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.