Sunday, August 20, 2006

Good For These Brits

Some British airline passengers mutinied when authorities refused to do anything about two suspicious men.

British holidaymakers staged an unprecedented mutiny - refusing to allow their flight to take off until two men they feared were terrorists were forcibly removed.

The extraordinary scenes happened after some of the 150 passengers on a Malaga-Manchester flight overheard two men of Asian appearance apparently talking Arabic.

That rather understates the problem with the pair and, appearing in the first two paragraphs of the piece, has the effect mischaracterizing the passengers fears. Maybe that's that Daily Mail's intent, but here's the key problem from later in the article.
The trouble in Malaga flared last Wednesday as two British citizens in their 20s waited in the departure lounge to board the pre-dawn flight and were heard talking what passengers took to be Arabic. Worries spread after a female passenger said she had heard something that alarmed her.

Passengers noticed that, despite the heat, the pair were wearing leather jackets and thick jumpers and were regularly checking their watches.

Summer. In Spain. Heavy coats.

For some reason I can't quite fathom, British Tories, citing other instances of passenger anxiety over Pakistani (Asian) or Muslim passengers, seem to look down on what the passengers did. They are trying to make a larger criticism of Tony Blair's government, but it sounds to me like they want the government to prevent the public from drawing any conclusions at all about their own safety.
The Tories said the Government's failure to reassure travellers had led the Malaga passengers to 'behave irrationally' and 'hand a victory to terrorists'.

Websites used by pilots and cabin crew were yesterday reporting further incidents. In one, two British women with young children on another flight from Spain complained about flying with a bearded Muslim even though he had been security-checked twice before boarding.

Individuals have the right to draw whatever conclusions they wish, as they are the ones who must pay the price when government functionaries preen about the 'religion of peace'.

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