your own prejudices but as living, breathing people with feelings and emotions like yourself.

What would have happened if the people on that plane had acted out of compassion rather than fear? Let's start at the beginning. One or two passengers might have been truly alarmed. On the other hand, the precipitating act might have never happened, since often these crises are manufactured by someone who likes drama, a bored, hysterical individual who wants to be the center of attention or someone who is full of hatred or bitterness. I suggest that if anyone at DU is ever in this situation, and if you observe someone spreading rumors like this around a waiting room, be very skeptical--and get airport security involved right away. But, let's be kind and say that someone or some few people were really scared.

Those few people, rather than trying to frighten other passengers, would have gone to airport security to make their concerns known. This would have been the common sense thing to do and the compassionate thing. That way, if the arab-look alikes were not terrorists, their feelings would not be hurt so badly. Also, there would be no panic. Airport security would have respected the dignity of the two arab-looking passengers by taking them aside quietly. This would have also avoided unnecessary panic. At worst, the two arab-looking passengers might have been forced to fly later in the day. More than likely, the matter could have been cleared up in time for the flight. The best outcome would have been to resolve the situation, inform the party that made the complaint that no cause for alarm was found and that everyone would fly as planned. If the person who was scared of the arabs still refused to fly with them, then he or she would have been offered a later flight.

We do no one any favors by feeding irrational fears and catering to prejudices. Two people are harmed here---the one who is victimized and also the victimizer, who becomes more and more afraid and therefore increasingly unable to feel compassion and love for others and for himself. When the ability to love oneself is lost, then people are easy prey for those who would recruit them into fascist regimes, like the one that Bush-Cheney keep trying to create. And that is worse than being dead. It is like death in life. Because once you commit the first atrocity for your country, you have to keep repeating the act over and over in order to justify your first crime and keep the guilt at bay.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. recommended --- a VERY * VERY important article
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Rosemary2205 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. The airline and authorities had it all backwards
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 04:11 PM by Rosemary2205
They should have allowed the mutineers to leave the plane, leaving all those assholes to find their own way to their destination. -- Even if it meant flying the plane with only the 2 Arabs. A couple stories of airlines leaving dumbass passengers to find their own way home will put a stop to that crap pronto.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I don't remember whether this was an actual event or a joke, but I remembe
hearing about some racist jerk complaining loudly about a person of whom he mightily disapproved on some flight. insisted that he should not have to be subjected to this person. the flight attendant calmly agreed that people should not be subjected to unpleasantness, and immediately took the other passenger to first class. now THAT was a first class response.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
jwdeviant Donating Member (48 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. Completely agreed! (nm)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
3. agreed--a MOST important article!!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Son Of Spy Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. Links to two news articles on this phenom and my post this AM...
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 04:26 PM by Son Of Spy
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
many a good man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. A freeper I know boasts about doing the exact same thing
every time he gets on a plane. And flies every weekend from DC to Charlotte. He says right before the seatbelt sign goes on he walks up and down the looking every passenger in the face to see if he's Arab.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. does anyone remember the time when some passengers killed a man?
This was back in 2000, so way before current terrorism fears (and even before the attack on the USS Cole). The responding passengers were probably frightened, and likely had not been trained in either how to restrain someone without doing permanent damage, or how to deal with situations where someone has become psychotic due to mental illness or drugs. I fear that, given current levels of fear (and the fact that there were already been a number of incidents where passengers have taken matters into their own hands, even before Flight 93 in 2001) -- it's only a matter of time before something really ugly occurs.,9171,998079...

"Terrified passengers finally held Burton down and kept him under control until the plane landed. Burton, however, died an hour later in a Salt Lake City hospital. Amid stories that some of his subduers stepped on his throat and jumped on his chest, a medical examiner determined that Burton's "immediate cause of death" was "compressional or positional asphyxia."

"As this report excerpt shows, a crazed Jonathan Burton stated that "the drugs aren't mine" before kicking a hole in the cockpit door and sticking his head in the opening. The reports also show that Burton was unconscious and had blood coming out of his nose and mouth when cops boarded the Boeing 737. Police noted that passengers had, in part, restrained Burton by placing their feet on his throat and head."

"But the mob may have got carried away. Dean Harvey, who was sitting in the third row with his wife and 11-month-old daughter, says a burly man jumped repeatedly onto Burton's chest. "You've got the guy subdued, what more do you want?" Harvey says he told the man, who jumped twice more before stopping.",9171,998079...

Descriptions of some other incidents (where people were overpowered but not killed):
"Since July 1997, there have been at least 16 reported instances in which a lone passenger attempted to break through the cockpit door. Of these, 10 attempts were successful. In almost every instance, the perpetrator was either angry, frightened, deranged or intoxicated."

