|View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
The New York Times, ever on the lookout for a way to minimize the terror threat, has an article explaining why the whole thing was one big cross-cultural misunderstanding. Interestingly, "Now Boarding, Cultural Misperceptions" appears in the Business section, rather than the News or Travel sections. So if you're a tourist, you should still worry?
Well, not all the lingering questions have been answered (See below), and I'm still not persuaded there wasn't something funny going on.
Non-sequitur city, but one that raises lots of lingering questions. If these same ethnic musicians were traveling from Minneapolis, er, Kansas City, would they have been able to upgrade? Sure, they're Syrian, but they were here to play a gig. What difference does it make where they transferred? Or did they stay in Detroit. And if so, what were they up to there?
Nobody expects them to travel like Jennifer Lopez. J-Lo would travel in first class. Which, come to think of it, is where the 9/11 guys were caught hanging out by James Woods. Mrs. Jacobsen didn't care what kind of bag they had. She cared that it was full going to the bathroom, and empty coming back. Unless Mr. Sharkey can tell us what was in the bag.
Bands are more likely to get restless? Like women with children won't get restless? Ever been on a flight from New York to Tel Aviv, Mr. Sharkey? That's restless. You don't fly to Israel, you walk. These guys were on a plane for what, 4 hours, and they were up and down like a bunch of jack-in-the-boxes.
I think I know what website they're talking about. Read it again, Mr. Sharkey. It was a joke.
It wasn't like the Times dug any of this up on its own. Would it really have been too much trouble to give credit to Mr. Taylor? Evidently, since they didn't even bother linking to Mrs. Jacobsen's original article. (The online version did, however, contain numerous in-story links to Times advertisers.) And catch that "nation defined" as a state sponsor of terrorism. Hezbollah probably has their subscription to the Times delivered under its own name to its press offices in downtown Damascus, but it's only the US that "defines" Syria as a problem. Heck, Times reporters have probably been to the Hezbollah press offices in Damascus. And it's not surprising they haven't managed to contact any of the musicians. Remember, they couldn't find the casino is question.
What was the motive? What rock did Mr. Rayes just crawl out from under?
If there's anything we learned from the 9/11 guys, it's that Islamist terrorists tend to be a curious mixture of planners and dolts. Nobody thinks they were deliberately freaking out passengers for fun. And nobody thinks that they shouldn't have been on the plane, as musicians. It's what they did while they were on the plane that got people a little exercised. Like this...
Right. Ever been on a bus in New York? Ever been on a crowded subway? These men had already been on at least two flights headed into domestic airports. Either this flight was different, or they got spilkes two other times and weren't told to cut it out.
Making excuses for people behaving badly, especially Islamic Middle Easterners traveling in groups, backing up a musician who glorifies suicide bombing, who behave badly, doesn't do anyone any favors. It's only going to get people killed when they're so anesthetized they don't bother to react in time.