On post 9/11 travel


When I last left you, I was whirling back through time and space  pondering the presence of angels – or melekler – in the middle of the Haghia Sofya in Istanbul.

Today, I wished for those melekler to make their presence known today, but did not feel the swish of their wings in any palpable way.  This is, perhaps, because I was captive to the air travel industry in America – an industry and a mental and physical space that could use a few more melekler, if you ask me.

Kenne, the Queen of Manners and the Maintenance of Ladylike Behavior tells me that yes, indeed, the depravities of the TSA experience certainly call for at least one melek to be devoted to the cause.  She is still horrified at the images that the TSA lackeys see when one is scanned.  I remind her that she is a puppet made out of wax paper, and they really can’t see much of what is under her clothing, because she is a figment of flatness…she sniffs her disapproval.  She isn’t sure of anything anymore.

But here I am, Kenne or no Kenne, the overly-anxious yet justifiably paranoid wife of a Turkish-American man, the melekler have helped me to become attuned to the sideways glances followed by subtle hand signals and unexplained numerical codes written on boarding passes made by TSA lackeys upon seeing my husband’s country of birth on his U.S. passport.  These are the glances, hand signals and numerical codes that precede the “randomly selected” questions that are posed to M.  I am now used to watching M.’s gentle and gracious external demeanor as he is walked through the questions we now know by heart.

Karagöz, that trickster of a puppet, the namesake of the whole puppet troupe, is usually bound and gagged by his fellow puppets in these moments, for fear that he will engage in some excited utterance that will incur the wrath of the TSA lackeys.  So far, he has been thwarted.

Sometimes, now, such as this morning, the puppets and I are convinced that I am now sometimes “randomly” selected for the TSA special as well.

I say this, and the entire Karagöz puppet troupe concurs, as I (we, they remind me), were subjected to 2 special “extra” searches today.  Who knows.

In any case, as the overly-anxious yet justifiably paranoid wife of a Turkish-American man, I take this lens I have been given, the joy of seeing the world through a cross-cultural mirror,  and use it to observe the goings-on around me during my traveling moments.

And today, in my 4 a.m. sleepiness as I trudged across the cement-polished floor in my stocking feet, dragging my belongings along behind me, I was not disappointed as I saw several scarf-bedecked Muslim women getting the extra wanding and puff-machine treatment in the “special” aisle I had just come through.  The new version of “driving while Black” in America.

So there I was, waiting for the plane to load, trying not to think all about this as I was squeezed in between two businesspeople of corpulent proportions, the puppets politely indicating their protest with not-so-subtle jabs, I willed myself away into the world of my iPhone and found this image about the infamous, inimitable and I suppose I must admit, somewhat necessary TSA despite all of my whinging.  I cannot attest to the veracity of the facts therein, but wanted to share it with you, care of the scintillating blog Life of Refinement.

Let’s see what happens on the way home.  The Karagöz puppets sigh and shake their heads.

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9 Responses to On post 9/11 travel

  1. Alan says:

    . . this is why J is in the US and I’m not (amongst other things). It is a tragedy for Dis-united States citizens that Obama, the ghost of Hope and Change, has nailed the lid on the box of the fascist, corporate state. ‘Gestapo’ Geheime Staatspolizei – different uniforms same politics. Militarised police, rendition, assassinations, detention without trial, and a lot of money now going into ‘detention camps’.

  2. Rosamond says:

    Most Americans have no idea the difference between a Hindu, Sikh or a Muslim.
    Airport security, they can’t tell a difference either, most likely if you look Middle
    Eastern, even if you’re not Muslim your going to be searched. The chances are that if your white and travelling as partner to the above you are also going to be stopped and searched more thoroughly than your avarage Joe
    If you thought Black while driving was bad, try Muslim while flying..!
    I really have to make time to do a post on this issue, thanks for prodding me lol

  3. Rosamond says:

    Well said Alan
    I was foolishly hoping that Obama was going to change the politics in the US but alas, why am i not surprised, Obama was groomed very well by the “shadow govt”. as they all are !

  4. Pingback: On (Turkish?) teaching tactics: Roses grow where a teacher hits? Hocanın vurduğu yerde gül biter « Slowly-by-Slowly

  5. A sad time for us here. A sad pulling of the sheep’s clothing from the wolves.

  6. Isn’t this the sad truth? I totally agree on driving-while-Black and flying-while-Muslim! Can’t wait to see your post on this. 🙂

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  8. Just last night Gustavo was showing me a video-clip from some economists’ conference where a woman was introducing the Nobel-prize winning Indian economist Amartya Sen. She went on enthusiastically with a long list of honors, prizes and awards and the audience applauded appreciatively. He then stepped up to the podium and with such a kind and humble manner first apologized for being late and then said something along the lines of — I could have used an introduction like that with the security guys at the airport. They spent 50 minutes on my hand luggage and I missed my plane.

  9. Pingback: Living in the blue light of the Write-a-Matrix « Slowly-by-Slowly

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