Possibly exaggerated (certainly very disturbing) report of the situation on the plane, and the reaction of the passengers afterwards, from "Maxim" -- need to scroll down past an unfortunately-positioned collection of airline jokes. Note that some accounts now dispute the story about cocaine being found in the body, during the autopsy.
"The case may be closed, but the mystery has not been solved. Experts believe the drugs in Burtons system could not explain his rampage. Trace amounts means they were just barely detectable, which means he probably hadnt even used the drugs recently, says Dr. Don Cherek, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas and an authority on the link between drugs and violence. Cocaine binges can produce hallucinations and paranoia. But if he were using lots of coke, you would have found massive amounts in his urine."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
IronLionZion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. Carlos Mencia brings this up in his comedy routine
and explains why Southwest doesn't get hijacked. His suggestion is to place a few Southwest passengers on every flight.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
8. Muslim cartoon fury claims lives
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 04:47 PM by EVDebs

Maybe someone speaking of 'irrational fears and catering to prejudices' will remember this gem. More food for thought for all concerned, I'm afraid.

Fear, on all sides, leads to a spiral of irrational actions. Admadi-najad is just as much a prisoner of his eschatology as is Bush. Who said 'the world ends not with a bang but a whimper' ? Precisely.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
kitty1 Donating Member (772 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Not justifying Arab profiling here, but you have to realize that...
the London train bombings were carried out by Muslims, as were the Madrid bombings and many other like incidences around the world.
Of course it is only a very small minority of muslims that are radical and would even entertain the idea of commiting such atrocities, but the facts are there that things do get blown up by them on a fairly regular business.
In Canada here, a recent plot attempt to blow up prominent infrastructure such as the CN tower was recently foiled and traced back to a group muslim disidents.
Every time these events happen, it just adds fuel to the fearmongering fire, and people get paranoid.
It's not fair to muslim travellers in the west that they are treated unfailry for these atrocities, and I can imagine that many Germans after WW2 could relate somewhat to what these travellers are feeling.
If Bush would quit categorizing just about everyone who lives in the ME as the enemy, and showing more respect to Muslims in general, it would help. Referring to Islamists as fascists just causes the disent and fear to grow even more so.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
rosesaylavee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 06:10 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. BUT, were young Irish boys and men
taken off planes in the 60s, 70s and 80s as the IRA had a tendency to blow stuff up too.

I think the color of one's skin should not be a determining factor in how you are treated. There are security checks after all and it should be assumed that all passengers are looked at closely before they get on the plane.

AND, not all Arabs are Muslim and not all Muslims are Arab. It's like saying all Christians are white Americans. It just isn't that simple.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
IronLionZion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. There are blonde-haired blue-eyed muslims
in eastern Europe and central Asia, there are asian muslims from the Phillipines and Indonesia, there are black muslims from Africa and America. Even in the middle east, there are Turkish and Persian muslims with very fair skin.

How exactly does racial profiling work with such people?

And as many others have said, the IRA had a tendency to blow stuff up, there are white American terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and Eric Rudolph. There are active terrorist groups from Spain, Bosnia, Greece, Germany, South America, actually there are terrorists from everywhere. Are you going to profile everyone? Maybe we should put everyone on the no-fly list or have segregated flights?

Of course that would be easy if you have never experienced racism. Even with my large cross chain on my neck, Christian name, American accent, and several forms if ID that prove I was born in America, people at the airport still make false assumptions about me and view me with suspicion.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Good points
plus there are mixed race people, Latin Americans, South Asian and others of dusky complexion who may look "muslim".

And then once you have determined that someone is a "muslim" how do you know what level of fundamentalism they possess?

Is it from their name? Many arabs with "muslim" names are Christian.

Is it from their appearance? Well, the guy with the long beard and robes in the airport check-in is totally unlikey to be a terrorist simply because it's just too obvious that he's religious. No terrorist would draw attention to themself like that.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
IronLionZion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. yup, and I'm darker than the darkest arab
and people still tell me I "look like an arab" and people who see me in church every sunday ask me if I'm muslim.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
mogster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. The British govt. is responsible for this
Their attitude towards Muslims in general leave a lot to be desired, and this last terror-plot doesn't ring true because they have blown it sky high, no pun intended. Operation Overt, they called it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. ....the tabloids too....
they're in on keeping the fear stoked. Remember the paedophilia hysteria of 2000?
When a paediatrician had to move house because she was under threat of being attacked by people who mistook her job title for being a paedophile.

Not to mention all the scare stories about how Saddam wanted to send anthrax to London, then he wanted to nuke London, then was 45 minutes away from attacking British bases with WMD...

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
10. Who the fuck is in charge here?
Just asking.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Mon Oct 23rd 2017, 01:45 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC