The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


January 19, 2001

Fallen into ill-repute

I harbor no kind sentiments for Mr. Mirfendereski, both because he has called me names before and also for the fact that he thinks those who wear #2 buzz cut are thugs (I am now a thug because of my haircut!).

But in my opinion, he is completely right in what he has put forward regarding the fingerprinting issue at U.S. airports ["Face in the mirror"]. The treatment at the U.S. airports, however hurtful, is a prerogative of the American government. The treatment dissuades and warns those with malicious intent (which Iranians have a reputation for) to stay away from U.S. borders, which airports are a part of.

And let us not forget that the airport incidents in the U.S. are still a more professional treatment than one administered in many other places where being an Iranian traveler is a peril.

I remember I was once woken up in a Turkey hotel room to find myself yelled at and intimated by two policemen who had taken an interest in me only because I had an Iranian passport. Another time, I was stopped in Amsterdam and treated like a thief while the Dutch police ransacked my belongings. They then threw my passport in my face and told me I better not stay in Holland one day more than necessary.

What should I have done, sue the Hague government? Sue the whole world?

We are - whether we like it or not - heirs to a nationality that is fallen into ill-repute. We can knock ourselves unconscious by blaming others, but the problem is in Teheran, not in U.S. airports, nor in Turkish hotels.

Ramin Tabib


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