Being an Arab, it is only natural that I am asked to report to an immigration officer for further questioning and investigation every time I enter the United States - even if I do it every single day.

Now when you leave from Pearson Airport in Toronto, the Americans have set up shop there and screen Arabs, Blacks, Latinos, Browns, criminals, Punks, people carrying guitars and with tattoos as well as those Whites who have been arrested in the US or broken US laws in their past lives, before they are allowed to venture to the counter where they take your luggage.

Yesterday, there was an unusual rush in the further questioning room - it was swarming with all the usual suspects - which the American government and Homeland Security should so much protect the shores of safe America from - myself included.

The immigration officer, bless her soul, had my passport on her counter for 45 minutes, flicking from page to page .. and typing in her computer.. It takes me less time to investigate a story and do a Page One expose ... but that's me. Perfect me. Good girl me. Me who wears her seatbelt and doesn't even break traffic laws. Me who abhors violence and respects people and human rights. Me who stands against injustice. Me who nearly missed my flight to Miami. Me whose bag did not arrive with me. Me who has been stuck in winter clothings in a warm, hot, humid Miami SUMMER. Me who is being promised by American Airlines that my bags will arrive in the next two hours, Me who the City of Miami has contracted a company which has a drover driving around with my bag and not delivering them to me. Me who is as blind as a bat and whose contact lens are in that bag because US travel and all travel regulations for that matter restrict the amount of fluids you can carry on board with you. Me who is walking around in winter boots in the fury of Miami's summer. Me who doesn't matter at all. Me.

Who cares about me anyway? Not that immigration officer, nor the lying conniving American Airlines, nor the delivery company, nor me.

10 comments:

programmer craig said...

Good thing they don't know about your friendship with Ezra! Or do they?

Actually, I think that might help. They didn't have any trouble giving Raed Jarrar a visa after he blogged from Iraq about how cool it is for American soldiers to get sent home in body bags, did they? I mean, exactly what does an Arab have to say or do to make it onto the watch list? Apparently, threatening to kill Americans is insufficient. Maybe it's a low credit score that is a non-no? Wouldn't want Arabs coming to the US and running up a bunch of bad debt, would we? :O

Amjad said...

With all those horror stories, I think I am very lucky since I never faced anything of these when I entered the United States for the first time. I wasn't interviewed and didn't spend a lot of time in the immigration. In fact, I have only stayed for LESS than 5 minutes in the immigration, including waiting in the queue! The one was on the counter was a nice young lady. She just flipped through my passport very quickly, asked how was I and that was it... I was welcomed to the US just like any American citizen. I was surprised actually, after all the stories I heard before. Guess I was just lucky.

I hope whenever I travel again and come back to the US, everything goes just like how it went the first time I entered the country. :)

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Craig,
What exactly are you talking about?


Amjad,
I am glad you weren't humiliated at the border. It isn't a nice feeling. I feel that the way we are treated at the border is a statement by the Americans that we are all the same; it is just like saying all Japanese look the same; or all blacks are drug peddlers or all Americans are insular.. or are they, Programmer Craig?

programmer craig said...

If you didn't get my comment, no sense in trying to explain it to you. Other than to say I think they are wasting everyone's time, when they let a known terrorist like Raed Jarrar into the country with no problem, and at teh same time hassle people who've done nothing wrong. It's all just a show.

or all Americans are insular.. or are they, Programmer Craig?

Where you said "all Americans" I guess you meant to say "all white Americans"? Hmmm... why not just say that, then?

At least we aren't deporting Muslims for being Muslim, are we? Unlike what Jordan is doing with Christians. So... go talk to the hand :P

ammaro said...

ah. screening. yes, my clearest memories of airports in the US.

Random check sir

random check sir

random check

were checking your bag randomly please sir

somehow, i randomly get checked every time i set foot in an airport

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

My dear Craig,

We come from different planets my friend and I am happy you acknowledge that. You see black. I see white. I see red. You see blue. You see pink, I don't like grey .. or gray .. so that you get the picture better.

First you mention Mideast Youth's Esra'a - a fellow Bahraini blogger and activist. Bahrain has a population of 700,000. Both of us are cyberactivists on an international level. Yes, we obviously know each other. What is your point?

Raed Jarrar - whether he is a terrorist or not .. what have I got to do with him?

Killing Americans? Where did this come from? And what has it got to do with me?

And running up debts in the US? Me? Hell no.. I only spend what I have. I am content with that.

I am confused Craig .. are you with me or against me?

And I am only a silly girl...

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Ammaro,
Me too. They wear gloves. Take my laptop to one side .. and my boots too .. and they have a sniffer machine with a gauze on it to test samples from them.

I am so grateful for that .. and now that I get the all clear from US customs routinely.. I don't feel the need to go for health check ups anymore! I am germ-free .. I think .. if that is what they are looking for that is.

programmer craig said...

First you mention Mideast Youth's Esra'a - a fellow Bahraini blogger and activist. Bahrain has a population of 700,000. Both of us are cyberactivists on an international level. Yes, we obviously know each other. What is your point?

My point on Ezra is that I think she should be denied entry to the US if she ever attempts to visit. Based on her "activism". She is an enemy of the United States. But, she probably would be denied entry, would she? She'd just be "hassled" like all the other Arabs. As if, the appearance of protecting the borders is the same as actually keeping undesirables out of the country.

Raed is an even more egregious example. He publicly advocated that the Iraqi resistance should kill Americans, while he was in Iraq. Now, he's living in the US and may even be a citizen already. If the US government can't be bothered to keep Raed Jarrar and the rest of his terrorism supporting family out f the US, then who in the hell ARE THEY keeping out?

Killing Americans? Where did this come from? And what has it got to do with me?

Are you being deliberately obtuse? Because, I don't want to play that game. You want to whine and cry about "racism" against Arabs, while pretending that US attempts to defend itself from Islamic radicals are unjustified, right? OK, have fun with that. I doubt you'll get many takers in the US, but you never know. I'm guessing after the next terrorist attack, we actually will start deporting Muslims just for being Muslim. No joke.

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Craig,

Let's end the discussion here before it gets ugly. Yes, it is sad to see Americans in body bags.. and it is OK to see Iraqis shredded into pieces. They are only Iraqis and probably Muslim too. So who cares.

Have a great nite.

Muneeb Saeed said...

hmmm try wearing the Hijabman shirts.. they are to the point with n funny but dont expect the Immigration to take it seriously...
www.hijabman.com

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