<CharlieDigital/> Programming, Politics, and uhh…pineapples

29Aug/06Off

It’s Not Facism When We Do It!

There's an interesting thread on Fark about one Raed Jarrar and his experience at JFK airport.

To summarize, Mr. Jarrar had been wearing a t-shirt with the text "we will not be silent" in both Arabic and English.

What followed is perhaps every immigrant or non-anglo's worst nightmare.

It's an amazing account that must be read.  It raises the obvious question, "What the fuck is going on in this country?"

I
don't know.  I find it quite scary as an non-anglo American.  While I'm
from Taiwan, I wonder how I could be treated by anglo-American's should
a war break out with China over Taiwan.  It's a scary thing.  I wonder how my wife
(of Polish-Italian descent) would be treated, sight unseen, as she bears my last name of Chen.  Would her appointments be declined?  Would people change tone once they saw her face to face?  How would people view me?  "Hey, I'm on your side!  Go Taiwan!  Go USA!"  I can only guess what the majority of US citizens of Middle Eastern descent, Muslim or not, are going through right now...

It's depressing in a way because, as Mr. Jarrar states, the very reason so many immigrants have come to call America home is because of the freedoms afforded to us and the Constitutional rights that America instills upon her citizens.

Raed asked of his interrogators:

"Why do you want me to take off my t-shirt? Isn't it my constitutional right to express myself in this way?" The second man in a greenish suit interfered and said "people here in the US don't understand these things about constitutional rights". So I answered him "I live in the US, and I understand it is my right to wear this t-shirt".

Zefrank sums it up best in this video:

As long as a small group of people can inflict mass panic across a large population, the tactic itself will remain viable.  One way to deal a blow to the effectiveness of terrorism is to deal with the terror itself.

The stupidity of the whole situation cannot be escaped: it's a freakin' t-shirt and security let him board the plane with the t-shirt anyways!

As we continue our fight to bring our style of democracy to the Middle East, ironically, we continue to see our rights and freedoms eroded.  Quite a quandary.  It's intriguing to think whether this is the brilliance of Osama in action.  Has he calculated this type of response in his attacks?  Has he forced the West into an anglo-Christian vs. Muslim battle (or at least the appearance of one) so that he might get more support and strength?  Is this how he wants us to react: to create another generation of dis-illusioned and malcontent Muslim youth to continue his Holy War?

While I do believe that Mr. Jarrar was intentionally trying to be provacative, I believe that it is his right to express himself according to the rights afforded to him by the Constitution.  Obviously, they did not deem him to be a threat to security as they let him on the plane after changing his shirt, but I can't help but feel how humiliating it must have been for him to have his rights stripped of him like that.  It would be one thing to request an extra air marshal to keep an eye on him...it's an entirely different story to confront him like this and violate his rights.

There are proponents of profiling that believe that this is the type of action that we need to take to increase the efficiency of our airport security and for the convenience other passengers.  But have we forgotten Timothy McVeigh?  Have we fogotten that white American citizens, working for the US Government, can be had for the right price?  In the end profiling would simply be a "feel-good" security measure that would in fact, decrease the security in our airports.  Even Israelis can find Arabs sympathetic of their cause and convince them (or perhaps force them) to spy on their country men for Israel.  What makes us think that the same couldn't happen with anglo-American's?

I really don't know where I'm going with this, so I'll offer some choice quotes from the Fark thread:

"ingvar" suggests:

If i was there, being an average-looking white (non-terrorist'ish)
dude, i'd have stood up and said 'hey man, lets just swap shirts. they
won't care if an average-loking (non-terrorist'ish) white dude is
wearing an Arab Hate-Spech shirt, it'll just be like "fashion" to these
moron's, so lets just swap shirts' .. and i'd let him wear my "Free
Winona" or "OBEY (André)", or maybe "Nuke Gay Whales For Jesus" t-shirts

"Scandalous" raises excellent points against the "but it's a private jet" argument:

I cannot believe that I am arguing in support of Raed, but the
"privately-owned jet" argument is not very persuasive for the following
reasons:

1) Purchase of a ticket forms an express written
contract, where the airline gets paid and in return promises to deliver
the bearer of the ticket from place X to place Y, subject to certain
regulations, and barring unforeseen emergency.

2) There was no unforeseen emergency other than that created by the airline in connection with Raed's shirt.

3)
A statute, an airport rule, or an airline regulation are all examples
of "certain regulations" in (1) above. The security personnel could not
identify a regulation that could bar specific performance of the
contract that the airline entered into. Hence, I am not convinced that
such a regulation exists. I am therefore compelled to side with Raed in
insisting that the airline carry out their side of the bargain.

"Mayhem_King" comments

He is misapplying Schenck v. United States. You can in fact wear a t-shirt that says, "I am a bank robber and going to a bank."

Clear and present danger was replaced with imminent lawless action.

If
wearing a shirt with Arabic script is determined to create a lawless
action, to be fighting words, or racially offensive, then a policy
should be created and applied to everyone. In this case, an ad-hoc
policy was created and applied only to him. That's the problem that I
have here. If it is truly a problem to wear a shirt that has Arabic
script, then add it to the growing list of policies. To be detained by
Federal law enforcement until you change your shirt pretty much is a
violation of free speach. That ad-hoc policy wasn't being enforced by a
private company, it was being enforced by the Government.

mrvikings
insistence that it never happened is weird. You can't prove that it
happened so therefore, it never happened? Isn't that argumentum ad
ignorantiam?

I think it is important that as Americans, we stand
up for our civil rights. Standing up for our rights isn't being
liberal, standing up for our rights and not letting our enemies get the
better of us is extremely conservative.

Posted by Charles Chen

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