Karachi Photo Blog

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Face-off with the Homeland Security


Had planned to send it from Kuta, two days ago.
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This has been a regular show.  Since 911, every time he comes back from an overseas trip, at the immigration counter he is asked a few questions about his travels and then advised to go to ‘the room at the end’.  In that room he is interrogated about the countries and the cities he visited in the latest trip.  The interview is not too long and the interrogators are courteous—at least, ostensibly—but he still feels bad about this.  Why him?  Why the humiliation of this extra interview when others in his company are being ushered out of the arrival hall?  Is it not nomal discrimination? [Yes, that is his word-coining at work—nomal discrimination (he defines it as an act of discrimination based on a person’s name) rhymes with racial discrimination].  Under what law only he—and others fitting the ‘profile’—are stopped and interrogated in this manner?  What are his options when asked to go the ‘room at the end’?
Now his Rosa Parks moment has come.  This time around he is going to refuse to cooperate with the Homeland Security.  He is going to ask them to treat him like they treat everyone else.
So, Friends and Family, if he does not come out of SFO by 1300 on Wednesday, February 5—he is landing at 1020—do get concerned and ask the Homeland Security about where he is being detained.
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But left Kuta in a hurry and did not get a chance to send this note to the loved ones.
And guess what?  It did not happen this time.  He was let go without being asked to go to the ‘room at the end’?  Why no interrogation this time?  Was it because he was very friendly with the immigration officer and told him that he had arrived earlier than his departure time (left Hong Kong at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, and arrived at 10:20 am the same day)?  Was it because the immigration officer was Hispanic?  Was it because someone has done a background check on him and he has been removed from the list of ‘suspects’?  Don’t know.  But he is very happy to have avoided the humiliation.


Photo shows Kuta Memorial for the 2002 bombing victims—the bombing site is to the left of the monument, across the street (the site is now used as a parking lot).

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