Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

This the first Stream of Consciousness I'm actually writing on a Saturday. If you've looked at my other blogs with Stream of Consciousness tags, you know there's no rhyme or reason, I just write as things come to mind. There's no particular order to the blog posting.

Something I left out of my blog yesterday because I wanted to talk about it today has been weighing heavily on my heart. In the middle of my talk with Top, trying to explain to her the big decision I've recently made, she abruptly got off the phone with me to deal with an emergency her roommate was having. When she called me back to tell me what happened with him, I was ashamed to be an American.

Her roommate, whom we'll call Lee, had just returned from a trip to Canada. He is Lebanese. Apparently to some people, that is synonymous with Muslim extremist terrorist type (even though no Lebanese person has ever been responsible for any attacks on America). He often gets stopped at airports because of his name, and so he's used to that. But this time, they checked his ticket, saw he was headed to NYC, and freaked out. They searched him, his bags, and began interrogating him, for hours. He was travelling with a friend, as classmate of his from grad school. She missed her plane waiting for him. They sent her a fake letter that was supposed to be from him saying it was fine to get on the plane and head back to America.

While they were interrogating him, they went to his parents' house and his father's store. They interrogated both his parents about their money, their phone calls, and their possibly terrorist son. I know his family and they are such sweet nice people. They are not terrorists. They speak to their family back home because they're close. In case you're wondering, yes the Canadian officials at the airport called the FBI, who was more than happy to start interrogating those family members who are stateside.

They managed to pull up information about phone records, bank records, travel records and say it all points to support for terrorism. They played back recorded phone conversations to the father. What was on these recordings? Things like family members discussing the health of the elders, making plans to visit each other, and updates of performance in school by their children. All of this phone tapping is illegal currently without a warrant, by the way.

They harrassed this entire family for hours because one family member took a trip to Canada to be a part of a perfomance art piece. Being African-American, I'm very familiar with the way this country profiles and discriminates against people who look like me. The classic example is the young black man pulled over on the side of the road because he "fits the description" of a perp for a crime recently committed in the area.

But I have no frame of reference to let me understand why, for any reason, the FBI thinks it's okay to rip someone's phone out of the wall when they try to call their lawyer because they feel that their home has been entered unlawfully and they do not wish to answer any questions because they are being intimidated and threatened.

When Lee walked into his house, he broke down into tears. He was distressed and stressed and sad about what happened. All because he has a name that sounds Muslim. Of all the ignorant things that can happen, this is truly a new low. If they did it to him, they're doing it to other people. This country (and Canada) is fucked up. It just doesn't even make sense. If someone really were a terrorist, would they break down and confess everything because someone stopped them in an airport? Seriously? It just doesn't even make sense that the people in charge truly think these methods have any effect except reducing immigration of entrepreneurs who are contributing quite a bit of money to America (Lee's family is very well off). It makes no sense, and it makes me want to cry to think there's ever a justification for treating people like this.

1 New Hypotheses:

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