Home > Geeky, Security > Now we’re afraid of T-shirts

Now we’re afraid of T-shirts

August 30, 2006

This is a poor example for a free people to set to the oppressive nations of the world:

Mr Jarrar’s black cotton T-shirt bore the slogan “We will not be silent” in both Arabic and English. 

He said he had cleared security at John F Kennedy airport for a flight back to his home in California when he was approached by two men who wanted to check his ID and boarding pass. Mr Jarrar said he was told a number of passengers had complained about his T-shirt – apparently concerned at what the Arabic phrase meant – and asked him to remove it.

He refused, arguing that the slogan was not offensive and citing his constitutional rights to free expression.

Mr Jarrar later told a New York radio station: “I grew up and spent all my life living under authoritarian regimes and I know that these things happen. “But I’m shocked that they happened to me here, in the US.”

After a difficult exchange with airline staff, Mr Jarrar was persuaded to wear another T-shirt bought for him at the airport shop.
- BBC News: Arabic T-shirt sparks airport row

We’re not ANY safer with people like that minding the store.  How did forcing Mr. Jarrar to change his T-shirt make anyone safer?

The terrorists have us jumping at our own shadows.  At an architect wearing a T-shirt with Arabic letters on it.  We’re jumping at the sight of cold cream.  They must be laughing at us.

Grow up, everyone.


Categories: Geeky, Security
  1. August 30, 2006 at 17:34 | #1

    Apparently the way to spread democracy across the planet is to restrict it here where democracy started, and then force feed it to other nations.  Even if this means killing people.  Interesting theory Bush.

  2. August 31, 2006 at 09:24 | #2

    “He refused, arguing that the slogan was not offensive and citing his constitutional rights to free expression”

    Sounds like an excuse to be an asshole to me. Of course if he had been smoking a cigarette the story would be different. Don’t know how Bush can be involved in the opnions of other passengers but I am sure someone will find some way to make it the presidents fault the public is paranoid and not the fault of radical muslims.

  3. August 31, 2006 at 11:12 | #3

    Wow so an A**hole sounds like somebody who stands up for their civil liberties to you… I think that says a lot in and of itself.

    Bush is certainly involved, because he sets the stage.  If he gave the order for all racial profiling of Arabs to stop, then people would listen.  If Bush gave a speech about how Arabs did not attack us, but radical fundamentalists did, and we need to stop our hatred towards Arab, people would listen.  And his situation in the Middle East would be a little smoother.  The fact that Bush hasn’t done any of this shows to his character and nature.  And to me signifies he has a pretty ethnocentric view of the world.

  4. August 31, 2006 at 11:30 | #4

    James, if being an a* meant you couldn’t fly, airlines would stop making a profit real fast.  If the guy was a terrorist or was carrying anything dangerous, they should have kept him off the plane.  If not, I don’t think you can hijack a plane with a T-shirt – he flies.  It isn’t the job of TSA to make sure everyone onboard is in comfortable agreement on issues.

    Webs, while you are right about Bush’s setting the stage, I have to point out that he did order racial profiling to stop, on several occasions.  Only thing is, when people are afraid, they want simple answers and “fear anything Arab” certainly is simple. 

    Follow the ‘Schneier on security’ link in the homepage sidebar for extended discussion of security issues including TSA stupidity.  Hours of blood-pressure-raising entertainment.

  5. August 31, 2006 at 11:42 | #5

    Interesting Viewpoint on Bush’s Executive Order.  This is the only executive order I can find.  If I am missing something please let me know, because I was un-able to find a plethora of information on Bush calling for a cease to racial profiling.  I certainly did not find several occasions of this. 

    It seems while Bush did issue an executive order, he left plenty of loopholes in it, for racial profiling to be legal, if the matter at hand is terrorism.  So I consider his executive order on racial profiling to essentially be a step in the opposite direction, meaning he really hasn’t done anything to stop it.

  6. September 1, 2006 at 06:29 | #6

    It strikes me that there is a plan to make humans roboticised – a kind of one sized fits all species.  Thou shalt not speak out, though shalt all wear plain white t-shirts, thou shalt absolutely have no opinions and thou shalt be emotionless.
    With uniformed Spot operatives patrolling our minds as part of airport security, the t-shirts we wear will be the least of our problems.

  7. September 1, 2006 at 07:06 | #7

    There was that one executive order, but I also recall hearing him on a number of occasions admonishing Americans not to associate ‘Arab’ with ‘terrorist’, and he has been (intentionally, I think) very public with his Arab friendships to set a good example.  Of course not everyone gets the message.

    But calls against racial profiling need some refinements.  While the great majority of terrorist attacks now are being carried out by ethnic Muslims, only a tiny minority of ethnic Muslims are terrorists.  Keeping that ratio firmly in mind it would be foolish not to recognize ethnicity as one factor of many in the larger profiling context that is needed to catch the bad guys.

    I am tempted to say that the greatest danger to our republic is oversimplification, but that would be an oversimplification :P

  8. September 1, 2006 at 13:35 | #8

    While I agree, we must remember, that Arab Americans like freedoms and liberty just as much as White Caucasian Americans.  And encroaching on their liberties pisses them off just as much as encroaching on our liberties do to us.  If we want to be the shinning example of freedom fine.  But don’t say we are when you take away civil liberties of our own citizens.

  9. September 1, 2006 at 16:17 | #9

    Webs, your idealism knows no bounds.  If you’d like to write a full-length post explaining why ethnicity should never, ever, ever be a factor in directing the attention of antiterrorism matters, let me know when it’s done and I’ll link to it in the notes above next to Jarrar’s links.

    Atyllah, that ‘Spot Operatives’ link is pretty scary reading…  brrr!

  10. September 3, 2006 at 09:01 | #10

    “Webs, your idealism knows no bounds.  If you’d like to write a full-length post explaining why ethnicity should never, ever, ever be a factor in directing the attention of antiterrorism matters”

    Whoa, I don’t think he said that, at least I didn’t read that into what Webs posted.

    You are spot on DOF, about the TSA not be responsible for the comfort level of other passengers, and that is ALL the BBC article was about.  If Mr. Jarrar had been white and worn a T-shirt saying something like “Bush’s War in Iraq Sucks”, this would not have been an issue.

    So yes, this is about fear.  I don’t hear Bush saying like “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.  So, james, yeah, Bush is complicit in this.  The Decider should be The Leader.  But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.  He’s too scared himself.

  11. September 10, 2006 at 03:40 | #11

    We’ve had two occasions in Britain where people have been prosecuted – well, fined without due process of law – for wearing or selling ‘Bollocks to Blair’ t-shirts

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