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Get A Grip People

CBS News says: 5 Arab Men Detained After Flight Lands.

The later CNN story explains: Men detained 3 hours for school materials.

FBI: Israeli, four Angolans on airliner posed no threat

Five airline passengers speaking in foreign languages and carrying “aircraft flight materials” were briefly detained Saturday until authorities determined they were simply returning to their home countries after attending a U.S. helicopter training school.

Educated Angolans speak Portuguese, tend to be Catholic, and are definitely not Arabs. As for the Israeli…

5 comments

1 Michael { 05.07.06 at 5:15 pm }

So I guess I shouldn’t plan on reading Foucault in the original on my flight to Vegas this summer, eh? Probably best to leave all those books on the Russian revolution home, too, lest someone think I was planning a similar insurrection, instead of just preparing for one of my reading seminars this fall.

2 Bryan { 05.07.06 at 7:09 pm }

Portuguese! Don’t these people ever meet anyone from another culture?

Angolans are predominately Bantu and rather obviously not Arabs.

The way things are going TSA will confiscate the Foucault at the gate. You might want to consider a train, except they don’t go anywhere any more.

A shipping container is the only way to go, no one hassles you.

3 Michael { 05.07.06 at 8:44 pm }

Highly unlikely. It’s a crying shame that so few Americans ever cross our borders–even to go to Canada or Mexico, much less anyplace further away than that. The president of the university where I work is on a federal task force trying to encourage college students to take advantage of study abroad. Their goal? To get a million students to spend at least a semester abroad by the end of the decade. There have got to be close to half a million college students in Illinois alone, let alone the other 49 states. Why so few?

I don’t think the Foucault would really be a problem–I doubt there’s one TSA flunky in a hundred that could even tell me what language it was written in. I was reading a French book on the way to Vegas last summer–and the only person who showed any interest in it at all was one of the flight attendants on the leg from Denver to Vegas. And I think he was attracted by the very prominent pink triangle on the front cover, not the language. (I’m all but certain he bats for my team.)

4 Bryan { 05.07.06 at 10:35 pm }

The problem is that too many people freak out if they see a foreign language because they can’t tell which one it is and assume the worst. We train flight personnel for a number of foreign countries locally and they fly in and out through the Atlanta to New York corridor. I can’t imagine what they go through because some of them are Islamic countries.

You have to spend some time abroad at some point in your life to take a good look at this country. One of the defining moments for the ecology movement as the lunar program which gave us our first outside view of the earth. That was the first time people had to accept it was a finite resource.

People need to go to a foreign country to find out what real bread tastes like.

5 Michael { 05.08.06 at 8:47 am }

And to discover that a decent cup of coffee doesn’t have to cost five bucks. And what real hummus is.