If there were prizes given for a story on the theme “How has 9/11 changed your life?”, this would be a winner. A blogger who describes herself as a “half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio” recounts the day when someone on a plane decided she must be a terrorist, and called in the troops. It happened last week, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11:
Someone shouted for us to place our hands on the seats in front of us, heads down. The cops ran down the aisle, stopped at my row and yelled at the three of us to get up. “Can I bring my phone?” I asked, of course. What a cliffhanger for my Twitter followers! No, one of the cops said, grabbing my arm a little harder than I would have liked. He slapped metal cuffs on my wrists and pushed me off the plane. The three of us, two Indian men living in the Detroit metro area, and me, a half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio, were being detained.
The cops brought us to a parked squad car next to the plane, had us spread our legs and arms. Mine asked me if I was wearing any explosives. “No,” I said, holding my tongue to not let out a snarky response. I wasn’t sure what I could and could not say, and all that came out was “What’s going on?”
No one would answer me. They put me in the back of the car. It’s a plastic seat, for all you out there who have never been tossed into the back of a police car. It’s hard, it’s hot, and it’s humiliating. The Indian man who had sat next to me on the plane was already in the backseat. I turned to him, shocked, and asked him if he knew what was going on. I asked him if he knew the other man that had been in our row, and he said he had just met him. I said, it’s because of what we look like. They’re doing this because of what we look like. And I couldn’t believe that I was being arrested and taken away.
The three “suspects” were all confined separately, and the writer heard the interrogations of the other two from her cell. She was dealt with last, because the security officers were waiting for a female officer to arrive, in order to conduct the strip search.
“You understand why we have to do this, right? It’s for our own protection,” she told me.
Because I am so violent. And pulling me off an airplane, handcuffing me and patting me down against a squad car didn’t offer enough protection. They also needed to make sure all my orifices were free and clear.
She apologized for having to do the strip search, and I asked her to tell me what was going on. She said she didn’t know but someone would come and talk to me. She put my handcuffs back on and left. The other officer stood guard outside. I told him I needed to call my husband. He said I could use the phone later.
This is just part of the whole story. I highly recommend reading the whole thing here. The comments which follow the post are, well, enlightening. Much sympathy and good advice, but here and there proof that too many people have been brainwashed to live in this fear and defend it. What a sad state.
h/t to Libby at The Impolitic