I left Bangkok with the year’s memories in tow and elated that my cousin had given birth to a healthy baby boy one week early. I didn’t wish for a premature birth but luckily I got to see him before I left. I arrived at the airport comfortably on time thanks to the Thai Michael Schumacher (cab driver) who drove at a hideous speed due to surprisingly quiet roads.
I checked in and got away with 25 kg even though the limit is strictly 20kg…perhaps my frequent flyer status is finally serving me well – who knows, if I collect enough points I might make it out of economy and be allowed to sit with the big boys one day. I zipped through immigration due to a new Bangkok airport initiative to stop people missing their flights through over zealous immigration officers taking their job a little too seriously, a positive thing seeing as it took me nearly an hour to clear immigration on my last flight out. Unnecessarily tight security measures are a clear sign of the times. Even as far as Thailand, the Western scare tactics built around the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’, and conveniently fluctuating levels of the ‘terror threat’ have got everyone in a pickle. But little did I know I was about to become a security threat myself…..
I always chuckle to myself when I remember that the mess we are in was all started by a rather unintelligent cowboy from Texas, yet many people still remain convinced that the majority of people of Middle Eastern origin want to kill the rest of the world. Clearly this isn’t true, and if there are people that want to kill other innocent people in the world perhaps we need to look a little closer to home to assess the reasons as to why this might be. For me this forms the crux of the problem, people just don’t know their history, neither do they know the truth. They only know what they are spoon fed by PR releases turned misleading newspaper headlines.
Let us not forget, things weren’t really that much of an issue until Bush and Blair thought their legacy wouldn’t be complete without a good old fashioned war. And even though Tony has moved on to the bargain basement sections of bookshops worldwide, I was reminded of his impact on the world when asked by a security official to open my bag.
A serious looking security lady whipped out my two handcrafted catapults – both bought as presents for friends who enjoy a spot of fishing. “Please don’t bring them again sir, these are security risk”. “What!?” I exclaimed. I am 6’2, 85 kg and work out a fair bit, if I wanted to take down a plane or take a passenger hostage, or even knock someone out for that matter, why the hell would I use a catapult no bigger than the palm of my hand? And what would I fire, the peanuts I packed for lunch?
My word, what a sad world it has become when people actually consider that I might be working for a terrorist network that instructs an agent to travel to a Chiang Mai market stall and pick up small catapults with the intention of taking down a plane. But that sums up the state of the world. It sums up the fear, the self –importance of those that think they are fighting against a cause for the greater good. It sums up policeman, security guards, civil servants, soldiers et all, all of whom are part of the same cruel manipulation implemented by these educated criminals who control the average man through war, fear, prejudice and lies.
How ridiculous the entire situation has become. Apparently so ridiculous that even my friendly jokes with security were greeted with contempt and perhaps seen as some sort of reverse psychology cover for my real intention of catapulting exploding peanuts around the plane.
If someone really wants to blow people up they will just walk into a crowded airport and do so. Tragically, that is the truth and the real legacy of Bush and Blair. I am not for a moment suggesting we shouldn’t scan people for explosives, confiscate knives, guns , etc. But come on, confiscating hand gel, catapults, bottles of water and toe nail clippers is just a tad too far in my book. What next, my wax earplugs that may form part of some plastic explosive?
I boarded the plane and opened my free copy of USA Today. Starring me in the face was an article explaining that new security measures by the TSA (Transport Security of America) will now include the touching of breasts, bums and testicles. If a passenger objects to going through full-body imaging scanners they will be subject to the new pat-down measures. One search left Rosemary Fitzpatrick – a reporter for CNN – in tears after the underwire in her bra set off metal detecting scanners. Ms Fitzpatrick said she felt “helpless and violated” as she was felt around her breasts and buttocks by a female security officer. Where will the madness end!
As I collected my bag and walked towards the bright lights of duty-free, the security lady asked me to next time put all liquids, catapults and other dangerous items in the hold. So hang on, if a person ( I mean terrorist – sorry Tony) does want to bring down a plane, won’t they just pack a time-bomb in their main bag and check it in?
The tighter the security the more you lose sight of the target and the enemy will become more sophisticated and indiscriminate. It’s time to start targeting the right people, not innocent holiday makers bringing back souvenirs, businessmen on frequent flights and kids with bottles containing more than 100ml of fizzy pop. It is time to act on real intelligence, stop interfering in foreign lands and, stop scaring the world into prejudice and a realm of fear.