Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What a Nice Profile You Have...

When I was a student at Oxford University's Worcester College the IRA was busy trying to blow many, many things to smithereens. As an American of immediate and rather politically-minded Irish heritage, being searched, wanded, and questioned by British authorities was a regular occurance. My last name is not Irish (it's Austrian), but it seems likely that there was a profile on me somewhere considering some of my family ties (nuf said?) and whatnot.

I never minded, incidentally.

Which is why I find it a bit whiny for those in my own country who complain about being profiled in airports. Unless you are bruised, bleeding, or detained behind iron bars for no other reason than your appearance, shut up. Ahmed never complains when he is flagged during trips. I never complained when I had to join my friends after being wanded all those years ago. Know why? I was a visitor in a country under attack by extremists. They never hurt me, and were, in fact, typically polite every time it happened. For that matter, Ahmed (an American) has always been treated respectfully when questioned or searched, as well.

I suspect this has more to do with our willingness than it has to do with those whose job it is to profile us. Bad people are killing innocents every day. Complaining about having to show up at the airport a little early seems a bit ridiculous under the circumstances.

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